Sunday 21 November 2021

岩鶴 (Gankaku)

I was asked to write a brief overview on Gankaku. So here you are. 押忍!!

Tanaka Masahiko Sensei's Gankaku: Movement one:
 Ryoko jodan sokumen awase-uke (Migi kokutsu-dachi).

This kata was originally known as ‘Chinto’ after its Chinese innovator (who allegedly ended up on Okinawa due to a shipwreck).


The funny part of the tale is that he was apparently stealing people’s crops to survive. Eventually Matsumura Sokon was sent to give the naughty Chinaman a lesson but found him to be an excellent martial artist.


After which, for a time, Chinto was ‘invited’ to teach his style of Chinese boxing in the Tomari area (probably as a pay back for all the fruit and vegetables he pinched).


The more descriptive and eloquent name 岩鶴 (Gankaku)—later adopted Funakoshi Gichin Sensei—literally translates as ‘rock crane’. This typically poetic label ‘from Shoto himself’ brings to mind ‘a crane boldly standing on a rock’ as opposed to ‘a fruit and vegetable thief from across the ditch’.


With 42 movements, this Tomari-te kata follows the 一字形演武線 (Ichi ji gata enbusen). This is where the performance line is linear, just like the kanji for ichi; moreover, relates to training space and indeed the potentiality for a narrow environment for application. The kiai are applied on movements 28 and 42 respectively both waza of which are migi chudan oi-zuki


Nakayama Masatoshi Sensei wrote that “…the nucleus of this kata is the mastery of balance, rotation, and the simultaneous use of yoko keage and uraken”. Notice there’s no mention of using the Manji Kamae to grab a farmers apple, then rip it out of distance for a high fructose snack…


On a serious note... It is standard to utilize yoko-geri keage in this kata, but the older sideward mae-geri keage is also acceptable; however, other variants are not (in Budo/Bujutsu Karate). 

Please forgive me for quoting my June 24, 2010 article: 'Hangetsu, Jitte and Gankaku'

"Asai Tetsuhiko Sensei was infuriated by the changing of yoko keage to yoko kekomi (amongst many sports karate competitors). His belief was that the yoko keage in Gankaku was a refined/improved side kick from the original (which was a mae geri to the side, still found in many styles today). He explained that "the yoko keage means you kick the opponents testicles, who is next you without having to turn your body at all. The upward trajectory of yoko keage, and the distancing with this kick, means that uraken uchi can easily be used offensively or defensively."


Gankaku overview 

(Official stance and action per command count and 'a few AB practice tips')


1. Ryoko jodan sokumen awase-uke (Migi kokutsu-dachi). Note - this is JODAN if you like your front teeth! Many sports karateka do this waza lower to make it faster and easier. This has no meaning, only for speed and looks. Please reference Tanaka Sensei's above and compare it to sports karateka.


2. Ryosho juji chudan osae-uke (Migi kokutsu-dachi).


3. Saken chudan-zuki (Migi kokutsu-dachi).


4. Migi chudan gyaku-zuki (Migi kokutsu-dachi).


5. Kaiten shinagara migi sokumen migi gedan-barai (Kiba-dachi).


6. Kaisho jodan juji-uke (Hidari zenkutsu-dachi).


7. Ryoken mune-mae (Hidari zenkutsu-dachi).


8. Nidan-geri kara gedan juji-uke (Hidari zenkutsu-dachi).


9. Gedan juji-uke (Hidari zenkutsu-dachi).


10. Uken gedan-uke, saken migi koshi mae kamae (Hidari kokutsu-dachi).


11. Hidari shuto gedan-uke, migi shuto hidari koshi mae kamae (Hidari kokutsu-dachi).


12. Ryosho chudan kakiwake-uke (Migi zenkutsu-dachi).


13. Ryosho chudan kakiwake-uke (Kiba-dachi).


14. Ryoken ryogawa gedan-kakiwake (Hachiji-dachi).


15. Migi sokumen jodan uchi-uke doji ni hidari sokumen gedan-uke (Migi kokutsu-dachi). This is Manji-uke/Manji-gamae. Load with te-nagashi-uke doji ni gedan shuto uchikomi and when making the waza use a power ratio of 7:3.


16. Hidari sokumen jodan uchi-uke doji ni migi sokumen gedan-uke (Hidari kokutsu-dachi).


17. Migi sokumen jodan uchi-uke doji ni hidari sokumen gedan-uke (Migi kokutsu-dachi).


18. Gedan juju-uke (Hidari ashi mae tatehiza-dachi: Migi ashi orishiki hidari hiza-tate).


19. Ryoken chudan kakiwake-uke (Kiba-dachi).


20. Ryoken ryogawa gedan-kakiwake (Hachiji-dachi).


21. Ryoken ryokoshi-kamae (Hachiji-dachi). Do not stop on this movement; instead, move immediately into movement 22 and 23.


22. Migi furi-enpi (Hidari zenkutsu).


23. Hidari furi-enpi (Migi zenkutsu).


24. Ryoken chudan kakiwake-uke (Migi ashi mae kosa-dachi).


25. Migi sokumen jodan uchi-uke kamae doji ni hidari sokumen gedan kamae (Migi tsuruashi-dachi). If you are well trained, straighten the sasae-ashi. 


26. Migi ryoken migi koshi kamae (Migi tsuruashi-dachi). Complete the kamae by compressing by slightly bending the sasae-ashi.


27. Hidari sokuto yoko-geri keage doji ni hidari uraken jodan yokomawashi-uchi. If you understand, 'hybrid action'.


28. Migi chudan oi-zuki (Migi zenkutsu-dachi) —KIAI!


29. Hidari sokumen jodan uchi-uke kamae doji ni migi sokumen gedan kamae (Hidari tsuruashi-dachi).


30. Hidari ryoken hidari koshi kamae (Hidari tsuruashi-dachi).


31. Migi sokuto yoko-geri keage doji ni migi uraken jodan yokomawashi-uchi.


32. Saken migi sokumen chudan-zuki (Kiba-dachi).


33. Migi sokumen jodan uchi-uke kamae doji ni hidari sokumen gedan kamae (Migi tsuruashi-dachi).


34. Migi ryoken migi koshi kamae (Migi tsuruashi-dachi).


35. Hidari sokuto yoko-geri keage doji ni hidari uraken jodan yokomawashi-uchi.


36. Uke next hidari sokumen chudan-zuki (Kiba-dachi).


37. Migi shuto zukami-uke (Migi ashi zenkutsu). I personally do this the old way, however, the newer version used by the JKA is just effective. I recommend testing both methods in self defense practice and establishing what works best for you (outside of exams and competitions where organizational norms must be followed).


38. Hidari jodan tate-enpi usho-ate (Migi ashi zenkutsu).


39. Sasho-uken hidari koshi (Migi ashi zenkutsu).


40. Kaiten shinagara ryoken koshi kamae (Migi tsuruashi-dachi). As everyone knows, this is an arm break. Roll kaisho jodan juji-uke similar to Heian Godan, above the head, descending into ryoken koshi kamae. Spin and compress the stance for maximum control of COG in perfect harmony with the upper body rotation and arm/hand actions. This is te-ashi onaji at the highest level within the 26 standard Shotokan kata, as this is most demanding action for precise balance. As such, train with these utmost points in mind (in regards to this waza; thereby, making it an easy task. 


41. Hidari sokuto yoko-geri keage doji ni hidari uraken jodan yokomawashi-uchi.


42. Migi chudan oi-zuki (Migi zenkutsu-dachi)—KIAI! Always remember, CHUDAN attacks often become JODAN because of the previous action or actions. This point is very important in the application of the Shotokan kata and cannot be elucidated enough.

© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2021).

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