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Shotokan Karate Academy

Kanku (Kushanku)

"Kushanku" also called "Kusanku" or "Kanku-dai" (観空大) is studied by many practitioners of Okinawan Karate. In many karate styles, there are two versions of the kata: "Kusanku-sho" and "Kusanku-dai".


The name "Kusanku" or "Kosokun" (公相君) is used in Okinawan systems of karate, and refers to a person by the name of Kusanku, a Chinese diplomat from Fukien who is believed to have traveled to Okinawa to teach his system of fighting. In Japanese systems of karate, the kata has been known as Kankū (translated as viewing the sky) ever since it was renamed in the 1930s by Gichin Funakoshi.


In Shotokan karate, Kanku-dai consist of 65 movements executed in about 90 seconds, and symbolize attack and defense against eight opponents. It is a major form of the kata; its equivalent minor form is called Kanku-sho. Kanku-dai was one of Gichin Funakoshi's favorite kata and is a representative kata of the Shotokan system.


The embusen (path of movement) of Kanku-sho is similar to that of Kanku-dai, but it begins differently. It is a compulsory Shotokan kata and of high technical merit. As a result of Anko Itosu's efforts, the Heian kata contain sequences taken from Kanku-dai.


It was from Kanku-Dai that Itosu sensei began creating his "youth" Katas, the “Heians”.  By extracting basic ideas and techniques from Jion, Bassai-Dai and Kanku-Dai, Itosu set about making Katas for school children in 5 basic katas named Heian Shodan to Heian Godan.



  • Originally, the kata was called Kushanku, named after a Chinese diplomat who traveled to Okinawa to teach his system of fighting

  • “Kushanku” was renamed in 1930s by Gichin Funakoshi to “Kanku”

  • "Kanku" translates as "Looking at the Sky"

  • We have 2 version of “Kanku” kata, "Kanku-Dai" and "Kanku-Sho"

    • The word "Dai" (big) is used to describe the kata's larger movements as compared to the kata's smaller version, Kanku-Sho

    • Usually “Dai” version will be taught to students before the “Sho” version

  • The suffix -dai (大) means "large,major" and -sho (小) "small,minor"

  • The Heian kata contain sequences taken from Kanku-dai

  • Kanku-Dai is the longest kata in Shotokan

  • Kanku-Dai has 65 movements executed in about 90 seconds and bunkai is based on attack and defense against eight opponents

  • It is a highly dynamic kata that must be performed with grace in motion

  • The very difficult jumping nidan-geri is also first practiced in this kata

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

Kanku-dai (観空大)

Embusen of Kanku-Dai
Number of movements : 65

Kanku-sho (観空小)

Embusen of Kanku-Sho
Number of movements : 39
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