I was revisiting Iain's e-book "Introduction to Applied Karate". On p 15-16 he [Iain] explains his 8th rule to kata study - "There is a need for skills at every range". To explain this rule he uses the example of the final 3 movements of Kanku dai/Kushanku kata. The sequence is roughly done in the following manner: a low stance is taken with hands down. The hands then scoop up alongs the sides of the body as the knees are straightened and finally the arms come up still alongs the sides level with the shoulders and arms bend at 90 degrees. Iain goes on to explain that this sequence is in fact a maneuvre to pick up an opponent and then trhow him behind yoursel. Moreover he adds that the common interpretation of this movement is a low block which is followed by 2 high blocks. I have heard an interpretation of it being a scoop for a stomach level kick. The attacker's leg is then brought up as the arms raise and this would cause him/her to lose balance. Iain goes on to say that these kinds of interperetations most likely stem from the fact that people who are used to mid to long range sparring do not practice and therefore see any other techniques apart from punches, kicks and blocks.
After thinking about this sequence I remembered that a senior instructor explained to me that we (Shotokan - JKA) no longer bend our knees at the onset of the abovementioned sequence. I was told that bending the knees too low was not necessary. Furthermore I was always tought the kata as having only the right arm perfrom the scoop and the left one staying on the hip util both arms start going up. This is obviosuly different from Iain's perfromance which includes both arms scooping which is reasonable if one wants to pick an opponent off the ground. This difference prompted me to do a Kanku dai video search. Following are 3 videos of Shotokan - JKA Kanku Dai perfromances. What is important to note is that they are from 3 different time periods. Although there may be many changes between the videos, I focused primarily on the final sequence which follows immediately after the double jump kick. Please pay attention to how low the initial stance is and what the arms are doing (left and right). The first video is (IMO - Please if someone could provide solid info that would be great) prior to 1965. The second video is (IMO - Please if someone could provide solid info that would be great) is from the 1980's. The final video is from a recent (last 3 years) JKA All-Japan tournament.
After comparing these videos I would argue that someone that learns the kata in the fashion of the recent video would not be able to comprehend the application of the original movement. These kinds of changes I belive are far more detrimental than taking a knee kick and raising it to face level. At least such a change does not fundamnetally change the technique. Howver the changes seen between the Kanku Dai videos clearly show a progression of further and further misunderstanding of the application which brings the practiionner to change the kata.
I appologize for the length of the post, but hope to get many thoughful responses,