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Seiunchin (制引戦)

blue belt
  • Seiunchin translates as "war kata"
  • Seiunchin has also been translated as "the lull in the storm"
  • Seiunchin has also been translated as "the storm within the calm"
Run Time:
55 seconds
126 movements

Seiunchin Kata Tree

Higashio -- Pa kua chang -- Miyagi -- Tatsuo Shimabuku


Seisan kata is one of the oldest kata still taught today, with the exception of Sanchin. Its beginning can be traced back to PEICHAN TAZKAHARA (1688-1760), one of Okinawa’s great “TODE” masters. Peichan passed the kata on to “Karate Sakugawa,” who in turn passed it on to Soken Matsumora. Matsumora was the great Chotoku Kyan’s instructor. Master Kyan is given credit for teaching Tatsuo Shimabuku Seisan kata. Master Kyan is said to have mastered Seisan kata while jumping backwards off a barge onto a bridge.

About Seiunchin (制引戦)

Seiunchin is the 2nd kata taught in Isshinryu and is required for promotion to blue belt. Seiunchin is taught after the karte-ka learns Seisan Kata. Seiunchin becomes a little more difficult than Seisan to the beginner. Seiunchin introduces a more difficult pattern, "embusen," along with different angles of attack. The embusen of Seiunchin kata follows a "Y" shape.

Seiunchin gets its name from the second basic Isshinryu stance that is used 14 times throughout the kata. Seiunchin kata begins very slowly and with "ubuki" breathing, and then explodes into full power and extremely fast speed. One characteristic that makes Seiunchin different from any other empty hand Isshinryu kata is that there are no kicks. Seiunchin builds stamina and develops an inner strength. Another interesting characteristic is that it makes use of 2 "archer blocks". Seiunchin kata defends against 6 imaginary opponents attacking from all different angles and uses a total of 3 basic Isshinryu stances: Seisan, Seiunchin, and Cat stance.

Seiunchin introduces the reinforced blocking and striking techniques never before used in Isshinryu karate. This is a rare type of blocking and striking, which is used against an opponent that is much larger and more powerful than the karate-ka. Seiunchin has 2 kiai's: the first is after the karate-ka stops on the opponents foot then performs an uppercut, back fist, and down block; the 2nd kiai is on a downward punch that is hitting the top of the opponents foot and breaking it.

About Seiunchin (制引戦):
By: Joe Swift

This kata seems to have been brought to Okinawa by Higaonna Kanryo, who is said to have learned it under the master Ruru Ko, or perhaps under Wai Xinxian, who is said to have taught at the old Kojo dojo at Fuzhou City in Fujian Province. Recent research has indicated that Ruru Ko was actually Xie Zhongxiang, founder of Whooping Crane boxing, but this kata is not included within that style, thus hinting that Higaonna had either learned it elsewhere, or else developed it himself. However, here we run into a problem, as Nakaima Norisato (founder of Ryueiryu) is also said to have learned this kata under Ruru Ko. Another theory is that Miyagi may have been responsible for creating this form or introducing it from other sources.

The word Seiunchin is written as "Control, Pull, Fight" by many Okinawa Goju-ryu stylists, as well as Isshinryu teacher Uezu Angi (son in law of Shimabuku Tatsuo), perhaps hinting at the various grappling and grabbing techniques contained within. A good example is the "reinforced block" which can actually be applied as a wrist-crushing joint lock (Tokashiki, 1995), and the "archers block," which can be used as a throw (Higaonna, 1981; Kai, 1987).

Otsuka Tadahiko, a Gojuryu teacher who has spent considerable time in China and Taiwan researching the roots of his system, tells us that his research indicates Seiunchin may mean "Follow-Move-Power," which would be pronounced Sui Yun Jin in Mandarin Chinese (Otsuka, 1998). Kinjo Akio says that his research has revealed to him that Seiunchin may be from a Hawk style of Chinese boxing, and mean "Blue-Hawk-Fight," which is pronounced Qing Ying Zhan in Mandarin, or Chai In Chin in Fujian dialect (Kinjo, 1999).

This kata is preserved in many modern styles of karatedo, including Gojuryu, Shitoryu, Isshinryu, Shoreiryu, Kyokushin, Shimabuku Eizo lineage Shorinryu, Ryueiryu, etc.