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T_Annan's picture
Opening Sequence of Seiyunchin

Hi all, I'm currently learning Seiyunchin and trying to experiment with applying the kata. Fact is, beyond the first move of the first sequence, I'm completely stumped in how it can be applied. The first move (at least to me) is quite clearly sinking and shifting your weight down to pull the enemy aside by his neck or head, but beyond that i'm stumped. The hands then turn to face outwards and then some sortof double gedan-barai thing is done into an uke technique (of which I dunno it's name yet) and a nukite strike around the area of the ribs. I just dunno where to go from here, and trying to figure this out is a little frustrating, if anyone can give a helping hand, perhaps direct me to some further reading, it would be much appreciated. Sorry if this is the wrong forum to post this in. Cheers!

Les Bubka
Les Bubka's picture

Hi T Annan, When I analyse techniques within kata I use three ways, 1. Can it be used as a strike 2. Can it be a throw or off balance 3. Can it be joint lock. Iain clips and article have lots of useful info so check out his work. Please feel free to look at my clip for some inspiration.

Nimrod Nir
Nimrod Nir's picture

Hi T_Annan,

You can also check out Iain's take on the opening sequence:

Nice ideas, Les!


Wastelander's picture

Thanks for sharing your breakdown, Les! You brought out some ideas I hadn't considered for Seiyunchin, since they differ from my usual applications for it. Since Nimrod Nir shared Iain's video on it, I figured I could throw out Paul Enfield's teaser video for his Seiyunchin webinar, since it has several application examples in it, as well:

T_Annan's picture

To everyone who replied, thank you so very much, watching and studying these videos, I had an a-ha moment not an hour ago and had some application success of Seiunchin and Saifa while sparring with some of my BJJ gymmates. This is what I needed to fully convince me of kata's real world combative applicability, as well as give some needed motivation. Again many thanks, will continue to study my kata and their various application!

deltabluesman's picture


A quick comment.  I haven't had time to watch all of the videos in this thread, but I see that Nir already shared a video with Iain's applications.  I think Iain's applications for Seienchin are excellent.  His breakdown of the kata will give you a toolkit that is effective and reliable.  So I second Nir's recommendation.  

I think the kata will really come to life for you once you tear it apart into its component principles.  In my opinion, this kata has a lot of potential.  A few ideas:

• You mentioned sparring with BJJ gym mates. In your wrestling sessions, you can use a Russian Tie to build supporting skills that will help you with this kata's bunkai.  That will be a different context, and it won't be exactly the same, but the underlying principles will connect.  It echoes the same idea that you see here:  https://youtu.be/ZdsRQixRqv0?t=285.  If you want a few ideas, check out this article (https://www.iainabernethy.co.uk/content/game-plans-karateka-heian-sandan) and search for "Russian Tie."  It's hard to put this into writing, but the idea is this:  if you get used to hunting for that control position while you are wrestling, you will develop unconscious habits/responses that will help you apply these techniques against higher levels of resistance.  You will also get better at feeling what he is going to do by the way he moves the arm.      

• Here's an idea for you.  Start with a basic drill that echoes the principles of Seienchin:  enemy charges in, you flinch & clinch, start throwing knees to soften him up.  Once that gets comfortable, start adding in these forearm strikes:  https://youtu.be/xaYlA5serTs?t=148.  Stay there for a while:  flinch/clinch/knees/forearm strikes. 

• You can then start branching off of this core drill with more sophisticated ideas, like mixing in uppercuts, mixing in some of the other takedowns in the kata, and so on.  The forearm strikes are a good way to set up a lot of other techniques.  Of course, you have to be careful with the level of contact. 

If your sparring partners want you to spar in an MMA context, you can apply a lot of these principles with some modifications.  (I don't know your background, but if you are new to clinching, there may be a "breaking in" period where you get taken down constantly.  But that will eventually end and you will find that Seienchin resonates with an infighting/dirty boxing/clinch-focused style of sparring.) 

Just a few quick ideas.  Seienchin was not one of my kata but I picked up a lot of the core themes at a seminar with Iain and they've stayed with me.  

swdw's picture

I can do a quick video on on some alternatives to the opening and to a couple other moves.

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

swdw wrote:
I can do a quick video on on some alternatives to the opening and to a couple other moves.

Please do. All contributions are welcome and permision to post is not needed :-)