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#233371 - 03/13/06 03:55 PM Re: Seisan - The Universal kata ? [Re: Victor Smith]
shoshinkan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
Of course I see where you are coming from Victor, and you make a valid point.

This is where my 'big slice' of reality comes into play for my research and what i can achieve, I keep things simple, learn simple lessons,

I thouroughly respect your methods but they are just different from mine.

when your done feel free to send me the ultimate 'root' kata please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
_________________________
Jim Neeter

www.shoshinkanuk.blogspot.com

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#233372 - 03/14/06 09:48 AM Re: Seisan - The Universal kata ? [Re: shoshinkan]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3219
Loc: Derry, NH
Hi Jim,

‘The ultimate root kata’ – personally I’m afraid that’s overstating the case.

It is interesting how people want to find the old secret, better than today’s versions of training. The equivalent of boxers wanting to abandon today’s boxing technology not to go back to the Great John L. Sullivan’s bare knuckle days, but the original Roman games version with spiked gloves. O’sorry, they’re not trying to do that.

When I began to get interested in an underlying Seisan-ness it was to understand how Okinawan karate is linked together, not to know the secret past.

There is no past to discover. Okinawan history of karate is non-literate and also very much non-verbal. Instead direct transmission, pressing the flesh instructor to student. What you are shown is what is, period, unless of course you were also fortunate to train with your instructors instructor.

Observations or logical analysis on Seisan-ness will not find a past that is gone. It can suggest there was an underlying template, that of Seisan-ness, which the future was built upon.

Looking at a great number of different Seisan kata, and setting aside style prejudice (the normal result of training in a system) the most common aspect is the embusen, or the pattern of the form. IMO, you can use the following template with all of the Seisan variations I’ve seen to date.

1. Essentially a row of techniques going out.
2. A turn
3. A row of techniques coming back
4. A "+" pattern of techniques.

Logic would dictate that the original Seisan contained at least this common core.

Then the method of striking and kicking, the manner of moving, stances, additional sections of technique, the method of energy development and release, etc. all seem to arise from different concerted efforts to use that core.

But the Okinawan tendencies seems to not set the past aside but build upon it.

Thus perhaps this is as close as we can get to what the original Seisan kata contains.

Yet if one’s intention is to show how the varying forms contain a great deal in common, there is another sort of analysis to be made. A core application of technique found among all the differing variations. Not to randomly pick movements and maintain they are the original, but to look at application potential all of the versions contain, and suggest the value in working together, practicing those applications, beyond the style specific ones.

In my original exercise of Seisan-ness, my choice of technique would be other than the existing versions, as much as possible. To force looking at the specific underlying application potential and not becoming caught up in the ‘correct’ technique discussion.

For myself I think I’ve found what I was looking for, and as a tool I can use, to help show how all of us Seisan practitioners have a great deal more in common than it appears on the surface.

But it’s not the original, just a logical construct created for a specific purpose.

A tool, an explanation, not a replacement for anything.
_________________________
victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

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#233373 - 03/16/06 01:46 PM Re: Seisan - The Universal kata ? [Re: Victor Smith]
shoshinkan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
Hi Victor,

as always you post is most interesting, and of course i see where you are coming from.

I am very fortunate where I train and am very happy with how we work Seisan, thats a given. Im also very interested in what other reputable martial artists do as unfortunatly the full 'lessons' were not passed to me by my early Sensei, maybee they didnt know or maybee they just disliked me............

however I try and look back to relevant historical references with all of my karate, its a passion and whilst important it doesnt effect my in the now training, any lessons I learn are 'ok'ed'or not by my Seniors and sometimes very slowly integrated into my training.

Your observations of the seisan kata are certainly valid and usefull, and have helped me realise that whilst research is important, its all under my nose anyhow...............if i look and train with the right attitude, under the right people and for long enough the 'secrets' seem to pop out from time to time.

_________________________
Jim Neeter

www.shoshinkanuk.blogspot.com

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#233374 - 03/16/06 02:26 PM Re: Seisan - The Universal kata ? [Re: shoshinkan]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3219
Loc: Derry, NH
Hi Jim,

Yes how we train is the most important thing. My own Isshinryu Seisan is my passion, but I've received training in Seisan through Shimabuku Ezio lineage, Ueich lineage and Shotokan (non JKA) Hangetsu lineage, as well as having seen most of the rest I've posted (but not all).

What we do with what we have is the most important thing, but the past can be mined.

One acquaintence once made a case that Isshinryu Seisan's embusen was actually a refletion of the kanjin for Seisan. I'm not a Japanese scholar and I never fully understood his point, but when I look at my current analysis, 3 sets of techniques and a "+", and look at one kanjin for seisan I've seen

+
-
-
-

There is a similarity, 3 type of techniques and a cross of techniques. But that's just my non-japanese educated mind looking at a kanjin I don't understand.... still..

The interesting thing is there are lessons that cross the groups of systems in how the techniques in those sections cna be applied, equally between almost all of the versions.

If you're ever in the neighborhood perhaps we can have some fun looking together.

Pleasantly,
_________________________
victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

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#233375 - 03/16/06 04:28 PM Re: Seisan - The Universal kata ? [Re: Victor Smith]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
If thats true, I'd love to see the embusen for 'gojushiho'=54. the characters for '50' !

interesting collection of info from this article:
http://www.kengokai.com/category/kata/

from the article:
Quote:

Seisan’s Chinese origins are probably from Tiger Style Qu’an-fa. Tiger style Qu’an fa (Tora kenpo) still has a kata called Seisan, though Sells (2000) tells us that it is much longer and more complex than the forms practiced in Okinawan karate.




can anyone confirm this? about the Tiger fist form I mean.

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#233376 - 03/17/06 08:23 AM Re: Seisan - The Universal kata ? [Re: Ed_Morris]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3219
Loc: Derry, NH
Ed,

I've seen some Tiger and personally I don't see a direct link to karate, but I'll spend some time reviewing my notes this weekend. Then again it all depends on what you can see doesn't it. Many systems contain tiger forms, but the ones I'm thinking of were a Southern Tiger style.

One point, many Chinese systems use numbers for forms. So Sanchin (3 battles), Seisan (13), Nijushiho (24) Gojushiho (54) and Superimpe (108) may exist as names in those systems. The numbers had phislosphical/religious/political signifance in China as I remember, but I'm not a scholar in the Chinese arts.

China isn't going out of their way to share much of their traditions, and many of them (including modern wushu) literally begin almost as a newborn. Watch a young tai chi performer who began very young and then consider if anyone who didn't begin at that age can do what they do with the system. Many of the Chinese arts are the same, and you really can only find sinppets (even thousands of forms) which do not replace the developmental method of learning their systems.

I wonder if the reason the links to China aren't found are as much as those people who taught the Okinawans, may have been shunned by their peers and the systems dissapated over time. On Okinawan, most of Isshinryu's founders students left when he began teaching the American Marines.

China has a much longer history of distrust of outsiders (hundreds of years of that). Sure port cities dealing with trade are more likely to find those who will share with outsiders, but were they serious, mainstream arts which did perpetuate themselves, or smaller arts that moved on?

All we seem to have are the oral histories, and at that who knows how accurate they were. It's not impossible that the names and histories were deceptions too, after all Okinawan karate was a 'secret' back in those days. Why not blame it on the Chinese... misdirection to outsiders, or 'proof' of the style's worth..... who can really say.

I don't doubt anything, but I retain a health skepticism unless I've seen it myself and can draw my own judgements.

Which is why I find my Seisan-ness analysis interesting. I can show how it can bind almost all the Okinawan systems together by showing what they have in common, not what theey have that is different or separate.

Which of course scares some too.
_________________________
victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

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#233377 - 03/22/06 09:21 AM Re: Seisan - The Universal kata ? [Re: Victor Smith]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3219
Loc: Derry, NH
Jim,

I think there is another use from my search to understand a logical understructure for Seisan kata, across the varied Okinawan systems. The same logic might be applied to try and validate a Seisan source form.

Seisan history, while mostly an oral tradition does tell us a few things.

First Seisan had been present on Okinawna in the early 1800’s. It was performed in the mind 1800’s at a public demonstration of arts. We have no record what that Seisan looked like. Just the name was the same (assumption on my part, there may have been different Sesian kanji too, just as there are four different sets of kanji for Seiunchin kata reported by Joe Swift, each with a different meaning). Ones assumptions can only go so far, and they never constitute true proof, just a current logical summation.

Second some time in the mid 1800’s Matsumura studied in China and there is a Matsumura no Seisan kata attributed to him.

Third in the late1800’s Hiagonna studied in China and the Toon Ryu, Goju Ryu and Shito Ryu Seisan traditions are attributed to his teachings.

Fourth also it the late 1800’s Uechi studied in China and the Uechi no Sesian tradition is attributed to his teachings too.

Of course Matsumura, Hiagonna and Uechi also may have studied on Okinawa and those studies may have influenced their studies. There is no independent source of truth.

What one can say, however, is the Matsuura/Hiagonna/Uechi traditions all contain a common core of Seisan-ness, as I’ve previously discussed.

With the record Okinawa demonstrates of keeping a kata’s core, even with style changes (such as multiple Kusanku’s, Patsai’s, Rohai’s, etc.) it seems keeping to the different Sesian traditions, no matter how much that core was flexed in each tradition, the core, the underlying structure was not completely altered.

Thus there is a tool you can consider. A source Seisan kata (whether from Okinawa or China) ought contain:
1. A row of techniques moving forward to 12:00 focusing on some type of striking.
2. Using a 180 degree turn to the rear as a technique sequence
3. A row of techniques moving forward to 6:00 using some sort of rising then overturning hand
4. A “+” sequence utilizing turning and multiple striking/techniques to overwhelm an opponent.
Then add the clincher, if the source system calls the form Seisan, case closed, regardless of how much more complex or simple.

Of course it would be even more convincing if there were generations of that locations students and teachers actually practicing those older traditions. Just having a ‘researcher’ returning with the answers is nowhere near as satisfactory as seeing the tradition live.

It would be pleasant if such a source would be located that fits that criteria. The issue would be resolved, from a logical point of view.

But such a forms existence doesn’t mean anybody should study it. It’s just a historical link of interest, to the handful that care. Perhaps it would close some historical puzzles, perhaps not Systems of study are nor more or less worthy. The practitioner makes their studies worthy.

Is it likely to be found?
1. If someone had found it, I guarantee it would be being marketed right now. We know people have searched and are searching. If found it wouldn’t be kept hidden, but sold.
2. If such a link existed, I guarantee China would be pushing the true origins of the Okinawan (and by extension the Japanese) arts. They’d love to hold it over Japan, even if the arts involved really aren’t Japanese. The WWII years have left wounds that may never truly heal. But any source Chinese Arts for Okinawan tradition may be so minor in China (a very likely proposition) that they no longer exist or have changed too much in the last century to be recognizable.
3. It’s even likely the source Chinese tradition may be Okinawan. There have been Chinese villages on Okinawa for centuries. It’s been suggested that they might even be the source for the Bubishi. If that is the true source, its origins may be very old and unrecognizable. And those Chinese families may still have their own private arts that no one outside of their family may know exists. It’s all just speculation, but plausible to some degree.
4. I see no reason the ones most directly affected by this, the current Okinawan systems will ever make a more concerted search. Their future isn’t looking at China but propagating their own systems, and a true search for origins is likely not in their best interests. Outside of a general acknowledgement that such a past exists, they have absolutely no reason to seek it out today. Finding it would only lead some to seek out those arts, not their own.
5. Yes various Okinawan instructors in the past have gone to China. But if they found a direct link, where is the proof?
6. One wonders how much today’s Okinawan’s might be relieved the material Miyagi came back from China with was destroyed by American bombing in WWII.

Logic remains but at tool. It cannot prove truth, but it is one way to contemplate how to recognize what cannot be proven.
_________________________
victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

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#233378 - 03/22/06 10:39 AM Re: Seisan - The Universal kata ? [Re: Victor Smith]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5822
Loc: USA
Victor


To extend your line of reasoning a bit.

The man whose students demonstrated seisan and suparimpei at the aforementined demo was Aragaki--he was also was Higashionas first teacher.

Whom exactly Aragaki studied under and with is a matter of speculation, but it is belived that he studied in China.

What is of interest to me, and kind of to your posit, is that kata handed down by Aragaki ended up in both the Shorin and Naha arts.

(nijushiho in Shorin--but NOT Naha, for example)

That can push seisan kata back an entire generation, plus it adds a guy that studied in China and is VERY connected to the history of both "streams" of karate and connected to the seisan kata itself.

Given the similarites of the Naha branchs of seisan--Goju, To'on, Ruei-Ryu, Uechi, etc

It clear that "something" was going on in the Fujian region of China, over a peroid of gereations that effected the course of Okinawan karate--and whatever that "something" was, it was pretty similar across several styles.

For an added level of confusion, you might check www.uechi-ryu.com in Van Canna's forum, they are posting some historical "I was there" stories from Toyama--one of Uechi oldest students.
Seems that Uechi may--"MAY" have been pretty familar with Shorin and Naha karate PRIOR to his going to China.

And of course there is no telling what exactly what was going on at the Kojo dojo in Fujain.


Edited by cxt (03/22/06 03:51 PM)
_________________________
I did battle with ignorance today.......and ignorance won. Huey.

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#233379 - 03/22/06 02:09 PM Re: Seisan - The Universal kata ? [Re: cxt]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3219
Loc: Derry, NH
Hi CXT,

I agree with you. I hadn't intended this to be a complete historical justification, or even a complete description of my analysis, but appreciate your comments for I think your contentions are likely as well.

As much as I'd like to see more, I suspect this is about as far as we can truly take this without more information.

But I'm always looking.
_________________________
victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

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#233380 - 03/22/06 03:56 PM Re: Seisan - The Universal kata ? [Re: Victor Smith]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5822
Loc: USA
Victor

This has been a very thought provokeing discussion on all parts.

I have greatly enjoyed reading everyones thoughts, opinions, and input.

Learned some things I didn't know, got me to think more about what I "thought" I knew.

Again, thanks to all the posters!
_________________________
I did battle with ignorance today.......and ignorance won. Huey.

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