Shotokan Karate Unsu – Cloud Hands

Unsu14×18 Graphite (photographed quality reproduction)

I love the collection of movements which embody the kata, Unsu.  They vary and flow from one technique to another.  It reminds me a lot of our Canadian weather.  In the course of one day we can go from serene clouds to violent winds, thunderstorms, and even tornadoes.

The Chinese’ characters for Unsu mean cloud hands. The character for hands may also refer to technique.   Just like clouds that bring many types of weather, the kata incorporates many types of hand movements and techniques.  It opens with a movement of the hands that depict the parting or separating of clouds and continues to move through a variety of symbolic weather patterns.

Check out this post, The History of Unsu, for more history, a video of M.Nakayama performing Unsu, and application.  Kind of cool!

I thought a drawing of the Unsu kata would make a great cloud study. For those of you who know this kata, I opted not to use the opening movement of the hands, the separating of the clouds. For me, the chicken-head-wrist block (keito-uke) is a signature move of this kata.

The cloud study for the drawing was a lot of fun, but the actual study of the kata has proven to be a little more difficult.  I always enjoy a good challenge; I think I found one.

Charcoal, Pastel



 17 x 12 Soft Pastel and Charcoal

Obtaining a Black Belt is often seen as the end of a journey, but really it is only the beginning.

“What we call the beginning is often the end.  And to make an end is to make a beginning.  The end is where we start from.”  T.S. Eliot


Aren’t beginnings great? This past year has been full of many beginnings for me.  It isn’t always easy to start something new.   Maybe it is because we get comfortable with the routine of our life, or we don’t think we can do it.  Pushing forward into something new, venturing out into a new job, or moving is never easy; but it is often filled with great rewards, sometimes more than we could ever imagine.  Personally, I am glad there are beginnings.