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Enpi (Empi, Wanshu)

Shotokan Karate Academy

“Enpi” (燕飛), also frequently transliterated as Empi, is a kata practiced by Shotokan and other karate styles. Enpi means “Flying Swallow” and it first appearance was in 17th century therefore Enpi is one of the oldest kata.


The most commonly accepted theory about its creation and development is that a “Sappushi Wang Ji”, transmitted the kata while serving on Okinawa. “Wang Ji” had the habit of throwing and jumping on his adversaries. Because of this dynamic form of combat, this kata resembles a swallow in flight.


It was originally called Wansu (Wanshu) but master Funakoshi changed the name to Enpi when he moved to the Japanese mainland in the 1920s. Funakoshi changed the names of many of the kata, in an effort to make the Okinawan art more acceptable to the then nationalistic Japanese.


According to the theory of Motobu, until the political and geographical change in Meiji era, both kata Wanshu (Enpi) and Rohai (Meikyo) were only known in Tomari  and they were unknown in "Naha" and "Shuri", therefore, "Enpi" comes from the Okinawan school of Tomari-te.



  • Enpi means “Flying Swallow”

  • Enpi is one of the oldest kata

  • Root: "Tomari-te" school of kata in Okinawa

Enpi (燕飛)

Embusen of Enpi
Number of movements : 39
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