Jutte is often known as the other “temple” Kata when a student is introduced to the Kata. This Kata has not been the favourite of many of the old time Kata champions because it is not a very dynamic Kata. But, the Kata has a lot to offer students. This is an old Kata that has obvious applications for staff defence, one of the core and main weapons of ancient Okinawa and China. Often a student will see the Kata and think that it is only for staff defence but the applications are endlessly applicable to hand to hand fighting as well. Recently this Kata has started to be used more often by Kata champions and those looking for tournament success, the most recognizable of these was Shina Sensei and his using this Kata to win at major tournaments. Jutte is a very important and interesting Kata that can be a very important and informational Kata in any student’s studies.
History of Jutte
The spelling of 'Jutte' is often written 'Jite' or 'Jitte' as well, and the Kenji that reads "ten hands" is often changed for Kenji that reads "temple hand". The change to "temple hand" continues the theme of "temple" Kata in many of the Okinawan Karate families. The "temple" theme is associated with three Kata directly, Jion, Jutte and Jiin. This creates an idea that all three are directly related in some way, shape or form.
Arhat Chun Fa (monks fist boxing) uses Kata such as Sochin, Seisan, Jutte and Sepai, Useishi and Peichirun and the style is related to White Crane Chun Fa. The lack of Jion and Jiin in the base style of Jutte may suggest that they originally were not related however, this would seem to state that the temple theme was created to make a false connection for these Kata.
Some of the chief similarities in these three Kata (Jion, Jutte and Jiin) are the beginning hand positions relating back to the "shaolin salute" and the use of the Manji Kamae or "lantern carry pose" in the Kata. Manji Kamae is also a very Buddhist position to assume during combat, in that most styles related to the Buddhist practice and influence on martial arts have this posture in the forms and practice. Many feel it is related to fighting at night or practice at night and the use of hand held lanterns to illuminate the challenge area or practice area.
Kanazawa Sensei has spoken about this Kata and says that it is obviously a Kata to defend against a staff or "bo" attack. Some feel it was originally a bo Kata from a Chinese weapon form and was changed to deal with the defence and not use of this weapon. Ironically, a weapon, the Jutte was often employed to defend against a bo or sword attack and the Kata is often performed using a Sai, a derivative of the Jutte. Another rationale for the name has to do with the Yama Kamae (mountain posture) and its resemblance to the sai and therefore to the Jutte. I do not share this opinion however. The name itself, in my thinking, means ten hands and it is simply a statement of the various techniques that were used in this Kata. Trying to add drama to the name is simply a tradition in old Martial Arts.
Jutte also goes by the name Sip Soo in some Korean styles that have adopted the Kata from Japan. Many of the Korean styles took forms and techniques from the Japanese styles they came from. The Kata they acquired for their foundation were then altered to seem less Japanese and to promote a national feel for the newly formed style. Often the Kata had such minor changes that they were seen as being almost untouched with exception of those minor changes. Jutte or Sip Soo is one of these. If a Japanese stylist was to perform Jutte and a Korean stylist were to perform Jutte, you would only see minor stylistic differences in the performance.
Many practitioners dispute the idea that the Kata was a bo defence form and point at the difficult bunkai and how the applications of said moves do not lend themselves to simple or effective self defence against a Bo. The Kata however, may in fact be a variation of Kobudo Kata that once had a following on the island. One suggestion I read is that a traditional Kung Fu style named Hung Gar is the origin of the roots of Jutte. Having studied Hung Gar briefly I can say it would not surprise me. The stance is very stable and reminds me of the rooted feeling Hung Gar presents, but I have yet to see a Jutte in any way in the forms of Hung Gar.
One accepted history that is taught but probably not accurate is that of a Chinese Monk named Jion-Ji whom supposedly travelled to Okinawa in the 19th Century and taught Kamerei Sakugawa who in turn taught Matsumura who taught Itosu. Patrick McCarthy does point out a similar Kata does exist in China as part of the Arahat Tradition, but this does not mean a monk came to Okinawa to pass on the Kata. It is far more likely that this is one of the Kata that Sakugawa learned while travelling in China and he brought it back and taught it to Matsumura, who in turn spread it to his students.
The history of Jutte seems to point back to Sakugawa’s introduction of many of the Chinese forms to Okinawa. I would suggest then that this is the origin of the Kata as we know it. The original name of 'Ten hands' is more than likely the correct translation. But, the attempt to change the name to 'Temple Hand" at sometime also reveals a movement to align the three "Ji" Katas together. This suggests to me that they are all of different origin but perhaps grouped together by well meaning instructors. And this grouping was taken to a different level by their students.
Like many of the older Kata the history of the Kata itself has been long lost and new pseudo history put in its place. Most of the new histories are based on more interesting ideas of where the Kata came from over a more practical origin of the Kata. Perhaps we will never know where Sakugawa received training in this Kata, but the more we make of the psuedo-histories the more we miss out on the truth and forget about the importance of just learning the Kata and its applications.
Notes on Jutte, Jitte.
Some stories suggest that once a student has mastered the Kata that they will have the ability to defend themselves with the hands of ten men. Or worse that they will be able to defend themselves against ten men. This is not the intention of the name in my opinion.
The Kata seems to be well suited for training to defend against sticks or staff attack. Most of the techniques are set up to absorb an attack, remove the weapon and then dispatch the attacker. The bold but controlled movements give a feel of power and grace that is build for those of powerful physique. The Kata is very popular with senior ranks but not often seen in tournaments.
This Kata takes approximately 60 seconds to perform and is more based on execution of power and use of timing over speed and dynamic movement. While it is required for promotion from Shodan to Nidan, it is not often seen on the test for this new rank. The students that rank for Nidan are often requested to do more dynamic Kata to show their ability.
Jutte is still going to be put in the category of being related to Jion and Jiin because of the starting hand positions. But that is fine. This does allow for better organization of the Kata and it also gives the students a mnemonic to remember the Kata in the first place. It is a challenging Kata that is far more difficult to master than one would think. The basic movements and the less than fancy moves are deceptively difficult and surprisingly effective against a staff. The Kata also has an alternative system in it for defending and damaging joints, such as the elbow and also for throwing opponents to the ground.
Jutte will always be a mysterious Kata to me, one that is simple but very hard to master. I have read and been told that bigger people are built for Jutte, but I have seen some lean, small guys pull it off. One of the unique and interesting things about Jutte is the vast amount of open hand techniques that one has to master in doing this Kata. Steeped in misconceptions, Jutte is often not the first option that a student thinks of when learning a new Kata, but it will deliver a great deal of information and entertain any student that selects it as a Kata.