"To control and pull in battle"








The standard kanji of Seiunchin mean “to control and pull in battle”.  This is said to be an Okinawan attempt to pronounce the Hokkien/Amoy reading of the characters (pronounced "Zhi yin zhan" in Mandarin).  Sei/zhi means "to control", un/yin means "to pull", and chin/zhan means "battle".

Its origins are thought by some to be in the Xingyi internal system while others think it is from the Tiger Shaolin system (it is known in some schools as "the Tiger kata"). 

Yet another theory is that it is from the Eagle or Hawk school of Shaolin boxing.  For a more on this point see "Origins of Seiunchin".


Seiunchin kata)


The techniques of Seiunchin are well suited for practical, close-in fighting. All of the movements are hand techniques with no kicks, a very unusual feature. Seiunchin is a long and strength-sapping kata. It contains pulling and gripping techniques, throws, hidden techniques and requires a strong upper and lower body, good breath control and lots of stamina.

Seiunchin kata  is required for Brown 1 and 2.



Some details of Seiunchin kata)

    Seiunchin tuide

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

It can be practised both standing and on the ground. (Click on the photo to the right to download clip.)

Seiunchin tuide is required for Brown 2.


Seiunchin tuide bunkai in action


Seiunchin tuide

Xiao chan in seiunchin

    Seiunchin embu

Seiunchin embu is a 2 person version of Seiunchin that can also be performed as a single person form. 

Seiunchin embu is required for Brown 2.



Seiunchin embu performed at the Mortal Combat Fight Night




Origins of Seiunchin

Orthodox history maintains that Kanryo Higaonna brought Seiunchin 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

Accordingly it seems quite likely that Chojun Miyagi learned Seiunchin during his own travels in China or perhaps even that he synthesised it from techniques learned both in China and Okinawa.

Researcher Akio Kinjo2 has suggested that Seiunchin kata has its origins in the Eagle/Hawk systems of Fujian and that the original characters may well have been which mean "blue eagle battle" (pronounced "Chainchin" in the Hokkien/Amoy dialect or "Qingyingzhan" in Mandarin).  This theory however appears to depend almost entirely on homophones: it is difficult to find evidence of Shaolin eagle techniques in the deep rooted postures of Seiunchin.

The kata is practiced in Ryuei Ryu, which might suggest that it was, after all, a kata taught by Ryu Ryu Ko (Norisato Nakaima, founder of that school, also claimed to have studied under Ryu Ryo Ko in China).  On the other hand, Kenko Nakaima (grandson of Norisato) was said to have been good friends with Miyagi and this may have more to do with the study of Seiunchin in Ryuei Ryu than anything Norisato Nakiama might have learned from Ryu Ryu Ko.

Some have speculated that it was originally half of a much longer form, the other half being the kata Seipai, however there is nothing to corroborate this other than a similarity in technical emphasis and tempo.



1See Mario McKenna's article  "Higaonna Kanryo and Nahate" at

2 See Joe Swift's article "The Kempo of Kume Village" in Meibukan Magazine No. 6 at


Seiunchin embu solo form (click photo to download clip - members only)