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Thread: Sanchin

  1. #1
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    Default Sanchin

    There are sources on the internet that challenge the Goju Ryu method of performing Sanchin kata. The main point of these challenges seem to focus on a judgment of excessive tension leading to negative impact on the karatekaís health.

    In contrast, some of these sources suggest that Uechi Ryuís version is the better method for performing this kata, because it does not have the same level of tension involved.

    I have noticed that other karate styles that contain Sanchin kata (Shito Ryu, Shukokai, Isshinryu, Kyokushin, and Shobayashi Shorin Ryu) are never mentioned as to whether their methods are equally concerning as Gojuís method.

    Is Gojuís method significantly different than all of the other methods? Is Uechiís method the only different version and the unchallenged styles listed in the third paragraph just fly below the radar?

    I am not a practitioner of any of these styles, and I am not advocating any method or criticizing any method. Iím just trying to understand the debate.

    Thanks in advance for all helpful replies.

  2. #2
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    Opinion: Any action that causes a person's veins to bulge, skin to go beet-red, and blood pressure to spike, can't possibly be "good" for a body. The mechanics of Sanchin originally did not involve the tensing of overt muscle groups; the kata was instead powered by a subtler creation of "condensing," "expanding" and torsioning using a lesser-recognized set of muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia which, used in a very specific way generated impressive power that exceeds the product of conventional muscle use. I believe that when the knowledge of how to do this was lost along the way (various reasons ranging from wilful withholding of teaching, to inferior or incomplete transmission), practitioners did the only thing they could imagine, and that was to tense muscles, use forceful breathing methods, and try to externally replicate what they could only observe with their eyes, and not feel with their bodies. From what I've seen of contemporary Uechi-Ryu and Goju-Ryu, very few practitioners, even the highest ranking ones, seem to possess any of the "internal engine" of the original arts. That's not to say there aren't any, it's just that so many that are out there to see and observe seem to lack it. That said, both karate systems have excellent material and there are many powerful practitioners. It's just that the processes that made Sanchin kata unique, are now lacking.

    So, I'd say that the variations among Goju-Ryu, Uechi-Ryu and other arts/systems that practice Sanchin kata, are superficial. To understand the missing skill set, one would have to go back to the Southern Chinese systems that influenced the Okinawan arts, such as White Crane (Fujian/Fukien style). And even those arts today have many practitioners who have not completely received those skills, or have none of them at all, in large due to the loss of the true masters during the Cultural Revolution, as well as the usual attrition of skills from withheld info, poor transmission/teaching, etc.
    Cady Goldfield

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    Couple thoughts first the founders of isshin ryu, shito ryu and shobayashi ryu all studied under Miyagi Sensei so they are Goju sanchin. Oyama Sensei of kyokushinkai studied under one of Miyagi Sensei's students. At one time shurite Goju existed. Mario McKenna's site has some information. Uehara's Motobu ryu has two kata called mote which seem to be a softer sanchin. Also kyokushinkai's Steve Arniel Sensei has written about doing sanchin slowly with no tension. Hope this helps, Len McCoy

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    Correction Uehara's kata is moto-te. Also I have seen a film of Fusei Kise Sensei having a student do double puch then double uchi uke while he is doing what looks like shime (slapping and hitting student to check alignment). Of course as noted above original Chinese versions of sanchin still exist. Steve Arniel also talked about doing sanchin at a normal kata pace with kiai on every move. He also talked about the structural stability of triangles and how you can see so many triangles in a good sanchin stance. Len McCoy

  5. #5
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    Take a look at Sebukai Kyokusin YouTube channel. They have some very interesting videos related to sanchin. Seems like an aiki interpretation. We do know Oyama Sensei did study with Kotaro Yoshida Sensei. It would be interesting to know the history of this group. Len McCoy

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