Urasoe no Kon (Oki.: Urashī nu Kun)

Urasoe no Kon is one of the higher kata in Okinawan Taira-lineage and learned for the 7th or 8th dan or so. It is rarely seen for several reasons, one being that it takes a long time until students get there, so not so many people know it. Another is protectionism.

According to the Okinawa Karate Kobudō Encyclopedia (2008), Urasoe no Kon is also sometimes called Urasoe bō and while its originator is completely uncertain, some say it was venerable Aragaki or venerable Tsuken Kōrā.

There is a rare hint, however, and I will disclose it to you now.

Namely, Motobu Chōki (1932) mentioned,

“Tsuken Hanta-gwā and venerable old Shichiyanaka were known as masters of the bō.

Well, in the private archive of this author is a credible source which says that Urasoe no Kon is also called Gyakute Hanta-gwā. Gyakute here means “reversed grip,” which is a major feature of this kata. Hanta-gwā in turn refers to the persons obviously known for using this reversed grip. Accordingly, a person named Tsuken Hanta-gwā might tentativley be considered as the originator of this kata.

What can be said about the techniques? The kata has several characteristic, and unique techniques, that’s for sure.

One is a combination in the reversed grip (gyakute) mentioned above used in the combination of a reversed high deflection (jōdan gyaku-barai-uke) followed by vertical block (tate-uke), a winding press (maki-oase), and finally a thrust (tsuki). See this combination here and also here.

Another characteristic technique is pulling the bō to the side of the body in a vertical position while at the same time assuming floating stance (ukiashi), as you can see here and also here.

Next, there is a stepping forward into crossed-legged-stance (kōsa-dachi) with a thrust forward, followed by a step back in shiko with a backward-forward double thrust, followed by a pressing-thrust (osae-zuki). See this part here.

Finally, there’s a 360 degrees turn that ends in a one-knee-stance, as you can see here and here.

The above are the most striking features of this kata.

Urasoe no Kon performed by Kinjo Seiji of the Ryukyu Kobudo Hozon Shinkokai in 1993.
Arcenio Advincula: Urasoe no Kon of Isshin-ryū Kobudō
See a short combi from Urasoe no Kon I have filmed in 2014.

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