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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 8:25 pm 
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Okay, I've been trying to figure out the best way to ask this question, and I think all I can do is just ask. This is a woman specific question, but men are welcome to respond.

I'm preparing for my first belt test in a few months, and I feel like I'm struggling a bit on getting my sanchin form right, particularly with the placement of my elbows and my hips. Now, I know part of this is because...well, I'm a newbie and learning. I also know part of this is because I need to keep working on the strengthening of my lats, shoulders, glutes and abs. Part of it, however, is because of...:oops: well, because my chest just gets in the way.

I've been told and read some posts discussing a fist's width from ribs to elbow. I believe I want my elbows to protect my ribs, my fingertips to be at level with my shoulders, and my arms to be forward (alot to remember when your still trying to figure it out, btw :lol: ).

So here are some questions.

I can have my elbows a fist's width from my ribs, but they are still resting on my breasts. Is this wrong and will this lead to poor form and laziness?

I can continue to work on pulling my elbows inward (toward eachother) to protect my ribs, but again, they are pressing my breasts together and resting against them. Besides the concerns about poor form and laziness, does this also mean I'm not protecting my ribs as well? I should probably mention this is easier to do when I'm wearing a sports bra...all well and good in class, but that's not going to help in real life if this is ever needed.

Last question, is this a silly question that will work itself out as I train more? I don't think I'm making an excuse for poor form, I'm just trying to work this out in my head and in practice.

Suggestions and ideas welcome. Thank you!

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 10:25 pm 
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Shana

First... I'm very proud of you and your progress. Your group has shown an unusual degree of participation and activism. I am ecstatic.

Second... Our host here can be really busy with a new young boy in the household. So be patient. Dana will respond soon. And I hope our other female contributors will as well.

Now... Why would I comment on this as a male? Well... My first female student whom I trained from beginner to black belt was also someone I was very close to. And when I first met Kathleen, she was a 38DD. Yes, she had breast issues with most everything she did, as did her college roommate whose breasts were even larger. I remember her roommate telling me a story that had lots of us in stitches. She talked about jumping off a diving board and "having my boob spring up and slap me in the face" before she fell half-conscious into the water with a belly flop. Talk about body issues... :lol:

We men have our own issues as well. It's great to go into class wearing a cup, but then we have to fight on the street with the clappers on the church bells dangling out for our attacker to assault. We could get into an interesting debate on whose body parts are more problematic when not wearing the proper sports paraphenalia.

OK... Back to Kathleen.

Our "rules of thumb" about Sanchin are just that - rules of thumb. We talk about the feet being shoulder width apart, when men on average have broader shoulders than women. Again, it's just a place to start. We get you more or less in the neighborhood of where you need to be, and then YOU need to adjust it in a way that makes sense.

What I found Kathleen doing is putting her arms somewhat in front of her breasts. That seemed to work for her. When it comes down to it, an attack to your breasts on the street is more a psychological assault, whereas a kick or knee to the ribs is going to compromise your ability to breathe. Which would you rather deal with in the heat of battle? That's more or less the kinds of questions you should be asking. Then you need to find what works for you as you begin to train with partners.

One thing I'll be having you do pretty soon is an interesting exercise which may answer some of your questions. My "blind man destroy" game is an opportunity for you to find what works for you. In it, all people in the game must close their eyes. They must wander around the room and find others. As soon as they come in contact with someone, the goal is to do a palm strike to the body - wherever they perceive that to be. But of course the other people wandering around the room get to do the same. When you are careless about your defenses or the placement of your body, interesting things begin to happen. And that's not a lot different from what happens in a "free for all" where the unexpected becomes the norm. What I love about this game is that it teaches people good posture and movement without me having to utter a word.

And that's the "secret" to it all, Shana. What works? How can I take the postures and movement, pull it out of the box, and use it? And I'm not just talking about the sport ring. I'm talking about real life where conflict doesn't necessarily involve a single person and the unexpected can happen. Whatever works there are the kinds of things that you should bring back to your Sanchin. It is the reality check for what we do.

I sincerely hope others will weigh in. In the mean time, you sure ask a lot of really good questions. It is such a joy having you as part of our greater community.

I can't wait for you to meet Dana and Heather. They teach a mere 2 hours north of us. I promise you that you will be inspired. 8)

Bill


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 10:40 pm 
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I've got one thing to add to this discussion, Shana.

Crystal called me on the cell last night. They have a potential new club member in a wheel chair. Crystal wanted to know if I would take him on as a student in our Uechi class if he wanted to join.

What do you think I told Crystal? (If you have to think more than 2 seconds, you don't know me... ;) )

What issues will this fellow have? On a scale from 1 to 10, how much of a challenge will he be for our teaching staff? Do you think we will have to modify the "rules of thumb" in Sanchin to makes "it" work for him?

Back away even further. When we find some material for him to work with that he will enjoy, what will remain of Sanchin? What really are the fundamental principles that will carry through to this unusual paradigm? And after it is all over, will he have anything he will be able to do that will inspire the rest of us?

The style doesn't dictate how we should move, Shana. We breathe life into the style. Individually we are art in motion. Without individual expression and adaptation, it's all nothing.

Find your own voice, and enjoy it!

- Bill


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 5:46 am 
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Bill Glasheen wrote:
The style doesn't dictate how we should move, Shana. We breathe life into the style. Individually we are art in motion. Without individual expression and adaptation, it's all nothing.
Find your own voice, and enjoy it!


First, thank you for the encouraging words. I am finding a wonderful challenge and lots of joy from what I have learned so far. We've got a great group here!

I hope the gentleman does join us, as I think that would be an interesting learning op for us all! I've read or heard somewhere about another fellow who was in a wheelchair, and he could do some amazing things. Just goes to show will and heart are important parts of the equation.

As for your comment above... :lol: ...I feel more like a line drawing than completed work, but that will do...for now (and aren't we all works in progress?)

Until we hear back from some of the female posters and others here, you've given me some good things to think about. Both you and Rich have told me I will adapt my own style, I just want to make sure it's not too far off base or ineffective. As always, thank you!

Now, it's late, so to bed. G'nite all!

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Shana


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 9:52 pm 
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Hi Shana,
And welcome.

Thank you for asking this question - it is an important one that teachers and students must deal with....cause the days of the amazon are long past. :D

So the "picture perfect" sanchin does place the elbows about a fist distance from the ribcage. So now the goal is to make the picture fit you.

The thing to talk about isn't laziness but function. Why are the elbows not touching the ribs in the first place?

The elbows are in front of the ribs to protect, yes, but also because it is one of two parts that make up the basic of the sanchin arm posture.

part one: a greater than 90 degree angle between your bicep and your hand at your elbow. By having an obtuse angle you get a structure that is incredibly strong without having to use muscle

part two: the gap between your arms and your body is a shock absorber.

if your arms are touching your body then the force that you meet with your arms will transfer into your body in a way that you're not controlling and could upset your balance. By keeping the arms off your body then the force goes through your shoulders and down to your core/waist area where you can decide how you deal with it.

The elbows in help maintain the structure. So if you get a strong shove on your arms your whole body should move back as a unit - your hands shouldn't collapse toward your face.

I was shown a simple drill by Mr. James Thompson (a direct student of Kanei Uechi) that he used to help people find their sanchin.

Hold your arms up above your head as if you were a kid playing cops and robbers and somebody said "Stick 'em up!"

Now let your arms drop down in front of you but lead with the elbows. At the point where your shoulders settle down into their sockets your elbows will bounce into an area - this area is your sanchin.

My own two cents is that it is worth it to exaggerate this training at the beginning to stretch out your arms and shoulders so that your ideal sanchin is a relaxed position and not one that is at the edge of your range of motion.

So sure - as you start your training - reach a little further out with your arms and pulls those elbows in a little more - but know in your mind that this is past your personal ideal structure.

Once you've got your good stretch then you personal sanchin arm position will be one that you can get into with your shoulders relaxed and down, your pec muscles open and with good posture.

Remember that sanchin arm position is not one little place - but an area around each elbow about the size of a softball that you can move within and around.

Play with it and as your strength and stretch develop you will find a position that becomes more and more natural that will also become stronger and stronger.

Hope that helps and Happy Training!

-Dana

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 Post subject: The short answer
PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 11:42 pm 
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Your sanchin arms should not be supported by your breasts but it is OK for your breasts to be touching your arms while they are in sanchin.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 4:40 am 
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Dana Sheets wrote:
Thank you for asking this question - it is an important one that teachers and students must deal with....cause the days of the amazon are long past. :D
[...]The thing to talk about isn't laziness but function. Why are the elbows not touching the ribs in the first place?
[...]part two: the gap between your arms and your body is a shock absorber.
[...]I was shown a simple drill by Mr. James Thompson (a direct student of Kanei Uechi) that he used to help people find their sanchin.
Hold your arms up above your head as if you were a kid playing cops and robbers and somebody said "Stick 'em up!"
Now let your arms drop down in front of you but lead with the elbows. At the point where your shoulders settle down into their sockets your elbows will bounce into an area - this area is your sanchin.
[...]Play with it and as your strength and stretch develop you will find a position that becomes more and more natural that will also become stronger and stronger.
[...]Your sanchin arms should not be supported by your breasts but it is OK for your breasts to be touching your arms while they are in sanchin.


:lol: Yup...glad I'm not an Amazon...I'd be walking lopsided and diagonal all the time :lol:

Seriously...the shock absorber idea was a mini revelation to me! I was thinking defense and reaction (speed, position, etc), but not impact, etc. Perhaps that is where experience and sparring will help train that mindset? What you've said makes a lot of sense. Fortunately, I am not using my breasts as support cushions...just obstacles to work around. Your drill gave me some interesting things to consider, and showed I was close to the right space. I think I will try that the next several times I practice Sanchin, just to see if I start consistently hitting the same area (and keep shoulders down, and hips tucked, and.... 8O :D ).

Thank you!

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Shana


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 4:41 am 
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Shana,

You are doing excellent. I unfortunetly could only relate to your body issues while being pregnant other than that, I guess this is one way I could be lucky for having the chest of an 8 year old boy. I think you do better than me with your Sanchin and Kanshiwa. I love and admire the fire in your eyes when you practice, very intimidating :wink: We both work very well together, thank you for training with me as well as many thanks to Bill, Rich, Vicki, Jim, Harry, Sue and everyone else. 8)

Has everyone seen your Uechi notebook? That too is very impressive!

I know my time is limited for practice with my crazy life but, I meditate, it seems all day, on my Kata's and the blackbelt stuff on the side :D

We all are differently shaped and formed somehow and we all find ways to adjust to them. All of us are very proud of you and the rest of our awesome team!

:multi:

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 4:00 pm 
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Well, I can only marvel at your toe (pictured) , so it's great to have such a great group where we can all learn from eachother and enjoy the ride! Having a great group to train with makes all the hard parts so much easier to work though! Thank you for the kind words, and your lovely spirit!

I've been working on the great drill Dana provided, and I think I've found a good space for me. Sanchin wil be a constant companion throughout our practice so this is a place I expect to visit a LOT! So....going to go work on keeping those elbows in front and in......

Light and Laughter,
Shana

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Shana


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 4:19 pm 
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Oh Shana!

I never knew my toes would be so special, lol. I also never knew how hard it was for people to make their toes that way. I think I will take Dana's advice too :")

Yes, we do have special Chemistry and Karma between all of us. This is such an honor to be in such an awesome bond! I hope everyone stays in this. Imagine how more powerful our personalities will be :") :B-fly:

See you in class, Babe!!!!!

Love ~Crys~

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 8:37 pm 
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Well, Crystal, if you have the build of a 8 year old, mine is probably that of a 7 yr old.

Never had to worry about breasts in the way. I am forever protecting those ribs, especially important to keep those hands up since we are such an 'in close' fighting style.

As small as I am up top, I also always like to wear a very fitted, tight athletic bra...more protection by keeping everything in close.

Just some thoughts....glad to have both you and Crystal aboard even though I don't get to see you two much.

Regards,
Vicki

PS...Great info, Dana, will try that.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 3:57 am 
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Hey girl, I miss you!!!!!!!

When are you coming back? Please ... you have curves, must be nice 8)

I have been so busy this week preparing for this radiation treatment that I have not had any time to practice except class. Oh yea, it definetly showed too Monday, duh...had major Senior moments.

Good to hear from all of you!

Nitty Nite!

~Crys~

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