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#371310 - 11/23/07 03:46 PM history info wanted
underdog Offline

Registered: 09/18/04
Posts: 1270
Loc: Mansfield, MA U.S.A.
We have 3 odd ball kata that don't match the rest of what we do. Our other kata come from Shotokan or Cerio Kempo. These other 3, I'm told come from Okinawa. I'm hoping someone can identify the style and orgin for me.

They are Yonsu, Wonsu and Saifa. I'm OK on bunkai and utility of them. It is just the history I'm looking for. I know there are a lot of history lovers here.

I am aware of the connection between Wonsu and Empi. We also do Empi. Still, there is a real style feel difference between them. They are not the same.

The older I get, the better I was!

#371311 - 11/23/07 10:08 PM Re: history info wanted [Re: underdog]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3220
Loc: Derry, NH

When a system adds kata from other styles of training, IMO it would be best if they document the source for students. BTW there are often various ways to spell the same kata.

I recognize the name Yansu from Kyokushin Karate (the only system that uses it as far as I know). And as Kyokushin also teaches Saifa, perhaps they have the same source.

But Saifa was originally a Goju Kata (then imported into Shito-Ryu and finally Kyokushin)

Wansu is likewise used by multiple systems, with different shapes to the form.

I've pulled some various sources for you to consider if they are similar to yours.

Yansu Kata – Kyokushin Karate of Mas Oyama

Yansu is derived from the characters Yan, meaning safe, and Su, meaning three. The name is attributed to that of a Chinese military attaché to Okinawa in the 19th Century. The word yansu also means to keep pure, striving to maintain the purity of principles and ideals rather than compromising for expediency.

Yantsu Kyokushinkai kata

Saiha means extreme destruction, smashing or tearing. The word Saiha can also mean great wave, the source of the IFK logo. No matter how large a problem is encountered, with patience, determination and perseverance (Osu) one can rise above and overcome it, or smash through and get beyond it.

Saifa Kyokushinkai kata
Karate Goju Ryu – Saifa
Saifa Shito Ryu

Wansu (Wanshu) is one of the most popular forms among Okinawan systems and has been used for many years, undergoing many modifications. Even today, there are several variations of this traditional form. Wansu, is said to have been named after a Chinese envoy to Okinawa who happened to be a martial artist. It is believed that Wansu originated in China around 1690, making it one of the oldest Okinawan forms. Wansu was primarily used around the village of Tomari and therefore part of the Tomari-Te system. There is also a Chinese name that the form is translated to mean Flying Swallow.
The kata includes a distinctive upper level attack followed by the defender grasping the opponent and drawing him inward, simultaneously jumping in and attacking again. This movement resembles the up and down and flipping away flight of a swallow.
Wansu – Isshinryu
Wado Ryu Wansu
Seibukan Wanshu Kata
Wansu Okinawan Kempo
victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

#371312 - 11/24/07 06:47 AM Re: history info wanted [Re: underdog]
Isshinryukid4life Offline
Professional Injury causer

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 2455
Loc: Knoxville.

#371313 - 11/24/07 08:14 AM Re: history info wanted [Re: Isshinryukid4life]
underdog Offline

Registered: 09/18/04
Posts: 1270
Loc: Mansfield, MA U.S.A.
Thanks. What a gold mine. You guys put a lot of research into answering my question. Much appreciated. I found kata quite close to what we do so that I can get to the orgins. I have to get back to this later today when I wake up. It is bed time now. I work nights. I took a quick look to see what there was.
The older I get, the better I was!

#371314 - 11/25/07 12:25 AM Re: history info wanted [Re: underdog]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
the Seibukan and Okinawan Kempo versions of Wansu are what I remember of that kata. It was taught that way also in Shuri Ryu karate, with some small adjustments in "method". The Isshin Ryu version looks as I remember also.

If you can lay your hands on one, Robert Trias' book on Okinawan Karate has most all of the kata in it, as taught in the Shuri Ryu style, along with the history of their origins (or at least his version of it). If I remember correctly, Wansu was the "Dragon Boy dumping form", and Empi Sho was the "flying swallow" form. Most all of the Okinawan kempo forms were "animal-based forms" and use the animal movements of the kempo system as the basis of their techniques... snake, tiger, dragon, etc. as the basis of their kata. Trias book has a lot of information in it, but you might have to snoop around to find anybody that still has a copy of it.

Google "Robert Trias" and you should find the Shuri Ryu site, and they might be able to help you find somebody in your area with the info. Hope that helps.

What man is a man that does not make the world a better place?... from "Kingdom of Heaven"

#371315 - 11/26/07 09:30 AM Re: history info wanted [Re: wristtwister]
Ironfoot Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/10/04
Posts: 2682
Loc: St. Clair Shores, MI USA
WT: Wansu is the "dumping form". "Dragon Boy" is actually the translation of "Tatsuo", which master Shimabuku took on as an adult first name, as Okinawans are/were prone to do.

#371316 - 11/26/07 10:19 AM Re: history info wanted [Re: wristtwister]
BodhiHuss Offline

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 120
Loc: Greenville, SC, USA
If anyone is looking for a copy of The Pinnacle of Karate by Robert Trias, try looking for an older version (pre-1990s). I have seen a few on E-Bay. After Trias died, his daughter did a bunch of editing and took out quite a bit. I lost my older copy (stupid, stupid me) so I ordered a newer one from Roberta Trias-Kelley. I was rather irked when I realized how much was missing. The older version seemed to be literally cut and pasted, but it had personality and a lot of good information. It's still good, but not the same. It's sad (although typical) what happened within the Shuri-ryu organization after Trias died.
James Huss, Suenaka Zenzan Dojo


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