Gankaku, originally titled Chinto, is the modern name chosen by Master Funakoshi, can be translated to mean ‘Crane on a rock’. Such a name was chosen because of the one-legged movements, which resemble a crane on a rock, and develops much in the practitioner.
Through moving on just the one leg, and the pivoting helps develop effective balance and co-ordination, whilst through effective body shifting, like in Empi, deceptive displays of power can be created.
Mastery of this kata, the oldest in the Shorei-style, will provide you with an understanding of balance and your centre. Without controlling your centre, balance cannot truly achieved. It will also enable you to learn to develop a deep control of your body, which will thus have an effect on the rest of your karate.
This kata is currently very popular in competition, although notorious to perform successfully. Many an excellent competitor has been defeated whilst practicing this kata, simply because of a slight stumble or loss of balance. When performed accurately however, it is one of the most visually impressive kata of the Shotokan style.