FightingArts Estore
Pressure Points
From a medical professional, straight facts on where and how to hit that can save your life.
Limber or not, anyone can add height and speed to their kicks with this method.
For yourself or as a gift, calligraphy is special, unique and lasting.
Karate Uniforms
Look your best. Max snap. low cost & superior crafted: “Peak Performance Gold” 16 oz uniforms.

Classic book translation. Hard to find. Not in stores.
Who's Online
0 registered (), 35 Guests and 2 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Newest Members
ricksamurai, captainjack1, lilb321, Diane, PineappleDeficie
23122 Registered Users
Top Posters (30 Days)
Diane 1
Raul Perez 1
Su M Tu W Th F Sa
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31
New Topics
Old Stomping Grounds
by Raul Perez
07/12/17 09:11 PM
Jello Dances to Uptown Funk
by 3rdDan
03/22/15 12:04 AM
Recent Posts
Forum Stats
23122 Members
36 Forums
35678 Topics
432716 Posts

Max Online: 424 @ 09/24/13 10:38 PM
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >
Topic Options
#420359 - 06/24/09 09:17 AM Is Sanchin dangerous to practice?
Dobbersky Offline
Peace Works!!!!

Registered: 03/13/06
Posts: 921
Loc: Manchester United Kingdom

This is possibly from misinformation, I read somewhere a while back but I never got to ask the question A brief discription follows:-

"Sanchin translates as "3 Battles" or "3 Conflicts". This has many meanings. First it refers to the struggle to control the body under physical fatigue. With fatigue the mind begins to lose focus and thus the spirit begins to diminsh as well. Therefore Sanchin develops discipline, determination, focus, perserverance and other mental attributes. The Chinese refer to this as Shen (spirit), Shin (mind) and Li (body). Another possible interpretation refers to the "Three Burners" of the body as decribed in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

One of two "heishu " Kata of Goju-Ryu, Sanchin is probably the most misunderstood Kata in all of Karate. In contrast, it is probably the single most valuable training exercise in Goju-Ryu. Like the other Kata of Goju-Ryu, Sanchin ( Samm Chien in Chinese) can be found in several Chinese arts, particulary the southern styles including four styles of Crane Boxing, Dragon Boxing, Tiger Boxing, Lion Boxing, Dog or Ground Boxing and Monk Fist. Sanchin has such aspects as deep, diaphramatic breathing found in many internal arts as well as external attributes like mechanical alignment and muscular strength.

Because many martial artists have little or no understanding of the true history and nature of the Chinese arts from which Okinawan Goju-Ryu has its roots, Sanchin has become little more than an isometric form performed with dangerous tension and improper breathing techniques.

The original Sanchin that Higaonna Sensei learned from RuRuKo (1852-1930) was performed with open hands and with less emphasis on muscle contraction and "energetic" breathing. With the changes brought about by Emperor Meiji (Meiji Restoration Period 1888-1912), Higaonna Sensei changed the open hands to closed fists as the martial meaning was no longer emphasized. Later Miyagi Sensei would again alter the Kata in pattern alone."

My question is 'Is Sanchin dangerous to practice?'

I read that if the breathing drills are done incorrectly it causes internal damage and can reduce or cause premiture death through Rupture arteries etc in the lung/diaphram.

I await your responses and answers to resolve, confirm or squash any myths about this lovely kata practiced by many styles.
A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.


#420360 - 06/24/09 10:51 AM Re: Is Sanchin dangerous to practice? [Re: Dobbersky]
Ames Offline

Registered: 05/29/05
Posts: 1117
I've heard this too. The short answer is, it is safe if you are do it right. If you do Valsalva, then, yes, it can be dangerous. But lifting weights can also be dangerous if you hold your breath.

This is something I found awhile ago on this and bookmarked. This is by Bill Glasheen, who holds a "doctorate in biomedical engineering with an emphasis in systems physiology". Here is the relevent material for Goju practioners:


Goju sanchin - IF PROPERLY DONE - does not involve isometric (same position) but rather isokinetic (same speed) exercise. One does not do Valsalva (breath holding), but rather slow, measured breath release. It is the exact type of breathing that one should do in the weight room, with the amount of resistance to the breath being proportional to the weight being pushed. Breath restriction on inhale gives the yin (lowered pressure) to the yang of the restricted exhale (raised pressure). And if one doesn't "breath hold" on an isometric exercise, then that too can be safe.

Transient increases in blood pressure are a natural consequence of getting up in the morning. Everything from getting ticked in a traffic jam to doing some jumping jacks will transiently raise blood pressure. It's sort of like having a car. One wants to rev the engine to drive it - you just want to be sure not to "red line" the engine, or drive the engine hard all the time. Plus biological systems will develop stronger engines if put through a regimen of moderate stress and then rest.

Karate, like guns, is dangerous in the hands of the ignorant. As with guns, a careless person will do more damage to oneself.

There is more here, about the Uechi version:

I have heard some funny statements from non-Goju Karateka about how Goju people die younger. They use Chojun Miagi as an example. The thing is numerous Goju practioners have had a long life, like Yagi Meitoku, who lived into his 90's.


Higaonna Sensei changed the open hands to closed fists as the martial meaning was no longer emphasized.

Interesting, I read that it was Miyagi who changed it from open hands to closed fists. Isn't that why in some Goju schools they do both versions?


Edited by Ames (06/24/09 01:25 PM)

#420361 - 06/24/09 02:54 PM Re: Is Sanchin dangerous to practice? [Re: Ames]
Ironfoot Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/10/04
Posts: 2682
Loc: St. Clair Shores, MI USA
Sanchin is one of the standard 8 open hand kata in the Isshinryu system, and we do it with both open hands and fists.

Mr. Glasheen is correct: if you have high blood pressure or are older, take it a little easier on the valsava. It's also important that you contract your buttocks - or you risk the possibility of hemmeroids.

#420373 - 06/25/09 01:54 PM Re: Is Sanchin dangerous to practice? [Re: Ironfoot]
Ames Offline

Registered: 05/29/05
Posts: 1117
I haven't read it myself, but there is a book called The Way of Sanchin, that talks in more depth about the health effects I believe.
"Seek not to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought."

#421063 - 07/26/09 06:33 AM Re: Is Sanchin dangerous to practice? [Re: Ames]
FireFlea Offline

Registered: 08/17/07
Posts: 7
There is an article called "SANCHIN, FROM A WESTERN MEDICINE PERSPECTIVE BY M. W. LAWSON" on the University of Mississippi homepage:

There ist also an interview with Eizo Shimabuku were Sanchin Kata is mentioned:

Concerning goju-ryu, Miyagi stressed the kata sanchin. When you are young, the
kata sanchin is excellent for training and for the development of real karate
power. As you get older it becomes less needed and can actually do you harm.
Miyagi knew that and therefore developed the tensho form for his older students.
Since I was never taught that form, I do not teach it.

As far as the sanchin goes, I teach it as part of my curriculum (in
shobayashi-ryu) but I only stress the power aspect of the form for the younger
students. The older students still must do sanchin but without the intense
power used at a younger age. The older student learns the ideas of focus,
centering, stability and body shifting. Also, the form is part of Okinawan
history so it must be passed on. As one grows older, one's power and strength
must grow softer and more refined. This is the real karate.

Yes, I also believe that incorrect training in sanchin can lead to an early
death. Sometimes older practitioners practice the sanchin form too hard and
this causes problems with the internal organs because they become strained. It
is like a car engine. When the car is new it can be run hard but as it puts on
the miles it does not have that power. If you continue to push the car hard at
60,000 or 70,000 miles (like 60 or 70 years of age) you will severely damage it
- just like you would damage your body at 60 or 70 years old. So, train in
sanchin accordingly.

You can also find different quotes about Sanchin Kata in Mark Bishops book "Okinawan Karate: Teachers, Styles and Secret Techniques".

#421082 - 07/26/09 11:35 PM Re: Is Sanchin dangerous to practice? [Re: FireFlea]
IExcalibui2 Offline

Registered: 05/20/06
Posts: 961
Loc: New York City
Well I've never done Sanchin kata before but we have similar forms in Southern Praying Mantis.

From what Fireflea posted about being older and performing it with less strength is probably the preferred idea.

Younger guys will perform something like this very hard. Lots of tension and deep breathing. As you age you probably shouldn't focus so much in the physical movements as much as you should focus on your breathing. As you breath in forms like these, you should be pushing air down into your Dan Tien region to develop your chi/ki even further. But I feel that older guys should focus on breathing more because you already have developed the physical strenght. And even if you can't develop as well physically as younger guys you can still improve your chi flow. Better the flow, the more energy you have.
"you're going to work till you wish you were dead and then keep going.." -Sgt Slaughter

#421085 - 07/27/09 04:47 AM Re: Is Sanchin dangerous to practice? [Re: IExcalibui2]
Zach_Zinn Offline

Registered: 12/09/07
Posts: 1031
Loc: Olympia, WA
Well the idea that it can kill you or damage your organs is a bit silly, it can't do that any more than weightlifting or pushups can.

That said, performing Sanchin with excess tension and overdone breathing completely negates the purpose of the kata, which is the reason not to do it that way.

The excess tension will completely hamper the ingraining of body mechanics, the breathing, the spinal alignment and everything else.

All the stuff about how it can harm you physically is ridiculous, and frankly I recommend the people talking this kind of silliness take a basic ap & p class or something as the claim as no basis in reality that I can see.

Edited by Zach_Zinn (07/27/09 04:48 AM)

#421120 - 07/28/09 01:23 PM Re: Is Sanchin dangerous to practice? [Re: Zach_Zinn]
Ames Offline

Registered: 05/29/05
Posts: 1117
it can't do that any more than weightlifting

Weightlifting can damage your internal organs if not done correctly. Just like sanchin.

"Seek not to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought."

#421146 - 07/29/09 02:49 PM Re: Is Sanchin dangerous to practice? [Re: Ames]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5843
Loc: USA

Like they said above...done correctly its safe....but doing pretty much ANYTHING incorrectly can be pretty dangerous....look at the number of people that injure themselves lifting weights or running each year.

As a side note you might watch and be really careful of exactly whom and how people are TESTING your Sanchin......I've seen people get hurt in some rough testing and others suffer what in my opinion are cumulative injuries from many years of really rough testing.
I did battle with ignorance today.......and ignorance won. Huey.

#421151 - 07/29/09 05:07 PM Re: Is Sanchin dangerous to practice? [Re: Ames]
Zach_Zinn Offline

Registered: 12/09/07
Posts: 1031
Loc: Olympia, WA
Originally Posted By: Ames
it can't do that any more than weightlifting

Weightlifting can damage your internal organs if not done correctly. Just like sanchin.


Improper weightlifting is much more likely to damage ligament, muscle, tendon and cause musculo-skeletal disorders than it is to damage internal organs, unless you are dropping the weights on your stomach or something.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 >

Moderator:  Ames, Cord, MattJ, Reiki, Ronin1966 

Action Ads
1.5 Million Plus Page Views
Only $89

Self Defense
Offering stun guns, pepper spray, tasers and other self defense products not available in stores.

Pepper Spray
Online distributor of self defense supplies like videos, stun guns, Tasers and more.

Spy Cameras
Surveillance, Hidden Cameras, Nanny Cams, Digital Recorders, Spy Equipment, Pocket DVR's and more

Stun Gun
Wholesale Directlhy to the Public! Stun gun and Taser Guns and personal protection products. Keep your loved ones at home safe!


Unbreakable Unbrella

krav maga