Unsu Kanji

New Version of Kata Performed by Sensei M. Yahara JKA

An ancient Kata, apparently of Chinese origin, the name 'cloud hands' signifies that just as the constantly changing movement and nature of clouds is not immediately obvious, so the essence of this Kata - which on the surface is deceptively simple - is in fact a complexity of feints and high and low responses to a variety of attacks. There is also the feeling that the techniques follow powerfully and are as unstoppable and inexorable as the progression of clouds across the sky.

The Kata contains a number of interesting techniques which are often misinterpreted or incorrectly applied, and need some thought before practice, for example the much depicted one-finger attack to the mid-section following the chicken-head block. Few serious Karate-ka will even entertain this application, which, against a hard target, would be ineffective and probably cause damage to the finger. Change the area of attack to the eye or larynx, however, following a sweep or unbalancing technique, and the efficacy is revealed.

Again, the traditional reason given for dropping to the floor to avoid and counter a punching attack is not as obvious as would appear. In general it is not a good idea to deliberately go to the ground in any combat situation, but the reasoning here is at least two-fold. The Kata is reminding the student that surprise is often an effective weapon, as is quick thinking where an advantage may be gained in low light levels by perhaps silhouetting an opponent against a higher background. It is also giving an opportunity to practice defence from a disadvantageous position, or, indeed, has been knocked over. So go beyond the obvious in this Kata and pierce the 'clouds'.

Unsu  -  Hands in the clouds

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