Aragaki Seisho was born in the village of Kume Mura, Okinawa in 1840. He died in 1918, although some say the year of his passing was 1920.
Versions of the kata Unshu, NIseishi, Sochin and, of course Seisan are attributed to Aragaki
Although today Sanchin (Naha Te) & Naihanchi (Shuri Te) are considered the fundamental forms there is a belief that perhaps Seisan may have been the first taught with teachers in Naha, Shuri & Tomari.
The earliest record of Seisan kata is a performance by Aragaki Seisho at Shuri in 1867 at a demonstration for the Chinese Ambassador to Okinawa .
This is significant as this was at a time when notables such as Itosu Anko, Azato Anko & even more significantly Matsumura Sokon were active, yet Aragaki Seisho was chosen to give the demonstration for an important guest!
Wikipedia lists Aragakis teacher as Wai Xinxian - also known as Ryu Ryu ko. He is listed as a practitioner of Fujian White Crane, but as Patrick McCarthy Hanshi says,
"There is a common source for Seisan kata as its collective templates are classically Fujian - based Quanfa ...........the exercise clearly demonstrates Tiger, Monk,Lion and Southern Praying Mantis movement and technique ".
My own study is in its infancy regarding these links, however I can certainly see Monk and Southern Praying Mantis undertones at this early stage, and will be studying these further.
Although Aragaki Seisho left no "styles " behind his list of notable students is significant - Higoshianna Kanryo ( prior to his visit to China to learn from Wai Xinxian ), Funakoshi Gichin, Chitose Tsuyoshi, Uechi Kanbun, Mayagi Chojun,, Mabuni Kenwa to name a few - a considerable list of notables.
Patrick McCarthy Hanshi tells us he originally learned the Aragaki Seisan from Richard Kim during the 1970s.
McCarthy Hanshi undertook significant study , meeting with Higa Yuchoku to gain insight into Aragaki katas Sochin,NIseishi, Seisan & Unshu.
McCarthy Hanshi re introduced the classical Fujian based stepping and sliding movement, and the opening of the fists as preferred in the Original Chinese version, as testified by Kyan Chotoku and Mayagi Chojun.
From his study McCarthy Hanshi shares his personal interpretation based on his lengthy study of the many versions of Seisan kata, allied to his understanding of its History.
I begin by sharing McCarthy Hanshi demonstrating the Aragaki Seisan. My own study and application practices, whether Bunkai Oyo, two person "flow"exercises or pad/impact exercises.
Info for this introduction was sourced from Wikipedia, and McCarthy Hanshis own writing on "Aragaki Seisan & Chokyu -gata"
Many thanks to Patrick McCarthy for his deep study, which enabled my own humble study of Aragaki Seisan to begin.
So, we begin. The applications I present will sometimes follow the "line" of the kata.
However, I take the view that kata is not linear - essentially any element should have the potential to work alongside another (providing sound combative principles are demonstrated) to achieve the goal of defending oneself against the habitual acts of physical violence.
To this end I will occasionally "link" different elements from different parts of the form to achieve my aims. It is my personal belief that this is why one ( or two) kata could constitute a lifetimes study.
This makes sense if we consider the sheer amount of possibilities and potential combinations, plus the required time and diligence to practice each possibility to a level of unconscious competence.