Soeishi no Kon – Fusion-Edition.

The following excerpt from by Tawada Shinjun (1973) was translated by Motobu Naoki Sensei.

Soeishi no Kon […] was handed down by the Soeishi family who held the post of the martial arts instructor of the king of Ryūkyū. It was a secret tradition that was treasured and never shown in public (mongai fushutsu) and only taught to the king and the eldest son of the Soeishi family. It is said to be a secret tradition left by an investiture envoy (sappōshi) to train the mind and body of successive kings.

The name of Soeishi is found in several Okinawa lineages, but the style itself doesn’t exist anymore. There is also no successor. It seems that either the famous name was used ad lib, or some fragementary techniques were grabbed and built into a kata.

This being said, there is a “Soeishi no Kon” in Taira lineage. This kata is well known in Japan, where there is a “Sho” and a “Dai” version. In Okinawa, it found entry in Isshin-ryu, where it is still practiced, and this version is an original version taught by Taira Shinken. Else, in Okinawan Taira lineage, the kata has been vacant for half a century now.

The video below is my interpretation of the Okinawan Taira lineage version. It corresponds to the “Dai” as taught in mainland, but has a number of differences. Also note that the way I perform it does not follow any of the basic body and weapon manipulation (kihon) taught in Okinawa, but rather is rather a “fusion” version.

I straightened the enbusen completely and added a little seasoning here and there. Overall, however, it is exactly “Soeishi no Kon” from the Okinawan Taira lineage. I have been practicing this kata for more than 10 years now in great detail so I guess it is ok to share it in the hope Okinawans will revive this rare kata and provide a CV of where and when it was learned and handed down. It is important, because if it is really from Soeishi, than it might be an intangible cultural asset.

© 2024, Andreas Quast. All rights reserved.

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