Friday 18 April 2008


For nearly two decades Unsu was my tokui (favourite) kata. I used Unsu to pass the JKA (Japan Karate Association) examinations for nidan, sandan and yondan.When Asai Sensei invited me to test for godan in Switzerland, he demanded that I select "anything but Unsu".
Fortunately I already had more than enough of it and happily obliged him. So I ended up selecting my other tokui kata, Gojushihodai. Ironically, I failed this test! But passed on my second attempt a year later.

All in all, Unsu has been highly influential on my karate, so much so, that I stopped enjoying it. As a result, I withdrew from seriously training it for several years... Finally this changed at the start of this month... For some reason 'in the clouds' my passion for Unsu has been rekindled.

Probably this post has no relevance to anyone else except my longtime New Zealand students, friends, and family, who I imagine will be surprised to hear I've returned to Unsu. Some of you may ask “why” I believe this phenomena has occurred. And my answer is rather simple. Enough time has passed since I retired from competition, so I can do Unsu 'my own way' without conforming to competitive trends. I'm not sure if Unsu will ever be my tokui kata again, but I'll certainly update you on my developments in the coming months. My target with Unsu is to execute it in a manner which exhibits its functional applications (relevant/catered to my personal style and physique), whilst conforming to the classical JKA fundamentals.

© André Bertel, Japan 2008

No comments: