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Lee Taylor
Lee Taylor's picture
Origin of Shiho Kosokun?

Hi everyone, hope you can help me!

Following on from Iain's recent bunkai from Kosokun Dai (Kushanku/Kanku) kata does anyone have any historical knowledge on the Shiho Kosokun kata?

I am a Shito-Ryu practitioner and the history of Kushanku/Kanku/Kosokun kata's Dai and Sho are evident but in Shito-Ryu we practise Shiho Kosokun which is closely linked to Kosokun Dai. I cannot find this kata in other styles like Dai and Sho are, so am wondering if it only goes back to Mabuni (Shito-Ryu founder) or it may be more recent?

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!

RigsVille
RigsVille's picture

Hi Lee, great question as I've wondered the same thing, it would be great to find out any histroy about this kata.

Th0mas
Th0mas's picture

I just checked you tube for a video of Kosokun Dai, having never seen it performed, and from a shotokan practitioners eye it looks remarkably similar to kankudai.

I would say the major changes are in the enbusen, everything else looks to be shared by Kankudai.

cheers

Tom Runge

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

Th0mas wrote:
I just checked you tube for a video of Kosokun Dai, having never seen it performed, and from a shotokan practitioners eye it looks remarkably similar to kankudai.

Kosokun-Dai and Kanku-Dai do have much in common. However, the original question was on Shiho Kosokun (as opposed to Kosokun-Dai) so I thought I’d embed a video of that one too so people can contrast the two.

I do find Shiho Kosokun an interesting form and it would be good to know a little more about its background and development. Does anyone here know who created it?

I did a google search (“Origins of Shiho Kosokun”) and this thread was number 1; which suggests there’s not much information out there. It would be great if we could drawn on the collective knowledge pool and add a little information to the world wide web. Any idea who created it? When? Theories on why?

All the best,

Iain

Jon Sloan
Jon Sloan's picture

Well, it looks awfully similar to the other Kanku/Kosokun katas but with a changed embusen. Logically that'd mean they are variants of each other. From whom and when is the question though, right?

Quick bit of internet research from various shukokai sites gleaned these bits....

"KOSOKUN-SHIHO (four directional kushanku) Kosokun or kushanku -shiho is a kata created and developed from the original form kushanku which itself is a very old kata handed down from either tode sakugawa or chatan yara both very early okinawan karate pioneers. The kata was apparently developed from fighting techniques and principles that sakugawa learned from a chinese military attache named kusanku from which the kata was named .Kosokun -shiho itself is a development of the original kushanku created by either itosu or kenwa mabuni (shito ryu creator) and is practised almost exclusively by shukokai/shito styles."

"This version was also developed by Master Itosu. Shiho means "4 directions" in Japanese and is indicative of the directions of movement in this kata. It has fewer steps than Kusanku-dai."

"Kosokun 4 ways. Mabuni variation"

A Belgian Shito site, in their kata list, had it under the Itosu section with the other Kosokun katas.

Here's Google's translation of a Slovakian (I think) shito site... had to re-type this myself couldn't copy and paste ....

"The author is Master Kenwa Mabuni (1889 - 1952), founder of shito-ryu direction. Kata Shiho Koskun was about 200 years after the original kata Kushanku. Master mabuni created this kata probably only for educational reasons."

I guess all this shows is that there's no consensus even amongst the Shito schools of where this one came from as it's listed as being developed either by Itosu or Mabuni.

ky0han
ky0han's picture

Hi gents,

I've never really researched that kata but I thought it was compiled by Mabuni Kenwa as well as other kata.

I've done a quick web research an found a really short paragraph here: http://karatekata.de/Karatekata_ShitoRyu.htm#KosokunShiho

Don't know how reliable these informations are, so no guarantee on that. But I hope that helps.

Regards Holger

Edit: According to R.Sakagami the source of Shiho Kushanku/Kosokun is Itosu Anko.

Jon Sloan wrote:
I guess all this shows is that there's no consensus even amongst the Shito schools of where this one came from as it's listed as being developed either by Itosu or Mabuni.

That sums it up for me!

Leigh Simms
Leigh Simms's picture

Just a thing I picked up on, It seems that the embusen may have been changed to accomodate a smaller space of practise. The kata seems to go back and forth down a centre line much more than Kanku/Kusanku which has a larger embusen.

shoshinkanuk
shoshinkanuk's picture

I haven't practiced this kata in over 15 years! However back in my Shito ryu days im fairly sure I was told it was a kata developed by Mabuni Sensei for Shito Ryu students as a variation of Kosokun Dai kata.

Im not aware of any other Ryu that practice it, but I have never considered that before this thread.

I have no idea about why it was created, or indeed the differences it works and at the time just felt it was redundant anyhow, it seemed as complicated as Kosokun Dai just different embusen, very little technical differences.

Here's our Seito Matsumura version:

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

Jon Sloan wrote:
I guess all this shows is that there's no consensus even amongst the Shito schools of where this one came from as it's listed as being developed either by Itosu or Mabuni.

Great post that Jon and as you point out there does seem to be no uniform view on this. Personally I would think that, seeing as the kata is exclusive to Shito-Ryu and its derivatives, that Mabuni would be the more likely option. If it had been Itosu, we maybe would have expected to see it in other styles too?

Iain

Th0mas
Th0mas's picture

Iain Abernethy wrote:

.. However, the original question was on Shiho Kosokun (as opposed to Kosokun-Dai) so I thought I’d embed a video of that one too so people can contrast the two....

 woops sorry, I posted the wrong you tube video - although my comments were referring to  Shiho Kosokun.

Jon Sloan
Jon Sloan's picture

Iain Abernethy wrote:
Great post that Jon and as you point out there does seem to be no uniform view on this. Personally I would think that, seeing as the kata is exclusive to Shito-Ryu and its derivatives, that Mabuni would be the more likely option. If it had been Itosu, we maybe would have expected to see it in other styles too?

Iain

As usual, that makes absolute sense Iain. Is this true of all kata seen only in Shito styles? I don't know. Just putting the thought out there. It seems that Mabuni was a collector, an enthusiast or presever of kata variations.

It is indeed more likely that he developed the shiho variation based on his own skills but there's a slim chance that it was another one he catalogued from elsewhere. Though I'd definitely lean toward the idea of him developing it.

Dale Parker
Dale Parker's picture

Hey, I know this post is about 6.5 months old but I just saw it yesterday and joined the forum.

I have an answer for you directly from my Karate Instructor the late Soke Kenzo Mabuni.

According to Soke Mabuni, his father, when he first moved to Japan, rented a dojo space from Kosei Kokuba, the uncle of Shogo Kuniba, and later adopted father.  The dojo was very small, but layed out according to the traditional dojo layout, with the Shomen/Kamiza to the north.  The setup was much wider east to west, with the north to south actually being very, very short.  So in order to practice Kosokun Dai, a row of students had to turn away from the dojo front, either east or west, while other rows moved out of the way.  After some time, Ryusui Mabuni created Shiho Kosokun, a variant of Kosokun Dai so that the students would not have to turn away from the front to practice the kata.  If you know the kata, or watch it, you can see that it moves left and right mostly.

Ryusui Mabuni eventually moved to a much larger dojo, where space was not an issue, and continued using Shiho Kosokun along with Kosokun Dai.

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

Dale Parker wrote:
I have an answer for you directly from my Karate Instructor the late Soke Kenzo Mabuni.

According to Soke Mabuni, his father, when he first moved to Japan, rented a dojo space from Kosei Kokuba, the uncle of Shogo Kuniba, and later adopted father.  The dojo was very small, but layed out according to the traditional dojo layout, with the Shomen/Kamiza to the north.  The setup was much wider east to west, with the north to south actually being very, very short.  So in order to practice Kosokun Dai, a row of students had to turn away from the dojo front, either east or west, while other rows moved out of the way.  After some time, Ryusui Mabuni created Shiho Kosokun, a variant of Kosokun Dai so that the students would not have to turn away from the front to practice the kata.  If you know the kata, or watch it, you can see that it moves left and right mostly.

Ryusui Mabuni eventually moved to a much larger dojo, where space was not an issue, and continued using Shiho Kosokun along with Kosokun Dai.

Welcome Dale and thanks for this great first post! Brilliant!

All the best,

Iain

Lee Taylor
Lee Taylor's picture

Great post Dale! Just goes to show how much information is out there that can offer great insight, no matter how small the detail. Especially if your instructor was the late Soke Kenzo Mabuni!

Thanks for sharing

Lee

TheWay1
TheWay1's picture

At this very moment, I am sitting here reading an Australian book that managed to make its way to me called; "The Budo Karate of Mas Oyama" by Cameron Quinn. It is a humble read and contains much of the way of Oyama and his findings of The Ultimate Truth or Kyokushin. I am a Shukokai practioner as my primary base and in our dojo we practice "Kosokun Shio" kata. We were always told that the origin of the name is actually named after the creator of the kata. It is definitely from Shito Ryu.

A passage from the aforementioned book talks about Kanku: "View of the Heavens; Gaze at the sky. This kata was originally called Kushanku, which is said to be the title given to a chinese military attache to Okinawa. The historical Kushanku (Guan Kui) who is credited with the introduction of the Kanku kata came to Okinawa in 1756. He was an expert in hand-to-hand combat and gave a demonstration of his abilities wholst in Okinawa. The kanku kata is said to still contain many elements of Kushabku's original display. It was the kata chosen by Funakoshi for performance at the first public demonstration of karate-do in 1922."

Given the way it looks when we perform this kata, it seems as though as it takes elements from the Pinan (Peaceful Mind) series and jumbles them together, joined by a few interesting introductions that resembles that chinese link.  

I would be very inclined to go with the theory of Kanku being used as the demonstration by Funakoshi for that reason and the title of "Kosokun Shio" reading as a sort of amalgamation of a title representing a chinese military (Kushanku). Perhaps then Kosokun Shio was in fact a really bad translation down the lineage from Mabuni to Tani (shukokai) to Kimura and beyond. Thoughts?

ky0han
ky0han's picture

Hi,

Quote:
I would be very inclined to go with the theory of Kanku being used as the demonstration by Funakoshi for that reason and the title of "Kosokun Shio" reading as a sort of amalgamation of a title representing a chinese military (Kushanku). Perhaps then Kosokun Shio was in fact a really bad translation down the lineage from Mabuni to Tani (shukokai) to Kimura and beyond. Thoughts?

Shiho simply means "in every direction/ in four directions" therefore it is a Kushanku that uses every direction or all four directions for above mentioned reasons. I think it is less a matter of bad translation (because there is none) but more a matter of bad transcription and I bet it came not with Tani or Kimura (both were Japanese) but with the western students that just heard them say "Shiho" having no clue how to actually transcribe the Kanji or even know what Kanji are used to write "Shiho".

The Funakoshi Kushanku (Kanku Dai) is a different Kata to the Shukokai/Shito Ryu Shi(h)o Kushanku and he choose it to perform it in front of the future emperor because it was his favorite Kata.

I hope that helps.

Regards Holger