Back to the Dojo-Kata    www.bohans-family.com


SANCHIN KATA

 

 by - Sensei Don Bohan

 

            It is believed that Sanchin is the oldest kata in existence.  According to most historical accounts, Bodhidharma (Daruma Taishi) brought Buddhism to China from India ca. 525 A.D..  In China he founded the famous Shaolin Temple where he taught the priests a series of exercises which utilized dynamic tension to strengthen them.  He also taught them a breathing system known as “Sam Chien.”

 

            Bodhidharma left the Shaolin Monks with two books, Sul King Chin and I Chin which contain theories that form the basis of Sanchin.  In 1612, a Chinese Monk named Jui Meng wrote, "the lungs are reservoirs of air, and air is the lord of strength.  Whoever speaks of strength must know air."

 

            According to Chinese legend, there were three gods that were the greatest fighters in all of China.  The only time they couldn't be beaten was when they were fighting together.  They were known as the Gods of the eyes, of breathing, and of posture.  These are the most important features of the Sanchin Kata.  When these conflicts are brought into proper focus, the practitioner's energy can be brought forth.

 

            The Sanchin Kata was brought to the Ryukyu Islands by Kanryo Higashionna.  When he was young, he served as a sailor on a ship that traded regularly between Naha, Okinawa and Fukien Province, China.  On one of his visits to the mainland, Kanryo saved a drowning boy that turned out to be the son of a famous Chuan-Fa master named Wu Liu Chin.  He wanted to show his appreciation to Kanryo for saving his son's life, so he began teaching him Chinese boxing skills including the principles of Sanchin.  Kanryo Higashionna stayed in China for about 15 years studying under Master Chin.

In 1879, Higashionna returned to Okinawa and began to teach this art in the City of Naha.  Later, he combined the teachings of Master Chin with the Wa Tang style and a little of Okinawa-Te to form Naha-Te, which was name for the city where he taught and lived.

 

            In the same year, Chojun Miyagi, then 9 years old, began studying under Master Higashionna.  By the time he was 20 years old, Chojun Miyagi had become Higashionna's leading student.  Miyagi learned all he could from Higashionna before returning to China to further his martial art Naha-te, and formulate the principles of what was to become his own style of Goju-Ryu.  He modified the Sanchin Kata by adding extremely hard breathing practices, and he also put closed fist strikes instead of open handed strikes in the form.

 

            Master Miyagi taught Tatsuo Shimabuku the Sanchin Kata while teaching him the Goju-Ryu system.  Later the Master incorporated these katas into his own style, "Isshin-Ryu".

 

            Today the Sanchin Kata is used to develop the student, both mentally and physically.  It is taught in two parts...body movement (taisabaki) and breathing (ibuki).  Some say that Sanchin is the basis of Okinawan Karate, and without it, there is no karate.  In view of this, most Okinawa Karate styles know and use some form of the Sanchin Kata.

 

            Sanchin is the shortest kata in Isshin-Ryu.  It has only 29 movements, but it takes the most time to do, which is about 2 minutes.  Sanchin has no kiais like the other katas.  It is also the only kata in Isshin-Ryu in which the vertical fist is not used by all instructors.

When done with dynamic force, the punches, jabs and forward motions in the Sanchin kata feel as though you are pushing against something.  If this kata is performed properly, your body will be completely wet with perspiration, and you may possibly faint.  Also, if it is done correctly, there is no need to lift weights to tone up your body.  This kata will provide all of the conditioning that your muscles will need.

 

 

Opening

 

            Stand at attention, the heels are together with toes pointed at a 45 degree angle.  The spine is straight (including the neck) with the knees slightly bent.  The hands are open with the palms against the thighs (fingers point toward the ground).  Relax by taking a few deep breaths utilizing the diaphragm  and set the mind toward the purpose of concentrating on the kata.  Perform the Tachi-Rei (standing bow).  Bend from the waist to a 45 degree angle; do not take the eyes off of the opponent and do not show the back of the neck (this is a form of disrespect); straighten back up  to the original position.   Bring the right fist up to the solar plexus (the palm part of the right hand will be facing your chest) and the left hand will simultaneously cover the front of the right fist as thought you are hiding the fist behind the left hand (the left hand is in a shuto position and the palm will be facing your chest with the fingers pointing up).  Lower the hands to in front of the groin (turning the knuckles of the right hand in the palm of the left).  As the hands are lowered, pivot the feet inward to a pigeon-toed stance with the knees slightly touching together (this is a cover for the groin against possible attacks at that level). Step with the right foot to ready stance and bring the fists to in front of the thighs.

 

 

 

SERIES 1

 

1.         Step with the left foot into a left-foot-forward-Sanchin-Dachi and raise the arms to a double-middle-level blocking position with the palms facing inward.

 

2.            Withdraw the right hand to the right hip and inhale.  Leave the left arm/hand in place.  Perform a right-hand-mid-level-twist punch (as the punch is performed, exhale and tense the body).  In conjunction with the punch, perform a left-forearm block (leaving the elbow in place).  (Breathing: Long/Long)

 

3.            Withdraw the right fist back to the double forearm blocking position.  (Breathing: Short/Short)

 

 

SERIES 2

 

1.         Step into a right-foot-forward Sanchin-Dachi and bring the arms to a double-middle-level-forearm blocking position with the palms facing inward.

 

2.            Withdraw the left hand to the left hip and inhale.  Leave the right arm/hand in place.  Perform a left-hand-mid-level-twist punch (as the punch is performed, exhale and tense the body). In conjunction with the punch, perform a right-forearm block (leaving the elbow in place).  (Breathing: Long/Long)

 

3.            Withdraw the left fist back to the double forearm block position.  (Breathing: Short/Short)

 

 

SERIES 3

 

1.         Step with the left foot into a left-foot-forward-Sanchin-Dachi and raise the arms to a double-middle-level blocking position with the palms facing inward.

 

2.            Withdraw the right hand to the right hip and inhale.  Leave the left arm/hand in place.  Perform a right-hand-mid-level-twist punch (as the punch is performed, exhale and tense the body).  In conjunction with the punch, perform a left-forearm block (leaving the elbow in place).  (Breathing: Long/Long)

 

3.            Withdraw the right fist back to the double forearm block position.  (Breathing: Short/Short)

 

 

SERIES 4

 

1.            Withdraw the left hand to the left hip and inhale.  Leave the right arm/hand in place.  Perform a left-hand-mid-level-twist punch (as the punch is performed, exhale and tense the body). In conjunction with the punch, perform a right-forearm block (leaving the elbow in place).  (Breathing: Long/Long)

 

2.            Withdraw the left fist back to the double forearm blocking position.  (Breathing: Short/Short)

 

3.            Withdraw the right hand to the right hip and inhale.  Leave the left arm/hand in place.  Perform a right-hand-mid-level-twist punch (as the punch is performed, exhale and tense the body).  In conjunction with the punch, perform a left-forearm block (leaving the elbow in place).  (Breathing: Long/Long)

 

4.            Withdraw the right fist back to the double forearm block position.  (Breathing: Short/Short)

 

 

SERIES 5

 

1.         Open both hands and rotate the palms toward the ground.  As the hands rotate, exhale slowly and hold the remaining breath. (Note: The hands now form the shuto with fingers pointing toward the opponent.)

 

2.            Withdraw the hands back to the hips and inhale; as the hands are withdrawn, rotate the palms up.  Perform a double mid-level spear hand thrust (the spear hand is performed with tension and breathing).  As the spear hand is almost fully extended, rotate the palms down by crossing the hands at the wrist (right over left) as the palms rotate downward, close the fists.

 

3.            Withdraw the hands back to the hips and inhale; as the hands are withdrawn, rotate the palms up.  Perform a double mid-level spear hand thrust (the spear hand is performed with tension and breathing).  As the spear hand is almost fully extended, rotate the palms down by crossing the hands at the wrist (right over left) as the palms rotate downward, close the fists.

 

4.            Withdraw the hands back to the hips and inhale; as the hands are withdrawn, rotate the palms up.  Perform a double mid-level spear hand thrust (the spear hand is performed with tension and breathing).  As the spear hand is almost fully extended, rotate the palms down by crossing the hands at the wrist (right over left) as the palms rotate downward, close the fists.

 

 

SERIES 6

 

1.         After the last spear hand, withdraw the right hand (still open) to the right shoulder with the right palm facing away from the shoulder, simultaneously withdraw the left hand to the left hip with the palm pointing toward the opponent.

 

2.         Lower the right hand (still in palm out shuto) to the right hip and raise the left hand (still in palm out shuto) to the left shoulder.

 

3.         Step back with the left foot into a right-foot-forward Sanchin-Dachi and withdraw the left hand to the left hip and the right hand to the right shoulder and immediately lower the right hand and raise the left hand so that the left hand is on the left shoulder and right hand is on the right hip. Perform a double palm heel strike (right to groin and left to face) with tension and breathing.

 

4.         Step back with the right foot into a left foot forward Sanchin-Dachi and withdraw the right hand to the right hip and the left hand to the left shoulder and immediately lower the left hand and raise the right hand so that the right hand is on the right shoulder and left hand is on the left hip. Perform a double palm heel strike (left to groin and right to face) with tension and breathing.

 

 

CLOSING

 

Step up into attention stance and bring the hands to in front of the chest and lower them slowly to in front of the groin.  Perform five (5) breaths each more deeply than the last and slowly return to normal breathing.  Perform the tachi-rei and return to the attention stance.

 

  Copyright © 2003 Wayland's Isshin-Ryu Karate-Do, LLC

 

 


Back to the Dojo-Kata    www.bohans-family.com