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 Post subject: Sanchin
PostPosted: Sun Jun 20, 2010 10:34 pm 
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This Youtube clip provides an interesting contrast of different forms of Chinese and Okinawan Sanchin (Sam Chien, San Zhan, San Jan, etc). Made in 2007, it has two Chinese White Crane stylists (Chen and Pan, probably representing different specific White Crane styles but I am not sure which ones), a Uechi stylist (Gushi), and a Goju stylist (Higaonna). First they perform separately, then all at the same time.
Comparative Sanchin

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 20, 2010 10:57 pm 
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I've seen this before.

I was disappointed with the version of Goju Sanchin they displayed. It isn't the most prevalent version. There are no turns to start with, which is an important part of the form. (The differences in turns in-between Uechi and Gojo aren't subtle.)

Sadly I can't find anyone online doing the Seikichi Toguchi Sanchin I learned.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 20, 2010 11:25 pm 
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This is procedurally the Goju Sanchin I learned.

Sanchin Dai Ni

He has some odd nuances from my Uechi/Goju perspective (his squat-stepping). But it's all there.

Oddly enough, I believe we are connected via my very first martial style and that whole network. Bill Stockey talks about Roy Hobbs all the time. Given his level of martial expertise, it's got to be the same guy.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 12:02 am 
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Bill Glasheen wrote:
I was disappointed with the version of Goju Sanchin they displayed. It isn't the most prevalent version. There are no turns to start with, which is an important part of the form. (The differences in turns in-between Uechi and Gojo aren't subtle.)

That was Morio Higaonna, a prominent Goju stylist who has made many videos and books (largely through Tsunami/Dragon Times, as did Gushi). He trained under Chojun Miyagi and Ei'ichi Miyazato among others.

My understanding is that the version without turns (Sanchin dai ichi) was developed by Miyagi and is the standard version in Goju.
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In Gōjū, there are two sanchin kata: the first one, Miyagi's sanchin (or "sanchin dai ichi"), the most widely taught as initial and Kihongata, was created for such purpose by Chojun Miyagi, and has no turns so the karateka goes forward and then backwards.

The second sanchin, Higashionna's sanchin (or "sanchin dai ni") is a full-version Sanchingata and is older and was taught by Higashionna Kanryo. In this kata the karateka always goes forward, but turns 180 degrees twice. Initially it was taught with open hands, as sanchin-kata still is in Uechi-ryu, but later it was also revised to closed fists by Miyagi's co-student Juhatsu Kyoda, founder of To'on-ryu, and adopted by Chojun Miyagi as well.

I think what you learned was the older version, not the simplified version created by Miyagi (assuming the above account of the two versions is correct)

A Goju dojo here in Lincoln, headed by John Roseberry who trained under Seikichi Toguchi in the 1950s has demonstrated Goju Sanchin both with turns and without turns.

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Last edited by Glenn on Mon Jun 21, 2010 12:16 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 12:05 am 
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How about this version of Sanchin dai ni from the Toguchi lineage?
Sanchin dai ni

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 5:03 am 
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Glenn wrote:

How about this version of Sanchin dai ni from the Toguchi lineage?
Sanchin dai ni

That's not really a traditional version of Toguchi's Sanchin. They've chosen to extend parts of the kata so the instructor could go around pounding the students a bit. But the general structure is the same. And if you'll look at what Roy Hobbs was doing, it's also the same.

Their form and their posture is terrible. And that one dude has some major hormone balance issues.
Glenn wrote:

That was Morio Higaonna, a prominent Goju stylist who has made many videos and books ... He trained under Chojun Miyagi and Ei'ichi Miyazato among others.

My understanding is that the version without turns (Sanchin dai ichi) was developed by Miyagi and is the standard version in Goju.

Two points of clarification here....

1) Seikichi Toguchi studied under Miyagi Chogun. Morio Higaonna doesn't really have any particular lineage bragging rights. They are/were equals. If anything, I believe Toguchi is senior to Higaonna.

2) Toguchi never referred to this as Sanchin dai ni. I have a book written by him. He calls it Sanchin. Chances are the "dai ichi" was just a pre-Sanchin kata. But what-ever...

Toguchi's style of Goju had the most "instructional" forms of any of the myriad Goju styles. There were ten instructional forms (various numbers of Fukyu, Gekisai, Gekiha, and Kakuha). One form would vary from the next by a technique or two, and that's it.

Bottom line... there's nothing sacred here. I'm thinking the "dai ni" was meant to be the ultimate Sanchin that was the offshoot of Higashionna's form. All the dai ichis, dai nis, and dai sans were just ways to break up the kyu rankings (and maybe collect more money).

And it's apparent that people changes things a lot, and nobody particularly cared that they did. Things were only set in stone later.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 7:39 am 
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I did not mean to imply any bragging rights to Morio Higaonna or anything sacred to the way he does Sanchin, just to ID the individual in the video. I'm pretty sure Toguchi was senior to Higaonna as well. Higaonna was only 15 when Miyagi died.

To be honest, I'm not sure I buy into there being officially named Sanchin dai ichi and Sanchin dai ni versions either. The Wikipedia entry for Sanchin I got that quote from was the first I had seen of that. All other sources, such as you say Toguchi's books, only mention "Sanchin". While there is some debate as to who changed what in the Goju lineage, the most common version I have seen is that the Sanchin Higashionna brought back from China had open hands and turns and Miyagi later modified this Sanchin by closing the fists and eliminating the turns, so I thought that the latter had become the standard Goju Sanchin due to Miyagi's influence.

But as I mentioned before I'm pretty sure I've seen the local Goju dojo perform it both ways (with and without turns, but closed fists both ways), so some variety seems to exist.

Regardless of who changed what or which version of Goju Sanchin is most prevalent, which are both largely points of trivia, what is your opinion of the turns in Goju Sanchin versus Uechi Sanchin? Like you said, the difference is not subtle.

And is anything gained by not turning, i.e. stepping backward rather than turning, as Morio Higaonna performs? Note that both White Crane stylists also back up rather than turn. Given one idea that Sanchin stepping is feeling one's way across rough ground, could this be training for doing that in reverse?

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 3:26 pm 
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My 2 yens worth... and worth exactly what you've paid for it... :)

I learned Goju Sanchin with turns and closed fists, but was "shown" open hands. We never practiced open hands Sanchin. We were taught that the "sister kata" to Sanchin, using open hands, is Tensho.

In addition to Uechi-ryu being more "old school, chinese roots" by using open hands in Sanchin, (where Goju-ryu went to fists) was in the method of turning. Glasheen-Sensei & Khoury-Sensei helped me with this... In Goju, (as I was taught) the turn is performed by stepping across with your front foot and then pivoting on your feet. In Uechi, (as I was taught) the turn is performed by pivoting on your back foot and moving your front foot over.

Is that a good/adequate explanation, Bill-Sensei?

Generally, those are the differences. Even though I spent many, many moons in a Goju dojo, I feel that the Uechi Sanchin is a much "purer" (is that a word) form.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 4:14 pm 
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Panther wrote:

Is that a good/adequate explanation, Bill-Sensei?

Yup!

As to what it all means... More later. ;)

- Bill


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 Post subject: Fleeting memory
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 6:35 pm 
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Where/whom I do not recall but I was told that the open fist method of sanchin released "energy" as opposed to the closed fist method which redirected the "energy" back into the body (fingers curled back towards the practitioner).

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 Post subject: Too many cooks......
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 6:51 pm 
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My (Sanchin) attitude was based on the story that the closed hand in Sanchin performed outside Uechi on Okinawa was to protect the delicate hands (fingers) of the women and children in training .......now ..I don't refrence that story in teaching ...I base my instructional explaination by saying we do it this way because ... if you look at the Chineese origins, the Kyosho applications (Bubishi),and in later years the principles of Tony Blauers' SPEAR & Be your own body guard studies the open hand or bladed hand has more tactical signifigance than the 'closed' fist.


It's just my ...opinion . :D

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 8:16 pm 
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There are stories. The problem with many of them is that it's oral history. And oral history has its issues. But if it's the only thing you have, well... you tell it, qualify it, and take it with a grain of salt.

Robb's idea is a good one. Basically come at some of the truth from the back door by developing a first-principles understanding of self-defense. Then see how those truths jive with traditional martial ideas and practices. If you look hard enough and carefully enough, you'll soon discover an old adage - great minds think alike. Folks who fought wars in hand-to-hand style and folks who needed to police their own families and farms understand what "real" self-defense is. You know you're on to something when a favorite modern guru and an ages-old art both sing from the same hymnal.

*MY* understanding of it all revolves around a few basic principles.
  • The open-handed Sanchin involves the practice of a concept. A nukite is a metaphor for ANY technique - open or closed handed, with or without weapon. It also frees the mind to think of an arm extension in the most general sense, per some of what Robb and Leo are talking about.

    The closed-fisted Sanchin is a specific technique done with Sanchin mechanics.
  • On Okinawa - the land of makiwara training - the fist is king. Closed-fisted, focused strikes were needed to penetrate traditional armor in battle. Consequently when anyone brings an open-handed art to Okinawa, it's natural for them to try and adapt it to what Okinawans do best. Hence Miyagi's change of nukite to seiken Sanchin, and Kanei Uechi's inclusion of a seiken in Kanshiwa.
  • The Goju evolution of Sanchin was one where the kata became part of the training (as opposed to martial practice). Dynamic tension serves to build the upper body. And the breathing must match the degree of tension in the body.

    It's worth mentioning that modern weight training methods (and some of the Uechi jar training) make a lot of this dynamic tension training a bit redundant. However it has its uses. On my days in-between my weight training days, I find the dynamic tension movements are very good at flushing my tired muscles and tendons. It also flushes the synovial fluid within the joints, which themselves may need a touch or repair. In other words, it can facilitate the anabolic healing process.

More in a bit.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 30, 2010 12:41 am 
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While I am not a goju practitioner I have met Morio Higaonna and own a lot of his books and video. He says his teacher was Miyagi An’ichi and now where have I heard he trained directly with Chojun Miyagi.
He also says that the sanchin that Kanryo Higaonna knew and taught was fast, open handed with quick explosive breaths like blowing powder from your hand.
Chojun Miyagi’s first teacher was Aragaki Ryuko and he did a lot of makiwara and weight training. Later he became the student of Kanryo Higaonna and after his death went looking for Higaonna’s teacher in Fukian, China (never found him).
It was Miyagi that made changes to the kata. But he removed the turns, closed the fists, changed the breathing and the speed/ timing (including the extreme dynamic tension). Why,, at this point no one probably knows.
Morio Higaonna say he does know the open handed kata but doesn’t teach it, or at least to new students. It is odd that in one of his books he does a version of what he says is Higaonna’s Sanchin but the only difference is the turns.
My take on it is that Chojun Miyagi is the creator of Goju and his kata was closed fist. Before that is was Naha-te. So the Goju Sanchin form is officially closed hands.

Lets not forget a major factor in all this was WWII. Miyagi was teaching in an era of Japanese nationalism leading up to the war. I think I read somewhere he was personally asked to get young people into shape to join the armed forces.

In one of his books he gives a linage chart and it seems that Toguchi and he if not equals in rank are the same generation.

Tensho is a totally different kata but yes the hands are open.
Fukyu kata was created by Chojun Miyagi and Shoshin Nagamine. Fukyu was the name Shorin-ryu used and Goju as I know it, call it Gekisai kata.

I have always thought Uechi and Goju are probably from the same source but I am sure you would have to go back a long way and account for the changes made along the way to both.

I have looked at Seisan as well and I see key signs that it is possible they are from the same source as well. However Seisan has morphed so much it is really hard to see.

Just thought I would put my own two cents in as well.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 30, 2010 3:04 pm 
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Thanks for your comments, hoshin. They are quite useful.

A few comments of my own...

hoshin wrote:

Tensho is a totally different kata but yes the hands are open.

I agree. It's from the crane system, BTW.
hoshin wrote:

Fukyu kata was created by Chojun Miyagi and Shoshin Nagamine. Fukyu was the name Shorin-ryu used and Goju as I know it, call it Gekisai kata.

In Shorei Kai Goju Ryu (Toguchi lineage), there is both a Fukyu kata (two) and a Gekisai kata (three). They're all the same basic structure, differing by only a few techniques. So going from Fukyu dai ichi to Gekisai dai san is going from Level I to Level V of basically the same form - one step at a time.

This kind of mindset may explain why some use the Sanchin dai ichi and Sanchin dai ni categorizations. Picture a teacher either simplifying back, or being more complex forward.

FWIW.... In doing the instructional forms (from Fukyu to Gekisai to Gekiha to Kakuha), you're working your way up from a stupid-simple form to essentially doing most of the elements of Goju Seisan. The highest level Gekiha form is actually a more thorough (ambidextrous) treatment of all the Goju Seisan basics.
hoshin wrote:

I have always thought Uechi and Goju are probably from the same source but I am sure you would have to go back a long way and account for the changes made along the way to both.

I think we can all agree that the knowledge at least came from the same neighborhood in Fuzhou, China. And given different teachers' penchants for tweaking, it's easy to see two folks taking the same ideas and evolving in different directions through a few generations.
hoshin wrote:

I have looked at Seisan as well and I see key signs that it is possible they are from the same source as well. However Seisan has morphed so much it is really hard to see.

I've done both. Before the first 180-degree turn, they are very, very similar. Once the turn happens, they get very different. But Dana likes to remind me that what appears to be different in some parts are actually different ways to do the same thing (e.g. groin strikes). So even when they are dramatically different on a superficial level, it's clear that the martial intent was preserved.
hoshin wrote:

Just thought I would put my own two cents in as well.

Very useful, and thanks!

- Bill


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 30, 2010 7:25 pm 
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hoshin wrote:
Tensho is a totally different kata but yes the hands are open.


Thanks hoshin... good post. I didn't mean to imply (but can see how it came out that way) that Tensho was an open-handed Sanchin. I was only pointing out that in Goju, Sanchin was a closed fist kata and the open-hand kata was Tensho. I learned open-handed Sanchin formally from Uechi-ryu, but had "seen" it from my Goju instructor a few times. Also, the Goju Sanchin I was taught had turns in it, they were just done differently than they are in Uechi.

Good information on Higaonna and lineage.

Thanks again...


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