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#106113 - 08/13/04 04:11 AM Seisan

Seisan = 13.
It's a bit odd that it's this number.
All other kata with 'number' names are all multiples of three :
seipai = 18
niseishi = 24
sanseiru = 36
useishi = 54
suparinpei (pechurin) = 108
Does anybody know why Seisan does not fit in ?

#106114 - 08/13/04 01:56 PM Re: Seisan
Wado-AJ Offline

Registered: 04/28/04
Posts: 112
Loc: gorinchem, Holland
13 is about 13 ronin. (samurai without master) they all had special powers. everyone had there speciality. All these are combined in seishan. (speed, rythem, power etc etc..) thats why, according to history i learned from: H. Fukazawa of Wado ryu fame.

#106115 - 08/13/04 02:13 PM Re: Seisan
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5830
Loc: USA

But Seisan as a kata name is both much older than Wado ryu

And not of Japanese origin, its Okinawan.

The Okinawans got it from China.

Neither the Okinawans or the Chinese had a "samurai" class.

#106116 - 08/13/04 05:15 PM Re: Seisan
WADO Offline

Registered: 04/23/04
Posts: 900
Loc: denver co usa
[The oklinawans called their Seisan Katas SanChin, Seisan is definitely a Japanese word.

#106117 - 08/13/04 05:41 PM Re: Seisan
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3220
Loc: Derry, NH
I'm sorry that's the wrong answer.

Actually Seisan is one of the oldest Okinawan Kata (Bushi Matsumura had a version and there is record of it being demonstrated in the mid 1800's).

Seisan being the number 13 is one of the many questions about its origin. That there may be Chinese origins because Chinese systems often used numbers for their form names is a possibility, but not proof, for there had long been a Chinese community on Okinawa.

Origin questions aside Seisan is one of the true universal Okinawan forms, variations of it found in many Okinawan instrutors systems.

From Bushi Matsumura:
In Matsumura lineage his student Itosu had Seisan
Itosu's student Mabuni had Seisan (Shito Ryu)
Itosu's student Funakoshi had Sesan and changed it to Hangetsu in his Shotokan system.

In Matsumura lineage his student Kiyan had Seisan, and derivative systems like Isshinryu also kept Seisan. [Side note, Nagamine with previous trianing did not study Seisan with Kiyan and his Matsubayshi Ryu doesn't have Seisan either.]

There is a Tomari version of Seisan.

Gojuryu has their own version of Seisan.

Ueichiryu has thier own version of Seisan.

The Goju and Ueichi systems cite their Chinese origins for their Seisan.

But if you really look at all the Seisan variations side by side, there is a certain universality, a true underlying Seisan-ness that seems to indicate a more common predecessor (regardless of source of Origin).

Depending on where you train Seisan is a beginning form (Isshinryu) or a very advanced form (Goju-ryu). On the whole I think most groups treat it as a senior form, where in the Kiyan lineage it is often more a beginning effort.

BTW, in my opinion, form differences aside, all of the versions take real work to do correctly.


Victor Smith
bushi no te isshinryu

#106118 - 08/14/04 11:39 AM Re: Seisan
Wado-AJ Offline

Registered: 04/28/04
Posts: 112
Loc: gorinchem, Holland
[QUOTE]Originally posted by cxt:


But Seisan as a kata name is both much older than Wado ryu

And not of Japanese origin, its Okinawan.

The Okinawans got it from China.

Neither the Okinawans or the Chinese had a "samurai" class.

hmmm, I never said that its from japanese origin..? I speak about samurai and all of the sudden you refer to other situations. Probably a misunderstanding. 13 in japanese is jyu-san. so off course not a japanese word. the history i wrote down is just what i know via Fukazawa, like I said in my first reply! not my idea. maybe in china or okinawa they referred to soldiers.. we will probably never know..

[This message has been edited by Wado-AJ (edited 08-14-2004).]

#106119 - 08/14/04 01:39 PM Re: Seisan
Ironfoot Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/10/04
Posts: 2682
Loc: St. Clair Shores, MI USA
I've been told the "sei" part of seisan is Chinese. Also that you fight 13 opponents, although doing so in all directions is not recommended!

Sensei Smith, you mentioned the amount of work needed to perform this kata correctly, and personally I feel I learned most about this kata after nidan, but could you expound on your reasons for this opinion?

#106120 - 08/14/04 08:12 PM Re: Seisan
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3220
Loc: Derry, NH
The reason for my opinion, simply experience.

As I've experienced it takes about 10 years of work to begin to sufficently relax in technique performance. When the body has truly learnt the lessons involved, the parts work together more efficiently, the center of gravity drops and power potential increases.

Accompany that with experience fitting a technique into ranges of attacks and tapping the energy of the kata in the application.

There is not short cut for ability, and each will rise to their pesonal levels after all.

You can take a beginner and put them between two good more experienced students and the beginner will demonstrate immediate improvement. They're borrowing energy from the others, and have less pressure because they don't feel people are looking at them. But when you then put them out in front alone they revert to beginner ability. That which can be borrowed leaves.

Likewise without true skill and knowledge, much of a kata's technique cannot be used. You can show it but if the person can't truly live it, it won't work.

I personally believe this is why much of karate's potential wasn't taught. Not that it doesn't exist, but the answers were too complex for the levels of the student to actually do. So rather than give them what they can't do, they focused on what they could to instead.

Karate can be effective at many levels, and not being ready for much of its application potential doesn't mean the student is being short changed.

Actually karate isn't needed in today's world for self defense, very often. It wasn't needed on Okinawa any more frequently. And those instances where it is needed frequently , well they describe a far different instruction set than the original training, IMVHO.

But the highly skilled application potential requires advanced skill development even to perform the most simple techniques.

Hope this helps a little,

Victor Smith
bushi no te isshinryu

BTW I don't use handles, I'm a real person, proud to exist and share the little I know.

#106121 - 08/15/04 01:47 PM Re: Seisan
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5830
Loc: USA
Wado AJ

No, no misunderstanding.

You recounted a story of where the name for Seisan kata comes from.

I gave you a thumbnail verson as to why your explanation was very likly bogus and you don't get it?


In reading back thu your first post, couple of things stand out.

1st Its highly unlikly that ANY Wado-ryu teacher (esp a Japanese whom presumably would know better) would tell you a story about Seisan coming from

"13 ronin....they all had special powers, everyone had a speciality, all these are combined in seishan"

See, thats a real reach, given that it simply does not jive with the known and documented history of the kata.

Possibly someone was pulling your leg?

2nd, I assume that you mean Seisan not, as you put it "Seishan" because that would be a kata I have never heard of--perhaps this is where we got off on the wrong track?

#106122 - 08/16/04 05:07 AM Re: Seisan
ken harding Offline

Registered: 04/21/04
Posts: 721
Loc: UK
Presume you speak French Wado AJ as Fukazawa sensei has little or no English (he used French or Japanese through an interpreter when I've trained with him at any rate).

He is a demon with applicaations for kata...does some really amazing things but he's never been given to stories of that type then again I've only trained with him and Suzuki sensei a few times so I may be the wrong person to ask.

As for Seishan, I always believed it to be Okinawan in orgin and not linked to stories or ronin samurai. As said in other post , variants of it appear in many styles.


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