Kata Lab – Reverse Seienchin Kata

1 Jun

“What becomes authentic (traditional) when you live in Purgatory?”
(Chef Roy Choi interviewed on Anthony Bourdain, Parts Unknown: Last Bites)



With the popularity of my Kata Lab: Reverse Sanchin Kata, link: https://senseijohn.me/2014/10/20/kata-lab-reverse-sanchin-kata/ and my Kata Lab: Random Sanchin Kata, link: https://senseijohn.me/2014/11/03/kata-lab-random-sanchin-kata/ , I wanted take the concept even further. To do so we can use Seienchin Kata as a means to understand the concept on both a physical level but also a spiritual level.

Unlike the Reverse Sanchin Kata Lab where the movements of the kata were reversed and the breathing pattern remained the same, in this lab, the breathing patterns will be reversed and the movements remain the same. Why Seienchin and not Sanchin Kata for this lab? Simple, as you can see in the analysis below, there is a unique concept that applies to Seienchin Kata that makes it highly qualified for this type of experiment. Seienchin allows you to begin to understand how the physical movements of kata impart a mental aspect to kata.

Kanji for "Seienchin", sumi-e ink on rice paper

Kanji for “Seienchin”, sumi-e ink on rice paper

  • Experimental analysis (Recommended Reader Experimentation):
    Perform Seienchin Kata as you normally would;
  • Take a moment and reflect on the two interpretations of the kata, specifically paying attention to the manner in which they are enlivened by the movements of the kata;
    Interpretation # 1: “Calm in the storm, storm in the calm”
    Interpretation # 2: “Walk far to quell & conquer” (see endnote # 1)
  • Perform Seienchin but time reverse the slow and fast sequences. For example, the opening sequences which are normally, slow, deliberate and with dynamic tension, must now be performed fast and with kime (focus). Movements which are fast and with kime must now be performed slow, deliberate and with dynamic tension;
  • After your performance, deeply consider how the reversal impacted your earlier conclusions as to how the kata enlivened the two interpretations of the kanji.

To assist you with this Kata Lab, I have created the following video.


This kata lab affects two of the three battles (aspects) of kata (See Endnote # 2). The two aspects are the physical and spiritual aspect.

Both components of the physical aspect (bodily movement & breathing) are affected. First, by reversing the method of performing the movements, hard movements soft and vice-versa, the component of bodily movement is affected. Second, by reversing the manner of breathing, this component is also affected.

The spiritual aspect is affected initially by reversing the symbology of the storm and the calm within the kata. Seienchin, performed in the traditional manner, begins with the calm (Sanchin kata-like opening sequences) and encounters the storm (hard and fast sequences). The kata continues by alternating between the calm and storm, ending with the calm.Reverse Seienchin makes the performer immediately encounter the storm, transcends to the calm and ends with the storm. This produces a shift in mental attitude. You should consider how this effect impacts martial fighting theory and life attitude theory of conflict resolution.

In addition, the concept to “To walk far to quell and conquer” is significantly affected. The result is to “Conquer and subsequently quell.” This has significant ideological connotations worthy of further study.

One final comment as to the third aspect of kata, the metaphysical aspect. Although not directly affected by this kata lab, the aspect is always present anytime a kata is performed.

Remember, the mandate of my Kata Laboratory – Think * Sweat * Experiment!

Cum superiorum privilegio veniaque (“With the privilege and permission of the superiors”)
Sensei John Szmitkowski

 If you enjoyed this Kata Lab, help fund my future experiments & get a unique product from my online store: Come visit my store on CafePress!

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1. Naturally, the interpretation of a kata is systemic in nature. I am not suggesting you abandon your system’s interpretation of Seienchin Kata. I do ask that, for purposes of this Kata Lab, you initially consider the interpretation of Seienchin Kata of Goshin-Do Karate-Do (DeFelice-Ryu) and then apply your conclusions to the interpretation of your system of karate-do.

2. You may recall my definition of the three battles of Sancin Kata, which are present in every kata, as:
Physical Battle, the physical movements of the kata;
Spiritual Battle, the manner in which a kata affects your mental, physiological and emotional state;
Environmental Battle, the manner in which kata connects you with your external environment and how same affects you.

Sensei John is now on Facebook, under – FLY FISHING DOJO, you are invited to send a Facebook friend request.

You may wish to view my other blogs –
LOGO-WEBSITE  this one dedicated to the interrelationship between martial arts protocol & ideology to fishing http://flyfishingdojo.com


DOJO STICKER-1  the Goshin-Do Karate blog at http://defeliceryu.com

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