Answers from the Bubishi
From Goju Ryu and others styles this ancient Kata was one of the more prominent Kata depicted in the Bubishi... and therefore is steeped or more aptly, evolved from Kyusho.
As this is an ancient Kata, much of the historical information is vague, we can only really trace the Martial Artists that learned, trained and passed this Kata down to others. And as always much of the original meaning and or intent has been lost to time due to information teachers of old disseminated or to whom and under what rules of honor to disclose or not.
Seipai - 18 Hands
One thing that is widely agreed on is that Seipai stands for "18"but was it steps, targets, hands or designating something other or perhaps all of these aspects. In this image we can clearly see that "18 Hands" are related to the viewer as the original "6 Ji Hands of Shaolin" (also documented in the Bubishi) portrayed by the figure on the left. The figure on the right is depicting the targeting applicational attributes of right, middle and left side body targeting.
Both figures together represent the 6 hands in three targeting application (of the Shichen ... vital targets more later), totaling 18 hands. This is but one of the many hidden keys that one needs to unlock the full potential and intent of the Bubishi, yet sadly overlooked by most Martial Artists.
One other vital aspect that must be taken to heart,mind and spirit is the training of these, not just merely the knowing of it, as if it is not in your hands, it is only theory. The practitioner must absolve themselves to the ritual practice and application of these to become a reality or usable. This is why most have overlooked the Bubishi and it's teachings as they are too difficult for most to adopt as the learning curve seems daunting.
In this image we see two figures from the Bubishi and Seipai in particular... or what may have been a more original version of the Kata. These actions are depicted in the more modern adaptations, however the exacting hand and body postures may have been altered to what we see today. These changes were most likely due to the lack of understanding of the real meaning or possibilities of these odd looking actions, both into closed fist applications.
The closed fist is symbolized in the Goju crest of a single raised fist, perhaps signifying the changes made by Miyagi Chojun when he so founded the system. The figure on the left can be related to one of the final actions of Seipai with two hands extended and pulling down (action of the Black Tiger). The figure on the right depicts the current sitting into a low horse stance (Kiba-dachi 騎馬立) with two closed fist punches down on the inside of the thighs.
Kyusho Sheds Light
When we unlock the Bubishi and in turn our Karate, Kung Fu,or any Martial Style, with Kyusho in mind and application, we see that these original images hold more devastating possibilities and probably why they were obscured both in teaching as well as formation on newer Kata variation.
With the Kyusho (Shichen) targeting we can see how both postures could inflict serious life threatening application to the opponent. Two targets depicted here are vital blood vessels (see article 8 "Discussions on seizing and striking the veins and tendons using the hard fist method") that are with the correct tool and trajectories that would allow the practitioner to damage these vital vessels.
Preserving Old Kara-te
It is our job as modern day Martial Artists (living in the information age) to resurrect and preserve the more original Kata as well as their meaning, possibility and intent. We have the opportunity to unveil and document this information more reliably and demonstrably for future generations.
#Kyusho - ep