GANKAKU - Crane on a Rock
The kata Gankaku is said to be derived from the Chinese kata, Yabu Chinto. Gankaku appears in Isshin-ryu, Shorin-ryu, and Shotokan karate. Yabu Chinto is said to have originated on the island of Okinawa in the early 19th century and to be named for a Chinese sailor who became shipwrecked on the island during a typhoon. Due to the number of hip rotations and the balance and skill required to kick with a yoko-geri-keage (side snapping kick) from a one-legged crane stance, Gankaku is definitely one of the harder Shotokan katas to master. This kata introduces several new techniques such as a jodan-sokumen-awase-uke (upper level side combination block).
This kata contains 42 movements and should take the student approximately 40 seconds to complete. The correct performance of this kata is required in order to advance in rank from Ni Dan (2nd Dan) to San Dan (3rd Dan). In addition to performing the kata, the student must also demonstrate appropriate bunkai for this kata as a requirement for advancement.
There are two kiai points in this kata. The first one occurs on the first chudan-oi-zuki (middle level lunge punch). The second one occurs on the very last movement of the kata also a chudan-oi-zuki (middle level lunge punch).
To return to a ready position after the last movement of the kata leave your right foot in place and withdrawing your left foot turn around to your left so as to stand up once again facing forward in hachiji-dachi (natural stance). You must now formally end the kata. You do this by bringing your left foot half way in towards your right foot and your right foot half way in towards your left foot so that you are now standing with your feet together. At the same time as you bring your feet together also bring your hands to your sides so you are again standing in heisoku-dachi (attention stance). Now rei (bow). After bowing, step out with your left foot and then your right foot and once again stand in hachiji-dachi (natural stance) while at the same time bringing your hands from your sides and hold them in a ready position in front of you with your fists closed.