This grew out of some posts by Bronze & Stryke, we want to discuss how you think Uechi stances and techniques protect (or not) the head.
I'll start the train rolling with some comments, which believe me, are not "expert" by any stretch.
My first comment is that I don't believe Sanchin stance, or the variants of it, are "techniques".
I read comments about people wading in, using Sanchin stance like a robot and getting clocked in the head, Bronze brought this up.
My "take" is this:
Sanchin should be loose, stealthy and predatory. An attacking stance, not a defensive stance.
It should be a "platform" FROM WHICH one can launch the counter-assaults or "defensive" techniques, but Sanchin stance itself is NOT the defense.
When we do Kata and testing, I know the stance is tested for integrity.
This puzzles me in terms of what I think the stance is FOR.
Perhaps it misleads some into thinking that "standing in Sanchin" creates some magical "zone of safety" which no punch or kick can penetrate.
I've never been taught this,and don't believe it.
To me, Sanchin testing is more about testing for your ability to "root" and stand firm, and a test of your balance under pressure, and a psychological test as well.
You're alone and the whole school is watching.
For a "square-on" stance, Sanchin does a reasonable job of protecting all the areas of the body, but it is by no means perfect -- simply because no stance is.
Shotokan has a distinctive stance. Jeet Kune Do has another. Tae Kwon Do has yet another, and so does boxing.
The stance is only the means to deploy the countermeasures. The stance itself has no magical powers.
In Uechi we put a lot of emphasis on perfecting the stance, I think this leads some into a way of thinking that "If I just stand in Sanchin I can't be hurt" or something along that line.
NOW: about protecting the head...
I have personally seen a number of higher-level UechiKa get into a sparring situation and immediately do one of two things:
1: Assume a boxing stance, forearms high.
2: Assume a stretched-arm stance which is not Sanchin but more of a "dropped-hands" stance. This is the greater problem.
Sanchin is a CLOSE DISTANCE stance and many sparring scenarios tempt us all to extend our personal zone, so we stretch out our arms, thereby dropping them, thereby inviting a head shot.
I truly believe that Sanchin, with its 45-degree angles of arm position, is the best compromise between protecting the face and protecting the upper-level torso: a stance you can "work FROM".
BUT: if you get tempted into stretching, your hands will drop, and your head is wide open.
There are numerous head-protecting techniques in Uechi, but they all assume you are in a REAL Sanchin stance, and CLOSE enough to use them.
Hands too high: ribs/solar plexus/guts open to kicks.
Hands too low: head open to shots.
So, 45 degrees with the elbows tucked in seems to be a good solution.
But, it's only one part of the solution.
All the techniques that Sanchin "facilitates": the Waukes, the wrist blocks, the Hirakens, the shin-jams, the fast front kicks, all that stuff is the REAL POINT of the Sanchin stance, in my mind.
Standing in Sanchin just allows you to deploy all that stuff, other than that," standing in Sanchin" does diddly except get you hit...in the head!
Remember: a perfect statue of Kanbun Uechi standing in Sanchin could be knocked over easily by anyone.
OK y'all, rip me up & roll the train!
NM (ducking for cover)!
The music spoke to me. I felt compelled to answer.