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Thread: KATA: Wanshu

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    This thread is dedicated to the research and study of the theoretical and practical applications of the kata Wanshu in its various derivations throughout the Okinawan karate ryuha.

    Discussion of Japanese and Western interpretations of this kata are welcome as are discussions of the influence of Chinese martial arts on the origin/development of this kata. Practitioners of all levels and backgrounds are welcome to post. Though the free sharing of ideas, perhaps we can all learn a bit more about the kata.

    Please avoid statements like "My teacher, XYZ Sensei, knew the one, true Kata X ... all else is bunk." or the Saturday cinema classic "My kungfu is better than yours". Even if you are right .. it is rude and most likely something your teacher would rather you did not say anyway. All E-budo rules apply.

    Enjoy!
    Doug Daulton

  2. #2
    kusanku Guest

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    Wanshu, in Matsubayashi ryu the final intermediate form, is the longer wanshu form

    It is a review of eveything you hve learned tothis point plus featuring some diffrent waza like the kakushi zuki or hidden punch.

    This kata can be performed with two sai as well.

    Many techniques are concealed in the transitons of this kata.

    Manytechniques especially of attacking the elbow joint exist in this kata whose purpose is to extend and attack the arm at the elbow joint.


    Wanshu is a 'theme ' kata.


    Kusanku

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    Hey John! We have a Wansu no Sai in our cirriculum also. We have got to get together some day soon.
    Hank Irwin
    www.geocities.com/bushinoji
    A.O.A.
    Academy of Okinawan Arts

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    Another question to ask in this thread; How does everyone perform their dump? I have seen some versions performed where it looks alot like a hip throw, and I've seen others where it looks more like a "semi-fireman's carry/bodyslam"

    I would like to know everyone who does this kata, how they perceive the dump and it's variations.
    "Hard won, buy easy lost. True karate does not stay where it is not being used."

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    Depending on if you go inside or outside will determine "how" you will toss your opponent. At last strike before toss,(open shuto to groin/spleen,pull back, stab with nukite to same area, we are on inside) left hand has opponents right, right hand creeps up, pop under the jaw with right palm followed by elbow. As you pull with left and turn counterclockwise( step back with left)make your elbow smash "stick" to opponent to drive to the ground(make sure you keep hold of opponents right hand until he goes to the ground)then you can "brace" his right arm over your right thigh, ouch!! This all takes place after he throws punch at you and you trap/break his elbow, toe kick, step in and shuto(last strike) then the rest of above follows. This is just one of quite a few applications I learned. The "firemans" throw is ok against an equal sized opponent, but is done with sheer strengh. This throw is done using the hip and not. Is very close to throw in KusanKu, where you go down to one knee, both hands down on fingertips, know this one? Wansu is very rich in technique and in-fighting, just as Naihanchi, not comparing, just showing a slight relation between the two.
    Hank Irwin
    www.geocities.com/bushinoji
    A.O.A.
    Academy of Okinawan Arts

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    In Shotokan , the kata 'Wanshu' is known as 'Empi'/flying swallow.The throw towards the end of the kata is similar to kata-guruma ,found in Judo.The position of the hands for the throw is called, ' morote koko gamae', the stance can be either, 'kiba dachi' or ' fudo/sochin dachi'


    One thing I do not understand is this ' Wanshu no Sai',why train with a empty-handed kata for Saijutsu,when the indivdual can train with a real authentic Sai kata to learn the art of Saijutsu.The Saijutsu kata were created to learn how to fight with the Sai, and how can the kata 'Wanshu 'teach Saijutsu.With the number of classical Saijutsu kata to learn,why take the time to play around with a kata not designed to teach Saijutsu,why not 'Naihanchi no Sa','Heian Yondan no Sai','Gojushiho no Sai',ect.




    Some classical Saijutsu kata.


    Tsukenahitahaku
    Hamahiga
    Tawata
    Chatanyara
    Kojo
    Jigen










    ken allgeier



    [Edited by Ken Allgeier on 01-01-2001 at 12:07 PM]
    " The FUTURE is UNWRITTEN,KNOW YOUR RIGHTS"
    The Clash.

  7. #7
    kusanku Guest

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    Wanshu may have been a sai kata first.

    As such it would defend against a bo and the dup would be a bo removal (Bo tori) waza.

    How do I perform the dump?

    Two different ways. leg attack and arm extension spin throw.

    Leg attack, catch opponent's left wrist in wrist cross, ull arm up in archer's aklm to unbalance up and forward as you slap inside of left thing withright palm facing out, leg comes up,as you pull arm forward,pass leg up and over and turn dumping opponent with half circle throw, no weight taken on your body.


    Arm extension spinning throw.Ctch left wrist in wrist cross, turn arm over as you pull to hip in lock,raise and execute elbow press intoback of left arm as you turn and throw, snap arm down as opponent comes around, end of technique.Ikkyo osae, tenkan, for Aikido people.

    Sai Bo removal. Catch descending bo attack oin crossed sai, lcok bo into your arms with sai pressing against it on both sides, left sai on inside of opponent's right wirst trapping him, now raie, turn and throw oppoent, retaining sai and bo or smashing down on opponent with own bo as he falls.

    Next two moves bring sai into use if opponent gets away somehow.

    Wanshu- a powerful and undrappreciated kata.

    Kusanku

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    Default Wansu

    Hey guys! Hope everyone has had a pleasant New Year. I have heard Wansu called "barn-swallow" also. Technique has a "sort" of relation to swallows movements, darting in and out, sharp angles of flight. These principles could pertain to how we could execute our moves. Kinda esoteric actually. I think I have heard all kinds of whimsical explanations as to "breaking down" terminology. But they are sometimes interesting though, I guess. But never the less, Wansu is a begining kata and advanced kata all in one. Takes a few years of learning it to understand it. Wansu no Sai was a training kata just as Annaku no Sai was.(Annaku no Sai is a lot older,but both kata are not actually that old)Annaku no Sai was made maybe, early 1900's,Wansu no Sai late to early 50's.( I think) Both are now cirriculum in some circles of Shorin. There is a version of it that had been floating around in the sport areana for about 15-20 years now.Sensei Osborne taught it to a Korean stylist(friend of ours) who chopped it to pieces, added a few spinning kicks, jumping this and that(harumph!!)and it has been winning 1st place trophies everywhere for years. Not that that means anything, and it don't. But Wansu no Sai is a good kata to learn, with the Wansu dynamics implied? Oh Boy! Bo tactics, Katana defense too. Chibana Palace Sai is also done with open hand too, in SOME circles. Real sweet! I never heard that Wansu was a Sai kata originally though. Shorinji Wansu no Sai is a difficult kata to learn,(Chinese looking kinda) Annaku no Sai is actually taught first. I am a firm believer that weapons came first then hand techniques though. Lot's of empty hand kamae correspond with weapons hand kamae, to a point I think though. That's where the "science" of it all steps in.(imho)
    Hank Irwin
    www.geocities.com/bushinoji
    A.O.A.
    Academy of Okinawan Arts

  9. #9
    Victor Guest

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    Why take an existing Okinawan kata and add weapons to it, well I suggest you have to go back to Taira Shinken, and his efforts to preserve Okinawa's Kobudo training.

    Taira did not have a dojo in Okinawa, and would move from school to school teaching various instructors. [This is outside of the group of students in Japan and Okinawa who studied his entire system.]

    I recall reading he felt only three kata a weapon were sufficient to study the actual weapon.

    Likewise I've heard he only taught the upper body technique allowing the school to use their 'signature' lower body movement. Hence a Goju School would look different from a Shorin school on the same kata.

    He also was a advocate of using existing karate kata and adding the weapons.

    I expect his reasoning was they already new the embusen and could instead concentrate on using the weapon correctly.

    In that Okinawan Kobudo was very private and individualized, often an older practioner would only do one kata, not dozens of sai or bo kata.

    It would seem that was the source of these practices, and I have no idea whether that was his contribution or his previous instructors.


    Some points to ponder.

    Victor Smith
    Bushi No Te Isshinryu
    http://www.funkydragon.com/bushi

  10. #10
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    Hello Smith Sensei! Very well put! Leaves a lot for us to think about when it comes to weaponry huh? I teach technique from Pinan 1-3 with ChishiKunBo in a kata I "devised".(if you will) I made the outline up, but not the technique or the movements. Not bad either, real short,right to the "point".(heehee) My students know this is a "training" kata though, no more, no less, and came from me.
    Hank Irwin
    www.geocities.com/bushinoji
    A.O.A.
    Academy of Okinawan Arts

  11. #11
    kusanku Guest

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    Some good information being shared here, Victor and Hank and everyone. Confirms my own understanding.

    As to original katas, some Okinawankata may never have been seen in China because they started as 'weapons dances.'

    What's the difference anyway, does it work is the main thing..

    I also believe Pinan may have been meant to double as weapons basic katas.

    Kusanku

  12. #12
    Victor Guest

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    Some of the kata I've seen pull double duty over the years.

    Isshinryu Seisan with Sai

    Isshinryu Wansu with Tonfa (a basic Drill I developed to teach more practical Tonfa techniques than the kata I've seen)

    Isshinryu Chinto with Sai, or Double Stick

    Shotokan Empi with Sai, Kama, Double Stick, Tonfa (all different individuals using this)

    and to revese the picture, Bando (Burmese) has a stick form "The Hidden Stick" which can be used with anything you can put in your hands, as well as a empty hand form.

    Victor

  13. #13
    Joe Swift Guest

    Default Wanshu no Kata

    Hi all,

    Just some Wanshu thoughts to start off the new century...

    > Which kanji do you use to write this.

    Personally, I use "katakana" (a phonetic syllabry of Japanese used to represent pronunciation only, and used "mainly" with words of foreign origin).

    Just as a "FYI" to those unfamiliar with kanji, as a short-hand answer, they can probably be described as "Sino-Japanese ideograms" that represent a specific meaning, as well as (multiple) pronunciations.

    In the English edition of Nagamine Shoshin's "Essence of Okinawan Karate-do", the kanji for Wanshu are actually a "mis-spelling" of the Sappushi Wang Ji's name. I say mis-spelling because the second kanji, is slightly different from the one used by all the history books for Wang Ji, and Nagamine's Japanese edition uses the "correct" kanji.

    The Sappushi Wang Ji was in Okinawa for 6 months, in the year 1683. However, I am not really convinced, and have my own doubts, mainly due to reading Kinjo Akio's book entitled Karate-den Shnroku (available only in Japanese).

    The name "Wansu" (Wanshu), drives me nuts. Looking at the meaning often ascribed to it by many, that it is the "Okinawan pronunciation of Wang Ji, the 1683 Sappushi, from an etymological point of view, we can immediately see that it is "wrong." The kanji used for Wang Ji would be pronounced "Ou Shu" in Japanese/Okinawan. It seems that
    someone took this kata name phonetically, and mixed and matched Japanese and Chinese pronunciations of the kanji, to try and force it to fit this gentleman.

    Looking at Wang Ji, we can see that he was originally from Xiuning in Anhui, and was an official for the Han Lin Yuan, an important government post. In order to become an official for the Han Lin Yuan, one had to be a high level scholar, and pass several national tests. Just preparing for such a task would all but rule out the practice of
    martial arts, just time-wise. However, assuming that Wang Ji was familiar with the martial arts, the Quanfa of Anhui is classified as Northern boxing, while the techniques of the Okinawan Wansu kata are clearly Southern in nature, at least according to Kinjo. The above information was gleaned from Kinjo Akio, a noted Okinawan karate historian and Quanfa teacher, who has made well over 100 trips to China, HK and Taiwan for the express purpose of training and research.

    And even if Wang Ji did know some Quanfa, why would he teach it to the Okinawans?

    So, if Wansu was not Wang Ji, just who was he? This is as yet unknown. However, in the Okinawan martial arts, kata named after their originators are not uncommon. Some examples include Kusanku, Chatan Yara no Sai, and Tokumine no Kon. It is entirely possible that this kata was introduced by a Chinese martial artists named Wang. As the
    reader probably already knows, in the Chinese martial arts, it is common to refer to a teacher as Shifu (let. Teacher-father). Could not the name Wansu be an Okinawan mispronunciation of Wang Shifu? The problem then becomes... WHO was Wang? ;0)

    The kanji for Wanshu as written by Nagamine is a bit different from that for Wankan, also used by Nagamine. The Wan in Wanshu (Nagamine kanji) means something like "flowing full; expanse of water; wide; deep; large", but remember he is using this inthe context of a person's surname... the kanji for Wan in Wankan (as per Nagamine) is
    "king" but this too is also used in China as a surname (also
    pronounced Wang).

    Here, Kinjo Akio says that Wankan might be an Okinawan
    mispronunciation of Wang Wuguan (wuguan = military attache, pronounced bukan in Japanese). Could this be the same guy as Wang Sifu? Who knows, as Wang seems to be a common name.

    However, one "possible" person we can look at is the elusive Wai Xinxian, who's name is also sometimes pronounced as Wan Shinzan.

    Again, just speculation based upon Kinjo Akio's stuff...

    One other theory put forth by Prof. Fujiwara Ryozo into the origins and introduction of Wanshu to Okinawa stems from Wu Xianhui (Go Kenki), a whooping crane boxer, and Tang Daiji (To Daiki), a tiger boxer. This theory was proposed in the
    1986 book by Gima Shinkin and Fujiwara Ryozo entitled Taidan: Kindai Karatedo no Rekishi wo Kataru (Conversations on the History of Modern Karatedo), published by Baseball Magazine in Tokyo. These two seem to have had a large impact on the development of modern karatedo in Okinawa in the early part of the 20th century, although it is seldom
    acknowledged!!!

    Anyway, thanks for listening, and I hope you find at least something of import here...

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    Thumbs up Wansu( Wan Tsu??)

    Real good post Joesan! You are definetly right about the "slanging"(my terminology) of names . It's seems like it was common place for names to be of a unusual rendering at times. I imagine if we trace through Tomari-Te a little we could find some more info on Wansu. Roy Osborne( my teacher) told me it is spelled Wansu. I've asked him about Wan Tsu and he said no. Wanshu is Japanese name for this kata, but it doesn't look "quite" like the one we do. In fact, the Wansu done in Seibukan is a little different from ours. I teach it the same way Fuse Kise taught it in the mid 60's, as taught to me by my teacher. This is definetly nothing unusual though. Many of us have seen at least 2-3 different versions of certain kata, open hand and weapons. I'll give you a for instance. A friend of mine said he learned Wansu from Fuse Kise. I have no reason to doubt his statement. We were talking about it at a seminar. He did Wansu, he said Fuse Kise taught him. Looked nothing like what I learned. In fact, never saw a Wansu like that. There were only slight resemblences. This friend of mine is a 7th dan. Then I did mine. He said Sensei Kise never taught it that way. OK..... I think Sensei Kise may, I say may have, changed "some" slight hand movements and stances. This could be possible. Surely isn't something new. Mark Bishop's book say's it came by way of Kosaku Matsumora- Maeda Pechin-Chotoku Kyan.(info was from Joen Nakazato) Surely we can "dig up" some more info. Joesan, do you have the kanji for Wansu? Was Wang Ji's travels throughout Tomari? Are these terms you are using Uchinaguchi? I don't know enough about Hogen to fit on a pimple unfortunately. I think Mark Bishop needs to "update" his Okinawan Karate book, which is, by the way, a splendid book, I must say!!
    Hank Irwin
    www.geocities.com/bushinoji
    A.O.A.
    Academy of Okinawan Arts

  15. #15
    kusanku Guest

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    Interesting to get so much Wanshu traffic.

    Thanks for that post, Joe- I wondered who that To Daiki was anyway, keep running into his photos with Okinawan master types.

    The theory that Mr. Kise changed some kata moves is I believe correct, as I have pretty good info that says exactly that.

    Wnashu I had heard meant 'to extend the arm 'but I don't know that for sure either.

    I note the presence of a great many waza in that kata that can be interpeted as hyper-extending the amr and breaking it.

    As mentioned, the waza can also be used against legs and bo's.

    Wankan, King's Crown, is similar in some ways to a Shaolin Chin Na type form with eighteen moves called 'Eighteen Hands to Cath the King', although the wankan or okan form is longer.

    As to Wanshu being named after Wan or Wang, there was a famous Chinese master named Wan Lai-Sheng in the
    1900's who just died in the 1990's.so Wan Shu could be Hand(s) of Wan(not LAi Sheng) with bad kanji phoneticization.

    Or it could be a kata done by a master who was so eccetric he only wore Wan Shoe?

    Bottom line is, we don't really know why it's named that or what it means.

    What do we know? There are two main versions of Wanshu, the one similar to that taught in Okinawan Kenpo and by master Toma, and it is a short form of maybe thirty-six moves tops.

    Then there is the longer form done by Nagamine on which Funakoshi's Empi is also based, called Empi.These forms are related but distantly, and on Okinawa both are simply called Wanshu or Wansu.

    The long form or what I will call Wansu Dai features kneeing and a hidden punch, the short form or Wanshu Sho as I call it, does not have either.

    Both share a spin and lock throw, or dump, and both have the flying swallow in and out attack defense moves.

    That's about where the similarity ends, however.

    The longer version features some forty nine or so techniques.

    Most people seem to only know one of the kata,or don't realize Enpi is Wanshu.Thought I shoud mention this however.

    Kusanku

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