Wednesday, March 7, 2012


The focus of my karate training is kata. I have not been one to accumulate as many as I can - I prefer to add them to my repertoire only when I feel I'm ready for a new one, which is rarely! At my first club we only learnt the kata that was required for our next grading, so each became a well practised form with little distraction.

Up until about 2 years ago (25 years of karate, with a couple of gaps in training) I knew only the Heians (1-5), Tekki Shodan, Bassai-dai, Kanku-dai, Jion, Empi, and Hangetsu (which I did for my 1st dan test). When I was awarded my 2nd dan I decided to add two more kata and taught myself Tekki Nidan and Gankaku. I had intended to keep to just these for the moment, but through weekly club training I had Bassai-sho, Wankan and Ji'in added, though I didn't delve in too deeply, I must admit.

A few months ago it was suggested that each of the black belts at our club should choose an advanced kata and study it in more depth. At first I couldn't decide between Empi (one of my favourites) and Gankaku (which is the kata I felt I was currently studying). Both of these were made off-limits when a fellow student chose Gankaku before me (we all had to have a different kata) and it was thought I should learn something new rather an old favourite (Empi). Some of the other black belts vaguely knew Kanku-sho, and I had tagged along with it on occasion, so I decided to dive in more fully and Kanku-sho became my choice.

So this blog is here to act as a kind of notebook to aid my study of the kata. I will look at the kata's history and origins as well as its application and technical details. We have to present our kata on April 18th 2012, performing it slowly and technically once through, and at normal speed twice, as well as demonstrate three extracts in application and talk about the kata (origins, meaning and character of the form).

Furthermore, this blog will reflect my own philosophy of karate, which is somewhat on the budo side of things. I am interested in pragmatism too, but it is not my sole focus - I'm into self-development rather than feeling the need to be able to fight on the street! I would be happy to welcome comments if anyone happens across this blog and has something to say, but any comments that are prejudicial (against karate as a martial art, or Shotokan as a style) will be deleted at my discretion. My view is that there is no art, style or outlook that is better than another, it is all about the individual and what they want from their art.

One last thing - not every entry will necessarily be about Kanku-sho specifically and I may, from time to time, write about other karate related topics.

Update: Having decided to continue the blog beyond my Kanku-sho research, I have changed the name to Karate Kagami, You can see my Kanku-sho research codified into an article here.

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