Uechi-ryu Karate-do Kata

In modern Uechi-ryu Karate-do there are eight kata. The founder of Uechi-ryu, Uechi Kanbun, brought back three kata with him after his return from China: Sanchin, Sesan, and Sanseru. The other five kata were created by his direct students.

Sanchin (三戦)(サンチン)

This is one of the kata that directly comes from Pangainuun Souuthern Shaolin boxing. It contains the basic stances and strikes, means of training the mind, as well as provides training to resist various strikes. You are not supposed to practice other kata before you practice Sanchin.  All subsequent kata are defined by the principles contained in Sanchin.

Kanshiwa (完子和)(カンシワ)

This kata was created by Uechi Kanei sensei in 1954 using kanji from their respective names of his father Kanbun and his teacher, who was referred to as Shu Shabu. The kata was originally called “Kanshabu” but in 1970 it was renamed “Kanshiwa”. This kata originally contained three one-knuckle strikes that were later changed to regular punches to better aid beginning students. It is the only kata in Uechi-ryu that contains regular punches.

Kanshu (完周)(カンシュウ)

This kata was created by Itokazu Moriki. Like the kata Kanshiwa, Kanshu uses the kanji from Uechi Kanbun and Shu Shiwa. From 1970 onwards it was also referred to as ‘Dai ni Sesan’. This kata contains many of the movements found in Sesan kata and was intended to prepare the student for learning Sesan. It contains many challenging techniques for beginning students such as hira-te mawashi uke, boshi-ken tsuki, hiji ate from suegoshi-dachi and many others.

Sechin (十戦)(セーチン)

This kata was created in 1963 by Uehara Saburo sensei. It is a difficult mid-level kata. It contains movements from ‘Pangainuun’ and ‘Okinawa te’.

Sesan (十三)(セーサン)

One of the Chinese boxing kata brought back from China which includes: Sanchin, Sesan, and Sanseru. It contains ‘dragon fist’, ‘tiger fist’, and ‘crane fist’ and is therefore referred to as ‘dragon, tiger, crane’. Contained within this kata is the base of crane fist which allows it to be flexible during fighting. It is a kata that develops fighting skills and is characterized by mostly open-hand techniques, and single-leg stances. Sesan requires speed and agility to peform properly.

Seiryu (十六)(セーリュウ)

This kata is the creation of Uechi Kanei sensei. It emphasizes cat-leg stance and includes other techniques not found in other Uechi-ryu kata such as hira-te mawashi kake uke, boshi-ken tsuki, etc. Using the lower body is greatly emphasized in this kata。

Kanchin (完戦)(カンチン)

Kanchin was created by Uechi Kanei sensei and includes movements similar to those found in Sanseru kata. It is the 7th kata found in Uechi-ryu and includes tenshin, hiji-ate, shoken sukui uke, gedan-barai, etc, as well as emphasizing the delivery of these techniques from suegoshi-dachi. The kata is characterized by dynamic speed and movement and requires the use of the lower body in conjunction with ‘muchimi’.

Sanseru (三十六)(サンセイリュウ)

The final kata of Uechi-ryu and one of the original kata brought back from China. It contains movements to the four and eight cardinal points and transitions through suegoshi-dachi, shizen-dachi, zenkutsu-dachi.  It encompasses power, speed and beauty into one and is a physical expression of art of human movement.