Martial arts, as we all know, is a form of combat, which can also be used to develop physical health and fitness. It can also serve as a platform for gaining higher control over self, especially improving mental concentration. The Sanchin kata is one of the basic stances taught to a karteka, however, it is put into practice only after he reaches maturation, or has achieved a black belt. Here is a quick guide to help you perform the Sanchin kata.
Performing the Sanchin Kata
Different versions of Sanchin kata have come up, some versions of the form include one-hundred-eighty-degree-turns, while some others omit the turns. Depending on the version and the instructor, the hand movements, position, speed and rhythm vary. Most of these styles were guarded and were passed down generations, from father to son or teacher to student; as a result it gave way for different interpretations of the movements. The version mentioned in this article belongs to the Kanryo Higashionna.
Word of Advice
- Let's begin with the initial position; rest your hands by your side, keep your feet pointing straight together, slightly lift your chin up, and breathe in and out in a shallow manner.
- Now bow with a slight dip in your right knee and hold your breath.
- Place your right palm over your left hand, both palms facing side down; while shallow breathing in and out.
- Retain the initial position and breathe, breathing should be slightly deeper than normal breathing.
- Retain the position, and breathe to your maximum capacity.
- Without lifting your feet off the ground, put your right step forward, simultaneously raise hands slightly below shoulder level; breathe in and hold breath; this is the Sanchin dachi pose.
- With a swift move, swing your right foot forward, and while doing so, place your foot at an angle gripping the ground with your feet, and lock your position.
- Remember that the distance between both legs, should not exceed your shoulder/hip width, and left foot should be in the same line as the heel of your right foot.
- Pull your hands outward, balled to fists, in the chest block position, ensure your elbows are close to your body while the fists move outward slightly beyond the shoulder width.
- Breathe deeply and hold your breath; while releasing your breath, release only through your mouth.
- Now in a swift motion, move your left arm to a chamber position and breathe in through your nose.
- Release your left arm from chamber position, with a left arm punch and breathe out through the mouth.
- In a swift move, return your left arm to the chest block position and deeply breathe in through your nose and hold this position.
- Swing your right foot backwards to the Sanchin dachi position and breathe in and hold your breath.
- Return to the initial position and continue shallow breathing in and out.
- Bow and hold your breath and return to the initial position.
Word of Advice
- Maintain a correct posture.
- Keep your spine straight.
- Pull your chin towards the chest.
- Tilt your pelvis up.
- Maintain crunched down shoulders or rolled shoulders.
- Keep mental distractions at bay.
- Firmly grip the ground.
- Knees should be bent over the toes.
- Concentrate at a particular point.
- Do not lift your feet off the floor.
- Exercise with caution.
Importance of Sanchin as an Exercise
- Use of strong and tense balled fist punches enhances strength training.
- As an exercise, it develops conscious breathing and concentration powers.
- Sanchin stance involves the power of Tanden or Dantein, which is the central strength of the practitioner.
- The Karteka who practices this stance reaps health benefits.
- If practiced regularly, the practitioner develops the power to resist the impact of blows in a combat.
- It aids the practitioner, in unifying the body, spirit and the mind.
- It creates a feeling of oneness with the surroundings.
- It brings a balance to one's existence, that is through movement, breath and action.
- It lays focus on self defense.
- Besides it also helps to reduce the pulse rate post strenuous workouts.
Facts about Sanchin Kata
- Sanchin kata is a 'pigeon-toed' stance which enables the karteka to be stable and endure all types of blows.
- It is regarded as one of the oldest stances, and is relatively easy to learn but difficult to put into practice.
- It forms the hub from which all other kata's radiate.
- The best ways to perform this stance is barefoot, as it exercises the tendons and muscles of the feet.
- Stability increases when performed close in contact with soil or on a wooden platform.
- The body of a karteka in this stance is in constant tension or the muscles are contracted at all times.
- Sanchin training increases oxygen supply to the body.
- Sanchin kata can be performed with either open or closed (balled) fists.
- Regular practice of this stance stimulates and calms the mind.
- It is a sort of moving meditation.
- The only way to master this stance is through diligent practice and self-discipline.
- While performing this stance, the karteka, garners a different physical and mental strength and appears to be like a wooden man.
Sanchin kata, if practiced on a daily basis, is sure to be beneficial to develop immunity and aid you in strength training. However, improper methods of sanchin training can result in stroke/heart attack. It is advisable for those interested in learning this martial stance to enroll for a karate class and learn the martial arts from a trained professional.