Wankan 王冠

Translation: King’s Crown

# Moves: 24

Belt Level:        



Wankan, or “King’s Crown,” gets its name from the kata’s first four moves, which are supposed to form the shape of a crown. When viewing this crown shape, one must appreciate that Wankan is the only Shotokan kata that begins diagonally.

Wankan is a very short kata having only 24 counts and only 1 kiai, leading some karate enthusiasts to the conclusion that the kata’s transition to Shotokan was never fully completed due to Yoshitaka Funakoshi’s untimely death. Nonetheless, it is still a very complex kata, formed by the Tomari-te instructors.

Overall, Wankan is a very fluid kata, lighter and smoother than many of the other Shotokan kata. Performing seamless transition between techniques should be a focal point. This is also a close-quarters kata, and although some perform the opening sequence in kokutsu-dachi,and others use neko-ashi-dachi, this kata is perfect for defence at a close proximity from the attacker, using effective seizing of the opponents legs and the subsequent throw employed to destroy the attacker.

Although short, this kata emphasises the use of the neko-ashi-dachi, which is important, particularly for a close-quarters defence situation. Training in this kata will develop this stance, and your ability to easily move, defend and counter from proximity rarely encountered in Shotokan.

Some of the Key Moves

Neko-ashi dachi (cat stance)

Hasami-uke (scizzors block)

Koko-sukui/koko-tsukidashi (tiger-mouth scooping block /tiger-mouth thrust)

Yama-tsuki (mountain punch)


Additional Info

Wankan (along with Jiin) is probably one of the least practiced kata in Shotokan dojos

Wankan was never listed in Masatoshi Nakayama’s Best Karate series, a karateka’s number one resource for Shotokan kata.

Read about other Shotokan Katas HERE

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