Seisan is said to be the oldest kata in karate. Seisan translates as 13 and some refer to seisan as 13 attacks, 13 steps or 13 moves.

Many styles of karate practice seisan and use the same name, in shotokan it’s hangetsu.

Although the name Seisan is used in many karate styles, the actual kata varies tremendously.

Some karateka believe the Incense Shop Boxing form San zhan (三战) is where Seisan/hangetsu originally came from, but the Japanese pronounciation of (三战) is Sanchin, so the actual history of Seisan is a little cloudy.

Some people believe Sanshin and Seisan derive fro San Zhan (三战).

Below is a video of San Zhan performed by Master Lin from Insence Shop Boxing.

The name Insence Shop Boxing is said to have been created by the Shaolin Monks who escaped when their temple was burnt down, they then went on to work in an insence shop and simply called their martial art Insence Shop Boxing, so as not to draw attention.

Although we are Shotokan based, we also believe there is a massive piece of this amazing karate jigsaw puzzle missing and I feel it can be found on Okinawa.

We have introduced several Okinawan kata and Seisan is one of them.

Shotokan karate is very dynamic and athletic, long and deep stances, Shotokan karate builds a tremendous foundation for it’s practitioners.

But as a karateka ages, these deep long stances and dynamic training becomes increasingly difficult and can sometimes lead to injury and the inability to continue practicing karate.

As the shotokan karateka ages, the focus should shift from fighting and fitness to health and well being, but in many Dojo this is not the case.

Many older Shotokan karateka still try to practice as they did in their 20’s and 30’s

Many of these Okinawan karate kata put less strain on the joints and encourage more natural movement.

Now I love Shotokan karate and see these Okinawan kata not just as an add on, but an integral part of my karate practice.

I hope you enjoy these Okinawan kata as much as I do and if you are over 50 years of age, I know you will 🙂

Check out our online Dojo membership, we have a free membership, a monthly membership and our Inner Circle membership.

We have shotokan karate beginner classes for people new to karate, intermediate karate classes and advanced black belt classes.

Our aim is to help shotokan karateka improve as fast as possible and create incredible Shotokan karate Sensei.

We have live zoom karate classes every week, online examinations and a Shotokan karate App. We have big plans for our Dojo and association and would love to see you in the Dojo.

You can check out our Dojo membership by clicking here. Oss!

Linden Huckle

About the author

Linden Huckle has been practicing and teaching karate for over 50 years and believes first and foremost, karateka should enjoy their karate. He says 'there is nothing better than seeing a person develop into a great person through their karate practice, while at the same time enjoying karate.'

Linden Huckle