4 posts / 0 new
Last post
Wastelander's picture
Kuchiki-Taoshi in Kusanku Dai Bunkai

Kusanku/Kosokun/Kanku Dai is a pretty common and popular kata among Shuri-Te lineage styles, so I figure some people on this board might find this interesting. Most styles that practice these kata include the movement that Nagamine Shoshin Sensei is demonstrating in the photo, below, or they do manji-uke.

What's interesting about this, to me, is that my style does not use either position in Kusanku Dai. Instead, we do a lunging jodan-uke (high receiver) and gedan-tsuki (low thrust), which I haven't really seen from styles that do not come from Chibana Chosin. You can see it in the image, below. It makes me wonder if he changed it, or if Itosu simply taught it to him differently?

Either way, I found that the movement felt very natural and powerful when I first learned the kata, but it took me a bit to figure out why. After playing with it, a bit, I realized that it was almost exactly the way I was taught to do kuchiki-taoshi (dead wood drop) in judo. To be fair, I'm not a judo expert, and I didn't get to work the technique very long before the IJF banned it, but I feel that it works out pretty well. The next movement in our kata is a crossing of the arms, which can apply a quick joint dislocation to the knee, if you hit it hard before the opponent has a chance to recover from their fall. I made a short video of it, since it was kind of hard to explain:

You can also use your leg to apply the takedown by driving your knee into theirs, but that's a more advanced approach, and harder to get right.

Jr cook
Jr cook's picture

This is a takedown we practice as well and I have also found it to be a useful part of kata. I have never really looked at it in the context of this form but I can clearly see it. Good stuff.

It seems that the primary difference in your version and the one Nagamine is doing is the stance. I can see the low "back stance" as Nagamine does being the motion immediately following yours. Instead of using a pushing motion against the torso it would be a pull as he slides down the leg (knee bar) to achieve the same result. This would leave Nagamine in a low stance with his weight pulled back, as seen in the photo. 

As far as the lineage goes, my current style is Okinawa Kenpo and we practice a Kusanku which includes this technique in a low kokutsu dachi, followed by the crossed arms in a naihanchi dachi.

You can see it here at 0:24. 

Our kata comes to us through Kentsu Yabu, who learned it from Soken Matsumura if I remember correctly. This would suggest the Nagamine stancing to be pre-Shorin ryu. And as I recall, in the Shotokan school I trained in, our Kanku-Dai used a forward stance just as you do, but it was a weight shift between two back stances. 

Seen here at 0:42.

That's about all I can offer on the theory of where/when it was changed. To me it seems to be a very similar technique, just given emphasis at a different point in time maybe?



Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

As always, that’s a nice application! The version I practise does it differently again and here is some older footage of me teaching my primary take on that.

All the best,


Wastelander's picture

Thanks for that bit of information, Jr cook! It's always interesting to compare how other styles do things, and try to find common ground.

Thank you, Iain! I've seen that video of yours, before, and we actually do use something similar as an application for manji-gamae--obviously, it just doesn't fit this sequence in our Kusanku :P. Good stuff!