Recently I shared some pictures of the kata Shimpa on Facebook. In this article I would like to share my knowledge of this kata from my upcoming book "The Kata of Shudokan". Let's look at some theses on the history of this kata:
To study the techniques of Pangai-noon, Mabuni Kenwa Sensei and Konishi Yasuhiro Sensei visited the dojo of Uechi Kanbun Sensei in Wakayama in 1925. Pangai-noon is the style Uechi Sensei has learned in China from the monk Chou-tzu-ho (jap .: Shu Shi-wa). This style unites the movements of the tiger, the crane and the dragon.
For what happened in the dojo at the time, I have various information.
The following story was told to me by Tsuchiya Hideo Sensei: Uechi Sensei wondered how he could best explain the techniques of his school to his visitors. Finally, he decided to teach them a simple kata - the Kata Shimpa (tan). Mabuni Sensei trained the kata with Uechi Sensei and learned the techniques. Konishi Sensei did not practice with them, instead he wrote down the techniques, positions and the course of the kata.
The question that inevitably arises here is why should Uechi Sensei have taught outsiders a kata that he did not include in his school curriculum. Well, Mabuni Sensei had a great deal of kata knowledge and was open to their demonstration and transmission. It is quite possible that Uechi Sensei recognized an advanced master in Mabuni Sensei and thus showed him another kata. Doubtful in this thesis seems to me that Uechi Sensei shows a kata to almost strangers and obviously did not teach this kata to his son Uechi Kanei Sensei, otherwise he would not have founded additional kata (Kanshiwa, Kanshu, Kanchin, Seichin and Seiryu) and added them to Uechi-ryu. This leads us to the much more probable thesis. This assumes that Mabuni Sensei founded the Kata Shimpa after the inspiring visit to the dojo of Uechi Sensei, based on what he saw and learned there.
Today the Kata Shimpa is practiced in the Shito-ryu, Shindo Jinen Ryu Karate-Jutsu and in some Shudokan schools (Doshinkan, Keishinkan, Yoshinkan and Tsuchiya-ryu). Tsuchiya Sensei did not learn the Shimpa (tan) from Toyama Sensei, but from Konishi Sensei. On one of my visits to his dojo in Odawara, he demonstrated the kata to me. It was very exciting to see that in his demonstration, the Uechi-ryu typical movements were very clear. If you look at some of the internet videos of Shimpa, most of the versions have no similarities with Uechi-ryu. I do not know if Toyama Sensei learned this kata from Mabuni Sensei, Konishi Sensei or any other teacher.
Interesting seems to me that Toyama Sensei practiced another form of Shimpa, the Shimpa cho. According to oral tradition the kata Shimpa cho was next to the Koryu Gojushiho the actual favorite Kate of Toyama Sensei. The technical level of Shimpa cho is much higher than that of Shimpa tan, and indeed it has similarities to Koryu Gojushiho in many areas. How did Shimpa cho get into the Shudokan?
In this regard, I can only provide theses?
As we can see, both the history of Shimpa (tan) and the history of Shimpa cho are fraught with many open questions.
The name of the kata can be translated as "heart waves", whereby "heart" does not mean the organ, but an inner feeling (mental attitude).
During the initial movement of the Kata, press with the ankle of the ring finger of the right hand into the hand pit of the left hand. According to Chinese medicine, "energy (ki, chi)" flows through the human body through a variety of meridian lines. This point (Point 8, Ro Kyu - "Palace of Concern") is located on the cardiovascular (pericardial) meridian. The pericardium energy ensures the circulatory system, ie the circulation and the blood pressure. It gives us the ability to keep calm in times of excitement.
Figure taken from: YU SEN - Sprudelnder Quell, Rappenecker Wilfried, Felicitas Hübner Verlag
So, there could be a connection between the translation of the kata and the pericardium meridian. However, it seems important that the stimulation of this point has a positive effect on the concentration and inner peace. A similar initial movement can also be found in some other kata (Passai, Seiryu, ...).
More about this kata in my book “The Kata of Shudokan”, which is expected to be published in 2020.
In this blog I would like to answer some of your questions about the book. In addition, there are a variety of photos and interesting stories that have not found entry into the book. Furthermore, the blog should serve to give you new historical insights immediately, so you do not have to wait for the second edition of my book.