Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Found a good video of the Wansu kata

The same uploader has good videos of the Chinto kata, as well. What a relief! I've searched and searched for a good instructional video on both of these kata. It's a little less daunting...The sound quality for this video really stinks, and the narration is out of sync with the movements, but this video coupled with this PDF, really makes it more accessible.


  1. Hey, where is this link? We're focusing more on bunkai this year... I have videos of my Sensei doing kata, but he doesn't narrate the moves.

    Thank you!

  2. Click on "this PDF." It's a live link, and should take you to a very nice PDF file that illustrates and explains the various moves.

  3. That's a great video. Really good how it talks you through the kata (even with the crubbish sound quality). I'm shortly going to be working with my Shihan on a project to get all our katas videoed and posted to the clubs website. I can't wait to get going with it. I think vidoes are a great way to get the pattern of kata cemented into your head so you can work on perfecting it.

    Good luck with learning the kata.


  4. This was interesting to watch Frank because it is completely different to the way we approach bunkai! It actually reminded me of the way kata and its application is approached in my jujitsu club, where there is a 1-1 mapping of kata techniques to applications. In my karate club we tend to examine bunkai on a 'principle' basis rather than a specific technique basis. This means that a particular movement in the kata could have many different applications based on the same principles of movement. More than 1 way to skin a cat I suppose! It's interesting to see different ways of doing things though.

  5. Thanks! My Sensei always says that there are usually several levels of bunkai. For instance, in the Naihanchi kata, the kicks are usually listed as "lifting the foot to avoid a sweep," but those kicks can also be thrown to the inside of an opponent's knee.

    The open palm hook blocks in the Seisan kata could be thrown to the inside of an opponent's arm to deflect a punch, but could also be a shuto to the neck.

    It's interesting stuff... :-)

  6. I obviously study different stuff from you guys but we have a lot of talks pertaining to forms and their application as well.

    There's the individual movements, and our sifu's approach (which I agree with) is that these movements provide a framework for how they're used in application. There may be some slight variations in each situation but the form provides the pure "jist" of it.

    Then there's the way some of these movements are used together, and these interpretations are even more open. Just so that we understand why we do what we do in a form, our sifu explains to us one of the basic applications of, say, three movements all used together. But as we get experienced, he shows us (and we figure out) more uses and applications. I suppose it's like language, learning words and their basic definitions, then getting more into the essence of those definitions to convey more subtle points in different sentences.

    I really like this part of martial arts, the interpretations. :)

  7. I like that analogy, Jimmy. It really is like learning a language, isn't it? The application is what makes the form come alive. It goes from being a rather two-dimensional memory exercise to being something with real depth.

  8. Interesting video! I believe the instructor featured here is Angi Uezu, an influential and well respected Isshin Ryu stylist.

    Uezu Sensei is demonstrating at the end a base level bunkai his students can use to learn the general sense of what is going on in the kata. The fun part is taking that and figuring out how to utilize the full continuum of karate's weapons (tuite, kyusoho, tegumi, etc) to enhance that bunkai!

    Thanks for the interesting post.

  9. Right on, Matt! And yes, it is Sensei Angi Uezu. He's absolutely excellent. :-) Contemplating the bunkai is one of my favorite things... Even taking a technique in the kata, pulling it out, and playing around with it as a one-point bunkai and seeing the different ways it can be applied is great fun! It's like a jigsaw puzzle in motion... :-)

  10. I like Uezu's renditions of kata. Lots of snap and power in those techniques.

    Did you know that Uezu Sensei had no interest in karate as a young man? At the time he felt it was too violent, but his future father-in-law (Tatsuo Shimabuku) explained the philosophy behind it and the rest is history.

  11. Whoa! No kidding! I didn't know that. Thanks, John! Update on the Wansu: I've got about a third of it memorized. The crane stance transitions are a bit awkward yet, and I have to stop and think in a couple of places, but it's coming along. With just a little more work, I'll have half it memorized.

    The biggest help, has been going through one of my books with the chart and explanation of each step, and writing it out, step by step. The book, with the accompanying photos, is more confusing than anything else, but after having gone through a lot of it in our freestyle class, and looking at videos, like the one above, it's all coming together.

    For now, I'm happy just to work on the first half and really polish it up so that it's not so awkward. By the time I'm ready to move on to learning the rest of the kata, it won't seem such a monumental task.

    After working with it for a bit, the first half is really the most complicated part. I think once I get through this, the rest of it will be a lot easier.