Monday, December 12, 2016

Naihanchi vs Seisan

The biggest difference I've found between the structure of Seisan, which I practice regularly and Naihanchi is how they show the relationships between movements.

Seisan is grouped in clumps of roughly three repetitive movements. The kata demonstrates how to move continuously with a single movement. One can ignore the lines of performance and go on to infinity and never have a definitive break. "Block," punch, move for instance. What is not demonstrated is how the different movements relate to one another. Kata is linear merely for presentation. It is impossible to have a non linear sequence of presentation. Unless you're some sort of N dimensional space alien.

Naihanchi on the other hand ignores how movements can be used continuously and instead demonstrates how the individual power movements can be linked together. Take the back hand to elbow movement in shodan. It begins with a step and then carries forward into the movement. One merely has to shift their weight and step forward again with their left foot to carry the same movement forward again. Step forward again and you return to the original position. This is not shown, but soon starts to look like the crescent steps and weight shifts of more forward facing kata like Seisan. Instead it chooses to focus it's attention on the movements being related and linked to one another, hence a mirror. Left and right.

What does this mean? Nothing really. Just be aware that the kata does not demonstrate linear application and that a kata cannot demonstrate everything at once even if you should be able to respond with any kata movement at any time.

The idea that a 100 year-old kata can predict what a living thinking human being can do is ludicrous and suggests that we're are all merely automatons.