Sanchin and Kata – just my opinion.

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Sanchin and Kata – just my opinion.

Postby Rick Wilson » Tue Jul 08, 2014 5:29 pm

Sanchin and Kata – just my opinion.

Van asked me on another thread about my views of Sanchin/Kata.

So these are my thoughts and my opinions: Agree or disagree, like or hate; this is just how I think.

Also understand that I believe in progressive teaching so Kata should evolve and the practice of Kata should deepen as principles are learned and added.

It is hard, and unreasonable, to try and explain a kinetic response of charged tendons created by the proper yin yang action of one knee down one knee up driven by the kua conforming to the three external harmonies to a student who is just trying to figure out if their left or right foot is in front.

So understand I am looking at this as a lifetime practice and what I see should be derived from Sanchin and all Kata.

Part One: Goals

I am going to approach this from a few angles.

One of the people I listen to for advice on practical protection is Rory Miller. Rory expresses that when responding to an assault we should seek to achieve the “Golden Move.” The golden move achieves three things simultaneously:

1. You avoid the assault
2. You achieve a strategic position
3. You impact them (pain and or balance.)

I was once told by a Uechi senior that he had been told that Uechi lives in the transitions and this to me fits into achieving Rory’s Golden Move because it cannot be achieved if you are not moving = transition.

This was also confirmed in my mind by listening to some old interviews with Uechi Seniors where differences from before to now were commented on and watching some old footage where one particular move was shown by an older practitioner and a younger man showed the current version. The older man performed the action in movement and all in one action (simultaneous) where the younger man had the movement and actions segmented into separate moves.

There were also the comments that Uechi Kanbun Sensei’s Kata was so fast no one was sure how he did certain moves. This could not be with segmented moves.

Again this for me confirmed the end product has to be something united in actions.

Training to achieve that unity is a different approach to the performance of a Kata.

Another factor in my approach to Kata is the readings of Peter Ralston and more recently Moshi Feldenkrais.

All teachers will relate to the following, some students seem to “get” what we are showing immediately and even have excellent revelations themselves where others struggle even with hard work and effort put in.

In addition, people see “effort” they often cannot see or recognise the strength in “effortless.”

I remember seeing video of a high level Dan test in Okinawa when I had not trained in Uechi for very long. One person was testing for 6th Dan and another 8th Dan. When I watched the tape the first time the 6th Dan candidate impressed the heck out of me and I thought he should have been testing for 8th and not the other man because he was so much better. In fact the man testing for 8th didn’t impress me much. What I was seeing was the EFFORT put into the Kata by the 6th Dan candidate and what I was not seeing was the effortless power of the 8th Dan candidate.

I simply did not know enough to see the difference in skill level. Later as I learned more and saw more I realized just how good the candidate for 8th actually was. Humbled to have been so arrogant.

I think people have become enamored with the EFFORT and OBVIOUS power in Kata and fail to see this is a limited practice and one that will inhibit you obtaining higher levels of function.

IF you cannot see and feel the differences in the slightest pressures then you will never achieve the highest levels and therefore teaching and practicing Kata should be a way to achieve a body awareness. This requires a slow and diligent and deliberate approach.

We are looking for the body awareness spoken of by Peter Ralston and described in the quotes below.

Some quotes from Moshe Feldenkrais:

“People who apparently spontaneously prefer the better way of doing are those who have the capacity to detect small differences of sensation.”

“Easy and smooth action is obtained when the aim is achieved by the smallest amount of exertion, which, in turn, is obtained with the minimum tonus present.”

“When the proper erect posture is held with the minimum tone that is necessary, not only do we sense the smallest change, so that righting the position when necessary is started in good time but the body is capable of righting itself immediately without preparation.”

“ People with a fine kinaesthetic sense tend to a low tonic contraction, and are not satisfied until they find the way of doing which involves the smallest amount of exertion; also the limit to which unnecessary effort is eliminated, is closer to the ideal minimum."

“At the higher level of effort, one cannot detect small differences; therefore, it is impossible to improve beyond a certain stage. This things are self-perpetuating; the crude kinaesthetic sense tends to become cruder and cruder, the finer ones tend to become finer yet.”

“Unskillful doing uses up more energy than properly doing.”

“Efficient activity is sensed as easy and fluent, and, for reasons we cannot discuss at the moment, looks and feels graceful. People with a low kinesthetic sense feel only extreme inefficiency.”

“This answers the two questions, why some people spontaneously find the better way of doing, and stick to it, and why others, in spite of the example presented by other people, continue in their inferior way. They have no means of sensing the difference. Unless they become aware of it intellectually, they never know about it at all. Intellectual awareness is, however, not sufficient to alter matters fundamentally. For all they can do is to observe other people and imitate the grossly observable differences. “

 Dr. Feldenkrais’ principles.

They can be applied in every orientation, direction, pattern and activity that humans engage in on earth.

• Good posture is the ability to move in any direction without hesitation or preparation, and it’s based on the specific contact we find with the surfaces we’re on.* (Jeff Haller’s addendum in italics).
• Clear Skeletal Support: the bones below move to support the bones above.
Evenly distributed muscular effort/tone (proportional work: the big muscles do the big work, small muscles small work)
• Every movement is generated through an equal and opposite force delivered to/received from the ground.
• Force must travel up and through the skeleton (longitudinally), not across it. Avoid shearing forces.
• Head and eyes are free in the activity.
• Breathing is free in the activity.
• Reversibility: the ability to organize for the action and it’s suspension or reversal at any moment.

When building our understanding of Kata through practice we begin with training at a speed we can comprehend what is going on. Speed only comes once form has been achieved.

So when practicing Kata if you are doing it simply to get the moves and reps out of the way then STOP – you are simply wasting your time and you will learning nothing.

When practicing your kata “listen” to each and every movement and “detect small differences of sensation.”

Look at how each movement and position feels and does it meet Dr. Feldenkrais’ principles?

Look at how each movement and position feels and would it obtain Rory Miller’s “Golden Move?”

Are you feeling EFFORT? Do you love that? The reason is we are used to that feeling and seek it. It is like hitting a pad, most people love the feel of that slam and reverberation of the hit when that really means the power of the strike stayed with you and was not transmitted into your target. Instead try to enjoy feeling nothing when you hit and enjoy observing the energy of the strike’s effect on the pad or person.

So in practicing Kata do not seek that feeling of effort but seek the feeling of the principles above in each movement. Would you be able to move without hesitation from every position or have you tensed and locked your body in such a way you are a statue?

This is not to say a person can’t do a dynamic tension Kata as one rep to engage tendons and a different feeling but this, to me, should not be the consistent way to perform a Kata but rather a way to work a particular skill or body set.

Do “the bones below move to support the bones above?”

Are you using “up more energy than properly doing” it through aligning with gravity and only using the minimum muscle tension required?

Are you performing Kata in a way that “involves the smallest amount of exertion; also the limit to which unnecessary effort is eliminated, is closer to the ideal minimum?”

“When the proper erect” Sanchin stance/posture “is held with the minimum tone that is necessary, not only do we sense the smallest change, so that righting the position when necessary is started in good time but the body is capable of righting itself immediately without preparation.”

Sanchin Kata, all Kata to me means “Efficient activity” that is “sensed as easy and fluent, and … looks and feels graceful.”

This will differ from the view of others because they may have different goals than I do or have a different feedback loop. If your feedback loop that tells you that you are achieving your goals means experiencing tension and resistance and effort then my approach will not resonate with you because those are the things I do not want to feel.

Again this is my approach to Kata. I believe the principles obtained in Kata practice directly transfer to self defence and therefore every move of the Kata should work at achieving Rory Miller’s Golden Move.

I believe the most efficient and effective way of achieving the Golden Move is by achieving Dr. Feldenkrais’ principles.

Interestingly while Dr. Feldenkrais is best known for his method of teaching health through body awareness he was one of the first European Judo Black Belts and trained in Japan with Dr. Kano and taught WWII soldiers practical methods. He wrote a book on that as well as Judo ground work and other Judo techniques.

I like body movement practitioners who have a martial arts background.

More to come, if anyone is interested.
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Re: Sanchin and Kata – just my opinion.

Postby Van Canna » Tue Jul 08, 2014 6:25 pm

Thank you Rick, most excellent, please give us more.
1. You avoid the assault.

2. You achieve a strategic position.

3. You impact them (pain and or balance.)
Rory's Golden move.

Don't you often smile when someone tries to sell you the 'stand your ground' like a granite rock...and show me how tough you are by taking all kinds of body shots.

I recall one time when in Italy and showing this method to an Italian practitioner...

He asked me why don't you take full hits to the face?

I gave him the standard answer 'tongue in cheek' well...anything to the face is always blocked by our wauke block. :lol: But of course.
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Re: Sanchin and Kata – just my opinion.

Postby Rick Wilson » Wed Jul 09, 2014 5:07 pm

Watch the following clip.

I wish I spoke the language but I see the instructor explaining how the legs / knees drive the hips and he is loose and fluid.

Then the student does a form: tense, anything but fluid and no use of the knees.

The student is enamoured with the feeling of power the tension gives him and he has none of the qualities of the instructor or what the instructor was showing them.

Now the form may be required to have tension (I don't know the form or style) BUT he is still lacking the body mechanics explained.

I only have a Face Book Link: ... permPage=1
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Re: Sanchin and Kata – just my opinion.

Postby Van Canna » Wed Jul 09, 2014 6:55 pm

Nice clip.
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Re: Sanchin and Kata – just my opinion.

Postby Rick Wilson » Wed Jul 09, 2014 8:35 pm

This is a clip of a Uechi Senior, so I would like to remind the readers that I am talking about the long time study of Kata not a step in progressive teaching.

I know this may be the only clip of Jim Maloney Sensei doing a kata because he doesn’t want how he does a kata held up as a template. He feels everyone will do their Kata as they should.

So, to be clear, I am not saying everyone should try to do their Kata like Jim Sensei, but I wanted to post this clip to highlight many of the principles I posted.

Look at the structure of his stance. The torso sits on the pelvis with little muscle effort to hold it in place.

He is loose and there is no visible effort in what he is doing but the power should still be clear to those who are ready to see it.

His actions are done in transition.

In the elbow strikes this point is the clearest - HE LANDS ON HIS WEAPON.

There is no segmentation in what he is doing.

I recall an excellent interview that George Sensei had with Tomoyose Sensei where Tomoyose Sensei said the teaching of groups meant they now had to segment the movements where they used to all be done at once and he predicted this would have a great effect over times as this continued to be the method used to teach Kata.

Watch this clip for the points mentioned:
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Re: Sanchin and Kata – just my opinion.

Postby jorvik » Thu Jul 10, 2014 7:47 pm

I just came across this utube video quite by chance.It covers White Crane and it's connection to karate. I think it is very relevant
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Re: Sanchin and Kata – just my opinion.

Postby Stryke » Fri Jul 11, 2014 4:17 am

Yeah its a good clip Ray , its more than relevant its the source

my practice of Uechi more resembles this than what most would consider typical but I arrived at this from energy drills exploring the kotikitae as sticking , tegumi and FMA influences , but its not the differences it's the common principles however they are explored.

To me seeing it all go full circle by seeking the same answers rather than copying is my own personal confirmation , however some may see confirmation bias :wink:

of course not many will be surprised that I agree with Ricks post , but I actually wonder how many even hear what he's saying , the easy whole body efficiency , the personalised exploration .

watch the Clip Ray posted everyone should check out the master in the last few minutes and what he says on training kung fu.
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Re: Sanchin and Kata – just my opinion.

Postby Rick Wilson » Fri Jul 11, 2014 9:05 pm

Part Two:


Once again I preface this with the fact this is simply how I do what I do and it works and feels right for me, but I am not saying everyone should do it this way.

I will explain the reasons I do what I do and I feel strongly that everyone should be able to relate the reasons they do what they do. If you can’t or all you can say is that my teacher told me to then you need to take time to explore, question and come to your own answers. They may well be exactly what you are already doing it but I can guarantee one thing no matter what your approach is – if you know why you do everything then you will do it better than when you don’t. Because if you don’t know why you are doing that way you have no idea if you are doing it right or achieving the goals desired.

End of preamble.

I am going to cover up front areas I may differ from some.


I do not believe in have tension in the body.

Having said that there is a practice of using dynamic tension to strengthen tendon power and used as a practice for that it can have value to practitioners – but it isn’t something I do.

• Tension, any tension is an inhibitor.

• Tension inhibits movement.

• Tension inhibits speed.

• Tension inhibits power.

• Tension inhibits balance.

• Tension can give control of balance away.

We are bipedal which means to stand requires that we balance on two supports. To stand on two supports means we have to have some tension to hold ourselves upright but we should only have the tension required. To do that we need to only tense the muscles we need to and only the amount we need to.

This means we need to find as natural a body position as possible to hold that upright position.

You have two feet as a base for your body but your knees have to be over their base which is the feet.

If your knees are not over your feet you must have tension to hold them off your base. In addition a knee off its base should be seen as an easy target in martial arts.

The centre of your body should be over the centre of your base. (More on this in a moment).

You should think of the pelvis as a table top sitting on two legs.

The spine should be stacked on the “table” like plates.

As long as the table is level the plates do not require any “tension” to stay on.

In the classics they speak on never wanting to be double weighted.

There are two interpretations of this and I prefer to accept both.

The terms often used for weighted and unweighted are substantial = weighted and insubstantial = unweighted.

Hong said double weighted meant that the upper and lower can never be the same – both should not be insubstantial and the same time or substantial at the same time. This has great effect on movement and power later.

The more common interpretation of not being double weighted is that both legs should never be substantial at the same time.

My belief in the lack of tension and the lack of both legs being substantial at the same time is most likely going to be in contrast to the way many do Sanchin.

However, if you remember that my Kata have the goals of Rory’s Golden Rule and Feldenkrais’ principles then you will easily see the only way to be able to achieve my goals is with as little tension as possible and never being double weighted.

I believe that the development of Hard Sanchin Testing has promoted both tension and double weighted. I recall reading on the forums that Uechi Kanei Sensei did not do hard testing in fact he simply pressed gently on the body and expected you to be able to SENSE THE SMALLEST DIFFENCE AND ADJUST.

If you are double weighted as in the last sense then you must shift before being able to move and that equals time and in self defence terms that equals taking damage.

So I do not practice tense, in fact, I practice to have the least tension I possible can and remain upright.

A note here, lack of tension does not mean (to me) rag doll. It means loose and balanced.

What I want is to be able to “to move in any direction without hesitation or preparation.” Tension and improper balance require the releasing of tension or the gaining of balance to be able to move and that is time and time = damage.

Your body Centre over the Centre of your Base:

Here is another area I will differ from some practitioners. I do not “tuck” my tailbone. Or rather I see the translation of what is done with the tailbone as something different than tucking it by pull it under and curving the spine.

To move your centre over the centre of your base it is often described as pulling the tailbone slightly forward. But this has absolutely nothing to do with tucking the tailbone by pulling it under and curving the spine. The description I believe was translated with the term tucking and interpreted as that overt pulling under of the tailbone..

To tuck the tailbone by curving it under the torso you must have and hold tension and you must lock your pelvis into an immovable position. Both the tension and the immovable factors violate my goals and therefore I do not do this in any way.

In addition while the locking in place and tension feels strong and it gives a false sense of immovability. The curve placed on your spine and the displacement of your centre of gravity causes your body position to be imbalanced and easily destroyed by anyone who has made any type of study of destroying structure.

Yes that is a strong statement because I do feel strongly that tucking the tailbone under and locking the pelvis is a misinterpretation of the explanation to have the centre of your body over the centre of your stance.

AND I repeat this is my interpretation so if being locked into position and tense is your thing and meets your goals then fine.

A final word on tension:

When you study how to destroy structure one thing that becomes of great use is a “tension chain.” If I pull my shoulder down and tense all the muscles in my arm and chest and back then by simply applying pressure to lift the hand that pressure is directly transmitted to the arm – shoulder – back and the entire body is easily moved, manipulated and controlled.

To manipulate another person tension chains are useful and desired tools and we should study how to create them (a sudden strike to the torso can shock the body into tension).

If someone does us the favour of tensing their body creating multiple tension chains then that is … well … a gift and makes it so much easier for us.

So I prefer not to hand over an advantage to the bad guy if I can help it so I try to keep my body free of tension chains as best I can. I definitely try to eliminate from practice anything that deliberate creates them.

I mentioned striking to the torso to create a tension chain. Does this sound like hard Sanchin testing? Uechi does body conditioning and I am a big proponent of doing this but I have found that when hard striking is started too early the student fights back by tensing their body for the strike. This has two flaws: One it creates tension chains and two the student only gets hit when they are tense – but does that happen in a self defence situation?

Okay so here is another instalment of my view on Sanchin and Kata. As always I have strong views on how I think it should be done but keep in mind I have clear goals to achieve and my approach achieves these goals. Change the goals – you change the practice.

So as much as I have strong feelings about how I practice these are about how I practice not you. Find your goals and design your practice to meet those goals and if that means they are different than mine – so? As long as you know your goals and know how your practice is designed to meet those goals then unless someone shows you a better way to meet that goal or how you may not be achieving that goal just work hard and enjoy.
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Re: Sanchin and Kata – just my opinion.

Postby Van Canna » Fri Jul 11, 2014 9:33 pm

Great post, Rick...thank you.
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Re: Sanchin and Kata – just my opinion.

Postby Van Canna » Fri Jul 11, 2014 9:44 pm

This is also interesting as written by Professor Takamyagi Sensei.
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Re: Sanchin and Kata – just my opinion.

Postby Rick Wilson » Sat Jul 12, 2014 6:36 am


From relaxed stated explodes speed and power in quick bursts (Fajing):

Moves done in transition (doesn’t have to be fancy): ... permPage=1

While the stepping is different there is a lot of similarities to what Uechi can do in this:

Move with your centre and “Don’t be there”:

The golden move:

Hong Junsheng’s flow or continuous movement:

Grace in movement without tension: ... 4XVdZr5abQ

Centered, knees over base, centre over base:
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Re: Sanchin and Kata – just my opinion.

Postby Rick Wilson » Sat Jul 12, 2014 2:27 pm

I hope this doesn’t ramble too much but I wanted to post it before I went further on my interpretation of Sanchin and Kata.

Who has the real Uechi Ryu?

Answer: No one – everyone.

Here is the problem with every martial art; there is no way to truly capture how it is being done either on video or in words.

Because there is no way to capture how it is being done we have it handed down from one person to the next with the best understanding and capacity that they have.

Because everyone is different and everyone has different abilities it means everyone does it differently regardless of how faithful they try to be to what they have leaned.

If a practitioner studied the bo (staff) for a number of years and then an empty hand system that previous training and experience would influence how they did the empty hand.

If a person did not study the bo then they may never grasp what makes their teacher’s practice different from theirs.

If a practitioner was shorter and stockier and naturally strong that will influence how they perform their martial art.

If a practitioner was lighter, slighter and naturally quick that will influence how they perform their martial art.

If a student has a natural talent in grappling that will influence how they perform their martial art.

If a student has a natural talent in striking that will influence how they perform their martial art.

If a student cannot see the subtleties of what their teacher is doing that will influence how they perform and teach their martial art.

If a student can feel all the subtleties of what their teacher is doing but cannot present that to their students then that will influence how they perform and teach their martial art.

All of this is normal.

We are not our teachers. We are not identical physically. We are not identical in training. We are not identical in experience. We are not identical in emotional or mental attitudes. We are not identical in injuries.

All of these normal facts of life mean that no one regardless of how faithful they try to be is going to pass on exactly what their teacher did.

This is not to say they are not trying or that they do not believe 100% they are, because remember we do not always see the differences.

And that doesn’t make anyone wrong or anyone right.

All of this leads to the fact that only Uechi Kanbun had the real Uechi Ryu and he is no longer with us to even try and emulate.

So where does that leave us?

It leaves us with a brain.

We can look at videos of various arts: Uechi, related to Uechi and unrelated to Uechi.

We can listen to practitioners on tape, video, or in person if they are still with us.

We can examine the various body mechanical approaches and take them on to the mat / dojo floor to see how they work and how they fit us.

We can train with as many folk as we can and observe as best we can what they are doing.

We can read – a lot; we can study; we can train.

We can, through exploration and physical experimentation, continually improve the body mechanics we use.

And we can try and pass them on as best we can but in truth it will form only a portion of what the person listening will do. That will all depend on them.

So that is where I found myself in my exploration of martial arts.

I believed and still believe that Uechi Ryu is a solid foundation to bring learning back to and to formulate effective self defence from.

So using Uechi as my base I began to learn and explore and make determinations of what worked better – for me.

I learned many things that made me effective and I left them behind when I learned things that made me more effective.

It is that journey all martial artists take along a path and, even when you take a side path that dead ends on you and you have to backtrack, that walk still gained you experience. If nothing else it showed you that wasn’t the way to go. As a friend of mine often says sometimes you have to walk that wrong path for a while to truly understand which is the right one.

So when I post here and on my website I post what I have learned on my journey.

The body mechanics I use today are better than the ones I used last week and I expect not as good as the ones I will use next week BUT they are the best ones I can do today.

Are they the best?

Are they the real Uechi Ryu?

Since I keep learning how to do things better they are not the best but they work well. They worked very well last week too they just work better now.

I have no idea if they are the real Uechi Ryu.

I suspect Uechi Kanbun would do it differently, but I don’t know and never will.

All I know is the journey is a really enjoyable one so take what I post as simply something else to consider and ponder on your personal journey.

If it helps in any way, then I am glad I shared.

If you think I am “full of it,” well, at least you learned that.
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Re: Sanchin and Kata – just my opinion.

Postby Rick Wilson » Sun Jul 13, 2014 12:35 am

Which came first the chicken or the egg?

Which came first the applications or the principles?

I have no idea how to answer the age old chicken and egg one but I suspect in Uechi the applications came first and then folk tried to figure out what made them work or not work. Then they took those principles and built them into forms.

So I use Kata as a form of reverse engineering. I seek to learn the principles and mechanics then figure out how to use them in application.

In a moment I am going to focus on body mechanics but I am going to side track to say that I believe every effective self defence system is a true mixed martial art. It will have striking, grappling, throwing, ripping, tearing, locking etc and it should also transfer easily to any weapon you put in your hand.

Cute story: I had a student who went with a friend to a big tournament each year and did her Uechi forms. She always wanted to compete in the weapons forms like her friend who did a Kung Fu style, but Uechi doesn’t have any weapons forms. When she asked me about it I said just take these two shiny knives and do Seichin. I told her to ask the tournament people first if it was acceptable. When she asked they said as long as she could repeat the same form (it wasn’t something improvised) sure she could do it.

Well her friend was a little ticked off because he had never been able to medal in weapons and she took silver.

I have seen a lot of folk do Uechi with weapons which to me supports it being a complete art.

This also means when looking at application you have to remember it combines grappling and striking. More on that later.

I have stated that I want to be able to meet Rory Miller’s Golden move and that I feel that can be accomplished best if my body meets the principles set out by Dr. Feldenkrais.

So these have to mesh with the body mechanics that I use in Kata.

Structure and balance:

I do not lean back as some do.

I do not lean forward as some do (predator posture).

I maintain verticality wherever possible.

I fail to understand the leaning back as it places you in a poor balance posture. I have heard an explanation for it but that explanation failed on the dojo floor at least the time with me. I won’t go into to it because it is not my reasoning and I would not be able to do it justice. I just see it as unsound structure, but that’s me.

For a very long time I used the forward lean or predator posture. It is without doubt effective and it was very effective for me consequently it took me a long time to let go. But I now find I can achieve more of my goals with verticality.

My Sanchin stance is not what might be considered the norm and is based off of some old interviews I heard as well as my belief the stance should be natural and based on the person.

The outside of my feet are shoulder width (the norm). Simple way fro new students to tell if their outer feet are shoulder width – when in neutral stance let the arms hang loose at the sides. If they finger tips are not touching the sides of the thighs then you are too narrow. If the hands are resting on the thighs you are too wide. If the finger tips touch the thighs then you are shoulder width.

The length of my stance is not heel and toe in line but whatever the person’s natural and unhurried step would be. This is longer than the usual toe heel in line.

The front foot’s heel is turned out the width of the heel itself (thank you to George Sensei for that advice).

The rear foot is pointed forward.

The knees are at a very natural bend. It is actually easy to find what the person’s natural bend of the knees is. I ask the person to rise up on tip toes as high as they can then loosely DROP into Sanchin and low and behold I have never had anyone land anywhere but a perfect knee bend.

The knees as state before never bend off the feet. This in itself will lead to either moving the feet in rotation or the student advancing to use the Kua properly.

The Kua is the word most often translated incorrectly as waist. The waist to North America is where we wrap our belt around but the Kua is actually the thigh pelvis joint and area. This is the most important area for delivery of power and higher levels of body mechanics.

Once your feet and knees are in the right spot the pelvis sits on top with as little muscle contraction as needed to remain balanced.

The torso is vertical and the head is held as if suspended on a thread from the sky.

The elbows are not pulled together into Sanchin by the chest but rather will no muscle contraction swing under and forward into Sanchin.

Okay I always had trouble pulling my elbows into Sanchin and it made me so tight in the chest it was hard to move therefore as a consequence the elbows drifted out.

That all ended when I saw a picture of Uechi Kanei with his elbow lifted up and he was pointing with the other hand across at his Latissimi dorsi. For some odd reason this resonated with me and to give the student a feeling of how to get their elbows easily into Sanchin with no squeezing of the chest I have do a simple movement and once they do it the understand and don’t need the “trick.”

I have the students hold their arms bent at 90 degrees and raise their elbows to the side shoulder height. There is now a straight line from one elbow across the shoulders to the other elbow (forearms horizontal pointed to the front). I tell them to use their lats and simple let their elbows drop and SWING forward into Sanchin. And with no effort and no muscle contractions the elbows swing and stay comfortably in Sanchin – no drifting required and the chest is totally relaxed.

Now because I take a natural step in my stance one foot is farther in front of the other than often seen. This gives a more bladed appearance and it is a more guarded appearance that often seen. This reflects both my personal self defence beliefs and something I saw in and old interview and a seminar with an older Okinawan master. It also reflects my training with Jim Maloney Sensei.

I am going to disagree with the traditional open front Uechi stance, do it if you want but to me it is a “Hit me Stance.” If you stand in front of a mirror and ask your self how would I attacker the guy in front of me you should get the idea of where I am coming from.

Having said that, IF you can make it work then do it. I trained with David Mott Sensei and he can read the attack like he is a mind reader so he has no problem with that open approach, in fact he calls it inviting them in. He makes it work so there is no argument to make against it for him. But if you lined up ten people – would it work for a truly committed multiple strike down the centre? And how long would it take to have David Sensei’s mad skills of reading the attack?

So for me, and again this is me, I prefer a more bladed approach.

So my Sanchin is based on the person’s shoulder width, the length of their normal step, the width of their heel, their natural knee bend and the loosest most vertical balanced torso they can achieve using the least muscle tension to maintain.

That is my Sanchin Stance and taking it that way achieves Dr. Feldenkrais’ principles.
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Re: Sanchin and Kata – just my opinion.

Postby Rick Wilson » Sun Jul 13, 2014 12:59 am

Great verticality and moving with his centre: ... 79&fref=nf
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Re: Sanchin and Kata – just my opinion.

Postby Van Canna » Sun Jul 13, 2014 1:15 pm

WOW...this guy is amazing.
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