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

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

Postby Trick on Sat Jun 20, 2020 3:17 am

GrahamB wrote: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.

Ive only practiced the more “modern” Shotokan version of Seisan called Hangetsu...But early on in my TJQlearning I was surprised by at least how the Yang/Wu TJQ BKTS was quite similar to a sequence in the Hangetsu Kata.
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Re: The Oldest KATA in KARATE History (セーサン, China origin)

Postby C.J.W. on Sat Jun 20, 2020 3:30 pm

According to Chinese sources, Incense Shop Boxing is a modern eclectic system created circa 1918 by a teacher who combined Luohan and other systems he'd studied.

This may explain why while its forms contain traditional movements similar to ones found in Seisan, it seems to -- in my opinion -- display little Fukienese flavor in terms of execution. Its applications, footwork, and shenfa actually remind me more of styles practiced in the neighboring Zhejiang and Jiangsi provinces.

From the videos, I get the impression that the Karate guy is touting Incense Shop Boxing as the "missing link" between Southern Chinese and Okinawan/Japanese arts, which is not entirely true.

The kanji for Seisan is 十三, which can be interpreted as Sanchin (Three Battle or 三戰) done on a cross pattern. As the name suggests, it is basically a form taught to intermidiate students once they've gotten a good grasp of Sanchin, the foundation of many Fukienese systems. That's why forms that are similar to Seisan are commonly found in a number of traditional Fukienese systems with longer histories than ISB. In Wuzu, for instance, there is a form called 三戰十字, which is basically Seisan in a nutshell that even still bears the same name .
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Re: The Oldest KATA in KARATE History (セーサン, China origin)

Postby chenyaolong on Sat Jun 20, 2020 7:54 pm

I discussed this with Russ Smith actually, I did this interview with him in order to better understandwhat I had seen in Fujian. About 30 mins in or so, we discuss Sanzhan, Sanchin and their connection..... and he also speculates as CJW says that Seisan is probably a combination of Cross Pattern (十字) and Sanzhan.


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

Postby Trick on Sat Jun 20, 2020 8:27 pm

C.J.W. wrote:This may explain why while its forms contain traditional movements similar to ones found in Seisan, it seems to -- in my opinion -- display little Fukienese flavor in terms of execution. Its applications, footwork, and shenfa actually remind me more of styles practiced in the neighboring Zhejiang and Jiangsi provinces.




By Fujianese appearance of formsKatas, mean as the appearance of Fujian white crane ? Now i don’t really know, how about Hakka styles do they represent the “typical GongFu of Fujian or are they quite different?

Almost always the Okinawan Karate’s China connection mention Fujian Province as place of origin, doesn’t matter if it’s the Shorin or Shorei branch.
But the appearance of Shorin branch Kata’s seem steam from more northward locations than Fujian, as for example the classical katas Kushanku And Passai.
My favorite kata(s) the Tekki/Naihanchi are said to have it’s origin in Fujian but doesn’t have an white crane’ish taste at all.
Katas such as Kushanku and Wanchu steam from Qing envoys that knew some boxing, Qing officials could be from almost anywhere in China ?

A legendary Okinawan Tode/Karate pioneer Chatn Yara spent some 20 years in China, it’s said in Fujian. However the research(by an western karate “historian”)on his practice in China that still stand today mention he learned Xing/Xingyiquan and Qigong;Neigung exercises. Chatan Yara was born in 1760, so I don’t know how that would fit with Xinyiquan timelines ?
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Re: The Oldest KATA in KARATE History (セーサン, China origin)

Postby Trick on Sat Jun 20, 2020 9:03 pm

C.J.W. wrote:
The kanji for Seisan is 十三, which can be interpreted as Sanchin (Three Battle or 三戰) done on a cross pattern. As the name suggests, it is basically a form taught to intermidiate students once they've gotten a good grasp of Sanchin, the foundation of many Fukienese systems. That's why forms that are similar to Seisan are commonly found in a number of traditional Fukienese systems with longer histories than ISB. In Wuzu, for instance, there is a form called 三戰十字, which is basically Seisan in a nutshell that even still bears the same name .

Could perhaps be so but seem a little far fetched ? But if so then perhaps in Okinawa they would maybe be named - Sanchin Sho and Sanchin Dai/small and big/major(as happened to the kushanku and passai katas)? Or perhaps -Shodan and Nidan/first and second ?
Maybe it’s so that Sanchin was created out of Seisan later on in history(in Fujian)to teach beginners the fundamentals in a more easy/separate way ? This for example happened in Okinawa with the creation of the more “simple” Pinan katas, and later the Fukyu/Geikisai katas.....And in China “lately” all the shorter Taijiquan forms....?
Last edited by Trick on Sat Jun 20, 2020 9:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Oldest KATA in KARATE History (セーサン, China origin)

Postby TeaSerpent on Sun Jun 21, 2020 7:52 pm

C.J.W. wrote:According to Chinese sources, Incense Shop Boxing is a modern eclectic system created circa 1918 by a teacher who combined Luohan and other systems he'd studied.


I'm wondering what sources? I've read a lot about Xiang Dian Quan over the years and never seen a single mention of it being an eclectic style or having any content outside of the Luohan and medical skills taught by the supposed monk Zhi Yuan, aside from the carrying pole and hoe which were added material from the village of one of the early teachers of the style.

Xiangdian looks like old Fuzhou Luohan boxing to me and I don't see much resemblance to Zhejiang styles and even less to Jiangxi styles.
I have seen some stuff in Okinawan karate that reminds of Zhejiang stuff. But I wouldn't really posit any links to Zhejiang based on that.

From the videos, I get the impression that the Karate guy is touting Incense Shop Boxing as the "missing link" between Southern Chinese and Okinawan/Japanese arts, which is not entirely true.


It's more than just an impression, he flat out says it in his other video.
Except there is no evidence, the forms don't match, I have no idea what four forms he is talking about as there are more than four boxing forms in the style. I have found lyrics for some of them and none of the forms I found lyrics for, including San Zhan, match those found in the Bubishi.
The big problem though is despite Jesse parroting Mc Carthy with his "Bible of Karate" lines, there is no real links between the Bubishi and anything practiced in Okinawa. There is no oral tradition suggesting that it was part of the transmission of a complete or even partial style to Okinawa.
It is just a boxing manual from Fuzhou that ended up in Okinawa at some point either in the 19th or early 20th century, and from most indications by it's self and not as part of any body of martial arts.
It's strange that almost no one involved in Okinawan karate ever mentions this. But given the almost complete lack of pre 20th century martial writings associated with Okinawan karate I guess it's not so strange, everyone wants an awesome secret ancient manual and the Bubishi is their only shot at claiming one.
Last edited by TeaSerpent on Sun Jun 21, 2020 10:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Oldest KATA in KARATE History (セーサン, China origin)

Postby TeaSerpent on Sun Jun 21, 2020 10:34 pm

Also just to be clear there are many versions of Seisan in Okinawan karate. But they can basically be divided into two local versions which would be the Shuri versions and the Higaonna and Uechi derived versions. The Shuri Te Seisan is a very different form from the later modern "Naha Te" versions.
I should probably also have added that there are oral traditions which suggest that there were boxing manuals written by Okinawans in the 19th century. However none of them have survived to today except a few things like behavioral admonishments.
Aside from that the earliest manuals for Okinawan styles are 20th century and written in similar style to the sort of stuff coming from the Jing Wu and Guo Shu schools during the same period rather than in the older style of recording traditional lyrics and teachings.
So I think a lot of practitioners of Okinawan karate want to claim the Bubishi as a karate manual as anything potentially similar from the Okinawan side was lost during WWII is not earlier.
It's kind of snowballed until today when you have weird things like senior Goju teachers in Okinawa teaching applications from the Bubishi and claiming direct "Bubishi lineage".
It is clear that the Bubishi is related to Luohan boxing as well as crane.
Incense Shop is Fuzhou Luohan however Luohan seems to have been one of the major Fuzhou traditions and there are a number of related Luohan and Luohan offshoot folk arts.
There are also a number of lines of Fuzhou Luohan which are mentioned in local records from the late 19th and early 20th century which have died out. As in there are mentions from that period along the lines of "this guy learned Luohan from so and so and taught it to these other people", but we can't connect the names to any specific extant line of Luohan and there are no martial descendants left today. Actually that's like the Bubishi it's self, we can't connect it to a specific extant lineage of Fuzhou Luohan and there are no martial descendants today of the specific art or line depicted within it.
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Re: The Oldest KATA in KARATE History (セーサン, China origin)

Postby GrahamB on Sun Jun 21, 2020 11:42 pm

Text from the International Guoshu Institute page:

https://www.facebook.com/guoshuintl/



Fujian White Crane Sanzhan (by Master Lee Kong)
福建永春白鶴三戰 (李剛演示)
Enough has been said about the different variations of Sanzhan and the permutations therein. Let us close this discussion for now with a performance by Master Lee Kong, who is the most knowledgeable master of Southern Chinese martial arts we have come across. A powerful and subtle demonstration is unsurpassed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLLxz_B ... e=youtu.be




Taam Gaa Saam Zin (performed by Master Taam Ding Bong)
譚家三展 (譚定邦演示)
Moving into the heartland of Guangdong, Sanchin / Sanzhan morphed from its original form into something quite different. Called Saam Zin (Three Extensions) this type of training routine is practised among “Old” Hung Kuen lineages. More highly hybridised and incorporating new elements, it is a far cry from the austere and structurally simple sets one finds among the Southern Fujian, Hakka and Okinawan schools.
Master Taam performed this routine at our annual showcase during the Intangible Cultural Heritage Mart during HK Culture Festival in 2017.
Enjoy!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLL8u_N ... e=youtu.be




Chow Gar Praying Mantis Sam Bou Zin (performed by Master Li Tin Loy)
東江周家螳螂拳三步箭(李天來演示)
Continuing yesterday’s posts, here is a video we produced (in 2016) of the preeminent Tung Kong Chow Gar Praying Mantis master Li Tin Loy demonstrating the techniques of Sam Bou Zin (Three Step Arrows) which is closely related to and ultimately belong to the same family as Sanzhan from Southern Fujian and Sanchin from Okinawa.
https://youtu.be/g7qUvgwOcH0



Fujian Wuzuquan (Five Ancestors) Sanzhan
For comparison's sake, here is a fairly typical set from southern Fujian (Minnan) performed by Lu Chien-Ming. Actually, one of the better performances we have seen in recent times, which is quite encouraging. The basic structure is also similar to the Sanchin / Sanzhan of Fujian White Crane, which we will post a little later on for further comparison

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSmgkJ2wasI

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

Postby GrahamB on Sun Jun 21, 2020 11:56 pm

Does anybody know if this form is found in Choy Li Fut too?
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Re: The Oldest KATA in KARATE History (セーサン, China origin)

Postby GrahamB on Mon Jun 22, 2020 12:01 am

Also from :

https://www.facebook.com/guoshuintl/pos ... 5834491395

The 18th century Morokoshi kinmō zui (Illustrated Encyclopedia of China) gives an idea of the extent to which Chinese martial arts were known and studied in Edo period Japan. It includes the complete 32 techniques from Qi Jiguang’s Boxing Treatise, the illustrated techniques of staff-fighting Qi developed for Yu Dayou’s Jianjing, and a host of other military weapons. In truth, the extent of exchange between China and Japan has never been fully investigated

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

Postby Trick on Mon Jun 22, 2020 4:19 am

TeaSerpent wrote:
C.J.W. wrote:According to Chinese sources, Incense Shop Boxing is a modern eclectic system created circa 1918 by a teacher who combined Luohan and other systems he'd studied.


I'm wondering what sources? I've read a lot about Xiang Dian Quan over the years and never seen a single mention of it being an eclectic style or having any content outside of the Luohan and medical skills taught by the supposed monk Zhi Yuan, aside from the carrying pole and hoe which were added material from the village of one of the early teachers of the style.

Xiangdian looks like old Fuzhou Luohan boxing to me and I don't see much resemblance to Zhejiang styles and even less to Jiangxi styles.
I have seen some stuff in Okinawan karate that reminds of Zhejiang stuff. But I wouldn't really posit any links to Zhejiang based on that.

From the videos, I get the impression that the Karate guy is touting Incense Shop Boxing as the "missing link" between Southern Chinese and Okinawan/Japanese arts, which is not entirely true.


It's more than just an impression, he flat out says it in his other video.
Except there is no evidence, the forms don't match, I have no idea what four forms he is talking about as there are more than four boxing forms in the style. I have found lyrics for some of them and none of the forms I found lyrics for, including San Zhan, match those found in the Bubishi.
The big problem though is despite Jesse parroting Mc Carthy with his "Bible of Karate" lines, there is no real links between the Bubishi and anything practiced in Okinawa. There is no oral tradition suggesting that it was part of the transmission of a complete or even partial style to Okinawa.
It is just a boxing manual from Fuzhou that ended up in Okinawa at some point either in the 19th or early 20th century, and from most indications by it's self and not as part of any body of martial arts.
It's strange that almost no one involved in Okinawan karate ever mentions this. But given the almost complete lack of pre 20th century martial writings associated with Okinawan karate I guess it's not so strange, everyone wants an awesome secret ancient manual and the Bubishi is their only shot at claiming one.
Yes this what I suspect that the bubishi wasn’t introduced to Okinawa until the time of Chojun Miyagi the founder of Goju-ryu, he probably brought it to Okinawa from one of his trips to China.
Busanagashi is supposedly depicted in the bubishi and Miyagi took him as the patron saint for his Goju-ryu, one will find an depiction or small statuette of Busanagashi in about every Goju-ryu Dojo(school), and supposedly even the “GoJU” to name Miyagis Karate was also taken from the bubishi, but that’s probably it, nothing more directly related to the bubishi in the Goju Ryu style ?

Now I haven’t read the bubish except for McCarthy’s translation/interpretation of it many years ago, I didn’t get much from it back then, however as I remember the drawings in it that they looked more as techniques found in Shorin Karate rather than Shorei Karate of which Goju Ryu belongs.
However as I understand historically the Shorin branch has never referred to any bubishi ?
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Re: The Oldest KATA in KARATE History (セーサン, China origin)

Postby Trick on Mon Jun 22, 2020 4:25 am

TeaSerpent wrote:Also just to be clear there are many versions of Seisan in Okinawan karate. But they can basically be divided into two local versions which would be the Shuri versions and the Higaonna and Uechi derived versions. The Shuri Te Seisan is a very different form from the later modern "Naha Te" versions.
I should probably also have added that there are oral traditions which suggest that there were boxing manuals written by Okinawans in the 19th century. However none of them have survived to today except a few things like behavioral admonishments.
Aside from that the earliest manuals for Okinawan styles are 20th century and written in similar style to the sort of stuff coming from the Jing Wu and Guo Shu schools during the same period rather than in the older style of recording traditional lyrics and teachings.
So I think a lot of practitioners of Okinawan karate want to claim the Bubishi as a karate manual as anything potentially similar from the Okinawan side was lost during WWII is not earlier.
It's kind of snowballed until today when you have weird things like senior Goju teachers in Okinawa teaching applications from the Bubishi and claiming direct "Bubishi lineage".
It is clear that the Bubishi is related to Luohan boxing as well as crane.
Incense Shop is Fuzhou Luohan however Luohan seems to have been one of the major Fuzhou traditions and there are a number of related Luohan and Luohan offshoot folk arts.
There are also a number of lines of Fuzhou Luohan which are mentioned in local records from the late 19th and early 20th century which have died out. As in there are mentions from that period along the lines of "this guy learned Luohan from so and so and taught it to these other people", but we can't connect the names to any specific extant line of Luohan and there are no martial descendants left today. Actually that's like the Bubishi it's self, we can't connect it to a specific extant lineage of Fuzhou Luohan and there are no martial descendants today of the specific art or line depicted within it.

Just read this now after my last post Thank you for these explanations
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Re: The Oldest KATA in KARATE History (セーサン, China origin)

Postby TeaSerpent on Mon Jun 22, 2020 6:39 pm

Also just to be clear by "modern Naha Te" what I mean is that what is now called Naha Te (ie Goju and Uechi) are not representative of what was practiced in Naha during the late Ryukyu kingdom period.
Old Naha Te is basically dead. However from all indications it was similar to what was practiced in other areas. Naha, Shuri, and Tomari are not far from each other. It's within a distance where you could walk from one of those places to another to visit a friend for the afternoon and we know they shared many of the same forms.
So it is likely that the Shorin versions of Seisan are older but with so little documentation it's hard to tell and they are all called Seisan so it can be hard to tell in situations where someone is documented as practicing a Seisan set but their version has not been passed down to today.
Although I'm not sure if me saying "Shorin version of Seisan" is even correct as there are enough differences that they are likely from different sources. Which would make them different forms rather than different versions of a form.
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Re: The Oldest KATA in KARATE History (セーサン, China origin)

Postby Trick on Tue Jun 23, 2020 1:26 am

Old Naha-te might still be represented today in Katas such as Niseishi(24) and Unsu(cloud hands) which as said does not resemble neither Goju Ryu or Uechi Ryu except maybe for the “hour glass” stance taken at the end of each of the katas Yes the nearness between Naha, Tomari and Shuri becomes very clear today since they are now districts of Naha city and one can easily by foot reach one to another......
Last edited by Trick on Tue Jun 23, 2020 1:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Oldest KATA in KARATE History (セーサン, China origin)

Postby Trick on Thu Aug 20, 2020 10:05 pm

Trick wrote: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....

I’ve just found “the karate nerd in China “ series on the Chinese tubes. Just short episodes so no deep explorations of the Fujianese martial arts(so far, just watched the first and second episode).
Good production and the karate nerds light but focused spirit on the matters is kind of refreshing .....
I see Jesse actually teamed up with chenyaolong of this forum, however he stays in the background to help out with the language and guiding? since it’s the karate nerds show....
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