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THE MEANING OF KATA
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Sanchin The first kanji (Chinese language calligraphy) is san and means three. The second kanji is chin and today it means "battle". As we know, the three battles - sanchin - are of the mind, the body and the spirit. Combined in sanchin kata, we find peace of mind, body and spirit only if worked properly and under proper instruction.

Geki Sai Dai-Ichi and Geki Sai Dai -Ni use the same kanji for the first three characters of the name. The difference in the names of the kata are found only in that one is number one and the other is number two. These kata were developed before 1940 by Miyagi Choyun and their relative simplicity was to help spread goju to the public.

Saifa kata uses the same kanji found in Gekisai kata. The second portion of the name is traditionally pronounced "ha", but due to the Okinawan influence, it is pronounced "fa", giving us Saifa. It means to smash or beat. There are several bottom-fist and back-fist strikes in Saifa, which is a more aggressive kata.

Seiunchin kata once again uses the "chin" of Sanchin kata. In this case it is combined with sei and yun (also pronounced "in") to form the name Seiunchin. It means "to pull off balance and fight". It also means "calm within the storm".

Sanseiru represents the number thirty-six (6 x 6 = 36). The first six represents the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and spirit; the second six represents color, voice, taste, smell, touch and justice. Sanseiru develops low kicks and double hand techniques.

Shi So Chin also uses the same kanji for "chin" as in Sanchin. In this case it is combined with the kanji shi (four) and so (direction) to form shisochin or "four-face battle".

Seisan represents the number thirteen. Thirteen is a prime number and in China is a number representing good luck and prosperity. Sesan is an aesthetic kata epitomizing the ideals of Goju-Ryu by utilizing a number of hard and soft techniques.

Seipei represents the number eighteen (3 x 6 =18). The six in this case is the same as the second six in sanseru (color, voice, taste, smell, touch and justice), while the three represents good, bad and peace. Sepai is made up of a variety of unusual hand, foot and body techniques.

Kururunfa was handed down to us from Ryu Ryu Ko sensei to Higaonna Kanryo sensei, but the original creator of this kata is unknown. Kururunfa contains a wide variety of open-hand techniques and especially hand/hip coordination techniques.

Suparinpei represents the number 108 (3 x 36 = 108) and has special significance in Buddhism. It is believed that man has 108 evil passions and so in Buddhist temples on December 31, at the stroke of midnight, a bell is rung 108 times to drive away those spirits. The number 108 is calculated from 36 x 3. The symbolism of the number 36 is the same as in Sanseru (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and spirit; color voice, taste, smell, touch and justice). Suparinpei is Goju-Ryu's longest kata. It utilizes a large number of techniques, including breath control, and it contains the greatest number of applications and depth of meaning.

Tensho is a relatively new kata and was created by Miyagi Chojun sensei. The name "tensho" literally means "rotating palms" and is also known as "rokkisho" (six-machine-palm). It is a high-level breath control and hand technique kata.


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