Uechi Kanbun returned to Okinawa after learning three Pangainoon katas; Sanchin, Seisan and Sanseiryu.
These katas are essentially southern Chinese chuan fa forms and the patterns and techniques are fundamentally unchanged from Uechi Kanbuns time.
Five further katas were developed by Uechi Kanei and senior members of the Uechi-ryu association in the middle of the 20th century. They provide training bridges between the original three katas and expanded the syllabus.
Uechi Kanbun left China before he would have learned what is believed to be the fourth kata of the Pangainoon system; Suparempe. This kata can be found in other karate styles with roots in China such as Goju-ryu. The Okikukai spent four years developing a ninth kata called Ryuuko for Uechi-ryu which draws from the Suparempe kata existent in other systems.
Originated in China. Everything begins and ends with Sanchin. Sanchin is a body conditioning kata and the most important kata in the system. It should be practiced and developed throughout ones karate life but can never be perfected. The name has been considered to have many meanings but they are centred on the concept of three conflicts (mind, body, spirit), three tactics (focus, stance, timing), or three battles (the three
Designed by Uechi Kanei in 1954, it combines the names of Kanbun and Shushiwa. It is considered as the first fighting kata.
Designed by Itokazu Seiki, it also combines the names of Kanbun and Shushiwa. It was originally known as Dai ni Sesan (second Seisan) as it was designed as a training aid for Seisan with many similar moves.
Designed by Uehara Saburo in 1963, the name means ten conflicts. Shi is the Chinese word for 10 which is pronounced Sei in Japanese. It has been suggested that its a combination the kata names; Seisan and Sanchin but this probably coincidental as the kata contains no moves from Sanchin.
Originated in China and means thirteen. Seisan is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese for thirteen; Shi San. The kata emphasises strength and speed combined and in isolation.
Designed by Uechi Kanei and means sixteen. Seiryu is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese for sixteen; Shi Liu. The kata emphasises neko ashi dachi in particular.
Designed by Uechi Kanei and means Kanbuns conflicts. The kata closely resembles and was probably designed as a training aid for Sanseiyru kata.
Originated in China and means thirty six. Sanseiryu is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese for thirty six; San Shi Liu. Building upon Sanchin and Seisan, combat takes place in all eight directions and the movements are long and dynamic.
Designed by Takamiyagi Shigeru in 2002 and means Dragon-Tiger. The kata emphasises low stances and significant changes in cadence.
Bunkai is the demonstration of an understanding of a kata through the application of its techniques.
Traditional Uechi-ryu has two bunkai, the Okikukai has added a third.
Developed for kyu grade students and can be performed with one, three or five attackers.
Developed for dan grade students and is an important part of the sho dan grading. It is performed with one attacker where the defender alternates between demonstrating the kata and performing the applications.
Developed for senior dan grade students and is an important part of the yon dan grading. It is performed with one attacker where the defender alternates between demonstrating the kata and performing the applications.
The term yakusoku translates as choreographed and Kumite literally translates as crossing hands.
Yakusoku Kumite is usually referred to in English as Pre-arranged Sparring.
Kumite one was developed by Uechi Kanei sometime before 1955 but was unnamed in Okinawa. It only gained its name when George Mattson took it back to America and, it would appear, subsequently developed a kumite two and a kumite three which are now little practiced in Britain. Kumite One comprises
five sets of offensive and defensive moves performed from beginning to end by two students and then performed in reverse.
Kyu kumite was originally named Yakusoku Kumite dai ichi (number one) and was designed by Yonaha Seisho, a student of Uechi Kanbun, for practice by kyu grade students. It is made up of five sets of offensive and defensive moves performed alternately by two students.
Dan kumite was originally named Yakusoku Kumite dai ni (number two) and was designed by Uechi Kanei for practice by dan grade students. It is made up of a further five sets of offensive and defensive moves performed alternately by two students. In Dan kumite the sets are more complex and there is a greater
emphasis on evasive movement.
The Okikukai have developed a new, again unnamed, yakusoku kumite for Uechi-ryu intended to replace the existing Kyu and Dan kumites. It is made up of ten sets of offensive and defensive moves performed alternately by two students. The first five sets are designed for kyu grade students, the second five sets are
reserved for dan grade students.
Jiyu Kumite translates as free-style sparring and is considered the zenith of sparring following yakusoku (pre-arranged), ippon (tournament point-scoring) and randori (technique developing, continuous slow and soft with emphasis on technique). It is continuous, hard and fast but must still be controlled. It exists in a competition form, sometimes referred to as Clicker, where contact is scored by four corner judges using thumb operated counters.
Philosophy of the Kiai
The "Kiai" is a brief, intense shout, usually made at the focal point of a striking technique. Do not shout the word "Kiai", as this would be like screaming "Shout!" The kiai is a spirited yell that is psychologically
important in the proper execution of many techniques, since it channels the entire spirit and body into an action. The kiai concentrates the practitioners force while it shatters his opponent's concentration.
In addition to the kiai's psychological merits, it has physiological significance. Proper delivery of the kiai requires that one tighten and press downward into the lower belly with the abdominal muscles.
Concentration on this central area keeps the karate student focused and balanced; a poor kiai will reveal a lack of focus. A proper kiai demands a brief but intense contraction of the outer stomach muscles; therefore, it can also become a final defence against a mid-section punch.
The kiai gathers various mental energies, producing an intrepid spirit and even an heroic soul. The first part of the word, ki, means "spirit" or "mind," and the practice of the kiai develops and expresses the fighting spirit. When body, speech, and mind come together and achieve perfect focus, the individual can accomplish feats beyond his or her ordinary range (such as breaking one or more boards at a demonstration). The second part of the word, ai, means "putting together", and so the kiai is what concentrates and focuses the body and spirit into a total force. Simultaneously strengthening the body, focusing the mind, and disrupting the opponent, the kiai organizes all vital energies into one explosive burst of spirit.
The Ryo Shin Kan Karate Dojo is located in the Calso Heath and Fitness Club. Click the link below for their website.
A Google map and details about the Calso Health and fitness club are available on the link below
Monday and Thursday . 20:00 - 21:45
Calso Fitness Centre
28-30 Letchworth Drive
Bromley, Kent, BR2 9BE
020 8466 0506 (Calso)
07885 327065 (Sensei Del Charlton)