20 kuden of Shozan Kubota

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The 20 Kuden are a set of 20 oral transmissions which help the student to understand the applications of a kata. They were detailed in the book "Hidden Karate: The true bunkai for the Heian katas and Naihanchi" by the author Gennosuke Higaki[1]. The author's name is a pen name and the real name of the author is currently unknown, however he reports himself to have been a student of Sensei Shozan Kubota who was a direct student of Gichin Funakoshi. The Kuden reportedly originated with Funakoshi and were passed on to the author by Kubota.

Gennosuke Higaki
Shozan Kubota

The Kuden[edit]

  1. Countering
    1. The blocking hand becomes the attacking hand.
  2. Immobilize the opponent before striking.
  3. The names of movements have been disguised.
    1. Originally there were no names for movements. These were added later after karate had been introduced to Japan.
  4. There are no techniques that end with a block.
    1. There is always a counter attack.
  5. Block with both hands.
  6. Grabbing hand and pulling hand
    1. Grabbing and pulling are integral components of karate.
  7. The front hand is the attacking hand.
  8. Perform movements that consist of two counts in one count.
  9. Switch step (fumi kae)
    1. The steps in kata are walking gait, the use of the techniques may use a switch step.
  10. Kicks are performed low while grabbing the opponent.
  11. There is only one opponent, to the front of you.
  12. Hang the opponent to the sky
    1. Forearm twist in Aikido.
  13. Reblock and Regrip.
    1. shut down the opponent's attack.
  14. Take the opponent's back
    1. Move outside to the back of the opponent.
  15. Crossed leg stance signifies body rotation or a joint kick.
  16. Jumps and body shifts represent throws.
  17. Break the balance in a triangle whose base is the base of the opponent's feet.
  18. Meoto te
    1. Use both hands together
  19. Cut the forearm
  20. The kamae is an invitation
    1. When one knows where an attack will happen it is easier to counter.


Many of the kuden relate to combat rather than specifically to kata.

Notes about the book[edit]

The book was published in 2006, some 5 years after Seikichi Toguchi's book which revealed the existence of Kaisai no genri. The author is clearly aware of it and of Kenwa Mabuni's statements with respect to how the angles within kata can be used, he states the similarity of the kuden to these rule sets. There are certainly some correlations with Kenwa Mabuni and Kaisai no genri.

It is likely that in the original Japanese language version of the book the word "uke" was used instead of "block". Uke does not mean block, it means to receive, or receiving.


  1. Author: Gennosuke Higaki Title: "Hidden Karate: The true bunkai for the Heian katas and Naihanchi" Published: 2006 ISBN: 4-902481-96-0