The Kata of Isshin-ryu
The second kata in Isshin-ryu is Seiuchin which means, “Marching far quietly.” In addition, the name holds the meaning of lull in the storm or storm within a calm. It also translates as “war kata.” This kata is very old and is significance has been lost. However, it still retains its elegant and beautiful qualities. Its origins may lie in the Hsing-I school (one of the three Chinese internal systems). The first three movements are done slowly from the horse stance (kiba-dachi) with rigid open hands and deep breath control
It is believed that the kata is named after a famous Chinese martial
artist Seiuchin (or Seiunchin). Master Seiuchin lived in the 15th or
16th century and excelled in Southern Chinese boxing. Legend tells
stories of Master Seiuchin being so powerful with gouges that he could drive his
fingers through a cow’s side and pull strips of meat from the inside. There is
also a story about his pulling out a man’s heart. The kata was developed by
Okinawan Master Kanryo Higashionna. Master Higashionna first trained in
An interesting note regarding this kata is the use of two “archer blocks”. This position mimics the position of Mizu Gami in the Isshin-ryu patch. The only difference is the hand behind the head is opened instead of closed. Seiuchin has two kiai points. The first is after the second double block (middle and low) and during the uppercut strike. The second kiai is on a downward punching block (blocking a kick from a cat stance) near the end of the kata.
Seiuchin begins very slowly and with ubuki breathing. Shortly, it explodes into full power with very fast speed. The practitioner is defending against six opponents attacking from many different angles. Additionally, the student is using three basic Isshin-ryu stances; Seisan, Seiuchin, and the cat stance. There are approximately 125 movements and when performed properly, the kata takes almost a full minute to complete.