Shisochin

"Four directional battle"

       

 

 

 

 










 
   

Introduction

The standard kanji of Shisochin mean “four directional battle”.  This is said to be an Okinawan attempt to pronounce the Hokkien/Amoy reading of the characters (pronounced "xi xiang zhan" in Mandarin).  Shi/si means "4", so/xiang means "direction", and chin/zhan means "battle".

Its origins are thought by some to be in the Fujian White Crane system while others think it is from the Tiger or Dragon Shaolin system. 

Yet another theory is that it is from the Mantis/Cricket school of Shaolin boxing.  For a more on this point see "Origins of Shisochin".

Shisochin features powerful hip movements, light and fast kicks and devastating grappling techniques.  The kata is said to have been Chojun Miyagi's favourite kata because it best suited his physique.

 


 

 
   

An example of a Shisochin technique and its bunkai (application) can be downloaded here.  Another example can be found by clicking on the picture to the right.

Shisochin kata  is required for Brown 3 and 4.

 

 


Shisochin bunkai animated gif

 
    Shisochin tuide

Shisochin tuide is a 2 person "lock flow" drill, containing locks and holds found in Shisochin.

It can be practised both standing and on the ground.

Shisochin tuide is required for Brown 4.

 

 


Shisochin tuide bunkai in action

 
    Shisochin embu

Shisochin embu is a 2 person version of Shisochin that can also be performed as a single person form. Members can download a pdf of the embu.

Shisochin embu is required for Brown 4.

 


Shisochin embu

 
    Shisochin happo

Shisochin happo is an 8 point turning basics drill based on Shisochin.

 

 


Shisochin happo

 

 

 

Origins of Shisochin

Orthodox history maintains that Kanryo Higaonna brought Shisochin kata back from Fuzhou where he learned the form from Ryu Ryu Ko.  However a comparison1, 2 with Goju-ryu's sister school, Tou'on-ryu (the school of Higaonna's most senior student Juhatsu Kyoda) suggests strongly that only 4 kata were brought back by Higaonna, namely Sanchin, Sanseiru, Seisan and Suparinpei.

Shisochin begins with 3 opening sanchin stances making it superficially similar to the core kata of Kanryo Higaonna. However it departs from them in almost every other sense: the kata is “symmetrical” and has a high proportion of “soft” techniques. Moreover the opening thrusts are performed as nukite — knife hand thrusts. While it is true that the core kata were originally practiced open hand, it is more likely that, like the Uechi-ryu kata, the nukite where executed palm down to a point just below the attacker’s nipple, not with a vertical hand to the solar plexus as per Shisochin.

Shisochin is even more of an enigma when one considers that it may well have existed in Okinawa before Kanryo Higaonna even left for China: there is written record of Seisho Aragaki performing a kata named "Chisaukin" at a demonstration in 1867.

Researcher Akio Kinjo2 has suggested that Shisochin kata has its origins in the cricket/mantis systems of Fujian and that the original characters may well have been which mean "cricket/mantis battle" (pronounced "Shisauchin" in the Hokkien/Amoy dialect or "Xishuaizhan" in Mandarin).  This theory however appears to depend largely on homophones and it is difficult to find evidence of cricket or mantis techniques in Shisochin (unlike, say, Sanseiru or Suparinpei).  

Traditionally Shisochin has been considered part of either the Dragon or Tiger Shaolin systems while others regard it as being very similar to Okinawan White Crane kata, in particular the Ryuei Ryu kata Paiho.

 

Footnotes

1See Mario McKenna's article  "Higaonna Kanryo and Nahate" at
http://okinawakarateblog.blogspot.com/2006/04/higaonna-kanryo-and-nahate-in-nafadi.html

2 See Joe Swift's article "The Kempo of Kume Village" in Meibukan Magazine No. 6 at
http://www.meibukanmagazine.org/Downloads/MeibukanMagazineno6.pdf