Kata of the Month: Gankaku

Gankaku@2xWe are now studying Gankaku for the advanced kata in our Saturday classes. (back to Heian Shodan for the basic kata)

Gankaku is another old kata that, like Empi (our last kata-of-the-month), is meant to conjure an image of a bird. In contrast to Empi’s darting in and out and jumping up like a swallow, Gankaku reflects the grace and majestic image of a crane. Perched on one leg several times in this kata, the performer must work on attaining a high sense of balance.

Gankaku very closely resembles its predecessor kata, Chinto. For more information, please see here.

video examples:

Gankaku is a kata normally introduced at black belt level; one of the few black belt kata within the core “15 Shotokan kata” that nearly every Shotokan dojo considers to be a necessary part of their complete curriculum, based on the list laid out by the styles founder, Sensei Gichin Funakoshi, early in the 20th century.

Even if we’re beyond the kata you’re presently focusing on, it’s great to begin to learn how techniques can be combined, and the practice in applying techniques can be very valuable to your development in Karate.

At SVSK our Saturday morning kata classes focus on one kata at a time. We typically spend four Saturdays on each kata:

Week 1: Overview/review of the kata
Week 2: Fine points of the techniques and the kata
Week 3: Hands-on practice to understand applications (bunkai)
Week 4: Variations in the kata