Goju Ryu Karate
Kata is a patern of movements which contain attacks and blocks. On practicing kata the karateka aims to perform these movements with the maximum amount of strenght , speed and kime and with total awareness of the movements itself while showing balance in stances and balance between body and mind. Below you find an explanation of the different kata´s practiced within Goju Ryu Karate Do.
Sanchin means "Three battles". The underlying principle is the battle between soul, mind and body. Trough hard training and steady practising the three of them should be united. Originally this kata was taught by Sensei Higashionna with open hands (as it is still practised in Uechi Ryu). Higashionna later changed this to clenched fists.
Tensho means "Rotating palms". This breathing kata was developed by Miyagi sensei from the Rokkishu kata from chinese white crane style. Rokkishu is the meaning for "6 Hands" and denotes the different hand positions in this kata. Tensho combines movement with softness.
The translations of these Kanji reads "to demolish, to destroy". The Gekisa-Kata were first introduced into Goju-Ryu by Miyagi Sensei for giving starters in this martial art a first insight. They were developed around 1944.
Saifa means "destroying strikes" or "to tear, to shred, to crush". Traditionally the 2nd kanji reads "ha" but was changed to "fa" due to okinawan influence. The Bunkai of Saifa reveals several grippling techniques and very effective uke-waza (e.g. with strikes to the opponents elbow etc.)
"conquer over distance"
Seinchin is characterized by low stances - shiko dachi and neko ashi dachi. Some grappling and take-downs. Often when teaching Yagi Dai Sensei would walk around the class and do minor corrections forcing the students to hold particularly difficult postures for quite sometime. Seienchin is considered the other training kata of Goju-ryu, working the low stances that naha-te is known for. This kata when done properly, strengthens and increases the flexibility of the legs and hips.
6 x 6 = 36 - The first six represents the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and spirit; the second six represents color, voice, taste, smell, touch and justice. Sanseryu develops low kicks and double hand techniques. The characteristic movement in Goju-ryu's sanseryu is the tobi nidan geri.
"conquer four directions"
This also uses the same kanji for "chin" as in sanchin. In this case it is combined with the kanji "shi" (four) and so (direction) to form shisochin or also "four-face battle." Shisoochin uses the characteristic open hands of tiger techniques, and classic Chinese techniques such as the "angry tiger walking through the forest".
3 x 6 = 18 - The six in this case is the same as the second six in sanseru (color, voice, taste, smell, touch and justice), while the three represents good, bad and peace. Yagi Meitoku often said it is based upon crane techniques which can be seen in the leaning stances, whipping style of striking, and evasive footwork.
This was handed down from the Chinese master, Ryuryu Ko to Kanryo Higaonna but the original creator of this kata is unknown. Kururunfa contains a wide variety of open-hand techniques and especially hand/hip coordination techniques. Like Sesan, Kururunfa [Kududunfa] has soft movements followed by hard movements. However in Kururunfa the difference between hard and soft are much more marked, with slow drawn out movements followed by a pause with devastating explosive techniques to follow, then the cycle repeats again.
This represents the number thirteen. Thirteen is a prime number and in China is a number representing good luck and prosperity. Sesan is an aesthetic kata epitomizing the ideals of goju-ryu by utilizing a number of hard and soft techniques. One of the two training kata of the Gojyu-ryu system. This kata was said to be the favourite of Miyagi Chojun sensei.
"one hunred and eight"
3 x 36 = 108 has special significance in Buddhism. It is believed that man has 108 evil passions and so in Buddhist temples on December 31st, at the stroke of midnight, a bell is rung 108 times to drive away those spirits. The number 108 is calculated from 3 x 36. The symbolism of the number 36 is the same as in Sanseru (eyes, ears, nose, tongue,body and spirit; color, voice, taste, smell, touch and justice). Suparinpei is goju-ryu's longest kata. It utilizes a large number of techniques, including breath control, and it contains the greatest number of applications and depth of meaning.