A kata is a set of pre-arranged karate movements which are designed to develop certain abilities in the karate student. It is from kata that all karate techniques and principles come. There are eight kata in Uechi-Ryu. Sanchin, the most basic kata, develops the mental principles necessary to truly understand Karate. At first glance, Sanchin may appear to be a simple exercise, consisting of basic movements; however it is a form of moving meditation which teaches the student to blend the physical, the mental, and the spiritual. The name Sanchin translates to Three Conflicts or Three Steps. The emphasis of Sanchin is the mental principles, but basic physical principles are taught too. The remaining seven kata's are sometimes called the fighting kata, because they show the self-defense aspects of Uechi-Ryu more clearly than Sanchin. All these advanced movements are derived from the seemingly simple moves of Sanchin.
The learning of these fighting kata means much more than just memorizing the movements and doing them in the same sequence that you were taught, the student must be able to actually use each technique effectively. This learning process cannot be rushed! The student must take the time to study each movement and see how it can be applied not only by itself, but in conjunction with the preceding movement and the following movement. This is quite important simply for the reason that there may not be just one application for each movement. While doing kata, one must try and visualize each technique in an actual circumstance.
The eight primary Uechi-Ryu Kats include:
|Sanchin (*)||3 steps or 3 conflicts|
|Kanshiwa (Conchabu)||Perfect peace unity|
|Kanshu (Daini Seisan)||Second thirteen|
|Seichin||10 (positions of defense and attack)|
|Seisan (*)||13 (positions of defense and attack)|
|Seirui||16 (positions of defense and attack)|
|Sanseirui (*)||36 (positions of defense and attack)|
(*) - Indicate the three main kata which were taken from pangainoon and taught by Uechi Kanbun.
The remaining five are bridging kata which were developed by Uechi Kanei.