Seisho Arakaki: Okinawan Martial Arts

Seisho Arakaki: Okinawan Martial Arts

Seisho Arakaki was born in 1840 in either Kumemura, on Okinawa Island, or on the nearby island of Sesoko. He was a prominent Okinawan martial arts master who influenced the development of several major karate styles. He was known by many other names, including Aragaki Tsuji Pechin Seisho.

Seisho Arakaki held the title of Chikudon Peichin as an official in the royal court of Ryukyu, a status similar to that of the samurai in Japan. On March 24, 1867, Seisho Arakaki demonstrated Okinawan martial arts in the Shuri for a visiting Chinese ambassado. Shuri was the capital of the Ryūkyū Kingdom at that time so this was a notable event, especially since martial arts experts such as Anko Asato , Anko Itosu, and Sokon Matsumura were still teaching at that time. Seisho Arakaki served as a Chinese language interpreter, and traveling to Beijing in September 1870. His only recorded martial arts instructor from this period was Wai Xinxian who was from Fuzhou, a city in the Fujian province of Qing Dynasty China.

Seisho Arakaki was famous teacher of the kata including Unshu, Seisan, Shihohai, Sochin, Niseishi, and Sanchin all kata that were later incorporated into different styles of karate. He also taught weapons kata including Arakaki-no-kun, Arakaki-no-sai, and Sesoku-no-kun.

Seisho Arakaki did not develop any specific styles himself, but so many of the founders of other martial arts styles were his students and you can see his techniques and kata in their modern karate and kobudo styles. Seisho Arakaki prominent students include Kanryo Higaonna, founder of Naha-te; Chojun Miyagi, the founder of Goju-ryu; Gichin Funakoshi, the founder of Shotokan; Kanbun Uechi, the founder of Uechi-ryu; Kanken Toyama, the founder of Shudokan; Kenwa Mabuni, founder of Shito-ryu; and Tsuyoshi Chitose, founder of Chito-ryu.

Seisho Arakaki died in 1918 in Naha, Okinawa, Japan. He was 78 years old.