Friday, March 4, 2011

Chinto Kata from the Aikido perspective

Interdisciplinary Studies – Chinto & Aikido

Having had the privilege to train with many skilled instructors in a few different arts, and then spending decades working on what was shared eventually I came to understand how much different arts share in common. By taking that training new lessons came to emerge on potential use of my studies not seen before.

In 1980 I began studying with Tristan Sutrisno and one of the earliest classes had his students working on an Aikido drill, standing in the center of 10 attackers and responding to their attacks one after another. I paid attention and after about 15 mintes Tristan asked me if I wanted to try it. I know he was somewhat surprised at my results. I never have stopped that practice and place it in my students study at green and brown belt.

Now that doesn’t make me an aikido-ka, but I have learned something from those and other training with Sutrisno Sensei that explains a lot of how aikido works.

Then 20 years later in 1999 I belatedly realized that drill no. 7 was just using several of the opening movements in the Isshinryu Chinto I was taught. I had kept the practices separate till that realization. My work on the Chinto application potential had brought various Aikido links before that one. But this time I started to pull my thoughts togheter and a year later shared it on a private discussion group focusing on the application potential of Kata.

This was before YouTube, movies while sometimes shared privately but inconsistent as a means for discussion, and I chose to reference many of the good Aikido texts I had acquired in my years, to illustrate my points.

Chinto and Aikido - The Beginning of the Story

I thought it would be time to show the technique which got me thinking about the Chinto/Aikido relationship.

This is one you won't find in the Aikido texts, but I'm sure all Aikido isn't found in them, regardless of the number.

This comes from the Opening of Chinto Kata.

The Essence of Okinawan Karate Do - Nagamine Shoshin
Pages 221-222 pictures 04, 05, 06, 07, 08 and 09
The Dynamics of Isshinryu - Long Howard and Wheeler Allen
Chinto Kata - Pages 76, 77 pictures 05, 06, 07 and 08

While I feel the Isshinryu shares a great deal of Kyan Chinto-ness', there are those differences. Even within the Isshinryu system there are differences, many of which source back to the founder's studies and ideas.
Even my own instructors taught me different versions, which parallel much I've seen in he Kyan derivative variations.

As I practice Chinto, You would find I pretty much follow the pictures of Nagamine for 04, 05 and 06. On 07 it is different, and broken into a larger variation of the same movement.

Where Nagamine's Chinto rolls the hands over for picture number 07, after forming up the 'X' block, my left hand circles (clockwise) out and back with a palm block along side my head. My right hand circles back, the down then trikes out with a right spear hand (palm up) while moving clockwise too.

Then I continue with a left vertical backfist strike followed with a right punch, matching Nagamine's photo's 8 and 9.

Now sure, in a sense that change to photograph 07 is found in Nagamine's version, or in those Isshinryu versions who keep the same movements. But I believe it would not be too obvious without some explanation.

So I've spent 25 years practicing and teaching Chinto as my instructor's passed onto me.

Originally I received next to nothing for this in the Bunkai sense. After about 5 years I received a gift of the "Karate-Do Koyhan" , and on page 230, they demonstrate a throw, 'Tsubamageaeshi (V turning swallow)' which does make an interesting example of what one can do from the rising 'x' block, never matter that this does not follow from Chinto.

As the years passed I did see different striking applications of this sectionn, but it was last December before I realized I had been practicing an Aikido technique from Sutrisino Tris which totally explained the Chinto
movement, too.


In the Sutrinso Aikido curriculum, it is defense number 7.

The Attacker steps forward with their right foot and throws a right punch.

1. The Defender steps forward with their left foot (outside of their line of attack with an exterior line of defense)
2. The Defender's left open hand parries the punch back towards their ear At the same time the right hand circles out counter-clockwise underneath the arm and up and in to strike (lightly) with a shuto into the attackers right arm biceps insertion above the elbow. (into the centerline of the attackers upper arm). [This will cause the attackers arm to weaken at the elbow.]
3. The Defender's left hand turns over and grabs the attackers right wrist (palm up), and pulls it away from their centerline, bending the attackers arm back.
4. The Defender's right hand pulls back and is placed under the attackers elbow and pushes up. This raises the attackers arm and stretch's up their upper right rib cage. [This is extremely painful.]
- The Aikido movement is followed with two steps RFF then LFF, driving the attacker backwards and down.

The hip movement with this technique aids its execution.
Movement 1, the right hip rolls back away from the incoming punch aiding the parrying movement
Movement 2, the right hip rolls forward towards the attacker to assist the strike into the biceps.
Movement 3, the right hip rolls back away from the attacker to aid in the left hand rolling the arm up.
Movement 4, the right hip rolls forward towards the attacker to assist the right hand raising the attackers arm.

For all purposes, this movement parallels this section in Chinto. Not to imply that the one came from the other, but rather a study in similarity of movement.

This movement is not done hard, but rather softly fitting into the attack. The strike into the biceps simply has to be hard enough to cause the attacker to lose their tension on the arm, permitting the rolling up of the arm and the elbow.

The technique is very painful and should be applied with care during practice (hopefully out of respect for one's partner).

I would also like speculate why I don't find any documentation on this technique in the current Aikido texts. It may be that the source of the technique isn't from Aikido, although the projection has the feel of an
Aikido technique. I wonder if the issue is the use of the strike to set up the bending of the attackers arm. Where the earlier work of Usheiba Sensei demonstrates the use of Atemi (striking) to set up a technique, post WWII Aikido basically eliminated the striking. It certainly is possible that for that reason it was discontinued.

In any case, I find this a skilled and very quick technique to execute.

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