One of the most “trending” katas in both Open and Traditional Karate circuits is the kata Annan. Its obscure techniques and its mixed tempo and rhythm is the preferred kata of many of the sport’s elite competitors due to its dynamic nature.
The origins of the kata are still a mystery as it only surface to the public eye in the late 1980′s by World Kata Champion from Japan, Tsuguo Sakumoto – 9th Dan Hanshi, Ryuei-Ryu. While most competitors executed the more popular kata stemming from styles such as Goju-Ryu and Shotokan, the unique looking kata captured the eyes of the audience and other competitors due to it’s various complex hand techniques precisely executed by Sakumoto. It was this kata which won him 3 consecutive Kata titles with WUKO during his competitive years.
The origin of the kata and its creater is anonymous although many assumptions lead to Chinese origins. However, one thing seems to remain certain – the kata spread through practitioners of the Okinawan style called Ryuei-Ryu. Like the kata, the style itself has only been known to the general public in the last 30 years as the style has been kept in family lines until recently. It has been said that Ryuei-Ryu founder, Norisato Nakaima (instructor to Sakumoto) brought the kata to Naha, Okinawa after learning it during his travels to China. It is said that he learned this kata from a master named Ryu Ro Ko (who has also been linked to teaching Goju-Ryu karate founder, Chojun Miyagi).
Besides being extremely intricate in technique, the application of the movements present deadly blows within short distances and exhibit immobilization and contol of the opponent.
At the present time, the version shown on the tournament scene is one which was adopted in the Shito-Ryu style. Teruo Hayashi is credited for incorporating this beautiful kata into the Shito-Ryu kata curriculum.
This video is kata Annan performed by Master Tsuguo Sakumoto, 3-Time World Kata Champion (1984, 1986, 1988) and co-holder of the Guiness Book of World Records for Most World Kata titles by a Male competitor (shared with Luca Valdesi [Italy] and the late Michael Milon [France])
This video is the bunkai (theoretical application) of the kata performed by the Female Japan National Team (coached by Sakumoto).