Fellow Karateka,

This is the first of comparative posts of kata available on Youtube. These are reference points that can be used to discuss movements in kata. Following are variations of the 4 versions of Kusanku that come from Anko Itosu (Dai and Sho), Chotoku Kyan and Hohan Soken. The top line for each shows the kata name and major lineage. The second line shows the sub-lineage and performer, if known.

Kusanku Dai - Itosu/Chibana
Nakazato
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znNZKMaBVDg
Miyahira - Chinen
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2LtCYCt-nA&feature=related
Higa - ??
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuyyEYIyzV8

Kanku Dai - Itosu/Funakoshi
Nakayama - Nakaya
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbiG241gwaE

Kosokun Dai - Itosu/Mabuni
Mabuni Kenei/Iwata - Hasegawa
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_3oHMFOh4I

Kushanku (Dai) - Itosu/Funakoshi-Mabuni
Ohtsuka
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbOxEVrne8U

Kusanku (Dai) - Itosu/Nakumura
Odo - Gonzales
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVPCctlMriU&feature=related
Oyata - Amor
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=toFNCHtj11k

Kusanku Sho - Itosu/Chibana
Higa - Student
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drEjjOQHsB8

Kanku Sho - Itosu/Funakoshi
Nakayama - Mikami
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHqjTmPGdNU

Kosokun Sho - Itosu/Mabuni
Mabuni Kenei/Iwata - Hasegawa
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_3oHMFOh4I

Kusanku - Kyan/Shimabukuro Zenryo
Shimabukuro Zenpo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56NlyLiquAs&feature=related

Kusanku - Kyan/Nakazato
?? (Nakazato observing)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hq5_CmETWyc

Kusanku - Kyan/Nagamine
Makishi - (8:59 into the video)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2drhrqqp_E

Kusanku - Kyan/Shimabuku Tatsuo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gb5wBR77JC0&feature=related

Kusanku - Kyan/??/Toma Seiki
Toma Shian
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fca0JIR8Ikk

Kusanku (Chatan Yara) - Kyan/??/Mabuni
Mabuni/Iwata - Yokoyama
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5clGOrbrYE

Kusanku - Hohan Soken
Nishime
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzRmm0r_fAE&feature=related

I would be grateful if anyone could help expand upon the written historical record of this kata. Below are excerpts from Nagamine's The Essence of Okinawan Karate-Do.

Not until the late 17th and early 18th century did the art of karate take shape as te merged with the Chinese style of self-defense to form the present day kata of karate. Through oral tradition and hand-to-hand training, the secret performances of Chinese masters in the art of self-defense came to be known and their kata integrated with te. One of the most famous of these demonstrations was given by Kusanku, a Chinese expert in self-defense, in 1761. Kusanku performed with skillful use of his feet and hands, and out of this performance came the Kusanku kata... (p.21)

Kusanku was adapted and developed by Okinawan Karatemen after it was brought to Okinawa in 1761 by a Chinese Karateman named Kusanku. Kusanku, often pronounced kosokun in mainland Japan, is the most magnificent and advanced of all Matsubayashi-ryu karate. Most of the advanced techniques of offense and defense appear in the Kusanku, the longest and most difficult kata, requiring painstaking practice for more than a decade for mastery. It was the favorite kata of Kyan, who learned it from karateman Yara. (p. 230)

-Kakushite