The predecessor kata on which Kanku-sho was derived, Kanku-dai, is very old and versions of it are practiced by people in various styles of Karate. Older versions may go by the name ‘Kushanko” and the -dai suffix was added when a secondary version (-sho) was created over 100 years ago. Legend has it that a diplomat(?) from China taught a version of this kata on Okinawa long ago and it was originally named for him (“Koso-kun”) and the name later changed, with the “viewing the sky” version being finalized approximately 100 years ago by Shotokan’s founder, Funakoshi Sensei.
70+ year old competitor in Japan
Kanku-sho is a kata normally introduced at black belt level. Many of the movements in Kanku-dai should be familiar to students below brown belt, as this is one of the kata from which movements and strategies were taken when the Heian kata were created about 100 years ago as introductions to the more advanced kata. Kanku-sho shares many characteristics and techniques with Kanku-dai, from which it is derived. But it also includes some more complex and less-commonly practiced movements.
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