Nipaipo (Nepai) meaning 28 ‘beats’ or steps, is a shito-ryu kata developed by Kenwa Mabuni. It descends through the Naha-te lineage of shito-ryu. Mabuni’s influence for this kata came from Gokenki, a Chinese tea merchant who moved to Okinawa in 1912. An expert in the Southern Chinese style of Whooping Crane Kung Fu (Baihequan) he set up home in Kume village just a short distance away from Matsuyama Park and close to the Ryukyu Tode-jutsu Kenkyukai (a hidden and secret underground Karate research society).
He started teaching his brand of white crane kung fu to karate masters at the Ryukyu Tode-jutsu Kenkyukai, including Kenwa Mabuni, Chojun Miyagi, Juhatsu Kyoda and Shinpo Matayoshi. He taught several white crane forms including Nipaipo. However this version of the kata is not the same as the karate version developed by Mabuni, though it did influence it; the original Chinese white crane version, called Er shi Ba (28 constellations), is longer and performed using the softer, more flowing moves of kung-fu.
Here’s the karate version of the kata:
Here's the original White Crane version:
The World Karate Federation has adopted Nipaipo as a mandatory kata to be performed in the early stages of WKF kata competitions.
Nipaipo is a 2nd dan kata on our syllabus and thus one of my current kata.
22nd June update:
Since writing this post I have had some e-mail correspondence with Joe Harte, a Taiji instructor of over 20 years experience. He said:
“Traditionally in the white crane world the form was called ershiba lohan, meaning “28buddhas" or "28sages" but sometimes shortened to just ershiba.
In the Taiji syllabus we refer to it as Quickfist as it’s the only fast form we use in master Huangs system of taiji. More formally it’s called SanFeng Quickfist in reference to the legendary founder of Taiji, Chang San Feng, and also in recognition that master Huang changed the emphasis of this form over his lifetime so now it is externally the same as the white crane version but internally has a different flavour – towards the pure taiji principles.”
Thanks Joe, look forward to meeting you at Marfest!
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