The History of Niseishi
The kata’s origin is thought to be Chinese. It was most likely brought to Okinawa by Seisho Arakaki (1840-1918). He also went by the name Arakaki Kamadeunchu. Arakaki was an official of the royal court in Okinawa and travelled to China to act as an interpreter in 1870. He learnt the katas Niseishi, Seisan and Sanseiru from his teacher, the warrior, Wai Shinzan. These kata were all practiced at the Southern Shaolin Temple. He later added the ‘harder’ karate aspects to these Chinese kata and taught them in Okinawa in the Naha district.
Arakaki was considered to be a rather reclusive character and did not develop his own style of karate. However he taught many of the great masters including: Kenwa Mabuni, the founder of Shito Ryu; Tsuyoshi Chitose, the founder of Chito-Ryu; Gichin Funakoshi of Shotokan, and Kanken Toyama of the Shudokan school. This probably explains why the kata Niseishi is practiced so widely.
Niseishi is thought to originate from one of the Chinese “Dragon” styles. This kata requires you to move and defend from many angles. It contains both circular and linear techniques and requires good balance and coordination. This kata contains sudden contrasts between very slow movements, and explosions of power, giving the kata a distinctive rhythm. It has been likened to the ‘ebb and flow of the ocean crashing on a beach’. Alternating fast and slow movements teaches the karateka to develop his ability to shift from relaxation to tension, which requires great control of the body and its muscles.