Wan-su (Wang-ji or Wang ch'i) was the name of a Chinese Crane practitioner who came to Okinawa in 1683 and taught his art. His nickname was "Bird Man." It is interesting to note that Makabe was also nicknamed "Bird Man." Apparently, the birdman had some connections to the Shaolin Temple. According to some sources, the Wan-Su katas were brought from China by him, or at least the techniques were from him and the Okinawans created the kata; no one really knows for sure. The kata are supposedly derived from a Shaolin Crane style. It is generally accepted that the katas were passed down the Tomari-te lines. According to some sources, they were not exclusive to Tomari, because a Shuri-te practitioner by the name of Matsu Higa also studied under Wan-Su.

Today however there are two Wansu kata being practiced in Okinawa, known as Wansu and Wansu Dai.