Kata Seisan (Naha) - George A. Dillman; 10th dan black belt

punisher73

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I guess I didn't realize that Isshin-Ryu was classified as a Naha style, since the okinawans consider it a Shuri style (derived from Shorin ryu even though there is a Goju ryu influence). The upper body is very Shorin-Ryu like and the lower body stances are more Goju-Ryu like.

The Isshin-ryu version looks more similiar to the Shorin version than any of the Naha based styles (Goju, Ueichi, Tou'on--from descriptions I have read on this style).
Here is Zenpo Shimabukuro performing Seisan (This is the version taught by Chotoku Kyan, which is what Tatsuo would have learned). Notice the upper body techniques and overall pattern.

Here is Eiichi Miyazato performing Seisan (He was a direct student of Chojun Miyagi). Notice the lower body stances

Here is another version of a Naha-Te based Seisan performed by Kanei Uechi, son of the founder Kanbun Uechi

Finally, here is the Isshin-Ryu version of Seisan performed by the founder Tatsuo Uechi
 
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Bill Mattocks

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It is not for me to criticize a black belt's technique, but this would (in my humble opinion) be considered a very poor execution of Seisan kata in our dojo. A green belt could maybe get away with this, a brown belt never. The movements appear similar to ours, but the execution is poor and without power, and the foot position is horrible. Beginners do this. I still make mistakes with my feet in this kata, and I'm properly called on it, so I'm sensitive to it. Seisan kata is seisan stance; with the exception of two blocks, which are shiko-dachi (Isshin-ryu's shiko-dachi is not as low as other styles, but it is still shiko-dachi).

Try this one. This is not our sensei, but his karate looks very much like ours (and with good reason).

[video=youtube_share;kOmiuPdH7o8]http://youtu.be/kOmiuPdH7o8[/video]
 

punisher73

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It is not for me to criticize a black belt's technique, but this would (in my humble opinion) be considered a very poor execution of Seisan kata in our dojo. A green belt could maybe get away with this, a brown belt never. The movements appear similar to ours, but the execution is poor and without power, and the foot position is horrible. Beginners do this. I still make mistakes with my feet in this kata, and I'm properly called on it, so I'm sensitive to it. Seisan kata is seisan stance; with the exception of two blocks, which are shiko-dachi (Isshin-ryu's shiko-dachi is not as low as other styles, but it is still shiko-dachi).

I think that is part of the problem with this video, is that he calls it "Naha-Te", but then tries to perform a modified Isshin-ryu version. It is closer in performance to Shuri-te (Shorin-Ryu). I have not seen that type of front stance used in any version where the backfoot is turned out. Not sure if this is how it is performed in "Ryukyu Kempo" in which he teaches, but it is not good Isshin-ryu.
 

cdunn

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It is not for me to criticize a black belt's technique, but this would (in my humble opinion) be considered a very poor execution of Seisan kata in our dojo. A green belt could maybe get away with this, a brown belt never. The movements appear similar to ours, but the execution is poor and without power, and the foot position is horrible. Beginners do this. I still make mistakes with my feet in this kata, and I'm properly called on it, so I'm sensitive to it. Seisan kata is seisan stance; with the exception of two blocks, which are shiko-dachi (Isshin-ryu's shiko-dachi is not as low as other styles, but it is still shiko-dachi).

Try this one. This is not our sensei, but his karate looks very much like ours (and with good reason).

There are many people who have little love for Mr. Dillman's ability, or lack thereof. You may not be able to correct him within the dojo, but you are well allowed to your opinions in a gathering of peers.

I do not know our version of Seisan. I will not for at least six years, and couldn't say anything about the technical details. But when I see this... I see interpretive dance, not karate.
 

punisher73

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I think that is part of the problem with this video, is that he calls it "Naha-Te", but then tries to perform a modified Isshin-ryu version. It is closer in performance to Shuri-te (Shorin-Ryu). I have not seen that type of front stance used in any version where the backfoot is turned out. Not sure if this is how it is performed in "Ryukyu Kempo" in which he teaches, but it is not good Isshin-ryu.

Just self-correcting my own post. I have seen a stance like that where the front foot is forward and the back foot turned out slightly in other styles and katas (Goju-Ryu uses one for example), I just hadn't seen it in Seisan kata in the opening moves.
 

Bill Mattocks

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Just self-correcting my own post. I have seen a stance like that where the front foot is forward and the back foot turned out slightly in other styles and katas (Goju-Ryu uses one for example), I just hadn't seen it in Seisan kata in the opening moves.

If my body were pointed the same direction as my lead foot, I'd call it a zenkutsu-dachi, as we use in some bo kata. But with the body facing forward and the lead foot turned out like in Seuinchin and the rear foot straight ahead like Seisan, that's not much of anything that I'm aware of.

Seisan is a killer for me with my footwork when I am lazy (so is Chinto) because there are several opportunities to raise up the foot and set it down splayed out. The first is the side block/punch/punch/kick/punch sequence. I have a tendency to set my foot down splay-footed after the kick and not correct it. This shows up most obviously when on the last of the three sequences, when we follow with another side block to the 45 degree angle and a seuinchin stance. If the foot is already splayed out, you either splay it out further (wrong) or you don't move it at all (also wrong). So it's important to get back into that seisan stance after each kick for those of us who have that problem.

It is also a natural tendency for the splay-footed (myself included) to not straighten the feet out when setting down after doing the first (and subsequent) back fist and step-over kick from a cat stance. After all, you go into a cat stance, shuffle forward, back-fist, shuffle back, and cross-over step into a modified crane (the lead foot turned out, the rear knee tucked into the back of the lead leg's knee). Then kick and set down - but into a seisan stance. That's where I screw it up if I'm not paying attention; I set down into a bizarre zenkutsu-dachi.

It's funny; last Thursday in the dojo, one of our senseis had me watch a newer karateka do seisan and correct him. I saw him doing exactly what I've been gigged for doing; it was easy to see it in another. I have to work on it myself, because it's just wrong.

The other thing I noticed was the side blocks were not thrown with power; it was as if the karateka was turning into the incoming punch. Ouch. As we're told, it's less a 'side block' than an attack to the attack. The punch comes in from the left side, we see it, we turn to the left (stacking the left, which is also not being done in the first video) and BAM that block up there. We don't always throw bang blocks, but this is one. The block has to be thrown with intent, because otherwise, it's not going to stop anything.
 

punisher73

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Just thought I would throw this one out there too because it differs so much from what I have seen.

This is a version of Aragaki Seisan as done by the Koryu-Uchinadi group (under Patrick McCarthy).
 
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dancingalone

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I think that is part of the problem with this video, is that he calls it "Naha-Te", but then tries to perform a modified Isshin-ryu version. It is closer in performance to Shuri-te (Shorin-Ryu). I have not seen that type of front stance used in any version where the backfoot is turned out. Not sure if this is how it is performed in "Ryukyu Kempo" in which he teaches, but it is not good Isshin-ryu.

Mr. Dillman does have rank in Isshinryu, so I am not surprised to see him demonstrate an Isshinryu version of Seisan. If I recall correctly, he studied IR first before transitioning to his Ryukyu Kempo studies.

I agree his technique lacks crispness, but perhaps this is by design? I sometimes practice my kata with aiki blending as the foremost goal and I definitely look soft and ineffective then. I will say Mr. Dillman's upper and lower halves appear disjointed at times in this performance.
 

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The version I know from Wado Ryu. The first movements are surprisingly difficult.
 
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punisher73

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Mr. Dillman does have rank in Isshinryu, so I am not surprised to see him demonstrate an Isshinryu version of Seisan. If I recall correctly, he studied IR first before transitioning to his Ryukyu Kempo studies.

I agree his technique lacks crispness, but perhaps this is by design? I sometimes practice my kata with aiki blending as the foremost goal and I definitely look soft and ineffective then. I will say Mr. Dillman's upper and lower halves appear disjointed at times in this performance.

I have heard that he had rank in IR before his other studies. My point, was just that the version he presents does not resemble any of the "Naha" style versions but is closer to the "Shuri" versions.
 

punisher73

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The version I know from Wado Ryu. The first movements are surprisingly difficult.

Very interesting version and how it is similiar and yet different from other versions of the same kata. Almost all okinawan styles have Seisan kata, yet all of them are "different" in certain things and alike in others. It would be a neat project to put all of the versions together.
 
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dancingalone

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I have heard that he had rank in IR before his other studies. My point, was just that the version he presents does not resemble any of the "Naha" style versions but is closer to the "Shuri" versions.

Yes, sir, he's definitely playing Isshinryu Seisan with some variations.

Seen this one before? He calls it Tomari Seisan. I like it even less.

[yt]zzlAoUjZBGY[/yt]
 

punisher73

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Yes, sir, he's definitely playing Isshinryu Seisan with some variations.

Seen this one before? He calls it Tomari Seisan. I like it even less.

[yt]zzlAoUjZBGY[/yt]

Interesting. Considering that modern researchers consider Tomari, a "dead style" that had bits incorporated into other arts and no longer exists as it's own thing I wonder what it's lineage actually is and who/where it was learned.
 
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