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 Post subject: Sanchin Stuff
PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 1998 5:39 am 
Many things can be learned from Sanchin testing. The testing that I find teaches me the most is soft testing. This testing consists of having a person (or persons) pushing (or pulling) on you in many different ways as you perform Sanchin.

It is best if the person pushing never completely destroys your positioning. Instead they should take you right to the breaking point and then allow you to recover and try again.

I have learned a number of things from this type of testing. Before I begin let me just say that these are my opinions from my experiences in this testing. Try it our for yourself -- no one has to agree with me (except J.D. because I’m Canadian).

The first thing I learned is that Sanchin should not be a rock hard ridged stance. I think Bill expressed it best when he said that if you made a iron cast of Master Uechi in the perfect Sanchin it would be easy to knock over. Sanchin must be able to shift and adjust to any pressure placed on it.

I also learned that Sanchin has what I first referred to as strengths and weaknesses (I’ll explain why I no longer do so in a moment). If you are in a left Sanchin and your partner presses on your left shoulder directly towards your rear foot, then Sanchin is strong and easy to maintain. If, however, they press on your right shoulder back to the empty spot in the rear, then without that brace your stance easily broken.

I first considered these the strengths and weaknesses of Sanchin. In a conversation with my Sensei I was opened to another view. He did not consider them a strength or a weakness, only different -- the hard and soft of Sanchin. Each had its own strength if used properly, therefore neither was a weakness, they just were. To try and clarify. The "strength" position is "hard" therefore if you need hard in a technique this is probably how you want to be. If, however, you need "soft" in a technique then you want to be in the "weak" position. A simple example, think of a person stepping in and punching. If you want to intercept and redirect the punch with force you want to take it so that the power of the punch would travel into the strong brace of your stance (this doesn’t necessarily mean no movement or slipping). If you want to lead or redirect the punch by falling away from the power then you want the power driving into that open space or hole. Both have they time and place.

Anyway back to the person pressing on your right shoulder back into that hole. I have found two ways to handle it (please post any others). One way is to shift your hips to redirect that force into a "brace". Difficult to do in some cases but you can mitigate the force in most cases. Try out all angles shift around.

The next method is not to fight the force. Shift your hips so that you move off angle to the force. Go where the pressure is not. By doing this you make the pressure slide off if your partner presses too hard. They now have to redirect their force to try and keep it on you. This is a very interesting method that I have just started to play with.

I am very interested in other experiences with soft Sanchin testing.

I may also post this on Sensei Campbell’s forum as he has spoken about this before.

Comments please?

Rick


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 Post subject: Sanchin Stuff
PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 1998 6:49 pm 
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Location: Mount Dora, Florida
I really screwed up when I initially called the process of "checking" students in Sanchin a "test". The word "test" connotes "teacher against student", which, in my opinion, Sanchin was never meant to imply.

In the "old" days, the only "testing" was during demonstrations. . . for the public's benefit. One does not develop muscle through the process of being pounded on! Granted, one develops confidence, if he/she survives the encounter, but the negative effects outweighs the benefits. (IMHO)

I've been spending the past 20 years trying to right the wrongs of my early teachings. However, even some of the 2nd/3rd generation Okinawans are now practicing it as a regular part of their classes! (They saw how much we liked being pounded on and made sure we continued to get what we wanted/needed)

One should develop a "natural" strength, through the practice of Sanchin and other kata. Most important. . . your breath should not be "locked" or held during any part of your kata performance. When someone anticipates getting "hit", many students will hold his breath while tightening muscles in a rigid, paralyzing stance. . . just the opposite of what we are trying to develop in a student.

I've been teaching (for over 20 years) that a teacher's job is to always build confidence in a student. In this role, he/she should never "check" the student to disrupt posture or cause the student to hold breath or lock-up in preparation of the instructor's blows or proding.

Traditions die hard. . . even traditions I started! That's why I feel so bad about seeing students of students of students of mine, who are practicing something I stopped many, many years ago!

[This message has been edited by gmattson (edited 11-02-98).]


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 Post subject: Sanchin Stuff
PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 1998 9:52 pm 
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To all -
There's nothing wrong with the word "test" in the evaluation of one's Sanchin. A test simply demonstrates gained knowledge or proficiency. The use of force in the test does not always mean "pounding". A light force applied to the back, stomach, or shoulder can topple even the strongest person if their Sanchin is not "right".

Hard testing as George points out was and still is used. The difference now is that I think it's a personal choice between the tester and testee. In the seventies, it was basically a pounding we all had to endure. Now a kinder gentler method has found its way into the dojo. I still see semi-seniors (new moniker?) yondans, godans hit each other with blows that would make lesser men crumble.

The point in doing Sanchin is to continually improve; to develop power, speed, and concentration. Testing either hard or soft will show where one needs to improve.


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 Post subject: Sanchin Stuff
PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 1998 10:22 pm 
Hello Rick,

I started 'soft-testing' on my students in Tennessee some time ago and this method is all I use today. This way helps develop both the teacher and the student further into Sanchin. It is golden.

Allen


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 Post subject: Sanchin Stuff
PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 1998 3:21 am 
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Location: Richmond, VA --- Louisville, KY
To all

I have been mostly doing the "soft testing" these days. I'm not above wailing on a person that wants to be tested (as opposed to checked) for confidence building or for a demo, but it isn't my sole modus operendum any more.

And yet....recently I noticed Nestor Folta pounding the &%$# out of students in sanchin checks. And I witnessed Kanmei doing the same to him. At the regional workouts we have, the higher dans stand in the front and check whoever comes to them during the sanchin period. What I noticed is that the large, young bucks like to go to Nestor and prove themselves. They really don't "get" what I am doing over at my end of the room. No matter - I just smile and quietly do my work as Nestor and the Manly Men show the other Girly Men how it is done.

Kotekitae is another story. There's a time to check and a time to release endorpins. And I love that buzz! It's kind of like hot sauces: those that don't partake will never "get" this.

Bill


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 Post subject: Sanchin Stuff
PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 1998 3:29 am 
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To Rick

A few variations on what you are doing:

* Try pressing on the sides

* Try rotating the person's body from the arms

* Try quick releases or force direction changes as you are pressing from the various angles. This is very similar to what a good grappler will do to you to break your center. It helps build good sensitivity. And it'll teach you quite a bit too!

* With all the above, the important thing to remember is that you are trying to teach - not humiliate - the student. After you show you can push them around like a rag doll with your fingers, coach them on how to respond better. Once again, you'll learn a lot in the process.

[This message has been edited by Bill Glasheen (edited 11-02-98).]


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 Post subject: Sanchin Stuff
PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 1998 5:24 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 16, 1998 6:01 am
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Location: Mount Dora, Florida
Many will complain that the Internet is a waste of time. However, I believe we can discuss many aspects of our training here and in some ways, help students open their minds and help them evaluate what they do in class. Students and teachers must not simply "do" things because someone told them to "do" it. Especially in areas that might affect their health and ability to perform the style in the best possible way. There are still too many teachers out there who blindly perform the style without understanding what they are doing or its consequence to their overall performance or health. . . and passing this nonsense on to their students. There is no magic in Uechi-ryu or any other physical activity. But abusing your students under the guise of "ancient" training, can hurt them and prevent them from achieving their full potential in the art.

By the way. . .I'm not addressing these messages to Rick or J.D. Their posts indicate a high degree of knowledge and understanding about what Uechi-ryu is all about. And Rick's exercises and evaluation of Sanchin is something that I will experiment with.
Best,
George

[This message has been edited by gmattson (edited 11-02-98).]


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