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#233331 - 02/23/06 12:53 PM Re: Seisan - The Universal kata ? [Re: Joss]
shoshinkan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
Thanks for that, interesting!
Jim Neeter

#233332 - 02/23/06 12:59 PM Re: Seisan - The Universal kata ? [Re: WuXing]
shoshinkan Offline
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Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
Im happy to accept that Seisan is based on a very old Shaolin form, however it is uniquley Okinawan as we train it(Karate). It seems that the link with Tiger style is strong, which would lead to seisan being an entry level form, if we follow the Shaolin order of progression.

Yes of course numbers have alot of symbolism and this to could be a link. There is a theory that the Goju orthodox 'old' kata list follows the Buddhist numbers, I dont have the detials to hand but could dig them out - interestgly that theory puts Gojushiho in the Goju set, at 54.
Jim Neeter

#233333 - 02/23/06 02:38 PM Re: Seisan - The Universal kata ? [Re: shoshinkan]
Ed_Morris Offline
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Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
this is a new entry, it outlines Seisan kata and it's versions pretty well:

keep in mind, wikipedia accepts correction submissions. if you see something wrong or would like to add, just edit and submit. make sure your info is good and has a source (if applicable).

#233334 - 02/23/06 03:01 PM Re: Seisan - The Universal kata ? [Re: shoshinkan]
Victor Smith Offline
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Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3220
Loc: Derry, NH

Seisan's position in various systems depends on the history behind the system.

Isshinryu's Seisan, a derivative of Kyan's, became the intial kata because Kyan was following an older Shorin tradition where people began with Seisan.

Itosu derivative systems (like Shotokan) placed Seisan as an advanced kata because of their development of Pinan/Heian and Naihanchi/Tekki kata for beginners, then they used their own kata curricula.

When Goju became somewhat standardized in the 50's Seisan became and advanced kata in their tradition.

Uechi originally only taught 3 kata (till the later 50's or so) and Seisan was the 2nd kata, after Uechi Sanchin).

Of course the placement of beginning Seisan kata practice is relative, the real goal is of course long term advanced execution, in any of the systems, and that's where Seisan gets very interesting.

From what I've found the Chinese Seisan link will always be an open question. Yes many Chinese systems did use numbers for form names, but I have yet to see a Chinese form that resembles Seisan's in any of its incarnations. Till such a form is demonstrated, personally, I'll remain open to just the possibility.

That doesnt' mean possiblitites don't exist. For example I can show Eagle Claw applications of Seisan, but it' would be a long strong of the imagination that Seisan was an Eagle Claw derivative.
victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

#233335 - 02/24/06 01:25 AM Re: Seisan - The Universal kata ? [Re: WuXing]
CVV Offline

Registered: 08/06/04
Posts: 605
Loc: Belgium

If Seisan is an original Shaolin form, then the number thirteen would be Buddhist symbolism. Buddhism has lots of numbers of things. 13 could be the eight-fold path and the five precepts. I don't know if there's anything that is 13 by itself.

Thats interesting eight-fold path and five precepts. Could you elaborate more?
I've heared many sources claim seisan represents 8 offensive and 5 defensive moves, totalling 13 techniques or moves.
13 also represents a lucky number in China.
To my knowledge it is not linked to buddism or buddist principles like sepai, sanseru, useishi or pechurin.
Mccarthy places the roots in monk fist boxing, lion boxing, tiger boxing. (see bubishi)
Motobu Choki places seisan origin in China in his book 'watashi no karate-jutsu'.

Seisan-dachi is referred to the stance used when delivering the uppercut in the goju version by some schools. It's a shiko dachi with a straight front foot and slightly out of line stance (to keep balance) with upper body in direction to front foot. JKF Goju-kai used to do that but changed to Jundokan version (shiko dachi).
IOGKF uses seisan-dachi. Not sure about Meibukan and Shorei-kan / Shodokan but I believe they use seisan-dachi too.

It's supposed to represent a fumikomi geri (down foot stomp kick) while first blocking a kick with the shin.

#233336 - 02/24/06 05:53 AM Re: Seisan - The Universal kata ? [Re: CVV]
shoshinkan Offline
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Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
Just some info -

im not going to post eight-fold path and five precepts as that wouldnt seem apropiate, however a certain British writer, Nathan Johnson Sensei did once write something like -

Buddhist Numerical links to kata

Sanchin (3 conflicts)
Rokushu (6 Hands)
Seipai (18 Hands)
Sanseryu (36 hands)
Gojushiho (54 steps)
Superinpai (108 hands)

Now of course this doesnt invalidate kata that represent other numbers or names, but its an interesting theory and one that perhaps links in to the development of the Shaolin martial traditions?
Jim Neeter

#233337 - 02/24/06 07:56 AM Re: Seisan - The Universal kata ? [Re: shoshinkan]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
I believe the significance of the numbers can be found in Chinese philosophies and religions. also, have a look at the history of mathematics in China...there is some correlation to 'the magic of numbers'. every culture has superstitions (historic and current) based on numbers/numerology.

Finding the significance of why Seisan is '13' might be nothing more than an exercise similar to the study of why '13' is considered unlucky in the west. A few interesting theories with the Knights templar, etc but nothing concrete.
I think the real answer lies in how/why people believe such superstition and why/how it's propegated into lore. and how widespead lore has it's own 'power'. lore has no power when only few believe it.

but as far as the kata Seisan itself, I don't believe it's name will gain insight into better technique or uncover hidden principles...but you guys already knew that...

#233338 - 02/24/06 08:09 AM Re: Seisan - The Universal kata ? [Re: Ed_Morris]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6665
Loc: Amherst, MA
I do think that the naming of kata is important, as it reveals the mindset of the practioners. Or, really, what is considered to be a proper mindset if one wants to get all the benefits from the kata. Naming is like paying this case to Buddhist ideals.

#233339 - 02/24/06 12:00 PM Re: Seisan - The Universal kata ? [Re: Victor Smith]
Neko456 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 01/18/05
Posts: 3260
Loc: Midwest City, Ok, USA
I believe there is more to the reason why Seisan is placed differently in the Shuri syllabas compared to the Goju version it has to do with the fact that the Goju version is more complicated it comprises elements Tiger, Dragon and Crane.

As this quote from Ed's Seisan's memo states 'The Goju-Ryu (Naha-te) version of the kata, Higaonna-no-Seisan, is a more complicated and impressive version that contains close range fighting techniques such as short-range punches, low kicks and directional changes to unbalance the opponent. Typical of Goju-Ryu it contains slow movements performed under tension, as well as strong fast techniques. Although rooted in the same form, significant differences can be seen in the Goju version compared to the two versions mentioned above.

Though it states they have the same roots??

#233340 - 02/24/06 01:56 PM Re: Seisan - The Universal kata ? [Re: Neko456]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
well, first, wikipedia is not the lay of the's just the best info of the people who bother to maintain it. sometimes complicated details are left out and general statements are put in it's place until better, more solid and sourceable/credible info comes along.

second, 150+ years of separate lineage will do that to a kata. the reason why this one is interesting is because it has so many separate lines of development from early on. More than likely, Higashionna is the one responsible for making goju's version distinctive as was mentioned. Other style versions I've seen do appear to be more fundamental (in appearence), but still recognizable as the same kata.

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