Bushido – Arts Martiaux d’ Aujourd-hui No 47.
Kata Sanchin by Habersetzer
Kata Sanchin is very old and came from China. One can find it with several variations in several styles. In Goju-Ryu it is a basic kata. It coordinates technique, breathing and movement. It is also a kata of muscle building exercises. In the time of Chojun Miyagi Sensei, it was the first kata studied. It gives an excellent idea of the feeling that one must have in the other postures, the same even if they do not have similar forms.
The juxtaposition of the two ideograms ‘San’ and ‘Shin’ have several significances. San : three, Shin: heart or spirit. Then one could give, “the kata of – or on – three steps, that could be equally the kata of three sprits. According to what the practitioner wants to find there most, they could wish to read these ideograms as ‘clear’ or in ‘code’. What there is of this kata – one of the oldest – exists under different forms since time immemorial. Today following the force given to its practice, one can find muscle building exercise, of force (strength) and of endurance, but also a practice capable of causing profound “mutation” to the ‘trefonds’ [???] of that which one devotes oneself to regularly. One could say that if all karate isn’t in the san shin, there isn’t karate without san shin.
Bernard Cousin gives us here, the version of his school.
There exist two forms of Sanchin kata. That of Kanryu Higaonna Sensei, where one turns two times, and the second form created by Chojun Miyagi Sensei whoe one doesn’t return and where there is a step or more to the rear.
Why he changed this kata
When a part of the human body isn’t in service, it degenerates. For example: since we walk with shoes, the feet have lost much of their agility. We walk naturally towards the front (often with regard where we place the feet). Nour muscles are developed to march to the front.
When you move back in this kata, you must concentrate your attention on your heels, the plant of the feet, your knees, the muscles of the back and the muscles of the anus. Progressively with your progress in this kata these various parts will become more precise and your technique more precise. Also, if you have certain problems with your back, this type of exercise will be to your benefit.
Position, Movement, Breathing
From the position ‘yoi’, your basin (bowl?) must be in retroversion (??? Again not in my dictionary). It will be there throughout all the kata. The muscles must be contracted during all the kata with a maximum intensity to each finishing exhalation.
Sanchin dachi: heels of the front foot on the same lien as the toes of the back foot. The width of the position is the same as that of the shoulders. The feet are turned towards the inside and the plantar surface is the making the most possible contact with the ground. The knees are flexed and the balance falls on the toes. The back is well right.
- The front foot, while pivoting on the ball of the toes, is placed perpendicular to the line of the shoulders.
- The rear foot moves the arc of the circle and is always in contact with the ground.
- Arrive to the place where the rear foot is before the front foot and the two heels pivot towards the exterior.
The feet while advancing and retreating, rest constantly in contact with the ground.
Inhalation is made by the nose. The thoracic cage does not have to raise itself. During inhalation, the abdomen is contracted. The exhalation is sonorous (ibuki), mouth open and complete. The abdominal muscles are always contracted.
Sanchin = Sensations
It is a kata which often works to two. The one executes the form, the other tests. The tester visualizes the general form first, and corrects as needed. Then he verifies if the muscles are well contracted: abdominal, dorsal, muscles of the legs, the ankles and the force of the arm techniques is well employed.
For [working] the form alone one must work before a mirror, from the front and from profile. Correcting oneself for the form is often best for one retains the best sensation.
Kanryo Hiagonna Sensei practiced this kata of force often and most dynamically, his breathing was rapid.
Chohun Miyagi Sensei slowed down the gestures and the breathing to improve the muscular feelings, the work of the muscles while coordinating with the breathing.
Note on the pictures showing the kata.
While seeing the demonstration of Sanchin of Goju Ryu of Okinawa – tendency of Higakonna – we can only note one time more ever the difficulty, not to say the impossibility which exists, to learn anything by an image… the ancients didn’t they have reason of not conceiving the transmission that of the ‘visual’ and of the mouth to the ear?