Introduction
Seiunchin is required for your 2nd kyu brown belt. With at least six months to learn this kata, you should be able to demonstrate it to a reasonable level of proficiency by the time you need it.

It's one of the longer kata that you will have to learn, comprising of 37 steps.

There are numerous alternate spellings for this kata including seienchin, seyunichin and seiyunchin. Whilst it is part of the syllabus of many karate styles, we practice a variant of the Goju Kai form.

There are many translations for the kanji (Japanese or Chinese characters) representing the sound of the word "seiunchin". Among the more common ones are "Marching" or "Conquer Far Quickly". However, the most plausible translation is "Pull, control and suppress". Given the amount of grappling in the kata, this is a very apt description. There are lots of big turns in this kata, as well as a few rapid advances.

Although the primary element of any kata is its stances, with this one, the key is in attaining the correct angles for each stance. You'll doubtless be used to practising Sumo stance and Pigeon-toed stance facing straight on in line drills, but in Seiunchin, more often than not, they are performed at 45 degree angles. There are also some big 180 degree changes from one Sumo stance back into another, and you'll need to pay careful attention if you are to keep the angles and dimensions right on the stance after a turn. You'll also want to pay close attention to your knees to ensure that they are equally spread apart, and they don't collapse in as you perform hand manoeuvres.

Stances
There are five stances in Seiunchin. You should be comfortable with them all by now, so you'll want to demonstrate how low you can push your Sumo stance, without leaning forwards. Here's are the stances you'll be required to use.

Moku Dachi One foot in front of the other stance
Nekoashi Dachi Cat stance
Reverse Nekoashi Dachi Reverse cat stance
Sanchin Dachi Pigeon-toed stance
Shiko Dachi Sumo stance

In addition to these four formal stances, there's a fifth one that is repeatedly used. I'll call it "Natural Stance" as it has no GKR name. To all intents and purposes, it's a short forwards stance, feet a shoulder-widt apart and the same distance long. However, unlike short forwards stance, the feet face forwards in "Natural Stance".

Strikes
With eight different strikes, Seiunchin gives you more than enough opportunities to subdue a persistent opponent! There's lots of new techniques for you to master, but the finger strike and uppercuts will require the greatest attention. The strikes in Seiunchin are:

Age Shita Tsuki Uppercut
Hiji Ate Rising elbow strike
Oi Tsuki Lunge punch
Sanbon Nukite Uchi Three-finger strike
Teisho Uchi Palm-heel strike
Tetsui Uchi Hammer-fist strike
Ura Uchi Backfist strike

Blocks
The meaning of kata Seiunchin has been lost in the mists of time, but unlike first kata, where you can easily work it out, some of the moves are open to interpretation. As a result, you could argue that there are as many as seven blocks in this kata, and as few as none. I tend to think of one of them as a catch, one as an escape, and another as a reinforcement, leaving five unarguable blocks.. Here are four possible blocks, depending upon your bunkai:

Chuge Uke Double block
Yoko gedan barai Side downwards block
Kake Uke Hooking block
Uchi Uke Inside block

Kicks

There's just one simple kick in Seiunchin. You won't have practiced it before, but it shouldn't cause you any problems...

Age Kakato Geri

Rising heel kick

Sequence:- By the numbers

Start Seiunchin footwork chart start Start in Heiko dachi facing north. Bow. Return to Heiko dachi.
1

Ichi

Seiunchin footwork chart step 1 Whilst looking north, turn your left foot 90 degrees anti-clockwise and turn your body 45 degrees to face north-west.

At the same time, lower your body to Shiko Dachi height, with your knees bent, and cross your open hands in front of your groin, with your left hand in front of your right and your palms facing your body.

Move your right foot out to the north-east into Shiko Dachi. When your foot lands, slowly move both hands out to the sides of your knees so that they finish facing towards your knees and 3-6 inches away from them.

2

Ni

Seiunchin footwork chart step 2 Move your hands back in towards each other in front of your groin. When they meet each other, roll your fingers and hands in towards you, and raise your hands to head level. As much as possible, the backs of your open hands should be flat against each other, with your little fingers nearest to you.

Starting with your index fingers, roll your fingers closed one after the other into two fists. Slowly, with great tension, lower your fists until they are back in front of your groin facing more or less downwards, keeping your hands in contact with each other all the way. Once your fists are in front of your groin, continue to move your arms apart until your fists are in position just in front of your knees.

3

San

Seiunchin footwork chart step 3 Open both hands. Move your left hand across your body until it's just in front of your right bicep with the palm facing upwards. Now sharply pull the hand back to the centre of your body facing south-west to north-east, just below your solar plexus (in the rear guard position for a shuto uke block).

At the same time, swing your right forearm in a semi-circle, back towards your left knee, and up in front of your body and ending in front of your right shoulder, performing an open handed Kake uke. At the end of the block, rotate your right forarm 180 degrees so that your palm is facing away from you, then, bending the right hand back as far as possible (with your fingers point upwards), retract the hand to your side, level with your lower ribs.

As you retract the right hand, extend your left hand out to the north in a three-finger spearhand strike. Remember to pull your middle finger back so that it's in line with the two fingers either side of it.

4

Shi

Seiunchin footwork chart step 4 Continue looking north. Turn your right foot 90 degrees clockwise, whilst moving your left foot up beside it. Turn your body 45 degrees to face north-east.

Keeping your body at Shiko Dachi height, with your knees bent, cross your open hands in front of your groin, with your left hand in front of your right and your palms facing your body. Move your left foot out to the north-west into Shiko Dachi.

When your foot lands, slowly move both hands out to the sides of your knees so that they finish facing towards your knees and 3-6 inches away from them.

5

Go

Seiunchin footwork chart step 5 Repeat step 2.
6

Roku

Seiunchin footwork chart step 6 Open both hands. Move your right hand across your body until it's just in front of your left bicep with the palm facing upwards. Now sharply pull the hand back to the centre of your body facing south-east to north-west, just below your solar plexus (in the rear guard position for a shuto uke block).

At the same time, swing your left forearm in a semi-circle, back towards your right knee, and up in front of your body and ending in front of your left shoulder, performing an open handed Kake uke. At the end of the block, rotate your left forarm 180 degrees so that your palm is facing away from you, then, bending the left hand back as far as possible (with your fingers point upwards), retract the hand to your side, level with your lower ribs.

As you retract the left hand, extend your right hand out to the north in a three-finger spearhand strike. Remember to pull your middle finger back so that it's in line with the two fingers either side of it.

7

Shichi

Seiunchin footwork chart step 7 Continue looking north. Turn your left foot 90 degrees anti-clockwise, whilst moving your right foot up beside it. Turn your body 45 degrees to face north-west.

Keeping your body at Shiko Dachi height, with your knees bent, cross your open hands in front of your groin, with your left hand in front of your right and your palms facing your body. Move your right foot out to the north-east into Shiko Dachi.

When your foot lands, slowly move both hands out to the sides of your knees so that they finish facing towards your knees and 3-6 inches away from them.

8

Hachi

Seiunchin footwork chart step 8 Repeat step 2.
9

Ku

Seiunchin footwork chart step 9 Repeat step 3.
10

Ju

Seiunchin footwork chart step 10 Continue to look forwards. Bending your left knee slightly, pull your right foot back and it lift it sharply behind you in a Age Kakato Geri, striking to the groin of an opponent behind you. Your thighs should be parallel and together.

At the same time, extend the open palm of your left hand and a little distance in front of you, and simultaneously perform a backhand strike to the open palm with your right hand.

1

Ichi

Seiunchin footwork chart step 11 Drop your right foot in front of you and immediately shuffle forwards a further shoulder-width (more or less) into natural stance.

As you shuffle forwards, you should sharply extend the right hand out from the palm it's resting on, in a Oi tsuki. As the right hand extends, the open left hand slides to the side of the fist, fingers facing forwards, to provide reinforcement.

2

Ni

Seiunchin footwork chart step 12 Step your right foot back two shoulder-widths into natural stance. As you do so, retract your right hand to your side. Leave your open left hand extended in a guard.
3

San

Seiunchin footwork chart step 13 Perform a Hiji Ate with your right arm ensuring that your turn your hips anti-clockwise to accentuate the strike. As the strike completes, press your open left hand against the inside of the elbow in symbolic reinforcement.
4

Shi

Seiunchin footwork chart step 14 Lower your right fist so that it's just in front of your left hip, back of the hand facing upwards. It should be pressed against the palm of your open left hand which is partially retracted to your side.

At the same time, turn your head and look north-east.

Move your right foot in next to your left then back out to the north-east in an arcing movement. As it moves back outwards, pivot to face north-east, ending up in right-foot forwards Sanchin Dachi.

At the same time as you turn into the new stance, slowly and with great tension, rotate your right arm up from your left side, performing an inside Kake uke. Whilst the arm rises to block, the open left hand slides off the knuckles to end up pressing the side of the arm in reinforcement, fingertips by the right wrist joint.

5

Go

Seiunchin footwork chart step 15 Pivoting on your right foot, step your left foot to the north-east to end up in Shiko Dachi with your body facing south-east. You should be looking to the north-east.

As you step into stance, drop your left hand out to your left side clenching it into a fist, striking with a groin-level hammer-fist to the north-east. The hand should be dropped with no former preparation.

At the same time, retract the right fist to your right side.

6

Roku

Seiunchin footwork chart step 16 Pivoting on your right foot again, turn anti-clockwise 180 degrees so that your body is facing north-west in Shiko Dachi. Continue looking north-east.

As you turn into stance, perform a GKR block with your right hand - in other words, raise your right fist to head height, then swing it in a downwards circle past your face, your left shoulder and your groin, until it ends up to the right side of your right leg, about a foot or so away from your leg. The back of your fist should be facing away from your thigh.

At the same time, retract your left hand to your side.

7

Shichi

Seiunchin footwork chart step 17 Turn your head to the north-west. Pivoting on your right foot so that your body is facing north-west, move your left foot up beside the right, then extend it out in a left-foot forwards Sanchin Dachi facing north-west.

As you move your left foot in beside the right, bring your left fist across your body to a point just in front of your right hip.Press the palm of your open right hand against your left fist. Your right arm should be semi-retracted.

As your left foot extends into Sanchin Dachi, perform an inside Kake uke slowly with great tension using your left arm. Your right hand slides from the front of the fist to the side of the arm in reinforcement, fingertips by the left wrist joint.

8

Hachi

Seiunchin footwork chart step 18 Pivoting on your left foot, step your right foot to the north-west to end up in Shiko Dachi with your body facing south-west. You should be looking to the north-west.

As you step into stance, drop your right hand out to your right side clenching it into a fist, striking with a groin-level hammer-fist to the north-west. The hand should be dropped with no former preparation.

At the same time, retract the left fist to your left side.

9

Ku

Seiunchin footwork chart step 19 Pivoting on your left foot again, turn clockwise 180 degrees so that your body is facing north-east in Shiko Dachi. Continue looking north-west.

As you turn into stance, perform a GKR block with your left hand - in other words, raise your left fist to head height, then swing it in a downwards circle past your face, your right shoulder and your groin, until it ends up to the left side of your left leg, about a foot or so away from your leg. The back of your fist should be facing away from your thigh.

At the same time, retract your right- hand to your side.

10

Ju

Seiunchin footwork chart step 20 Look north. Bring your left foot in beside your left and at the same time raise and cross both hands in front of your face at forehead height. Your left hand should be horizontal, fingers facing to the east, palm facing outwards. Your right hand should be vertical, fingers facing upwards, palm facing inwards. Both hands should be open and the right hand should be nearest to your body.

Continue moving your left foot smoothly south, to form Shiko Dachi facing west. As you move into stance, your right hand drops down to deliver a groin-level Teisho Uchi to your right side, just above and outside your right knee. At the same time, your left hand remains in the same position relative to your head, so as you turn your body, the fingers will end up pointing north.

This entire set of manoeuvres is performed smoothly with tension, and no pauses as you shift stances or hand positions.

1

Ichi

Seiunchin footwork chart step 21 Continue to look north. Bring your right foot in beside your left and at the same time raise and cross both hands in front of your face at forehead height. Your right hand should be horizontal, fingers facing to the west, palm facing outwards. Your left hand should be vertical, fingers facing upwards, palm facing inwards. Both hands should be open and the left hand should be nearest to your body.

Continue moving your right foot smoothly south past your left foot, to form Shiko Dachi facing east. As you move into stance, your left hand drops down to deliver a groin-level Teisho Uchi to your left side, just above and outside your left knee. At the same time, your right hand remains in the same position relative to your head, so as you turn your body, the fingers will end up pointing north.

This entire set of manouevres is performed smoothly with tension, and no pauses as you you shift stances or hand positions.

2

Ni

Seiunchin footwork chart step 22 Turn your body to the north and as you do so, retract your right hand to your right side. Quickly take a big step north with your right leg, then bring your left leg up closer to finish in natural stance.

As you step forward, deliver a Hiji Ate with the right arm. Move the open left hand up to the inside of the right elbow in symbolic reinforcement. The palm of the left hand is by the elbow, with the fingers resting against the forearm and pointing up towards the right hand.

3

San

Seiunchin footwork chart step 23 Take a quick shuffle step north (move the front foot forwards about a shoulder-width, then move the back foot a shoulder-width to catch up). As you do so, deliver a forward backfist using the right arm.

The left hand remains pressed against the inside of the right elbow in reinforcement.

4

Shi

Seiunchin footwork chart step 24 Step the front foot across so that it's in front of the back one. The left hand remains by the right elbow.

Pivoting on the balls of both feet, turn your body anti-clockwise until you are facing south-west in Sanchin Dachi.

As you complete your turn, perform a Chuge Uke, with the right hand down and the left hand up.

Your head turns naturally with your body.

5

Go

Seiunchin footwork chart step 25 Continue looking south-west.

Open your left hand and turn it to face outwards in a symbollic grab.

Explosively step your right foot to the south-west into Shiko Dachi, with your body facing south-east. You should be looking south-west.

As you step into stance, drive your hips around whilst delivering a jaw-level Age Shita Tsuki punch with your right arm to the south-west. The punch should be really close to your body, and should end up with the fist at jaw-level about a foot away from your right shoulder.

As you deliver the punch, move your open left hand to a guard position against your chest, just to the right of your solar plexus, palm facing to your right, fingers facing upwards.

6

Roku

Seiunchin footwork chart step 26 Continue looking south-west.

Without turning your body, deliver a front backfist to the south-west using your right hand. Immediately follow this with a groin-level hammerfist strike to the south-west using the same arm.

As you deliver the hammerfist, your left hand should close into a fist and retract to your left side.

7

Shichi

Seiunchin footwork chart step 27 Pivoting on your left foot, turn your body clockwise and move your right foot north-east into Shiko Dachi with your body facing north-west.

Continue looking south-west.

As you pivot into stance, deliver a GKR block with your left hand - in other words, raise your left fist to head height, then swing it in a downwards circle past your face, your right shoulder and your groin, until it ends up to the left side of your left leg, about a foot or so away from your leg. The back of your fist should be facing away from your thigh.

As you perform the block, retract your right fist to your right side.

8

Hachi

Seiunchin footwork chart step 28 Look north.

Pull your right foot towards your left and move into right-foot-forward Nekoashi Dachi.

As you move into stance perform a rising elbow block with your right arm - in other words, raise your right elbow slowly to nose-level whilst moving your right fist to the front of your left shoulder. The move starts slowly, but finishes with a snap to give it power.

As you perform the block, retract your left fist to your left side.

9

Ku

Seiunchin footwork chart step 29

Step your right foot behind your left, moving into left-foot-forward Nekoashi Dachi.

As you move into stance perform a rising elbow block with your left arm - in other words, raise your left elbow slowly to nose-level whilst moving your left fist to the front of your right shoulder. The move starts slowly, but finishes with a snap to give it power.

As you perform the block, retract your right fist to your right side.

10

Ju

Seiunchin footwork chart step 30 Step the left foot across so that it's in front of the back one.

Pivoting on the balls of both feet, turn your body clockwise until you are facing south-east in Sanchin Dachi.

As you complete your turn, perform a Chuge Uke, with the right hand up and the left hand down.

Your head turns naturally with your body.

1

Ichi

Seiunchin footwork chart step 31 Continue looking south-east.

Open your right hand and turn it to face outwards in a symbollic grab.

Explosively step your left foot to the south-east into Shiko Dachi, with your body facing south-west. You should be looking south-east.

As you step into stance, drive your hips around whilst delivering a jaw-level Age Shita Tsuki punch with your left arm to the south-east. The punch should be really close to your body, and should end up with the fist at jaw-level about a foot away from your left shoulder.

As you deliver the punch, move your open right hand to a guard position against your chest, just to the left of your solar plexus, palm facing to your left, fingers facing upwards.

2

Ni

Seiunchin footwork chart step 32 Continue looking south-east.

Without turning your body, deliver a front backfist to the south-east using your left hand. Immediately follow this with a groin-level hammerfist strike to the south-east using the same arm.

As you deliver the hammerfist, your right hand should close into a fist and retract to your right side.

3

San

Seiunchin footwork chart step 33 Pivoting on your right foot, turn your body anti-clockwise and move your left foot north-west into Shiko Dachi with your body facing north-east.

Continue looking south-east.

As you pivot into stance, deliver a GKR block with your right hand - in other words, raise your right fist to head height, then swing it in a downwards circle past your face, your left shoulder and your groin, until it ends up to the right side of your right leg, about a foot or so away from your leg. The back of your fist should be facing away from your thigh.

As you perform the block, retract your left fist to your left side.

4

Shi

Seiunchin footwork chart step 34 Look north.

Pull your left foot towards your right and move into left-foot-forward Nekoashi Dachi.

As you move into stance perform a rising elbow block with your left arm - in other words, raise your left elbow slowly to nose-level whilst moving your left fist to the front of your right shoulder. The move starts slowly, but finishes with a snap to give it power.

As you perform the block, retract your right fist to your right side.

5

Go

Seiunchin footwork chart step 35

Step your left foot behind your right, moving into right-foot-forward Nekoashi Dachi.

As you move into stance perform a rising elbow block with your right arm - in other words, raise your right elbow slowly to nose-level whilst moving your right fist to the front of your left shoulder. The move starts slowly, but finishes with a snap to give it power.

As you perform the block, retract your left fist to your left side.

6

Roku

Seiunchin footwork chart step 36 Without lowering your right elbow, open your left hand, and with the fingers pointing upwards, raise the left hand up to the left side of the head, then extend the left arm forwards executing a palm-heel block to the north. Leave the hand extended.

Quickly shuffle forwards, stepping your right foot out, and pulling your left foot up behind, to end up in Reverse Nekoashi Dachi, the left foot back. Both legs should be bent.

As you reach the end of the shuffle, perform a fast forward backfist to the north using your right fist. Leave the right arm up in front of your right shoulder, fist at shoulder-height, back of the hand facing north. You should press your left palm against the left side of your right elbow.

7

Shichi

Seiunchin footwork chart step 37 Extend both arms far out in front of you, hands open, palms up, sides of the hands touching each other, hands above head-level.

Smoothly roll back onto the sole of your left foot, then take a big step backwards with your right foot and drag your left foot back towards it to form left-foot-forward Nekoashi Dachi.

As you move backwards, bring your elbows together, keeping your arms high.

As you settle into stance, rotate your forearms so that your palms are flat against each other, then move your elbows apart until the angle between your two hands is 90 degrees (a right angle).

End Seiunchin footwork chart end Pull your left foot back and stand in Heiko dachi. Bow.

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