Kanku Dai has 65 movements and is the longest one of the Sentei kata. Even in Shotokan syllabus, it is the longest kata. Looking at the sky or viewing the sky is the literal translation of kanku, and it refers to the kata’s opening sequence. When compared to the kata’s smaller version kanku sho, to describe the kata’s larger movements the word Dai (big) is used. Dai (big) and Sho (small) are the two versions of the three Shotokan kata of which kanku is one. The kata was originally known as Kushanku, the name of a Chinese diplomat and kung fu expert. Many people give the credit for the creation of this kata to one of his students, Santunuku Sakugawa though it is not a sure fact if he actually created the kata.
Kanku Dai is believed to be the combination of both Heian and Tekki kata. Many pieces of H2-H5 and even some T1 is tend to be found while practicing this kata. Many active techniques such as jumping, dropping, and spinning techniques are involved in this kata.
Gichin Funakoshi considered this to be his favorite kata. This kata is in favour of the use of Shuto-uchi. However, the two unique combinations such as ura-zuki & ude-tate-fuse and gedan-uke/furiage are offered by Kanku Dai. It is in this kata that the most difficult jumping nidan-geri is practiced. This kata needs a great level of flexibility as it has many high and low techniques. Grace in motion is very important for the performance of this highly dynamic kata