Today I ran across a very useful clip in which the Goju Ryu and Uechi Ryu versions of the Seisan kata are performed side by side, sequence by sequence:

The Seisan kata has become a major preoccupation of my practice in the last two years. It exists in practically every major school of Okinawan and Japanese karate, and may well be among the oldest of the extant kata. When I learned the Goju version, I didn’t see much resemblance to the Hangetsu form that I was familiar with; but after working through some application scenarios the commonalities began to stand out like beacons. This led me to learn the Uechi version of the kata for further comparison. I find that the Goju and Uechi versions complement each other extremely well, and the Hangetsu version seems to reflect a composite of the Naha versions. Harry Cook describes the dominant theme of the kata as “take no prisoners,” and I have to agree: circular deflections, mangling of windpipes, uppercuts, aggressive throws and stomping of knees and ankles can be mapped all over the place. If you are familiar with one version, give the others a look and see where they lead you.

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