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Tau's picture

Just wondering. Suparinpei isn't a kata that I hear anything of. I understand that it's from Naha lineage but has been assimilated into other systems too. It's 108 movements make it the longest of the Karate kata and 108 is symbolic. 

What is the history of this kata?

Is there any benefit to studying it? Is there anything within it that's not found in other kata (either movements or principles?)

Does anyone actually even practice it?

Zach Zinn
Zach Zinn's picture

It's pretty standard as the last Kata in many Goju Ryu syllabi. I practice it, and so do most people I know who have been in Goju for a while. It has a few unique techniques, but mostly it is (like all the other Goju Ryu kata) variations on a theme. So for instance you can find kind of "advanced" variations in there on techniques also found in Seisan ("splitting hands" motion), Gekisai (horizontal elbow strike instead of vertical), Sanesiryu (shoulder crank technique with slightly different footwork), etc.

I am personally of the opinion that the breaking down of the Goju Ryu kata into "beginner and advanced" (minus Gekisai which of course really is made for beginners) is a decision made for teaching expediency, and that while some kata sort build on others, all of the koryu kata are sufficient and valuiable enough to warrant their own study.

In other words, I don't see the syllabus as only a linear progression, I think that the number of Kata is there to accomodate different body types, inclinations, etc., and that the kata order is not that important.

Suparinpei is a harder kata though, and is an exception to this, with a few specialized techniques. It is the one Kata I can legitimately say is a kind of final statement of the style in some ways. It's also simply harder to do well than the other ones, in my opinion.