Videos: Descriptions and Links
Kata, Bunkai, Prearranged Kumite
The practice of traditional karate requires the utmost devotion to the perfection of forms as they represent the core aspects of any traditional Asian martial arts system. The performance of kata is neither dance nor theatrical display, it is, rather, the essence of a martial artist's individual dedication to the perfection of mind, body and spirit in what has been described as "moving zen".
KATA – means “form”, a choreographed routine of steps, turns, blocks, strikes, and kicks. The term kata is singular and plural. Kanbun Uechi taught three kata that he learned in China. These three kata are Sanchin, Seisan and Sanseirui. There is speculation and circumstantial evidence that Kanbun learned a fourth kata named Suparempi aka Pechurin. Kanei Uechi stated that he saw his father practice the fourth form but when questioned, Kanbun stated that he did not feel sufficiently satisfied with his own performance of the kata to teach it to anyone else. The Goju-ryu system has preserved their own version of this kata. The Goju-ryu system also have versions of Sanchin and Seisan. The Goju system changed the hand strikes in Sanchin from an open hand to closed fists and changed the breathing from shallow to very deep. Uechi-ryu and Goju-ryu have a common ancestral root in White Crane, Tiger and Dragon systems of Chinese Kung Fu.
Sanchin - Literally translated as "3 fights/conflicts". From the kanji for "3" and "conflict"("to fight/to struggle"). Usually interpreted as three Modes/Conflicts being Mind, Body and Spirit). An alternate interpretation is "Three Challenges" being those of softness, timing, and power. The kata originated in China and it is believed that 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 centered on the concept of three conflicts (mind, body, spirit), three tactics (focus, stance, timing), or three battles (the three techniques used).
Here is a link to a performance by Kanei Uechi of this form: Sanchin
Kanshiwa - A combination of the first kanji in Kanbun's name, and the last two kanji (if written in Chinese order) of Shu Shiwa's (Japanese pronunciation) name. This kata teaches the new student the concept of harnessing natural strength through the use of primarily tiger-style techniques. Designed by Kanei Uechi in 1954, it combines the names of Kanbun and Shushiwa. It is considered as the first fighting kata.
Here is a link to a performance by Master Gustavo Gondra of this form: Kanshiwa
Kanshu or “second Seisan” as it was designed as a training aid for Seisan with many similar moves. This kata teaches the concept of precision in timing through using crane techniques.- A combination of the first kanji in Kanbun's name, and the kanji for Shu Shiwa's family name (Shu) [see previous note on pronunciation]. Designed by Itokazu Seiki, it also combines the names of Kanbun and Shushiwa. It was originally known as Daini Seisan
Here is a link to a performance by Master George Mattson of this form: Kanshu
Seichin - Literally translated it means "10 fights/conflicts"). An alternate meaning interprets the name phonetically and then it translates as "Spirit Challenge", implying that it teaches the concept of soft whip-like motion. This form uses whip-like dragon-style techniques. Designed by Uehara Sabato in 1963. Shi is the Chinese word for 10 which is pronounced Sei in Japanese.
Here is a link to a performance by Master Kiyohide Shinjo of this form: Seichin
Seisan - Literally translated, it means "13". Usually interpreted as "Thirteen modes of attack and defense" or "13 positions to attack/defend from.") An alternate meaning is simply "13th Room Kata", being the form synthesized in the 13th room of Shaolin, using individual techniques taught in the previous training rooms. This kata now successfully combines the "Three Challenges" concept, and the student can now go back and recognize and further develop those elements in the previous forms. Originated in China and means thirteen. Seisan is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese for thirteen; Shi San. The kata emphasizes strength and speed combined and in isolation.
Here is a link to a performance by Master Ryukoh Tomoyose (10th. degree) of this form: Seisan
- Along the lines of the others, literally translated this means simply "16". Seiryu is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese for sixteen; Shi Liu. An alternate translation uses phonetics rather than literal kanji meaning, and can denote "10 Dragons Form", as there are 10 dragon techniques in the kata. This kata teaches the concept of stability since the four consecutive Dragon techniques in rotation call for a strong sense of balance. Designed by Uechi Kanei.. The kata emphasizes neko ashi dachi (cat stance) in particular. Seirui
Here is a link to a performance by the late Master Shinyu Gushi of this form: Seirui
Kanchin - A combination of Kanbun's first kanji and "fight." The first kanji of Kanbun, Kanei, and Kanmei are the same. Since this was created by Kanei UECHI from fighting techniques he favored from his father's training, the name is considered to mean "Kanei's Challenge", or "Kanei's Fight". This form teaches the practitioner the concept of making defensive movements at one stroke (called "ikkyoodo" - all at one stroke). The kata closely resembles and was probably designed as a training aid for Sanseirui kata.
Here is a link to a performance by Master Gondra of this form: Kanchin
Sanseirui - Literally translated, it means simply "36". Usually interpreted as "thirty-six modes of attack and defense" or "36 positions to attack/defend from."). Sanseirui is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese for thirty six; San Shi Liu . It can also mean "36th Room Kata" as it is made from techniques taught individually in the previous 35 rooms (or previous 12 rooms in 3 rotations). Shu Shiwa was also known as "The 36th Room Priest" according to the 1977 Uechi-Ryu Kyohon (Techniques Book). This final kata combines all the previous concepts to preempt the attack. Building upon Sanchin and Seisan, combat takes place in all eight directions and the movements are long and dynamic.
Here is a link to a performances from 1981 by O Sensei Kanei Uechi Sanseiryu
Ryuko - Designed by Takamiyagi Shigeru in 2002 and means Dragon-Tiger. The kata emphasizes low stances and significant changes in cadence.
Here is a link to a performance by Ms. Machida (5th. degree) of this kata: Ryuko
Dan Kumite (IUKF version- written description)
and performed by Sensei Don Uttenreither and Sensei Jack Mangelsdorf (Video)Dan Kumite produced by Sensei Rod Mindlin from San Diego