I'm not entirely sure what my favorite kata is. There are days when it might be Naihanchi Sandan, and there are days--lots of days--when I think it might be Seisan. Something about it appeals to me. Part of it, I am sure, is its antiquity. The kata is old, very old. I'm not at all sure that anyone knows for sure just how old it is, and practicing it, I almost feel like I've got a pipeline to practitioners of several hundred years ago.
Only God knows how many versions of Seisan there are. In RyuTe, we practice a version called "Tomari Seisan," and the further one goes along in learning the kata, the more variations you learn and investigate, until you might not find it entirely unfair to say that there are several versions of Seisan in RyuTe alone. I thought, for the amusement of those interested in such things, that I might gather a few clips of differing versions together.
First up, "Tomari Seisan" as performed by a former RyuTe practitioner, now practicing under the umbrella of the "Ryukyu Kempo Alliance." I would, of course, have posted a clip of a current RyuTe practitioner performing the kata, but there don't seem to be any examples on YouTube. This is as close as I could get.
Here's the Okinawa Kenpo Seisan. Okinawa Kenpo and RyuTe share some common lineage.
This is the JKA (Japan Karate Association, or Shotokan) version, which they call "Hangetsu."
Chito Ryu interests me. The founder was a physician, and I have often wondered exactly how much impact his medical knowledge had on his karate. This is their version.
This is Morio Higaonna of Goju Ryu fame. I am told that Donn Draeger (Don't know who Draeger was? Shame on you...) once said that Higaonna was "the most dangerous man in Japan in a real fight." I don't know about that. Wouldn't Draeger have had to know every man in Japan to say that? But still, Higaonna is a most impressive Goju practitioner, and here is his Seisan.
This is Goju Kai, or the mainland Japanese Goju Ryu organization.
This is Shito Ryu's version.
And here's Wado Ryu's Seisan.
Isshin Ryu is something of a blend of Shorin Ryu and Goju Ryu. Here's their Seisan
Shorin Ryu Seisan
Shorinji Ryu Seisan
Seibukan Seisan. Seibukan is, I reckon, another variant of Shorin Ryu. There must be at least half a dozen.
Uechi Ryu Seisan