This form contains repeated switching of the blocking arms, motions that represent the feeling of shifting from a disadvantageous position to an advantageous one, a feeling implying a will similar to that needed to break through an enemy’s fortress.
This kata was originally called Ku Shanku after the Chinese military attache who inroduced it. Master Funakoshi changed the name to Kwanku, referring to the first movement of the kata in which one raises his hands and looks up at the sky.
A video tape of this kata performed by Norman Welch, including Mr. Ohshima’s comments and corrections, and several performances at various speeds and viewing angles is available for purchase here.
1934 film made at Keio University shows Empi as performed by Kichinosuke Saigo who became the first president of the JKA.