Unsu - Cloud Hands
Unsu is the last and most complex of the Shotokan Katas. This kata is noted for it's quick hand techniques, as well as the ni-mawashi-geri (two round kicks) that are both performed while lying on the ground. To watch this kata done by a skilled karate-ka is amazing to witness. This kata introduces several new techniques such as chudan-keito-uke (middle level chicken head block), hito-sashiyubi-gedan-nukite (lower level one finger spear hand), and ushiro-geri-kekomi (back thrust kick). Due to the very high level of expertise required to perform this kata well Unsu should only be attempted by very senior karateka, and only after all of the other katas listed here have been thoroughly practiced, and comprehended.
This kata contains 48 movements and should take the student approximately 60 seconds to complete. The correct performance of this kata is required in order to advance from San Dan (3rd Dan) to Yon Dan (4th Dan).
There are two kiai points in Unsu. The first one occurs on the gedan-kekomi (lower level thrust kick). The second on occurs on the last movement of the kata, chudan-gyaku-zuki (middle level reverse punch).
To return to a ready position after the last movement of the kata leave your right foot in place and withdraw your left foot 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.