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Chikara Andrew
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Papuren, Paipuren, Happoren...

I have recently been learning the form of the kata Papuren with a friend who is learning it for competition. I have no interest in kata competition and now that I have learnt the form of the kata I am starting to consider its application.

This is the version of the kata I have learnt.

As well as getting hands on I also try to find source material and references about kata. If I know a kata and I want to be able to explain its origin and history as well as its practical aspects. So this is where I’ve drawn a bit of a blank.

So Papuren, several translations give it as “eight steps at the same time”, can also be written/pronounced as Paipuren and Happoren.

The kata is said to have been introduced to Okinawa by Go Kenki, the Chinese tea merchant who taught a number of different kata some of which were preserved by Mabuni. This is where the trail starts to go cold.

So Mabuni doesn’t mention Papuren in his kata list from 1938, although interestingly neither does he mention Nipaipo (Neipai) that he also learnt/developed from Go Kenki.

Searches for Happoren turn up a very different kata, more in the vein of Sanchin and Tensho however is bears uncanny resemblance to some of the movements in Papuren.

So does anyone know anything about the version of the Papuren I’ve learnt? Most of video’s and references I’ve found have a Shito Ryu link and so I presume the kata survived somewhere in Shito Ryu.  

One thought I do have is that like Nipaipo, Papuren was very much a Mabuni development based on Happoren as taught by Go Kenki. Perhaps this is why Happoren survives in its original form in Goju Ryu, Mabuni referred to himself as a practitioner of Goju Ryu into the 1930’s. He then expands the form into the current Papuren kata later on. This may explain why neither Nipaipo or Papuren feature in this 1938 kata list, as he hadn’t created them yet?

If anyone has any insight into this form it would be greatly appreciated.