Like Wankan kata, Rohai also has a very long history, and also like Wankan, has an unknown composer. More importantly, Rohai is another extant Tomari-te form, passed down through Kosaku Matsumora. Anko Itosu includedthree versions of Rohai kata in his curriculum, yet most probably they were derived from the Tomari-te form. Translated into English, Rohai means “vision of a white heron.” The kata’s signature movement of stepping back and blocking on one leg is reminiscent of this title. According to Sensei Ota, Rohai develops continuous rhythm in technique, which is the foundation for quick and powerful combinations. Rohai is the first kata in Matsubayashi-ryu which focuses upon these kinds of advanced combinations and movements, and is therefore a significant leap beyond all the preceding forms.

Sensei Ota demonstrating Rohai

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