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.
9/2/2018 12:56:11 pm
During this year summer training in Tittling i spoke with Shihan Sinclair about similar topics and he confirmed that Kanken Toyama didnt create any Kata: Therefore the thesis 4 might be the right one
9/2/2018 07:58:36 pm
Sinclair Shihan trained at the Shudokan Dojo in the late 1960s. He is a great man of knowledge in the history of Shudokan / Doshinkan.
9/2/2018 05:28:12 pm
Dear Christian Sensei: I have often thought of how Shimpa Cho had many similarities to the Koryu Gojushiho that we are taught. It is a marvelous kata! It seems likely that Ichikawa Hanshi formulated it based on Shimpa Tan and his own thoughts on Gojushiho....makes sense. But of course...it may never be clear completely. I am so excited for this new book! Thank you for all you do.
9/2/2018 07:59:04 pm
Thank you Matt!
9/4/2018 04:38:13 am
Dear Christian Bellina, although I am no authority on the matter I would like to comment that considering the order of the kanji, the kata 心波短 and 心波長 may rather be translated as “heart waves, short” and “heart waves, long”. Where the kanji 短 and 長 refer as short and long not to the waves but to the kata themselves. I hope I could make myself understood. Thanks for you attention.
9/4/2018 08:57:36 am
I understand very well what you mean. Thank you for the clarification.
9/4/2018 03:40:13 pm
Interesting piece but my understanding is that Kanbun Uechi only taught Sanchin, Seisan, and Sanseiryu. The other kata were added by his son and others following his death.
9/4/2018 06:32:55 pm
It is correct, Uechi Kanbun Sensei has taught only Sanchin, Seisan and Sanseiryu. The idea that Uechi Sensei taught Shinpa to Mabuni Sensei and Konishi Sensei was only written as a thesis that one of my Japanese masters told me, and it was also available on the internet.
Sempaini Juan Antonio Vargas
9/16/2018 10:20:42 am
Hi, from México CDMX I want to agree some comentarios commentaries about this advanced Kata, not for because unhumilty but like as others practicicians at Doshinkan Style remmember thats Hashi Isao in any visit to our country teaching this no Kata shimpa tan versión at Green belt no less level its on thaths day at 80s ending that was very stetictt
Hi from Poland. In the shito-ryu style Shinpa is treated as a form composed by Kenwa Mabuni roughly 80% and completed by his son Kenei Mabuni. Of course, the meeting with Kanbun Uechi was the inspiration. I just have a question, are you sure that Mabuni met Kanbun Uechi in 1925 ? At that time, Konishi was just starting to learn about karate. His close collaboration with Mabuni was only in the 1930s. Maybe the inspiring training with Uechi took place later, when Mabuni interviewed Uechi in 1934 ?? Regards
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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.