Tips for Sanchin

Dirty Dog

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My sensei spent many years studying in Okinawa and still visits yearly. He has no problem asking questions and getting answers. He has spoken with other masters there and seemed to me they were fairly open. Now, their masters, going back to pre WWII, that may be a different story.
Timing is, I suspect, a key factor. Asking questions during class vs outside of class.
 

seasoned

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It has been said in earlier posts that sanchin kata contained no bunkai. To expand further on "no bunkai".... but, it does contain (principles of movement) that can be inserted into bunkai throughout the kata... Case in point, there is an old Chinese saying, "when the hands wage war above, the legs are in turn waging war below". Every step forward is a potential sweep or a strike to the shin as a disruptive move. This is why the stepping forward move in sanchin does so in an arc inward as it moves across to your stance. There are many principles of movement never explained because it would interfere with the base teachings of sanchin which are, the transfer of power through (structure...movement...breath) and is enough to think about at that time.
Anyone that has ever trained in an Okinawan dojo, in Okinawa...... knows that questions are not allowed, just do and don't talk....Old school

Can't agree with this, if I'm understanding properly. There is a lot to think about while doing sanchin, including movement. Not sure what you're referring to re: movement that is not explained and that would interfere with the base teachings of the kata. Are you saying the stepping interferes with the rest of the form as it's too much to think about?

My sensei spent many years studying in Okinawa and still visits yearly. He has no problem asking questions and getting answers. He has spoken with other masters there and seemed to me they were fairly open. Now, their masters, going back to pre WWII, that may be a different story.
What is your understanding of the inward arc stepping, while moving forward in sanchin?
 

isshinryuronin

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Is it true that the Uechi Ryu front kick use the toes as the contact point?
The toe kick was common in Okinawan karate up to the WWII era, approximately. It is still taught in some traditional Uechi Ryu dojos, and can be rarely seen elsewhere. While it may be still taught, I think it is a technique fading away as the makiwara conditioning to make it effective is such that few modern students are willing to undergo it - me included.

It is deadly due to the great penetration of a very small striking area. I read an anecdote about an old, old time karate guy (can't come up with the name right now) who got in a fight on a staircase in a bar? Anyway, he caught the opponent in the armpit with a toe kick which put him in the hospital and a couple weeks later resulted in his death.
 
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isshinryuronin

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What is your understanding of the inward arc stepping, while moving forward in sanchin?
The "half moon" or circular stepping is standard in most Okinawan karate. The step is not particular to sanchin. The leg tension and inward pointing foot position in the ending stance is the more unique feature in that kata. During sanchin stepping (others may do it differently) I keep tension in my entire body and core while breathing in, allowing slight relaxation in the hips which then lock at the end of the step.

The step has several applications. The main one I think is that it closes up and protects the groin as you step. It is also useful to place your leg around the inside or outside of the opponent's as you step to check or buckle it, or for leverage in a takedown.

Other possible advantages are that your foot keeps contact with the ground as you step allowing you to feel the terrain, and the circular motion of the step allows you to flow and easily change direction midstep.
 
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_Simon_

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As well as those great pragmatic reasons, I also like to think of the inward arc steps in Sanchin (and even when moving in Zenkutsu dachi with the same slight arc) as tuning into the principle of everything comes into your centre and out of your centre. Whilst may seeming a bit ethereal, it makes alot of sense, and actually 'feeling' that and applying it to all technique makes a huge difference. But that's just my woowoo take on it ;D
 

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The "half moon" or circular stepping is standard in most Okinawan karate. The step is not particular to sanchin. The leg tension and inward pointing foot position in the ending stance is the more unique feature in that kata. During sanchin stepping (others may do it differently) I keep tension in my entire body and core while breathing in, allowing slight relaxation in the hips which then lock at the end of the step.
Excellent summation above!
As a young man I learned sanchin at my first dojo back in 1967. My sensei Peter Musacchio, taught it as our first kata and the base for all future kata. As our base kata, sanchin covered all manner of "safe and protected movement" while at the same time teaching proper body structure and synchronization of breath with movement to tie it all together.
The step has several applications. The main one I think is that it closes up and protects the groin as you step. It is also useful to place your leg around the inside or outside of the opponent's as you step to check or buckle it, or for leverage in a takedown.
The above statement in red is the main principal that was taught while learning sanchin. The above part in black highlight was left for future kata bunkai teaching. Structure, movement and breathing were more then enough to grasp as a young white belt.
Other possible advantages are that your foot keeps contact with the ground as you step allowing you to feel the terrain, and the circular motion of the step allows you to flow and easily change direction midstep.
The above is also taught initially during the learning stages of sanchin. Anything past this initial sanchin learning process is saved for bunkai training within future kata training.

isshinryuronin, it appears out path may be slightly different, which is within teaching style, but.... in the long run out destination is the same....
 

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As well as those great pragmatic reasons, I also like to think of the inward arc steps in Sanchin (and even when moving in Zenkutsu dachi with the same slight arc) as tuning into the principle of everything comes into your centre and out of your centre. Whilst may seeming a bit ethereal, it makes alot of sense, and actually 'feeling' that and applying it to all technique makes a huge difference. But that's just my woowoo take on it ;D
Kind of like contract and explode....:)
 
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J. Pickard

J. Pickard

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Is it true that the Uechi Ryu front kick use the toes as the contact point?
The Uechi Ryu sensei I train with does use the toes to certain spots (inner thigh for one), and the ball of the foot to others. The top of the foot (instep) is used sometimes too for groin kicks. I'm not sure if that's all Uechi style or not though.
 

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