IsshinRyu Seisan. A beginner kata (performed by a very advanced practitioner!)
In an age of XMA, Hyper, and a focus on "new" it's easy to overlook the multitudes of lessons that a basic technique can teach. Seishan, in itself, is a fighting style. Everything you need for a well rounded karate student is found in this one form, and it harkens back to a time when instructors only taught 2-3 forms at most. After learning over 50 forms (and forgetting a good number of them due to lack of practice) I'm trying to avoid the "inch deep, mile wide" approach.
I recently had the chance to read a very interesting book that had been sitting on my shelf for some time. "Five Years, One Kata" by Bill Burgar details the author's intimate study of Gojushiho/Ohshipsabo over the course of five years. Taking a form and devoting time to delve into each movement and the lessons to be learned. This is what inspired me to take on my own current form, and dive in.
To be super clear... I'm not at this level of understanding of Seishan; not by a long shot. Plenty of people have been working with this form since before I was born, much less practicing. I'm still just dipping my feet into the pool, so to speak. But I've got a plan for moving forward and I wish to share that and my progress along the way.
Here's what I'm starting with: WTSDA Seishan.
Seishan, as performed at 2017 Region 2 Championship
Again, to be super clear, I like this form as we do it. I'm not advocating for changing the standard hyung. A standard exists to lay groundwork from which to transmit information, and it's a starting point and springboard for the student who wishes to embody the concept of Shuhari. Shuhari is explained in Aikido thusly:
"It is known that, when we learn or train in something, we pass through the stages of shu, ha, and ri. These stages are explained as follows. In shu, we repeat the forms and discipline ourselves so that our bodies absorb the forms that our forebears created. We remain faithful to these forms with no deviation. Next, in the stage of ha, once we have disciplined ourselves to acquire the forms and movements, we make innovations. In this process the forms may be broken and discarded. Finally, in ri, we completely depart from the forms, open the door to creative technique, and arrive in a place where we act in accordance with what our heart/mind desires, unhindered while not overstepping laws."
With that in mind, here we go!