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#107542 - 04/09/05 09:57 PM Animal names for kata?
Anonymous
Unregistered


I have never heard until recently, these Goju kata being refered to with animal names:

Saifa Monkey kata
Seiyunchin Tiger kata
Shisoshin Dragon kata
Kururunfa Praying mantis

Would anyone have the history behind where these names came from? I can't seem to find the origins.
Thanks in advance for your input.

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#107543 - 04/11/05 05:06 AM Re: Animal names for kata?
Anonymous
Unregistered


I don't know how much influence Chinese MA have had on Goju, but that would be the place to start, as many Chinese styles mimic animal movements as martial technique.

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#107544 - 04/11/05 03:21 PM Re: Animal names for kata?
Anonymous
Unregistered


quite a bit of influence... 100% depending how far you go back.
but what I'm saying is, for example, 'saifa' does not mean 'monkey' in Chinese, Okinawan or Japanese. When and who called it saifa and when and who called it monkey?

(I'm sensing this is a bonehead question, but humor me if you could....thanks)

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#107545 - 04/11/05 06:43 PM Re: Animal names for kata?
Anonymous
Unregistered


http://www.lyon-karate.com/goju_ryu_kata_names.php

I found this,but I didn't fint where they got the names from. Not a bonehead question,I'm curious too. [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG] I always related the katas to numbers/directions.

Where's the white crane kata??

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#107546 - 04/12/05 04:01 AM Re: Animal names for kata?
Anonymous
Unregistered


This is an interesting topic, because American Kenpo also uses animal names in alot of techniques or strikes. For us though, some part of the technique or strike will resemble a movement or appendage that animal is known for. For example, our technique charging ram is so named because the attack involves someone trying to tackle or grab with the head down like a ram trying to butt something with its horns.

[This message has been edited by bushinoki (edited 04-12-2005).]

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#107547 - 04/12/05 03:20 PM Re: Animal names for kata?
Anonymous
Unregistered


yes indded very interesting question but I realy do not know where did you got those names because as far as I know eg seyinchin is a dragon kata and shisochin a tiger kata, I know that the first 2 steps in kururunfa are refered to praying mantis but I am not sure about Saifa kata because eg. when you step into shiko dachi with the uraken thats a snake not monkey.

But a very interestng theme. Have a nice day cya

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#107548 - 04/13/05 01:31 AM Re: Animal names for kata?
Anonymous
Unregistered


I've never heard of this. Could it simply be that someone wanted their kata to sound more Chinese & therefore more authentic?

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#107549 - 04/13/05 04:48 AM Re: Animal names for kata?
Anonymous
Unregistered


most certainly a possibility as to where the animal names of these kata came from. I wouldn't rule out the possibility of that or anything else.

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#107550 - 04/13/05 06:07 AM Re: Animal names for kata?
Anonymous
Unregistered


From Southern Chinese styles, many linked to animal forms, we can classify some kata names linked to these animal styles.
Crane : sanchin, sanseiru, niseishi, happoren, nepai .
Tiger : sanchin, sanseiru, peichurin(suparinpei)
Dragon : sanchin, seisan, peichurin, sepai
Dog : sanchin sanseiru
Monk fist : sanchin, seisan, jutte, sepai, useishi(gojushiho), peichurin
Lion: sanchin, seisan
Know that crane style was build from monk fist and blended with tiger style. I gues these styles have played the most imported role in Karate from around 1825 - 1930.(The building period of the current known most popular styles)
The execution for a simular named kata can be very different. E.g. sanseru in Goju or Uechi ryu is not comparable. I could relate to pointing to these animal names as refernce to their origin but I think a more detailed explenation would be impossible as some of the kata's origin are unknown (e.g. saifa) and there can not be found a style still practising a simular named kata in some cases.(e.g.kururunfa, seiyunchin).
So, in reference of an animal movement does not do it for me without identifying an authentic art executing a form with a simular name. Once that established you could analyse the movements for simularities. That's what I would like to see when kata are identified with animal named styles.

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#107551 - 04/13/05 10:05 AM Re: Animal names for kata?
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5823
Loc: USA
CVV

Whats even more interesting is that although the NAMES are linking to animal styles.

The NAMES THEMSELVES, in goju/uechi/naha style kata anyway-are NUMBERS-most of them anyway.

Seisan-13 etc...

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#107552 - 04/13/05 03:16 PM Re: Animal names for kata?
Anonymous
Unregistered


CXT,

The numbering of the kata is most possibly linked to buddhist principles except sesan wich in my opinion is related to luck (number 13 in China is a lucky number).
Others like sepai (18) niseishi(24) sanseiru(36) useishi(54) pechurin(108) are related to buddhist principles.
Leaves Nepai(28) as an odd kata like sesan (not fitting).
Some believe that Shorei style indicate the (predominantly taoist internal) teachings from Wudang temple.As the kata mentioned above are classified Shorei I have a hard time believing this explenation as their naming indicates buddhist influence (not taoist). I believe that Shorei indicates kata's recently imported into Okinawan fighting traditions. They are also strongly related to monk fist/white crane/tiger boxing. The others mentioned styles, I have no visual reference to the quan in lion/dog/dragon boxing so i cannot evaluate this statement but it comes from Bubishi, McCarthy translation in his comments on origin of karate.
Regarding kata sanchin, sishochin, shochin,seyunchin, naifanchin. I believe they are imported through Iwah and Ason into Okinawa. Funakoshi states in one of his books that Ason teached Shorei-ryu in Naha. Possibly five ancestor/monk/white crane/tiger fist. I think in here we find our references to animal names for how the techniques in certain kata are explained, related to the animal naming of the chinese styles. Some of the techniques can be tracked back to animal movements. Take opening sequence of sanchin, saneseru, sesan, suparinpei. Do it with open hand opening with double kake uke. Retract one hand into hiki-te (kake uke form) and strike out with the finger tips. This technique resembles current white crane forms. Do it with keiko ken and it resembles a lot tiger style like uechi ryu striking in sesan and sanseru.
I do not think a straight answer is possible unless a chinese form can be found that resembles the okinawan form. In Goju, I have not yet encountered someone who could point to the exact chinese style from where the Goju kata originate.
So I have some reserves when I hear that Kururunfa is linked to praying mantis or saifa to monkey.

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#107553 - 04/13/05 03:39 PM Re: Animal names for kata?
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5823
Loc: USA
CVV

My best guess is that some form of formal Chinese fighting art came in with the "36 families"--what it was is anyones guess.

I don't think many forms of Okinawan karate can point to a specifc Chinese style--still extent anyway-and say "that is the style our karate came from."
So I would agree that no-one 'really" knows where the kata of goju-ryu came from.

You have Higashiona--and Aragaki who was his first teacher--the demonstrations of specific kata found in Higashions style--before Higashiona went to China.
And then you have the kata practiced in Ryuei-ryu -who also claim descent from RyuRyuKo--and they share simlier kata--and some different kata as well.
Then you have Uechi Ryu--totally different line of descent, yet some of their kata are "kissing cousins" to those found in goju--or vice versa.

Interesting stuff.

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#107554 - 04/13/05 04:05 PM Re: Animal names for kata?
Anonymous
Unregistered


It appears, (so far), that the animal names were attached by a best guess method of Funakoshi. Which I suppose makes sense when you are trying to sell Karate to the world.
I'll let you know if I dig up anything solid on this. Thanks for pointing directions.

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#107555 - 04/15/05 01:02 PM Re: Animal names for kata?
Anonymous
Unregistered



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#107556 - 04/15/05 01:36 PM Re: Animal names for kata?
Anonymous
Unregistered


The article assumes things I do not always agree with but the sources from where it makes these conclusions are taken in high regard by most of the karate society (McCarthy Bisshop Meitoku Yagi ...). I have my reserves in identifying Xie Zhong Ziang as Ru Ru Ko since Seko Higa, Meitoku Yagi, Seikichi Toguchi descibe him as an 'old man'. Also the quan he thaught are not found in Goju.
Regarding the Japanification, I have a intresting story. I talked regarding Okinawa kobudo with Takeshi Uchiage shihan. His father, Kenzo Uchiage, trained with a sort of chain while he was a young man. Miyagi sensei told him that this kind of training was not worthy a 'Bushi'. So I guess he was very attentive to what his students would portray, making sure it would not damage the image for the Japanese.

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#107557 - 04/15/05 01:38 PM Re: Animal names for kata?
Anonymous
Unregistered


Nice article, kara.

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#107558 - 04/15/05 02:07 PM Re: Animal names for kata?
Anonymous
Unregistered


That's interesting CVV. So that beg's the question: If Miyagi Sensei knew what the art would become when processed thru the Japan machine, wouldn't he have had his own special group of students that he taught the real-deal to?
Also, perhaps the complexity of the decision to name a successor was just too great and therefore never official?

a side-note: During the early 20th c, Japan had a real chip on it's shoulder after spending decades modernizing their military, they were bullying the whole east asian region (including russia! but esp China). Okinawan masters would have at first been reluctant but eventually compliant to transfer some kind of knowledge in the art. After WWII, okinawans would have been happy to teach the American GI's the same stripped down version they taught the Japanese.

do you think that is an accurate/fair view?

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#107559 - 04/15/05 02:10 PM Re: Animal names for kata?
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5823
Loc: USA
CVV

I am also very curious as to what Higashionna learned from Aragki.

"Common" Goju style katas were demonstrated publically for the last Chinese Envoy to Okinawa.

It would be interesting to know from who exactly Aragaki got his training--and to whom possibly Higashionna was able to contact in China based upon his training with Agagaki

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#107560 - 04/16/05 06:28 AM Re: Animal names for kata?
Anonymous
Unregistered


Kara-Atama,
as far as 'real deal', for Goju, I do not think that Japanese were thought differently then Okinawan masters.
I have trained Okinawa Goju the first 9 years(IOGKF while still affiliated with Jundokan), next 3-4 years Yamaguchi influenced then the last 13 years more generally JKF Goju Kai mostly influnced by Takeshi Uchiage and Osamu Hirano. I have also had the privilage to train at siminars with Tomahoru Kisaki who has been instructed by Chojun Miyagi at Ritsumeikan University. A friend and teacher of mine has trained on numerous occasions with Takeshi Uchiage and Kenzo Uchiage (former student of Miyagi at Ritsumeikan) and was able to attend siminars wit Ujita (former student of Miyagi at Ritsumeikan).
The Jundokan is part of JKF Goju-kai and 2 of the seniors act as special advisors to the technical commite. IOGKF was up till 1996 part of JKF Goju-Kai through the Jundokan untill his conflict with the rest of the karate society regarding his claims on who inherited the Goju system from Miyagi. I think his organization (the Japanese branch) is now affiliated to JKF Goju-kai.
Meitoku Yagi of the Meibukan has stated several times that you learn genuine Goju-ryu in the dojo of his dear friend Gogen Yamaguchi in Tokyo and that he has personally instructed Yamaguchi's sons.
I must say that the Japanese dojo's have always focused on the sport side of karate and on jyu kumite. Why ?. Most of their students are university students. Most of them stop training after University and they are not loocking after the secret teachings. They just persue it for Budo sport. Those who continue evtually open up and find the diversity of techniques and applications. Kisaki said to me that regarding application from kata Miyagi would say 'think, you will figure it out yourself'. He would show application of the techniques but has never formulated formal bunkai. Although kata is static, it's application is not as no 2 fighs are the same. When exploring kata this way, the secrets reveal themselves through guidance of the masters and by self exploration. I have noticed that you are not instructed directly these themes untill you are ready and ask for them. At that point, you are instructed the deeper meaning of techniques. Then you have to experiment with it yourself to understand how it works. If you have a teacher that cannot provide an answer or thorrough discussion regarding such a subject, you are probably on the wrong track. Untill the point you can come to that, the searching to the deeper meaning, you will be instructed in the form like 'do like this' or 'put your fist here' without thourough understanding. It is also important that the base is properly build before engaging in such a training manner.
This is how I receive instruction and I cannot say that the Japanese masters are less knowledgeable than the Okinawan.
That's my perception.

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#107561 - 04/16/05 08:12 AM Re: Animal names for kata?
Anonymous
Unregistered


I can identify with the learning method you described. I'd add that sometimes when left to our imagination, we might come up with an application which doesn't quite fit the movements of the kata. we were encouraged to explore and develop those ourselves. dan testing for bunkai was neither correct nor incorrect while kyu testing in bunkai was with a fixed technique.
To tie this in with the main topic, I feel kata was meant to be interpreted. The quest of finding your own interpretation is as personal as how you integrate your training into your daily life. If some wish to think of kata by animal names,numbers,chinese names or japanese names what would it change? The names are just as interpretable as their applications.

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#107562 - 04/16/05 07:05 PM Re: Animal names for kata?
Anonymous
Unregistered


[QUOTE]Originally posted by CVV:
The article assumes things I do not always agree with but the sources from where it makes these conclusions are taken in high regard by most of the karate society (McCarthy Bisshop Meitoku Yagi ...). I have my reserves in identifying Xie Zhong Ziang as Ru Ru Ko since Seko Higa, Meitoku Yagi, Seikichi Toguchi descibe him as an 'old man'. Also the quan he thaught are not found in Goju.
Regarding the Japanification, I have a intresting story. I talked regarding Okinawa kobudo with Takeshi Uchiage shihan. His father, Kenzo Uchiage, trained with a sort of chain while he was a young man. Miyagi sensei told him that this kind of training was not worthy a 'Bushi'. So I guess he was very attentive to what his students would portray, making sure it would not damage the image for the Japanese.
[/QUOTE]


Interestingly enough, there is another tradition which maintains Ru Ru Ko was a place, not a person.

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#107563 - 04/16/05 07:21 PM Re: Animal names for kata?
Anonymous
Unregistered


I heard he was a person named after the place.

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#107564 - 04/17/05 01:40 PM Re: Animal names for kata?
Anonymous
Unregistered


CXT,
regarding what Aragaki thaught Higaonna.

When puzling with the pieces of information I have I come to this.

Funakoshi states that Ason thaught Shorei ryu in Naha. He also states that Wai Xingxiang thought Shorei ryu to Higaonna.
From Miyagi we know that Goju-ryu descendet from a style inhereted from Fuzhou and introduced in Naha around 1828. Aragaki has demonstrated kata with simular names known in Goju to the last Sapposhi (it is throught this mission Norisato received an introduction with Ru Ru Ko through an attache of Sapposhi Zhao Xing).
Regarding kata, Motobu Choki wrote that sanchin seisan seiunchin pechurin are from China and handed down from the old RyuKyu Kingdom (so from before 1879, Higaonna returned in 1882).

With this information, I think that most of the curriculum of Goju-ryu was already present before Higaonna started his training and was introduced throug Ason and Wai Xing Xiang. Ru Ru Ko was acquinted with Wai Xing Xiang. Wai Xing Xian was linked with the Kojo dojo in Fuzhou and knew both Aragaki and Kojo. Aragaki introduced Higaonna to the Shorei style and Higaonna was eventually given the chance to study in China, initially by Wai Xing Xian and later by Ru Ru Ko. I think that his study was a continuation of what he was learning in Okinawa and not Whooping Crane chuan fa. He is also called the restorer of the Naha school/tradition, and I do not believe that he would have done it with a new curriculum of kata.
However this is my personnel view and is in no way conclusive and still open to debate.

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#107565 - 04/18/05 11:04 AM Re: Animal names for kata?
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5823
Loc: USA
CVV

Thanks!

Honestly that would be my conclusion also.

That the Naha arts are somehow interrelated is clear.
Even the orignal Sanchin kata of Higashionna seems to have been more like Uechi-Ryu than the current closed fist version.

It would make sense that Argaki would send Higashionna to study with people or groups that taught HIM and so forth.

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#107566 - 04/19/05 06:37 AM Re: Animal names for kata?
Anonymous
Unregistered


Marc Hill, Sanchin31
Could you further explain the link Ru Ru Ko and a place ? I've not yet encountered that theory.

An anacdote around Kururunfa. I was once told that, if somebody would ask the origin of kururunfa I could give this explenation.
In China there is a mountain region called Kururoa wich enspired many poets. The kata is from that region and indicates the place.

Next I was told the story is not true, but I could tell this story since nobody knows anyway where the kata comes from.

Maybe Japanese like to create myths.

[This message has been edited by CVV (edited 04-19-2005).]

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#107567 - 04/19/05 06:48 AM Re: Animal names for kata?
Anonymous
Unregistered


myths are just human nature.

I recently read but can't find the reference (Mark Bishop?) saying that 'Ru Ru Ko' could mean 'older brother' and it was theorized perhaps 'Ru Ru Ko' is the older brother of 'Wai Xing Xiang'?

not sure if I recall that correctly, if I find the quote I'll correct and reference.

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