The Oldest KATA in KARATE History (セーサン, China origin)

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The Oldest KATA in KARATE History (セーサン, China origin)

Postby marvin8 on Thu Jun 18, 2020 6:08 am

Jesse Enkamp
Jun 18, 2020

Learn the oldest kata from Okinawa - the birthplace of Karate.

This form actually originates in China, from a kung-fu style called Incense Shop boxing. This was the style practiced at the Southern Shaolin temple, which later developed into White Crane, and heavily influenced the roots of Karate.

(Or "Tode" as the martial art was called before its modernization in mainland Japan.)

This kata exists in every traditional style, and is even featured in Bubishi - the bible of Karate.
In this video you'll learn its original form as taught by master Lin in Fuzhou, Fujian.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKdp6xXV8kU

Tea Serpent
Feb 25, 2012

Incense Shop Boxing, Three War form

Xiāng Diàn Quán, Sān Zhàn The San Zhan form (demonstrated by master Wu Kong Tan) is the foundational set of the Xiang Dian Quan style. Xiang Dian Quan (Incense shop boxing) Is a traditional southern Luohan style practiced in the Pingnan area of Fujian province. About 100 years ago the owner of an incense shop learned this style of southern Luohan from a Buddhist monk. His martial descendants living in the area named the style Xiang Dian meaning "Incense Shop" literally translated as "fragrant stall/shop".


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gY7nz2-ZWfQ
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Re: The Oldest KATA in KARATE History (セーサン, China origin)

Postby Trick on Thu Jun 18, 2020 8:08 am

is it the sanchin kata in both videos ?(cant see the videos)....As i remember reading the little info therebwas back before the internet(back when i was into karate) Seisan(13) was thought to be the oldes kata in okinawan karate, at least that was the kata that was supposedly taught to beginners, however another early kata is the Naihanchi that is also said to have been the first kata a karate student was taught........In the early 1900 karate was divided into two groups, the Shorin and the Shorei, both has the Seisan kata, but only the Shorin group have the Naihanchi kara(s),,,,,,,,,,,the division Shorin/Shorei seem to have come along with the introduction of the Goju-ryu(and a little later also Uech-ryu) styles, directly derrived from the white crane boxing from Fujian in china. Goju-ryu and Uech-ryu both has the sanchin kata and its the basic kata learned before learning the Seisan kata...........So it seen Sanchin kata came along with Goju ryu and Uechi ryu and was not taught on okinawa befor that. katas as Seisan, Naihanchi, Passai and kushanku were there much earlier it seem...........Some historans mean that karate/tode might have found its way to okinawa with the 36 families from china that came to settle in okinawa in the late 1300.......Tode meaning Tang Hand reffering to Tang dynasty...so maybe boxing came to okinawa even earlier ?
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Re: The Oldest KATA in KARATE History (セーサン, China origin)

Postby marvin8 on Thu Jun 18, 2020 10:57 am

Trick wrote:is it the sanchin kata in both videos ?(cant see the videos)....As i remember reading the little info therebwas back before the internet(back when i was into karate) Seisan(13) was thought to be the oldes kata in okinawan karate, at least that was the kata that was supposedly taught to beginners, however another early kata is the Naihanchi that is also said to have been the first kata a karate student was taught ...

It is Seisan. Jesse says , "Seisan is the one (kata) that you can find in almost every style of karate ...," セーサン = Seisan.
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Re: The Oldest KATA in KARATE History (セーサン, China origin)

Postby Trick on Fri Jun 19, 2020 12:38 am

marvin8 wrote:
Trick wrote:is it the sanchin kata in both videos ?(cant see the videos)....As i remember reading the little info therebwas back before the internet(back when i was into karate) Seisan(13) was thought to be the oldes kata in okinawan karate, at least that was the kata that was supposedly taught to beginners, however another early kata is the Naihanchi that is also said to have been the first kata a karate student was taught ...

It is Seisan. Jesse says , "Seisan is the one (kata) that you can find in almost every style of karate ...," セーサン = Seisan.

Ah, then I’m inline whit the information in the video when I mention Seisan as (one of) the oldest Kata in Okinawan Karate. .....

as i can’t see the YouTube I went by your text that mentions the “three war boxing Kata ” which is the Kata sanchin in Okinawan Karate.

Seisan translated to ‘thirteen’.
So here is some twisted and turning play with history from my mind....There are sources saying Zhang Sanfeng was a native from Fujian. Perhaps Seisan is an very old boxing exercise that young Mr.Zhang learned(in the southern Shaolin temple) which he after enlightening at Wudang became his thirteen postures....

Or since Mr. Zhang became an immortal he might have at some point traveled back to his home province to teach his at the Wudang invented 13 postures exercise which then in Fujian Province came to be known as 13 Boxing form(Seisan)...Maybe he traveled to Okinawa to teach ??........

Then later we have Sokon Matsumura who was the head of the royal guard in Okinawa and a Karate aficionado, he on at least two occasions traveled as part of the Okinawan kings group of attachés to The Chinese capital, this was during the times of Yang Luchans dwellings in the capital.... 8-)
Last edited by Trick on Fri Jun 19, 2020 12:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Oldest KATA in KARATE History (セーサン, China origin)

Postby marvin8 on Fri Jun 19, 2020 2:03 am

Trick wrote:
marvin8 wrote:
Trick wrote:is it the sanchin kata in both videos ?(cant see the videos)....As i remember reading the little info therebwas back before the internet(back when i was into karate) Seisan(13) was thought to be the oldes kata in okinawan karate, at least that was the kata that was supposedly taught to beginners, however another early kata is the Naihanchi that is also said to have been the first kata a karate student was taught ...

It is Seisan. Jesse says , "Seisan is the one (kata) that you can find in almost every style of karate ...," セーサン = Seisan.

Ah, then I’m inline whit the information in the video when I mention Seisan as (one of) the oldest Kata in Okinawan Karate. .....

as i can’t see the YouTube I went by your text that mentions the “three war boxing Kata ” which is the Kata sanchin in Okinawan Karate.

I independently found the "Three War form" because in the free "Karate Nerd in China" episodes Jesse didn't show the complete form. His video text reads, "Surprisingly, the first kata of Incense Shop is what we know as Seisan (Hangetsu) in modern Karate."

However, this most recent video mentions Sanchin was taught to Jesse in China. Jesse does mention the Chinese form is "ten times more complex." This video appears to show the same form as the "Three war form." Regarding Seisan and Sanchin which I am not familiar with, there may be a discrepancy in what Jesse says in the OP video and the form (Sanchin?) he was taught in China.

Monkey Steals Peach
Jun 18, 2020

The first form in Incense Shop Boxing is called San Zhan (三战), which is pronounced Sanchin in Japanese. San Zhan is the foundation of all Fujian martial arts systems and can be found in arts such as White Crane, Five Ancestorys, Tiger Style and more. Incense Shop Boxing is one of several different branches of Luohan Quan in Fujian province, all of which claim to be descended from monks who fled the destruction of the Southern Shaolin Temple.
In this series I team up with Jesse Enkamp aka the Karate Nerd to travel to Fujian province, Southeast China. We are here to explore the arts of Southern Shaolin, particularly the arts of White Crane, Five Ancestors and Luohan.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MuJfHW3lW4

Trick wrote:Seisan translated to ‘thirteen’.
So here is some twisted and turning play with history from my mind....There are sources saying Zhang Sanfeng was a native from Fujian. Perhaps Seisan is an very old boxing exercise that young Mr.Zhang learned(in the southern Shaolin temple) which he after enlightening at Wudang became his thirteen postures....

Or since Mr. Zhang became an immortal he might have at some point traveled back to his home province to teach his at the Wudang invented 13 postures exercise which then in Fujian Province came to be known as 13 Boxing form(Seisan)...Maybe he traveled to Okinawa to teach ??........

Then later we have Sokon Matsumura who was the head of the royal guard in Okinawa and a Karate aficionado, he on at least two occasions traveled as part of the Okinawan kings group of attachés to The Chinese capital, this was during the times of Yang Luchans dwellings in the capital.... 8-)

In the OP video, Jesse says in 1867 Arakaki Seishō performed "one of the earliest recorded karate demonstrations in Okinawa ... The kata was Seisan."
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Re: The Oldest KATA in KARATE History (セーサン, China origin)

Postby chenyaolong on Fri Jun 19, 2020 2:34 am

I'm not a Karate practitioner, and don't know much about it.... but from the Chinese side, I can say that Jesse has quite a few inaccuracies that were NOT what we were told in Fujian, or he has over-simplified them. I feel like as I arranged this trip for him, and provided the translation as well as quite a lot of background/context.... I should clarify a few points as to what the teachers in Fujian told us.

Firstly, Incense Shop Boxing is not what was taught at the Southern Shaolin Temple (if it even existed). It is one of several branches of Luohan Quan practiced in Fuzhou and the surrounding area that is considered to have DESCENDED from what was taught there. There are many different styles in the area all calling themselves Luohan Quan which have been mistranslated in the Karate world as Monk Fist Boxing. However, which Luohan Quan they were refering to in the Bubishi is unclear.

The name of the form Jesse was shown is San Zhan, not Seisan. San Zhan has many variations throughout China and this is one of those. The two sections of movement that he shows in the video are not unique to Incense Shop's Sanzhan, they are basic movements you can find throughout Fujian. I talked about this in a recent interview with Russ Smith, who I think offers his thoughts on the China-Okinawa connection having spent many years training and researching both Okinawan and Fujian martial arts (https://youtu.be/bYKFMh50eJs).
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Re: The Oldest KATA in KARATE History (セーサン, China origin)

Postby Trick on Fri Jun 19, 2020 4:26 am

I’ve only watched Jesses Okinawa videos which I like. He has a easy going Gung Ho’ish style in his reporting, in Okinawa he’s at home, but China is new land to him(i guess)....Here he is following up on Patric McCarthy’s Karate history reserch. But he should team up with someone as for example Chenyaolong if he would plan do a more deep reserch in China....
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Re: The Oldest KATA in KARATE History (セーサン, China origin)

Postby Trick on Fri Jun 19, 2020 4:57 am

marvin8 wrote:




Trick wrote:Seisan translated to ‘thirteen’.
So here is some twisted and turning play with history from my mind....There are sources saying Zhang Sanfeng was a native from Fujian. Perhaps Seisan is an very old boxing exercise that young Mr.Zhang learned(in the southern Shaolin temple) which he after enlightening at Wudang became his thirteen postures....

Or since Mr. Zhang became an immortal he might have at some point traveled back to his home province to teach his at the Wudang invented 13 postures exercise which then in Fujian Province came to be known as 13 Boxing form(Seisan)...Maybe he traveled to Okinawa to teach ??........

Then later we have Sokon Matsumura who was the head of the royal guard in Okinawa and a Karate aficionado, he on at least two occasions traveled as part of the Okinawan kings group of attachés to The Chinese capital, this was during the times of Yang Luchans dwellings in the capital.... 8-)

In the OP video, Jesse says in 1867 Arakaki Seishō performed "one of the earliest recorded karate demonstrations in Okinawa ... The kata was Seisan."
Yes Aragaki was chosen for the Tode demonstration for the visiting Chinese diplomats to Okinawa. Sokon Matsumura was about forty years older than Aragaki. It’s a little unclear from who Aragaki learned Tode(karate), maybe he was a student of Matsumura. However Matsumura had many famous students, so it was a prestigious task Aragaki was given for such an important event.
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Re: The Oldest KATA in KARATE History (セーサン, China origin)

Postby edededed on Fri Jun 19, 2020 7:49 am

Technically, in Japanese 三戦 would be pronounced sansen - sanchin is, I believe, the Okinawan attempt at pronouncing the Chinese name. (See end of this thread for details about language if you want.)

Anyway, very interesting about all the sanzhan variations, both in China (Fujian) and in karate. It would certainly be interesting to know where it came from originally, since all the Fujian styles seem to have it (from cranes to dogs to arahats).
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Re: The Oldest KATA in KARATE History (セーサン, China origin)

Postby Trick on Fri Jun 19, 2020 7:51 pm

. Anyway, very interesting about all the sanzhan variations, both in China (Fujian) and in karate. It would certainly be interesting to know where it came from originally, since all the Fujian styles seem to have it (from cranes to dogs to arahats).
My question is backward, but is it really “proved” that the southern(Fujian) Shaolin temple didn’t exists ?
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Re: The Oldest KATA in KARATE History (セーサン, China origin)

Postby Trick on Fri Jun 19, 2020 11:22 pm

Here’s some of karates traditional katas with as good as it so far can get explanations of their origins. https://milos.io/shorin-ryu-kata-origins/
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Re: The Oldest KATA in KARATE History (セーサン, China origin)

Postby GrahamB on Sat Jun 20, 2020 12:46 am

About the OP video: What I found interesting was that all the techniques he's digging up.... have a lot in common with basic Yang style Tai Chi techniques from the first section of the form. Sounds mad, but bear with me.....

1) First, the armbar breaking the elbow move (to the corner at 9.54) is a kind of ward off variation, then

2) the "lost move" from Karate isn't a million miles away from a rollback, then

3) the "pressing block" is, well, not a perfect Tai Chi press, but has similarities in application and name. Note, the order they happen.

I mean, ask yourself, what would it look like if somebody took those moves and decided to make them big, flowing, remove bursts of power, smooth them out and following a yin yang philosophy of expansion and contraction?

Then, there's more: the 4) up-down scissor action is the move before Brush Knee where you catch an arm,
then 5) he's got a 45 degree punch downwards followed by a separation move (Stripping) is very like the Tai Chi punch and parry move.

None of it looks exactly like Tai Chi, but it's the order of things I found quite interesting, and especially the info from Will that these moves are not unique to any one style and appear widely throughout China. I like curiosities. :)
Last edited by GrahamB on Sat Jun 20, 2020 1:02 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: The Oldest KATA in KARATE History (セーサン, China origin)

Postby marvin8 on Sat Jun 20, 2020 2:21 am

GrahamB wrote:About the OP video: What I found interesting was that all the techniques he's digging up.... have a lot in common with basic Yang style Tai Chi techniques from the first section of the form. Sounds mad, but bear with me.....

Not mad but bad (pun intended). At 7:39 of the OP video, Jesse says, "There are actually four ways of generating power(?) in this kata: floating, sinking, swallowing and spitting. Four directions of power that are contained within the Seisan kata."

Excerpts from "The 4 Principles of Quan-fa: Float, Sink, Swallow, Spit:"
Jesse Enkamp wrote:... Therefore, today I thought we could have a look at one of the most interesting – not to mention sound and pratical – concepts of TCMA. Namely, the four principles of attack and defense; known as Fou (Float), Chen (Sink), T’un (Swallow) and T’u ( Spit).

Note that these four concepts are predominant in the southern Chinese traditional martial arts (like White Crane, Mantis etc.) which means they are historically significant for us Karate dudes and dudettes.

So let’s have a quick look to see what the fuss is about, and what the correlation to Karate is:

#1. Fou (to float):

Image
Float.

Fou, “to float”, basically means uprooting an opponent via a sudden release of force, directed upwards. Float is the expansion of energy, which is capable of “bouncing” the opponent away, and is analogous to “Ward Off” (Peng) in Tai Chi. ...

#2. Chen (to sink):

Image
Sink.

... Sink is analogous to “Push Down” (An) in Tai Chi, where it refers to pressing down the opponent’s “bridge” (arms, basically).

#3. T’un (to swallow):

Image
Swallowed!

... In Tai Chi, Swallow is analogous to “Roll Back” (Lu). Adhere to your opponent’s force, allow it to continue on its path, divert it, and direct it into a harmless circuit ending in total mayhem. You win.

#4. T’u (to spit):

... In Tai Chi, Spit is analogous to “Press Forward” (Ji). Most often used when you direct/reflect the “borrowed” force back to the opponent. Every Aikido throw basically ends with Spit. Applies both to joint-locks and throws as well as kicks, punches and other “ballistic” attacks.
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Re: The Oldest KATA in KARATE History (セーサン, China origin)

Postby GrahamB on Sat Jun 20, 2020 2:24 am

No, I don't think the 'swallow/spit' stuff has any connection to Tai Chi beyond the incredibly superficial, as far as I can see. I was looking instead at the techniques in taolu/kata themselves and the order they are presented in and the historical implications.
Last edited by GrahamB on Sat Jun 20, 2020 2:25 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Oldest KATA in KARATE History (セーサン, China origin)

Postby Trick on Sat Jun 20, 2020 3:07 am

Similarities, yes....I was actually half serious in my earlier post about Zhang Sanfeng(from Fujian), 13 postures, and Seisan(13)Kata....Ok, Maybe halfly half serious...8)

Also isn’t it in one of Robert smiths books, that when ZMQ first met Huang(Fujian white crane master, who became ZMQ’s student) he was sure Huang had done some TJQ Training previously ?
Last edited by Trick on Sat Jun 20, 2020 3:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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