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#235866 - 03/03/06 03:31 AM Unsu
naraebon Offline

Registered: 05/26/05
Posts: 47
Loc: Vienna, Austria

I can`t find too much about kata Unsu. Only some very vague notes on history, nothing on bunkai. I apologize if this topic has been discussed before on this forum, anyway I didn`t find anything, so here goes ..

- where exactly does it come from

- how did it get into Shotokan

- was it changed when it got into Shotokan, if yes, by whom (did Itosu do anything with it)

- applications

anything is appreciated !

many thanks ..

Nara Ebon

#235867 - 03/03/06 04:02 AM Re: Unsu [Re: naraebon]
BrianS Offline
Higher rank than you
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 5959
Loc: Northwest Arkansas
I'm not familiar with this kata,but I found a video of it followed by an uber-cool flying sidekick at the end.
The2nd ammendment, it makes all the others possible. <///<

#235868 - 03/04/06 08:45 AM Re: Unsu [Re: naraebon]
kakushiite Offline

Registered: 02/06/03
Posts: 266
Loc: Ithaca, NY, USA
Kenwa Mabuni learned this kata from Arakaki Seisho who told Mabuni he had learned it in China.

It is probable that Mabuni taught this kata to Funakoshi's students in Japan. A number of sources state that Funakoshi brought with him 15 kata when he left Okinawa for Japan. These are the kata that are found in the Master Text.

Funakoshi brought his students to Mabuni to train and it is likely that many if not most of the dozen or so Shotokan kata not found in the master text came from Mabuni. (Sochin is an exception.)


#235869 - 03/05/06 03:31 AM Re: Unsu [Re: kakushiite]
naraebon Offline

Registered: 05/26/05
Posts: 47
Loc: Vienna, Austria

many thanks Kakushiite, very interesting article !

to me, looking at the kata from Arakaki, Unsu and Nijushiho look unique. Meaning that I don`t see any "signature" techniques which are found in many other Shotokan katas (such as shuto uke, manji uke).

Did Mabuni leave the kata Unsu (and all the other he preserved and tought in Shito Ryu) unchanged?

Nara Ebon

#235870 - 03/05/06 08:39 AM Re: Unsu [Re: naraebon]
kakushiite Offline

Registered: 02/06/03
Posts: 266
Loc: Ithaca, NY, USA

Now that is an interesting concept. Why is that all the masters claim to teach their kata unchanged but they are all so very different.

Our ability to know what the original kata looked like, whether Unsu, or any others is probably lost forever.

Now if only these old masters had used video cameras way back when. We do have Funakoshi doing Naihanchi, probably from the early 20s. But that is the exception, not the rule.


#235871 - 03/05/06 08:53 AM Re: Unsu [Re: kakushiite]
kakushiite Offline

Registered: 02/06/03
Posts: 266
Loc: Ithaca, NY, USA
The website has 38 Shito Ryu Kata videos including Unsu.

You can see for yourself how different it is from the Shotokan version.


#235872 - 04/03/06 09:18 PM Re: Unsu [Re: naraebon]
roninofGa Offline

Registered: 10/02/05
Posts: 62
Loc: Georgia
Some difference in this kata from Shotokan and Shito ryu. the most obvious is Shito ryu's doesn't have the 360 degree jump, they sorta just turn and go down. second, when in the middle of the kata Shito ryu has back thrust kicks toward the rear and Shotokan has roundhouse kicks laying down toward the front. Unsu is suppose to be one of the oldest survivng katas. Doubtful though on any today being the "original" since almost all the older generation of karate pioneers changed something.

#235873 - 04/04/06 08:40 AM Re: Unsu [Re: roninofGa]
JohnL Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 03/24/03
Posts: 4309
Loc: NY, NY, USA
I learnt Unsu during standard shotokan training. The Shito ryu version I learnt as Unshu.

My own interpretation of the back thrust kicks in the Shito ryu version is that rather than back thrust kicks from the floor (which I find dubious at best) I use them as knee strikes to an opponent I've pinned to the floor.

Unfortunately I don't know any historical information on these kata other than what you've already read on the web.
John L

#235874 - 04/13/06 02:21 PM Re: Unsu [Re: JohnL]
gurugomf Offline

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 3
If anybody is interested I have some rare video clips in MPeg format showing the old versions and the new versions of the higher end katas including some very rare footage of Gichin Funakoshi demonstrating some of them Let me know if you'd like a copy My MSN Messenger addy is

#235875 - 04/13/06 04:12 PM Re: Unsu [Re: naraebon]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3220
Loc: Derry, NH
This might help a little,

The Situation of Karate Overseas: Mutsu Mixuho Shihan & American Karate by Ohgami Shingo.

In the “Fifty Year Anniversary” publication of “Keio University Karate Club” it describes Funakoshi teaching Gojushiho 1 Feb. 1929, and his assistant, Ohtsuka Hironori, teaching Unsu (10 May) the year before. … (However, there’s also one more issue to consider which supports the rumor he leared the kata from Mabuni..)
victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

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