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Paul Herbert 5th Dan
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Kanku Sho, which translates to mean ‘To view the sky minor’, was created by Master Itosu, and was developed using Kanku Dai as the basis. There are fundamental similarities in the kata, one being the physical looking to the sky. In Dai, in the opening sequences, your hands elevate, and so does your head, with your eyes focusing through the triangular shape crated by the hands. In Sho however, while in zenkutsu-dachi, before the second jump, your hand follows your hand, which travels behind you. The symbolic significance of this can only be appreciated by the practitioner, but the similarities cannot be denied.

Differences in the kata however are that Kanku Dai places emphasis on upper-level techniques, with the jodan shuto-uchi. Sho however employs a dominance of middle-level techniques such as the three morote-uke sequences, and the three oi-tsukis.

Both kata develop defence from positions where you are standing, and where you are on the floor, where you are in a more vulnerable position.

This kata is a very popular kata for competition, most probably because of its obvious aesthetic appeal. There are two jumps, both of which demand great skill, and there are very impressive displays of body shifting. These factors make this kata impressive for competition, but also it should be noted that effective performance of the kata demands extremely high levels of skill.

There is however much confusion over certain technical factors, one such being where the karateka should kiai. There are many variations of such points, with different organisations following different theories.