Chōun no Kon is currently handed down in the Taira Shinken lineage kobudō. The homonymous Chōun no Kon handed down in the Matayoshi lineage kobudō, although having the pronunciation, is written with different Japanese characters and it is a different kata. Both of these have wonderful features. Yamane-ryū Chōun no Kon is a completely different kata and 1980s or so creation.
This Chōun no Kon of Taira Shinken lineage kobudō has some unique features. First of all, following the shōmen-uchi, the following tsuki, which is otherwise typical in Taira→Akamine lineage, is generally skipped (with a very few specific exceptions).
It contains various continuous techniques (renzoku), which make the kata quite flowing. Such it contains a lot of combinations. The first lane is made up of two times gedan-barai→jōdan-ura-uchi→shōmen-uchi→furi-age-uchi→jōdan-ura-uchi→shōmen-uchi→kamae, with a connecting gedan-uke→gedan-nuki in between.
Then a combination follows that is known from the middle of Shūshi no Kon Shō: the stomping step with the tate-uke combo etc., the turn with gedan-uke→gedan-nuki and again the stomping step with the tate-uke combo etc.
After this, a longer unique combination follows, starting with a sukui-uke→ura-uchi with a split second body turn, followed by the backward downward jump with tate-uke→maki-nage→gedan-nuki as is a characteristic feature also found in Sakugawa no Kon and so on.
It is also the first kata in the Taira lineage kobudō hierarchy that introduces the swinging technique using the six-feet-grip (rokushaku-mochi) at the end of the bō. Besides other unique technical combos, we find the characteristic gedan-gyaku-uchi combo which is also found in Shūshi no Kon Dai.
Chōun no Kon of Taira Shinken lineage kobudō is regarded a high and extra-curricular kata on Okinawa, taught as an extra only above 5th Dan (btw, that’s where it gets really interesting).
Besides the above noted observations, there are various indications that the original version of Shūshi no Kon was expanded by techniques from Chōun no Kon to create both modern Shūshi no Kon Shō and Dai. It should be noted that in Japan as well as in Okinawa it is thought that Chōun no Kon, Shūshi no Kon Shō and Dai, and Soeishi no Kon all originated in the Soeishi-ryū. However, this attribution is solely based on comparison of techniques. It didn’t take into account the possibility that the original Shūshi no Kon had been expanded by techniques of Chōun no Kon to become Shūshi no Kon Shō and Dai.
To make it even more complicated, and on the other hand, there is a old-style version (koryū or koshiki) of Shūshi no Kon which also contained these combos. I studied this kata from two lineages that inherited it. I also compared it to with the written and illustrated descriptions of a 1929 research made on Okinawa about exactly this kata.
No doubt, it is difficult and according to the above it can not be definitely said which form influenced the other, or if they both had it, or even when exactly these kata where designed. In the end it’s a living thing and things evolve and yes changed and enhanced.
Chōun no Kon also has an incredibly interesting history.
The following is an excerpt of Chōun no Kon, performed regardless of stylistic and habitual restrictions (performed with 2m red-oak Shureidō bō).
© 2015, Andreas Quast. All rights reserved.