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Kata



Definition and Purpose of Kata



Moving
Zen
 

Analysis of Kata

 

 

A kata is an arrangement of movements, which contains a series of logical and practical attacking and blocking techniques. In each kata there are certain set or prearranged movements, which the student can practice alone, without a partner. These Katas have been shaped after many years of research, training, and actual combat experience.

The applications of the techniques in these kata have evolved from and have been tested in actual conflict. In this way each kata has been improved and refined, and has advanced into the kata we practice today. Because of the time and the Kata’s complex evolution it is impossible to trace the exact development that the kata underwent, but it is known that the masters studied the combative techniques and movements in the fighting between animal and animal, animal and man, and man to man. They also studied the composition of the human body and its relationship to combat, taking into account such factors as the circulation of the blood in a twenty-four hour day, the vulnerability of the vital points in relation to the time of day, and other cyclic laws of nature such as the rising and setting of the sun, and the rise and fall of the tides. All of these fundamentals are incorporated into the kata.

The reason for developing kata also varied with the period and with the people who developed them. For instance, in China over 1600 years ago kata was developed and practiced for the purpose of self-defense, whereas the Buddhist monks would practice kata for the purpose of strengthening the spirit as well as the body.

The true meaning and spirit of karate are imbedded in the kata and only by the practice of kata can we come to understand them.

In karate there is no first attack. Every kata begins with a defensive movement, which exemplifies this spirit. Not only is there no first attack, but also the best defense is to avoid the fight altogether. That is why it is said that karate is the art of a sensible man.

To practice the kata correctly every movement must be repeated over and ever again. Only through steady repetition can the techniques become reflex action. Beneficially to that end, an important aspect of kata is that it can be practiced alone, anytime and anywhere. When a well-trained person performs kata, its dynamic power and beauty of movement become almost aesthetic in quality. There can be no boundary placed upon kata training. Moved by the kata, our attention is drawn within so deeply that inner-confusion gradually dissolves to where it no longer exists at all. By regulating the flow of air from within the body and synchronizing it with muscular expansion and contraction, the kata becomes a powerful vehicle of introspection through which internal thought and external performance are harmonized.

Both external and internal disturbances fade away until they are no more disturbing than the distant sound of rolling thunder. Slowly but surely an immunity to life’s trivia and detachment from illusion becomes easier and quicker. Here again, Buddhist thought, as applied to kata, as "Moving Zen" is very appropriate.

Beyond Tiredness and despite aching muscles, one experiences a sense of peacefulness within Kata. It is through this peace that our quest of fulfillment is realized.

Kata is not without its difficulties, it contains theoretical and symbolic movements, and it is not always easy to figure out what is happening without proper guidance. In fact, it is said that the Ancient Master used to hide meanings and special techniques within a kata in such a way that only the worthiest students would ever discover these meanings. For this reason, Bunkai (Analysis of kata) becomes very important to the sincere student.

Almost all of the Goju-Ryu kata were handed down from Kanryo Higaonna. Higaonna had studied and trained for many years under Ryu ryuko in Fukien Province, China. The following kata were handed down by Higaonna from Ryu Ryuko: Sanchin, Saifa, Seiunchin, Shisochin, Sanseru, Sepia, Kurama, Sesan, and Suparempi. The original creators of these kata are unknown.

The four kata, Gekisai Dai Ichi, Gekisai Dai Ni, revised Sanchin, and Tensho are relatively new, having been created by Chojun Miyagi. Gekisai Dai Ichi and Dai Ni were developed by Miyagi in order to popularize karate among young people. These two kata, performed with exaggerated movements, are relatively easy to understand.

Chojun Miyagi's Sanchin preserves the essence of Kanryo Higaonna's Sanchin, of which it is a variation. Miyagi developed it particularly to balance the former one. Its performance requires a different use of the muscles, leading it to amore symmetrical development. This is important for optimum use of the body, and especially in the prevention of injury to the back and other areas.

Whereas Sanchin Kata can be considered an aspect of the go (hard) of Goju, Tensho kata represents the ju (soft). One of the purposes of Tensho kata is concentration on shifting focus points while performing the soft hand movements, Moreover, within these soft hand movements tremendous power is generated.

What follows are basic descriptions of the kata movements, laying down the patterns and what techniques are to be done.


            

Gekisai Ichi and Gekisai Ni (Attack/Smash 1, 2)      

The Gekisai Kata was developed around 1940 by Master Miyagi as instructional Kata. The bases for the Gekisai Kata were to help beginner students, as filler between Sanchin Kata and Saifa. As you can see both sides of the body gets to practice each set of techniques, starting off with beginner techniques and ending up with the most difficult of moves. The Gekisai Kata introduces the student more complex moves with an easier form of execution. Students must grasp the concepts of the Gekisai Kata if they want to be able to understand the more advanced Kaishu Kata. Techniques that Miyagi admired from Shuri-te such as the gyaku shuto were also incorporated into these Kata.

 

 

Gekisai-Ichi - Attack/Smash One

 

Yoi - heiko dachi
1 turn to left hidari sanchin dachi - hidari age uke
2 step forward migi sanchin dachi - migi chudan tsuki
3 step back shiko dachi - hidari gedan uke
4 turn to right migi sanchin dachi - migi age uke
5 step forward hidari sanchin dachi - hidari chudan tsuki
6 step back shiko dachi - migi gedan uke
7 step forward hidari sanchin dachi - hidari yoko uke
8 step forward migi sanchin dachi - migi yoko uke
9 hidari mae keri (KIAI!) land in hidari zenkutsu dachi - hidari hiji ate, uraken uchi, gedan uke migi gyaku tsuki
10 turn 180° migi heiko dachi - migi ashi barai, migi gyaku shuto (KIAI!)
11 step forward hidari sanchin dachi - hidari yoko uke
12 repeat move 9, but change side of body
13 step back migi (45°) zenkutsu dachi - hidari awase tsuki
14 step up to musubi dachi and set
15 step back hidari (45°) zenkutsu dachi - migi awase tsuki
16 same stance but shift chamber to front - migi awase tsuki

Yame - right leg comes up to musubi dachi

 

Gekisai-Ni - Attack/Smash Two

Yoi - heiko dachi
1 turn to left hidari sanchin dachi - hidari age uke
2 step forward migi sanchin dachi - migi chudan tsuki
3 step back shiko dachi - hidari gedan uke
4 turn to right migi sanchin dachi - migi age uke
5 step forward hidari sanchin dachi - hidari chudan tsuki
6 step back shiko dachi - migi gedan uke
7 step forward hidari sanchin dachi - hidari yoko uke
8 step forward migi sanchin dachi - migi yoko uke
9 hidari mae keri (KIAI!) land in hidari zenkutsu dachi - hidari hiji ate, uraken uchi, gedan uke migi gyaku tsuki
10 turn 180° migi heiko dachi - migi ashi barai, migi gyaku shuto (KIAI!)
11 step forward hidari sanchin dachi - hidari kake uke
12 quickly step forward migi sanchin dachi - migi kake uke then back to move 11
13 repeat move 9, but change side of body
14 step back (45°) suri ashi migi nekoashi dachi - hidari mawashi uke, shotei uchi
15 step back (45°) suri ashi hidari nekoashi dachi - migi mawashi uke, shotei uchi
16 same stance but shift chamber to front - migi mawashi uke, shotei uchi
Yame - right foot back to musubi dachi

 

 

 

 

   

Sanchin - "Three Battles/Conflicts"

One of two "heishu " Kata of Goju-Ryu, Sanchin is probably the most misunderstood Kata in all of Karate.  In contrast, it is probably the single most valuable training exercise in Goju-Ryu.  Like the other Kata of Goju-Ryu, Sanchin  can be found in several Chinese arts (San Jan), particularly the southern styles including four styles of Crane Boxing, Dragon Boxing, Tiger Boxing, Lion Boxing, Dog or Ground Boxing and Monk Fist.  Sanchin has such aspects as deep, diaphragmatic breathing found in many internal arts as well as external attributes like mechanical alignment and muscular strength.  Because many martial artists have little or no understanding of the true history and nature of the Chinese arts from which Okinawan Goju-Ryu has its roots, Sanchin has become little more than an isometric form performed with dangerous tension and improper breathing techniques.

The original Sanchin that Higaonna Sensei learned from RuRuKo (1852-1930) was performed with open hands and with less emphasis on muscle contraction and "energetic" breathing.   With the changes brought about by Emperor Meiji (Meiji Restoration Period 1888-1912), Higaonna Sensei changed the open hands to closed fists as the martial meaning was no longer emphasized.  Later Miyagi Sensei would again alter the Kata in pattern alone.  

Sanchin translates as "3 Battles" or "3 Conflicts".  This has many meanings.  First it refers to the struggle to control the body under physical fatigue.  With fatigue the mind begins to lose focus and thus the spirit begins to diminish as well.  Therefore Sanchin develops discipline, determination, focus, perseverance and other mental attributes.   The Chinese refer to this as Shen (spirit), Shin (mind) and Li (body).  Another possible interpretation refers to the "Three Burners" of the body as decribed in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

 

 Tensho (Elegant hands/rotating palms)  

Chojun Miyagi created Tensho. It means, "flowing hands". It is a combination of hard dynamic tension with deep breathing and soft flowing hand movements, concentrating strength in the Tandem, and is very characteristic of the Goju Ryu style.

Chojun Miyagi Sensei invented Tensho (Rotating Palm) in his later years, based on his studies of a Chinese exercise call "Rokkishu". For Miyagi, and his older students, Tensho was a way to practice the concepts similar to Sanchin kata, but in a more relaxed state, with less emphasis on body hardening, but equal emphasis on deep breathing.


   

 

 

 

 

Saifa

Saifa is believed to have been developed in China and brought to Okinawa in the late 1800's by Kanryo Higaonna Sensei. Saifa is the first classical Kaishu kata to be learned in our dojo. Saifa introduces students to a new set of strikes and smashes as well as grappling maneuvers where the hands are torn away from the opponents grip.

Historians believe Saifa was invented in China to help teach and execute combat tactics on a gunwale of a boat or ship, mainly because all of the techniques are done going forward or backward in a straight line.

 

 

 

 

 

Seiunchin (Marching Far Quietly)

Seiunchin's origin lies in the internal system of Wu-shu, Hsing-I. Seiunchin direct translation through time has been lost, but many Goju-Ryu Karateka refer to it as Marching far Quietly. Seiunchin is a unique kata because only hand techniques are used. An advanced Kata, Seiunchin works a lot on the shiko dachi and incorporates strike such as the back fist and elbow. Along with Sesan, Seiunchin is the other training Kaishu of Meibukan Goju-Ryu, which is best, suited for a smaller man with less physical power. Many times in the Kata techniques are performed with the other hand used as re-enforcement!

Seiunchin (Calm before the Storm)

Seiunchin has been said to mean "marching far quietly" or "pulling", depending on the interpretation. It is a very old Chinese kata, and it's origins are probably in the Hsing-I internal system. All of the movements are hand techniques with no kicks, a very unusual feature. It is in the tiger series of Katas.

Seiunchin kata was developed in China and brought to Okinawa by Kanryo Higaonna Sensei in the late 1800's. Seiunchin origin lies in the internal system of Wu-shu, Hsing-I. An advanced kata, Seiunchin works on the shiko dachi and incorporates strikes such as the back fist and elbow. Seiunchin is a unique kata because only hand techniques are used.

Seiunchin is considered to be one of the two training kata of Goju-ryu. Dai Sensei Meitoku Yagi feels that the two training kata of Goju-ryu (Seisan and Seiunchin), must be studied thoroughly in order to understand Goju-ryu.

Seiunchin - Marching Far Quietly

Yoi - heiko dachi
1 step forward 45° migi shiko dachi - hands meet in front of belt, scoop up then morote gedan uke
2 same stance - migi sukui uke, sink with hidari nukite uchi
3 step forward 45° hidari shiko dachi - scoop hands up the morote gedan uke
4 same stance - hidari sukui uke, sink with migi nukite uchi
5 step forward 45° migi shiko dachi - scoop hands up the morote gedan uke
6 same stance - migi sukui uke, sink with hidari nukite uchi
7 migi suri ashi sanchin dachi - migi chudan reinforced baby knuckle punch
8 step back hidari sanchin dachi - hidari sukui uke, migi hiji ate
9 step right 45° migi sanchin dachi - reinforced migi yoko uke
10 step forward hidari shiko dachi - hidari gedan tsuki step back migi sanchin dachi - migi gedan uke
11 step left 45° hidari sanchin dachi - reinforced hidari yoko uke
12 step forward migi shiko dachi - migi gedan tsuki step back hidari sanchin dachi - hidari gedan uke
13 step back migi shiko dachi - archer's block
14 step back hidari shiko dachi - archer's block
15 step forward migi sanchin dachi - trap, suri ashi migi sanchin dachi - migi uraken uchi
16 turn right rear 45° hidari sanchin dachi - hidari yoko uke, migi gedan uke
17 step forward migi shiko dachi - hidari shotei uke, migi age tsuki... hiji ate
18 same stance - migi gedan uke
19 step back hidari shiko dachi - hidari gedan uke
20 shift to migi nekoashi dachi - migi jodan hiji ate
21 suri ashi back to hidari nekoashi dachi - hidari jodan hiji ate
22 turn left rear 45° migi sanchin dachi - migi yoko uke, hidari gedan uke
23 step forward hidari shiko dachi - migi shotei uke, hidari age tsuki... hiji ate
24 same stance - hidari gedan uke
25 step back migi shiko dachi - migi gedan uke
26 shift to hidari nekoashi dachi - hidari jodan hiji ate
27 suri ashi back to migi nekoashi dachi - migi jodan hiji ate
28 suri ashi migi sanchin dachi - hidari shotei uke... shotei uchi, migi uraken uchi
Yame - right leg comes up to musubi dachi

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sesan - 13 techniques


Yoi - heiko dachi

1 step forward migi sanchin dachi - sanchin no kamae
2 same stance - hidari sanchin tsuki (done quick)
3 step forward hidari sanchin dachi - sanchin no kamae
4 same stance - migi sanchin tsuki (done quick)
5 repeat move 1
6 repeat move 2
7 same stance - "cat washing face"
8 suri ashi migi sanchin dachi - closed fist chamber then to double middle thrust
9 repeat move 8
10 repeat move 8
11 sink body and chamber fists - migi fumikomi keri then turn 180°, gedan shotei uke chudan sho uke
12 step forward migi sanchin dachi - migi sukui uke no kake uke
13 step forward hidari sanchin dachi - hidari sukui uke no kake uke
14 go to right 90° suri ashi migi sanchin dachi - block, block and grab
15 same stance - hidari chudan tsuki, migi chudan tsuki
16 sink body - migi tsuki uke, migi fumikomi keri - turn 180° hidari sanchin dachi gedan shotei uke, chudan shotei uke, shuffle up to hidari shiko dachi - hidari kake uke
17 same stance - migi chudan tsuki, hidari chudan tsuki, migi chudan tsuki
18 torque body in hidari zenkutsu dachi - migi tsuki uke, migi fumikomi keri, hidari shotei uke migi age tsuki, migi uraken uchi, migi hiji ate (KIAI!) land in migi shiko dachi
19 same stance - migi gedan uke
20 same stance - hidari chudan soto tsuki
21 fumikomi keri - turn 180° hidari sanchin dachi - hidari kake uke
22 same stance - scoop up hands, migi mae keri, migi chudan tsuki
23 hidari nekoashi dachi - migi mawashi uke


Yame - right leg comes up to musubi dachi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sepai   18 techniques

 


Yoi - heiko dachi

 


1 step back migi shiko dachi - hidari shotei uke... migi gyaku shuto
2 step through hidari sanchin dachi - clasp the hands at middle level
3 step forward migi sanchin dachi - twist and thrust
4 drop to migi shiko dachi - keep hands together and migi hiji ate
5 step forward hidari kokutsu dachi - Sepai no kamae
6 shift to hidari zenkutsu dachi - migi shuto uchi
7 migi mae keri (KIAI!) step back hidari shiko dachi - hidari chudan kake tsuki
8 same stance - hidari uraken uchi
9 turn 180° migi nekoashi dachi - hidari kake tsuki, migi suri uke
10 same stance - migi yoko uke... kake uke and sink in stance
11 turn back 180° migi sanchin dachi - arm break
12 turn left 270°. migi sanchin dachi - migi gedan shotei uchi
13 suri ashi hidari sanchin dachi - block kick and punch
14 step forward migi shiko dachi - hug high and low
15 migi ashi barai - break balance with hands, drop migi gedan shiko dachi - morote gedan heiko tsuki
16 step back hidari shiko dachi - hidari gedan uke
17 suri ashi migi sanchin dachi on rear right 45° - block kick and punch
18 step forward hidari shiko dachi - hug high and low
19 hidari ashi barai - break balance with hands, drop hidari gedan shiko dachi - morote gedan heiko tsuki
20 step back migi shiko dachi - migi gedan uke
21 suri ashi back to face front hidari nekoashi dachi - hidari yoko uke, migi age uke
22 jump and land in hidari kosa dachi - migi yoko uke, hidari age uke
23 turn 270° left to hidari sanchin dachi - hidari kake uke
24 shift to hidari kokutsu dachi - hidari tsuki uke... uraken uchi
25 shift to hidari sanchin dachi - migi yoko uke
26 migi mae keri (KIAI!), land in shiko dachi - hidari soko tsuki
27 turn 180° right to migi sanchin dachi - migi kake uke
28 shift to migi kokutsu dachi - migi tsuki uke... uraken uchi
29 shift to migi sanchin dachi - hidari yoko uke
30 hidari mae keri (KIAI!), land in shiko dachi - migi soko tsuki
31 step back and turn right 270° migi kosa dachi and neck break then shuffle back to migi nekoashi dachi - finish break
32 sink in cat stance - meeting of hands, right hand is a fist

Yame - right leg comes up to musubi dachi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kururunfa - Holding Ground


Yoi - heiko dachi
1 suri ashi to left 90° hidari nekoashi dachi - hidari gyaku shuto uke
2 same stance - hidari fumikomi keri
3 suri ashi to right 90° migi nekoashi dachi - migi gyaku shuto uke
4 same stance - migi fumikomi keri
5 place right foot forward 90° migi sanchin dachi - press and scoop block
6 shift to migi kokutsu dachi - gedan migi shotei uke - shift back to move 5
7 step forward hidari sanchin dachi - press and scoop block
8 shift to hidari kokutsu dachi - gedan hidari shotei uke - shift back to move 7
9 step forward migi sanchin dachi - press and scoop block
10 shift to migi kokutsu dachi - gedan migi shotei uke - shift back to move 9
11 back left suri ashi hidari nekoashi dachi - osae uke
12 suri ashi hidari sanchin dachi - migi shotei uke, migi shotei uchi, hidari age tsuki
13 step in migi mae keri (KIAI!), migi hiji ate land in migi shiko dachi
14 step back suri ashi hidari nekoashi dachi - chudan hidari hiji ate
15 back right suri ashi migi nekoashi dachi - osae uke
16 suri ashi migi sanchin dachi - hidari shotei uke, hidari shotei uchi, migi age tsuki
17 step in hidari mae keri (KIAI!), hidari hiji ate land in hidari shiko dachi
18 step back suri ashi migi nekoashi dachi - chudan hidari hiji ate shift to front migi nekoashi dachi - mawashi uke
19 turn to left 90° hidari sanchin dachi - hidari haito uke pivot and turn 180° and migi gyaku hiji ate
20 step forward migi sanchin dachi - migi haito uke pivot and turn 180° and hidari gyaku hiji ate
21 shuffle left foot to shiko dachi - chudan kosa uke stand up and point hands out to sides
22 same stance - bend arms 90° so fingers point upward touch back of hands behind the your head turn hands and reach up
23 drop to shiko dachi - forearms together with fists clinched in front of chest then immediately drop lower and morote shotei uke right hand on top
24 step forward migi zenkutsu dachi - rip palm blocks down then jodan kosa uke turn hand grip counter clockwise and turn 180° and throw
land in a crouched position gedan kosa uke
25 step forward to migi zenkutsu dachi - migi ashi tori
26 step forward to hidari zenkutsu dachi - hidari ashi tori
27 right foot steps and turn left 180° landing in hidari nekoashi dachi - mawashi uke

Yame - right leg comes up to musubi dachi

 

 

 


 

Superempi

 (108 techniques)

Superempi Kanji reads 108 techniques. It incorporates many moves found in earlier kata (Sesan and Sanseryu, just to name a few) but of a higher degree of difficulty. Among its difficult hand techniques, it contains a unique flying kick. To practice Superempi correctly, one must acquire proper breath control, and a very precise timing of hands, feet and body. It is very long, strenuous, and should take a greater part of a lifetime to master

 

 

 

#108(3x36=108)

THIS HAS SPECIAL MEANING IN BUDDHISM-MOST ADVANCED KATA IN NAHA-TE. ALL TECHNIQUES OF NAHA-TE ARE USED IN THIS KATA.

Suparinpe - 108 techniques

Yoi - heiko dachi
1 step forward migi sanchin dachi - sanchin no kamae
2 same stance - hidari sanchin tsuki
3 step forward hidari sanchin dachi - sanchin no kamae
4 same stance - migi sanchin tsuki
5 repeat move 1
6 repeat move 2
7 bring back of hands together and push out to sides, focus on palm heel
8 step forward hidari sanchin dachi - migi mawashi uke
9 step forward migi sanchin dachi - hidari mawashi uke, migi kake uke, hidari nukite uchi
10 turn 180° hidari sanchin dachi - migi mawashi uke
11 step forward migi sanchin dachi - hidari mawashi uke, migi kake uke, hidari nukite uchi
12 turn 90° hidari sanchin dachi - migi mawashi uke
13 step forward migi sanchin dachi - hidari mawashi uke, migi kake uke, hidari nukite uchi
14 turn 180° hidari sanchin dachi - migi mawashi uke
15 step forward migi sanchin dachi - hidari mawashi uke, migi kake uke, hidari nukite uchi
16 on the spot migi nekoashi dachi - hidari mawashi uke
17 turn 180° suri ashi hidari nekoashi - migi mawashi uke
18 turn and face back 90° suri ashi nekoashi dachi - hidari mawashi uke
19 turn 180° hidari sanchin dachi - migi awase tsuki
20 step forward migi sanchin dachi - right arm down, left arm crosses over
21 turn 180° hidari sanchin dachi - migi awase tsuki
22 step forward migi sanchin dachi - right arm down, left arm crosses over
23 turn 90° hidari sanchin dachi - migi awase tsuki
24 step forward migi sanchin dachi - right arm down, left arm crosses over
25 turn 180° hidari sanchin dachi - migi awase tsuki
26 step forward migi sanchin dachi - right arm down, left arm crosses over
27 (rear right 45°) step back 45° hidari shiko dachi - hidari haito uke step forward migi shiko dachi - migi ipponken tsuki, morote gedan uke
28 shift sides to hidari shiko dachi - hidari haito uke step forward migi shiko dachi - migi ipponken tsuki, morote gedan uke
29 (rear left 45°) step back 45° hidari shiko dachi - hidari haito uke step forward migi shiko dachi - migi ipponken tsuki, morote gedan uke
30 shift sides to hidari shiko dachi - hidari haito uke step forward migi shiko dachi - migi ipponken tsuki, morote gedan uke
31 step up then shuffle to migi sanchin dachi - hidari gedan shotei uke, migi shotei uchi
32 step forward hidari sanchin dachi - hidari kake uke, migi mae keri (KIAI!), land in migi shiko dachi - trap elbow, migi uraken uchi, hidari gedan shotei uchi
33 turn 180° hidari sanchin dachi - migi gedan shotei uke, hidari shotei uchi
34 step forward migi sanchin dachi - migi sukui uke... migi kake uke
35 step forward hidari sanchin dachi - hidari sukui uke... hidari kake uke
36 step forward migi sanchin dachi - migi sukui uke... migi kake uke
37 turn left 180° hidari sanchin dachi - hidari haito uke... migi Mikazuki keri to left palm turn 360° to hidari sanchin dachi - hidari kake uke, tobi mae keri land in migi shiko dachi - trap elbow... migi uraken uchi
38 turn 180° hidari sanchin dachi - migi gedan shotei uke, hidari shotei uchi
39 suri ashi hidari shiko dachi - hidari kake uke
40 sink in stance - migi nukite uchi step across and turn 180° migi shiko dachi - migi morote koken uchi

Yame - right leg comes up to musubi dachi

 

 

 

 


  


Shisochin - "Four Directions/Gates of Conflict/Attack"

Shisochin translates as "Four Gates" or "Four Directions of Conflict".  To leave it at that discounts a truer understanding.  The third kanji is the same found in Sanchin and Seiyunchin, which translates as "battle" or "conflict".  This lends to a deeper definition of its meaning.  The idea of four directions can come from the performance of the four shotei in four directions.  It can also represent the four elements represented in Chinese medicine (Acupuncture is one) of Wood, Fire, Metal and Water with man representing Earth.  Since this was the science and culture of that period in China when Higaonna and Miyagi both studied in Fuzhou, it would be a great oversight to discount this aspect as a very probable explanation of the Kata's name and martial intent.


 

Sanseru - "36 Hands"

Sanseru is unique as Miyagi Sensei studied this Kata under a direct student of RuRuKo during his studies in Fuzhou, China beginning in 1916.  Sanseru, from its numerical designation, would seem to have its roots in Buddhism.  This is not to infer that there is a religious connection or implication with this Kata or Karate, but simply that Buddhism was a part of the culture of the people of that time.  It should also be noted that numbers had a very important role in the language of the more ancient Chinese before the invention of kanji.

A more realistic explanation of this and the other numerically named Kata is that they refer to a systematic method and understanding of certain groupings of vital acupressure points.  It is this science that the martial arts was based upon and developed. 

Feng Yiquan, who lived during the Ming Dynasty (1522-67) developed this particular method of using variations of "36" forbidden points to defeat his opponents.  Other disciples of Feng created other quans expanding the number to 72 and ultimately 108.




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