WANKAN

      Wankan, or "King's Crown," gets its name from the kata's first four moves, which are supposed to form the shape of a crown. When viewing this crown shape, one must appreciate that Wankan is the only Shotokan kata that begins diagonally. Some historians claim Wankan was handed down by the Okinawan royal family, thereby getting its name. As with other kata, Gichin Funakoshi tried to change its Okinawan name to a Japanese one. The names Shofu (Pine Wind) and Hito (Flying Waves) were attempted but failed. Wankan is one of the more recent additions to the Shotokan repertoire, possibly being imported and modified from another style (as with most of the advanced kata) by Yoshitaka Funakoshi. Wankan is a very short kata having only 24 counts and only 1 kiai, leading some karate enthusiasts to the conclusion that the kata's transition to Shotokan was never fully completed due to Yoshitaka Funakoshi's untimely death. Generally, the movements of Wankan do not pose too much difficulty for the practitioner. Moves four and five, although unusual, are not very taxing; in fact, they are even liberating because they are not confined by any stance. The only potentially troublesome technique occurs during #13, when turning from zenkutsu-dachi into neko-ashi-dachi. Although, on the surface, it is a simple mawate (turn), it is quite difficult to perform koko-sukui/koko-tsukidashi quickly, with balance and power. Overall, Wankan is a very fluid and low impact kata, having some very puzzling bunkai. It is not a very popular exam or tournament kata.
   Wankan (along with Jiin) is probably one of the least practiced kata in Shotokan dojo. Why? Probably of greatest significance, Wankan (along with Jiin) was never documented in Masatoshi Nakayama's Best Karate series, a karateka's number one resource for Shotokan kata. If this exclusion didn't lend itself to the allusion of Wankan's lack of significance, at the very least, it certainly reinforced neglect of the kata. As a late addition to the compendium of JKA kata, Wankan simply hasn't received as much attention as its predecessors. The JKA has taken steps to increase awareness of this kata by including Wankan in their modernized series of books titled Karate-Do Kata.


#
Technique
Translation
Stance
Target
Notes
1
ryoken-kakiwake-uke
(tadzuna-kamae)
both fists wedge block
(bridle posture)
kokutsu-dachi
chudan
slow speed
kosa variation
2
ryoken-kakiwake-uke
(tadzuna-kamae)
both fists wedge block
(bridle posture)
kokutsu-dachi
chudan
slow speed
kosa-ashi
3
ryozenwan-hasami-uke
both forearms scissors block

ashi-dachi
jodan

4
hasami-uke-sonomama

scissors block as is
--
jodan
ashi-ippo-mae
5
hasami-uke-sonomama

scissors block as is
--
jodan
ashi-ippo-mae
6
tate-shuto-uke

vertical knife-hand block
zenkutsu-dachi
chudan
slow speed
gyaku-hanmi
7
tsuki

punch

zenkutsu-dachi
chudan

8
gyaku-zuki

reverse punch
zenkutsu-dachi
chudan

9
koko-sukui-uke /
koko-osae (tsukidashi)
tiger-mouth scooping block /
tiger-mouth press (thrust)
neko-ashi-dachi
gedan
gedan

10
tate-shuto-uke

vertical knife-hand block
zenkutsu-dachi
chudan
slow speed
gyaku-hanmi
11
tsuki

punch

zenkutsu-dachi
chudan

12
gyaku-zuki
reverse punch

zenkutsu-dachi
chudan

13
koko-sukui-uke /
koko-osae (tsukidashi)
tiger-mouth scooping block /
tiger-mouth press (thrust)
neko-ashi-dachi
gedan
gedan

14
tate-shuto-uke

vertical knife-hand block
zenkutsu-dachi
chudan
slow speed
gyaku-hanmi
15
tsuki

punch

zenkutsu-dachi
chudan

16
gyaku-zuki

reverse punch
zenkutsu-dachi
chudan

17
kentsui-uchi-mawashi-uchi

inside hammer-fist strike
kiba-dachi
chudan

18
mae-geri

front kick
ashi-dachi
chudan

19
oi-zuki

lunge punch
zenkutsu-dachi
chudan

20
mae-geri

front kick
ashi-dachi
chudan

21
oi-zuki

lunge punch
zenkutsu-dachi
chudan

22
mae-geri

front kick
ashi-dachi
chudan

23
oi-zuki

lunge punch
zenkutsu-dachi
chudan

24*
ryoken-koshi-kamae &
yama-zuki
both fist on hip posture
mountain punch
fudo-dachi
fudo-dachi
--
chudan
gedan