Tensho kata means “Turning hands or revolving hands” it is one of the two main
katas of Goju-Ryu karate, “go” translates as hard “ju” translates as soft. This kata has its roots in White Grane boxing and Monk Fist boxing and influenced by Nahate village area in Okinawa which became the style known today as Goju Ryu.
Tensho partnered work, sticky hands training (Chi Sau) (Kake Uke) developing sensitivity enabling the students to read their partners intentions. This is not an application to the Tensho form, it’s the connectivity, redirecting and controlling skills whilst preforming an application. To develop this skill isolation is the key point behind these drills, these drills are about flowing with your partner rather then pushing them away, not meeting muscle with muscle. There is an old saying in the internal Martial Arts “Knowing yourself is knowing how to move, (the form) Knowing the enemy is feeling his movement”.
Words by Shihan Chris Rowen taken from his excellent book KATA TENSHO
It is the beauty and versatility of this kata that makes it so special. It can be
appreciated through the gracefulness of its movement practised slowly and with
Rhythmic breathing (which has clear health benefits). Its apparently effortless
Circular movements can redirect and nullify aggressive acts with seemingly
minimum effort. In addition, there is the philosophical and humanitarian aspect
Within the form, and various masters emphasise its importance for moral character and good judgement. Finally, it includes devastating striking power that, used as a last resort, is unquestionably effective.