Sunday, March 6, 2011

Chinto and the Tall Man

Earlier this week one of my old students (all of 22) returned from his Navy Nuclear Electronics training for a week's leave and showed up for class. Luke is about 6'7" and a fine young karateka.

We were working some of my Aikido/Chinto techniques and the issue how to deal with a greatly larger opponent quickly reared its head.

Now I'm 6'1" and it wasn't a problem for myself, but I have several members who are quite less in height. One woman 5' and another man 5'6". They were having to deal with 1 to 1 ½ feet of difference.

For Kashiba Juku adepts, after my interesting time with George Donahue, I believe you might categorize the Isshinryu Chinto kata I perform as a 'Me Kata', an Eye Form. My use of Aikido as a technique to study the applications of the movements of Chinto are based on the basic movement of the kata. After a very interesting evening with George, I suspect it best to clarify this for you.

We were working the section I described in one of my earliest Aikido posts. If you look at Nagamine (my choice as the kata source for this review) you'll find the section I'm choosing.

Essence of Okinawan Karate-Do - Nagamine Shoshin Chinto Kata Pgs 223 and 222 pictures 22 - 24

Beginning with the Elbow Strike, Nagamine shifts back into a back cat stance with both hands up before him. He then strikes back with both hands into two descending knife hand strikes. [in my Isshinryu Version, I drop back into horse stance with the two descending knife hand strikes].

I wanted the class to practice this section of Chinto as an entering throw (Irimi Nage) with the following practice.

Attacker Right Foot Forward Right Grab/Punch

1. Left foot forward (outside of the attackers attack), the left hand parries back with the palm defelcting the strike to the side.
2. The left foot slides forward and te right forearm (elbow) strikes into the attackers side or ribs. (Nagamine pic 22)
3. The right forearm strikes on a relatively horizontal strike into the attackers side as the left arm reaches forward. (Nagamine pic 23)
4. Here I wanted them to strike back with both arms (as in Nagamine pic 24). The right arm across the attackers arm, the left arm across the pressure centers on the side of the attackers neck.

This motion will effect a takedown as in the Examples I showed in one of my earlier posts.

However when both students I mentioned could not readily place their arm up past the attackers neck, they began to lose confidence that the kata technique could work for themselves.

I thought on their needs a little and arrived at two answers, I find will control the attacker.

Each begins with sections 1, 2and 3 as described above.

Variation A.

4. As the left hand reaches forward, the right arm slides dow, then underneath their arm and strikes up with a ridge hand into the outside of the attackers neck. (This is from the outside and I would use the thumb of the shuto hand position as the striking area.) A solid shot there and the attackers body will revolve counter-clockwise from the initial strike. 5. As the attacker will tend to sag from that strike, at that point your left
should be able to come across the neck to continue with the irimi-nage style takedown.

Variation B

4. In this case the left hand reaches forward and then circles down behind the attackers back until the palm rests against the, the right arm slides down , then underneath their arm and strikes up with a ridge hand into the outside of the attackers neck. (This is from the outside and I would use the thumb of the shuto hand position as the striking area.) A solid shot there and the attackers body will revolve counter-clockwise from the initial strike.

5. At that time the left presses into the back and the right presses into the neck and pushes back. The attackers center of gravity shifts to your left hand and the pressure of the right hand against the neck causes them to rotate down.

Chinto continues to require full use of the koshi to fully expoit the energy involved.

Again you continue to find new variations on the Chinto theme within the aikido technique.

Victor Smith

Butch Bonner has granted permission to post his reply to my recent post on Chinto and Aikido - The Tall man. This comes from the Koshi Discussion Group, where I've been posting my Chinto Analysis.


From Butch, "My comment:"

I only know the Shorin version of Chinto, which as I understand it is close to the Isshin Ryu version. In the version above I think you do a good job of pointing out how to take advantages of size differences. I
thought I would offer an observation or two:

In version #1 after the elbow strike which tends to sink the uke forward. That sinking allows for striking the nerve center at the base of the neck.

A drawback is that the uke's energy is moving forward and in this position it can be difficult particularly for shorter people to move a taller person backwards.

One remedy for this is to (with the left hand) grasp uke's right elbow and load nage's weight on it as the right hand strikes the neck. Nages energy will be moving diagonally or in the direction of nages left foot
(relative to nage's center). This will be in the direction of ukes weak side and break his balance enough for the neck strike to be effective in continuing breaking the balance.

One other point I'll comment on is that When ukes head is in a chin down position it can be next to impossible to move. However, when striking with the right hand and the ridgehand travels on a line upward
between the chin and the ear and still moving the direction of nages left foot, the head is arched upward and to the left, breaking the

This works all the more effectively when nages left hand is in the right kidney area of the uke pressing in the opposite direction.

One of our Chinese practicing brethren describes this as a "energy shunt" which breaks the strength of the stance.

I hope I've not confused you. I've enjoyed your post on this subject keep up the good work.

Butch Bonner >It's not the destination, it's the journey!

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