Monday, July 29, 2013

Sanchin Kata from GOSHIN KARATE KEMPO By Master Mabuni Kenwa

Defense and Attack

By Master Mabuni Kenwa

          Published in March 1934


                                    Translated into French by Tokitsu Kenji (February 1989)
                                    Translated into English by Victor Smith (June 2000)



Itosu Anko, my respected master, had been able to copy a Chinese work named Bubushi, treating the art of fighting.  I was able to borrow it and I have copied it.

I have used it  for my research and preserved is secretly as a treasure until this day

But today the karate is widespread and I begin to feel embarrassed to be the only one possessing it.

It is why, after having taken counsel of my friends, I have decided to present this document

I would be happy if it contributes to the research of adepts.

“The Basic Exercise of Karate-Kempo”

1 – Sanchin

This basic exercise is very important  to the practice of karate.

This kata serves as the basis of all the karate kata and it gives the opportunity to learn  the practice of the open hand.

From the point of view of  physical education, this kata allows first to reinforce all the  muscles while preserving the balance,  and to form the sturdy body and the will that are necessary for the practice of the budo; second, it allows one to learn to harmonize the breathing, the contraction and the relaxation; third, it is very effective to develop resistance (tension).

To the mental view point, this kata permits augmenting the vital sprit and practice the capacity of observation, of decision and of reflection. It contributes to form the value to be human.

This practice initially takes on a big importance for those that aim to go further into it, and practice with a calm and quiet spirit. If one practices with an incorrect posture, that risks to become a habit that one will not be able to correct

I will explain, on the whole, through the diagrams of Sanchin kata.





Diagram of Stepping for Sanchin Kata



Beginning Position

As shown in diagram 1, place the hands in front of the groin.  Lower the shoulders, open the chest, pull in the chin and place your energy in the nape of your neck.

Look directly in front, place your force in your ‘tan tien’..  Place the feet in <musubi-dachi> stance.

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As shown on diagram 4, slowly bring the left fist directly back while lowering the shoulder,
all the time inhaling through the nose, little by little, with the mouth closed.
Then move the fist forward, punching while exhaling with the mouth in a single breath.
Then return to the beginning position.

Without moving the right foot, advance the left foot, tracing a half circle where the center is found next to the side of the right foot.
 < Without moving the right foot, advance the left foot, in a crescent step where the foot moves in alongside the other foot and then steps out.>


Return the right fist directly to the rear alongside the armpit while inhaling, then advance the fist while exhaling.

Following this return to the beginning position lie shown in diagram 5.

It is necessary to watch out not to completely unfold the joint, and to lightly support the bend/flex.

<Watch out, it is necessary not to completely straighten out the elbow joint, keep it slightly flexed for support.>


Advance the right foot as before.
Next bring back the left fist, then advance it while punching as before (diagram 6)


Return to the initial position the fist you sent to the front, then bring it back to the rear.
Next while sliding on the chest, you cross the right elbow (diagram 7).


While supporting the same position of the body, move the right foot just before the left foot. (diagram 8)


Turn toward the rear while pivoting on the two feet while doing a  left <Yoko-uke> side block with the left fist and place the right fist alongside of the armpit, then advance it with a punch.
Then return to the initial position and turn over the fist. (diagram 9)

As before, advance the rigt foot one step with a crescent step, and pull back the left fist then punch out with it. (diagram 10)


Next, as before, return the fist to the rear, inserting it directly under the right elbow  while passing it before the chest.

Shift (Move) the right foot directly to the side of the left foot, then turn towardss the rear.
At this moment form the position of yoko-uke with the left fist while placing the right fist directly against the side.  (Diagram 11)

Send forth the right fist, then return it while turning it over to return to the preceding position.
Advance the right foot one step as shown on the diagram, maintain it while changing and return to the rear with the left fist, and then as before, send it forth.

Next rotate the fist and return it to the preceding position.

Maintain the position of the feet without changing and advance the right fist while punching, for turning over to the preceding position.  (Diagram 12)


Open the right fist and lower the palm while unfolding he arms in front. (diagram 13)


Open also the left fist and as shown on diagram 14, advance the two hands  (forward), the palms are turned towards the bottom  Slowly lower the shoulder and maintain the flex of the joints of the arm. (Diagram 14)


Strongly close the open hands and return them to the rear while turning them over.

When the two fists arrive a the chest, open them while pushing with the open hands towards the front how for open/spread something.

Repeat the same movement several times. (Diagram 15)


Return directly the left foot one step to the rear and at the same time place the two open hands at the side of the armpits as on diagram 16.


The palm of the right hand is located up and the back of the hand toward the bottom, traces a circle centering around the nose with the open left hand while lowering the elbow, then lower this hand to the left side.

While this is happening, turn the right hand around the thumb so as to raise the  back of the hand from bottom to top and at the same time push them forward while forming a ‘shuto’.

Push the left hand towards the interior of the left knee.

Bring back the left foot to the side of the right foot, and place the two hands before the chest as on the diagram and next lower this hands with exhalation.

Repeat two or three times inhaling and exhaling.
(Diagram 18)


I translated this more than 10 years ago from the French translation. Mario McKenna has a more complete translation of the entire book at  I recommend this for your sttudy.

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