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#90778 - 04/25/05 03:17 AM Sanchin - Chi - Iron vest

Hello everyone,
I don't regularly post here,but I have some questions I thought you all might be able to help with.
When practicing Sanchin am I developing my chi? Sanchin is a slow powerful kata with dynamic breathing and tension.
Is Iron Vest suggesting that your center is getting stronger somehow?
Your answers and opinions will be greatly appreciated.

#90779 - 04/25/05 06:17 AM Re: Sanchin - Chi - Iron vest
nenipp Offline

Registered: 04/13/04
Posts: 1205
I'd say just about any ma training should make your center stronger, including iron shirt-type of training, but the specific purpose of different exercises may be different.

#90780 - 04/25/05 07:33 AM Re: Sanchin - Chi - Iron vest
Fisherman Offline

Registered: 07/16/03
Posts: 1656
Loc: Colorado, USA
I'd agree w/ nenipp that MA training makes your center stronger as well as increases you coordination.
I don't have any experience with Sanchin so it is difficult for me to say if it develops the chi. It may to an extent, but it seems to me that Sanchin is more of a hard style training vs Taiji/Qigong which would be a soft style.
IMO, dynamic tension brings about awareness of a particular area of the body and gradually makes it stronger. Whereas doing the same things with a relaxed integrated body, energy is allowed to flow freely. Tension inhibits the free flow of energy in the body.
Just my $.02...

#90781 - 04/25/05 06:55 PM Re: Sanchin - Chi - Iron vest

Goju has Sanchin kata which is what I described and also Tensho kata which is flowing graceful movements without the tension and dynamic breathing. Go=hard,Ju=soft.

#90782 - 04/26/05 03:18 AM Re: Sanchin - Chi - Iron vest
Bossman Offline

Registered: 08/25/03
Posts: 1785
Loc: Chatham Kent UK
Depends how you practice it. If you do the 'soft' version you will access the points in the feet and utilise the breath to draw the chi through the major cycle, if you are putting the tongue to the top palette, 'pulling' the lower abdomen, softening the front midline of the body, softening to hollow the chest and raise the back, loosening the waist to access the thighs etc... then you are practising one of the most powrful chi kung exercises I've ever seen.

In Tensho, if you are utilising the skills of sanchin and floating the waist from the rooted base to use the 5 animal hands, then I'd say you're practising the 2 most powerful core karate kata and whatever 'style' you practice, your techniques will come from a powerful underlying base.

In Goju, it seems that the 'go' tends to overtake the 'ju' and many practitioners tense when they should be softening and then lose all inner sensitivity and connectedness. I find much of it painful to watch.

#90783 - 04/26/05 06:40 AM Re: Sanchin - Chi - Iron vest

Sanchin is base kata in Goju. Any problem you have with kata, solve it with sanchin.
This also relates to chi - fajing.
Any technique executed in Goju is supported with correct breathing and tension, correct posture and correct mindset. These are the 3 conflicts. body - mind - breathing.
Sometimes people get all mysticle about chi. The way I feel it is when properly breathing through abdominen harvesting into hara (ge tanden or tan tien) and releasing through breathing out in coordination with the executed technique in a correct posture without hindering thoughts, your technique will have optimum power release. If you try the same while holding your breath or while breathing in you immediatly feel the difference. This is the immediate/instant effect. Another instant effect is to feel light headed after sanchin training.
On a longer time base, I feel more flexibility in joints through regular sanchin training. For instance, during morning training I do some stretching then after sanchin i do some more stretching and I notice I can go 'deeper'. Regarding iron vest, less bruises, less pain on contact able to deflect blows so they cannot penetrate deep. But I consider it to be a side effect of sanchin and not the goal.
It gives me more awareness in what I do and I can feel wether or not technique is powerfull (this is my pretention anyway).
On the mystical side, I remember Tomahoru Kisaki sensei once explain that while practising sanchin, he had a 360 degree view in his head and could sense his environment, he said that he developped this only recently (he was 73 at that time with more than 50 years of training). I myself had an experience in a fight once where my opponent was projected backward a few meters without me touching him.

There are a few different versions of sanchin in karate. But they all seem to be focused on first locking the lower body into a stance then performing upper body technique. However this is not totaly true.
It seems to me that the hard techniques, coming from the rear hand are done by first locking into the stance (zuki or nukite) and that the softer and front hand techniques are done simultanious with the stepping. These are the 2 principles found in kata, either you are already in a stance and execute a technique or you execute a technique while stepping. The tension build up and release is different in the 2 principles.

Al that build-up of power needs to be released softly at the end of training. This is done through tensho kata. It's the cool down kata and encompasses total softness.

#90784 - 04/26/05 02:24 PM Re: Sanchin - Chi - Iron vest
Alejandro Offline

Registered: 05/02/02
Posts: 940
Loc: Las Cruces, NM USA
Bossman and CVV:

Do you feel that the strong contraction of the anus that many emphasize is important in the practice of sanchin as a chi kung exercize?


#90785 - 04/26/05 02:28 PM Re: Sanchin - Chi - Iron vest

Did a little research on Anuses, Chi, and Ejuactulation came up.(no pun intended)

Found some people who believe that you loose Chi when you you believe this to be true?

I'll provide the link if you think i'm a troll starting crap.

As to why I did research? Just look at Alejandros post, couldnt help me self. (chuckles)

#90786 - 04/26/05 02:30 PM Re: Sanchin - Chi - Iron vest
Reiki Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/30/02
Posts: 3403
Loc: MiddleEarth
Sanchin and tensho katas are 2 of the most important kata in our system for developing core strength.

I can certainly notice the increase of activity within the healing centres of my hands after practicing both kata. More so with tensho because with the palmheel strikes the ki just comes out in a huge blurp of energy... [IMG][/IMG]

Our founder says that sanchin & tensho, naihanchin, the taiyoku katas and seiunchin develop our power most as martial artists.

#90787 - 04/26/05 04:30 PM Re: Sanchin - Chi - Iron vest
Alejandro Offline

Registered: 05/02/02
Posts: 940
Loc: Las Cruces, NM USA
Understood Akhilleus. I tried to think of a way to put it lightly, but there isn't one.

Honestly, "anal contraction" is an often emphasized aspect of sanchin training, and I'm curious of opinion; just keeping the thread lively [IMG][/IMG]


#90788 - 04/26/05 04:41 PM Re: Sanchin - Chi - Iron vest

The posture of sanchin dachi helps to have firm base for delivering technique. The tension in the buttocs is to push up the pelvis in support of this particular stance. Stances like neko ashi and shiko dachi are completely the opposite, pushing the pelvis down. I do not neceserely focus on the anus that much, I just push the pelvis up.

Reiku, funny that you mention seyunchin. Apart from the first 3 steps, you never lock yourself into a stance and then deliver technique like most of techniques in sanchin kata (however there are some). I read some comments that seyunchin is related to hsing-i and I was wondering how you look upon that.

Bossman, you refer to tensho as use of the 5 animal hands ? I have heard some argue about a link between tensho and the six ji hands from bubishi (but I do not believe this). What does this 5 animal hands mean or stand for ?

#90789 - 04/26/05 04:41 PM Re: Sanchin - Chi - Iron vest

The ancient experts viewed the human body-mind as a bucket full of energy with holes in the bottom where life energy leaked out. These holes are the urethral opening, the anal opening and, in the woman, the vaginal opening. It was believed that when these sex muscles were sufficiently strengthened through exercise they sealed the bottom of the bucket

I'm starting to believe that contraction of that kind (anal, see'ing as how alot of other lower muscles have to contract aswell) helps move kinetic energy along the body to release greater amounts of energy and enhancing chi in this? Oh, and yea the paragraph seems to be off topic but if they are exersizing those muscles wouldnt they help push energy up from your feet to your arms as you punch/strike?

#90790 - 04/26/05 04:47 PM Re: Sanchin - Chi - Iron vest

Ahh CV, answered my question as soon as I posted it.

#90791 - 04/26/05 05:24 PM Re: Sanchin - Chi - Iron vest


In continuation of your story regarding the Okinawan pioneers and sanchin on the martial arts forum, some comments.

I am focussing on the Goju story only. There are other sanchin versions from other sources (Uechi ryu - Ruyei Ryu).

It is believed that sanchin is around since first half of 19 century in Okinawa. Apparently Seisho Aragaki thought a version to Kanryo Higaonna. He later went to China to study with Wai Xing Xian and Ru Ru Ko. Some believe he studied White Crane chuan fa but that is not certain. I believe that, although he might have learned also other things like crane style, he continued the Naha tradition and thought a curriculum of kata that was already present since the school started in 1828. The curriculum was heavinly influnced by the southern Chinese styles but mostly by Monk Fist thaught through Ason (Chinese ambassador on Okinawa together with Iwah) according to Funakoshi. Higaonna is called the resurector of the Naha fighting tradition and I doubt he would have learned something completely different during his stay in China than what was already present in Okinawa just to never share his knowledge of the art he learned in China.
Main influence on karate during that era until 1940 was Tiger, Crane, Monk fist and 5 ancestor style. In the period after Higaonna's death, Chojun Miyagi and other prominent karate masters opened a research club regarding chines fighting arts with Chinese teachers (Gokenki - Crane style, To Daikin - Tiger style). This club existed some 15 years where they would regulary train with each other. There have been at least 2 trips to China with Gokenki to study (one in Fouzhou and one in Bejing).

Higaonna slowed the kata down and initiated the closed fist. Miyagi introduced the breathing sound and simplefied the kata by only stepping forward and backward.
I do the Higaonna version without the breathing sound and with 2 turns, closed fist.

Butterflypalm, when you evaluate the Okinawan sanchin (in comparison to the Chinese) what aspects are missing ?

#90792 - 04/26/05 05:30 PM Re: Sanchin - Chi - Iron vest
still wadowoman Offline
Improved beefier techno-prat

Registered: 04/10/04
Posts: 3420
Loc: Residence:UK- Heart:Md, USA
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Alejandro:
Bossman and CVV:

Do you feel that the strong contraction of the anus that many emphasize is important in the practice of sanchin as a chi kung exercize?


Phew!! Glad I do Wado [IMG][/IMG]

#90793 - 04/26/05 10:25 PM Re: Sanchin - Chi - Iron vest

[QUOTE]Originally posted by CVV:

Butterflypalm, when you evaluate the Okinawan sanchin (in comparison to the Chinese) what aspects are missing ? [/QUOTE]

What aspects are missing?

My humble opinion is that the sanchin / tensho katas are 'applications' kata; just like the Tai Chi sets, whether its 108 Yang or Wu or Chen. You cannot develop the chi by just doing the Tai Chi sets alone.

"Application" in the sense that it is assumed that when the dynamic tension katas are practiced, the practitioner already has under gone an initial period of cultivating the awareness of the chi flowing in the body (particularly from the soles of the feet to the upper body -- hence the pigeoned-toe tension of the legs, the anus contraction, hollow chest etc; try doing it with the toes pointing outwards, lift up the chest and see if the 'feeling' is there -- all these will enhance the awareness of the chi which is already being felt, not to develop it)

The katas are therefore to 'apply' the chi already developed by some other methods for the purposes of 'utilising' the chi for pratical application in combat or as part of the Iron Vest training. One can, if so wish, 'utilise' the chi for non combat applications; such as developing psychic abilities (hence all the arguments among the Forum members -- some only saw the combat applications part and were critical of others who were seeing it as a way to develop psychic abilities)

Ths Chi, as I've said sometime ago, is only the raw material, the 'dough' This dough can, according to what methods and ingredients used, be made into bread, cakes, noodles etc. The arguments among the Forum members are merely between the bread makers and the noodle makers.

The chi when concentrated in a physical way, as in the dynamic tension katas, can therefore be chanelled for combat / iron vest purposes. When concentrated in certain parts of the brain, certain latent mental abilities may be developed. That is why it is so dangerous to practice this aspect without proper guidance; the old masters have warned about this for centuries -- the commonest being 'running fire' i.e. the chi, which from my own experience is bio-electric in nature may, when channeled improperly, literally caused 'short circuits' in your brain / mind / body.

I myself, about 30 odd years ago, had a bad experience. Take it from me, do not fool around with the present imperfectly understood nature of the human brain / mind.

In conclusion, at least in the past, the chi development portion was always practiced in secret; only the physical part, i.e. sanchin / tensho / tai chi / hsing I / bagua katas are practiced openly, because there was no fear that anyone imitating the movements alone will be able to develop the chi part.

Many chi gung sets that are taught these days are extracted out of a much larger body of practices; it was found that these portions have health-enhancing properties and so was taught as such. In the distant past, health-enhancing was never an issue to those old martial artists when developing their chi; combat application was paramount and secrecy was pandemic.

For myself, since my bout with cancer 7 years ago (my punishment for stopping chi practice for 20 years due to work pressure) the health-enhancing side is important to me, though recently I've started to gradually (I am 57) re-visit the combat applications I did years ago.

[This message has been edited by ButterflyPalm (edited 04-26-2005).]

[This message has been edited by ButterflyPalm (edited 04-26-2005).]

#90794 - 04/27/05 05:55 AM Re: Sanchin - Chi - Iron vest

Thank you for elaborating.

I agree that sanchin trained towards fighting application however there was (in my case) no prior initiation towards chi awareness through other exercises.
The first 10 years I did not practise sanchin that much and mainly only for stamina. I tended to execute with much and static tension. It did not feel very happy with my execution of the kata so I left it as it was and mainly focused on Seyunchin.
The cantering came gradually after training with high ranked seniors hammering on the importance of sanchin training for development of good karate technique (sanchin as base kata). Gradually I came to understand dynamic tension and its use in fighting. As such my interest in sanchin came to grow as I could see it's application in other kata. From that point I remember always being hamered on the fact that tensho should be practised every training as it releases all the build-up of force/chi in your body. It could be that they have always said it but I just did not understand up till then. Tensho has no real fighting application value I was explained although I have been initiated in some small joint manipulation and soft attack/block applications of tensho.
Anyway the last 5 years I have been training sanchin to try and understand inner strength. I am focussing to get my breathing 'deeper' for the moment as I felt, and have been pointed that it was still underdevelopped.

Regarding internal aspects, I was told to focus on 3 points during sanchin training : jo (point between the eyebrows) - chu (point between the breast muscles) - ge (the hara) tanden and explained how to achieve this. Here however is where I feel a great lack of knowledge. I do not know alot about the meridians and the 12 cycles although it seems primordial to better understand the internal aspects. As such I try to gain better knowledge regarding but there seems to be no direct information around it through sanchin/tensho.

#90795 - 04/27/05 04:25 PM Re: Sanchin - Chi - Iron vest

Can I borrow this thread to give a message to butterflypalm..

Remember you told me to meditate at the spot with the stream and druid rocks...
well i cam up with a new form of meditation which has something to do with our previous conversation about string theory - and the possibility the circular loops of energy that makes up everything is chi. id like to chat

#90796 - 04/27/05 09:59 PM Re: Sanchin - Chi - Iron vest

Sanchin Kata originally came from Chinese gong fu. They are different but have some smilarities, I prefer the chinese version simply because of the fluidity of movements, and balance of the hard and soft. As opposed to extreme external chi gong training. All I can say is be careful, make sure your breathing and postures are correct, and watch out for over-tensing etc. This type of chi gong can actually be very dangerous.

#90797 - 04/27/05 10:48 PM Re: Sanchin - Chi - Iron vest


I got your message, but I think my reply was perhaps deleted by the moderators. The kind of stuff you talk about do not have application / relevance to the MA and so may be subjected to 'moderation' Chatting by E-mail is not my preferred method. However, do be careful whatever you do and stay away from any harmful substances. You are still very young; take it easy. I know, I am 57.


You asked, initially, what aspects are missing in the sanchin katas. Well, you have perhaps answered your own question. Nothing is missing as far as the physical side is concerned. However, without going through the prior chi development phase, you will, even after years of practice, find it hard / frustrating to do those mental requirements you mentioned while doing the sanchin kata; because it is the chi that provides the vital "conscious" link / bridge between the mind and the body; without this link / bridge being established first, it will always remain at the physical level, and will never be able to cross the river that separates the internal from the external.

However, when you are able to mentally direct your chi at will through the body, it is just like breathing and walking, you need not spend too much effort at all; it gets "natural"; it is like having two minds -- one controlling the chi and the other controlling the body; and it is the combination or coming together of these two aspects while doing the dynamic tension katas that the fundamental principle behind the sanchin katas or the chinese dynammic tension sets are fully realised.

When I was very young and just starting out to do those chinese dynamic tension sets, I too was under the impression that that was all there was to it. Just strengthening the muscles without carrying any weights, because the chinese believed that too much muscle mass hinders speed and agility, and lose the snap / whip at the end of the punch. So dynamic tension gives you power without increasing too significantly your muscle mass. It was much later that I realised the 'holy trinity' of mind, body & chi.

Heard of the old dictum, when the 'Yi' / mind directs, the chi follows? It is therefore not possible to do all those muscle tensing when doing the sanchin kata and still be relaxed mentally / physically enough to direct the chi to the jo, chu, ge simultanously! Its like doing a push-up and go to sleep at the same time; without the link / bridge, there will always be a "conflict / battle" between the mind and the body and the harder you try, the more intense will be the conflict and the more you will lose the 'battle'

But when the chi is circulating at will, and at each point of tension while doing the kata, the chi is being mentally directed by the very specific breathing patterns to circulate into the muscles and bones is when sanchin is truly being practiced. Anything less is just aerobics, but of course still useful at that particular level. Going back to Sanchin31's question as to whether he was developing his chi when doing the sanchin kata, the answer is an obvious no, because if it was, he, after all these years of diligent practice, would have known. The question would not need to be asked. You cannot having developed your chi and not know it.

For health purposes, the chi is directed to circulate into the internal organs one by one in a specific order; when I do it, the particular organ actually warms up, especially the liver. You can explore the body's internal landscape with the chi.

As for how to develop the chi first is something not possible, indeed not advisable, to teach over the net. You just have to look for the right instructor. Do not be discouraged though; ironically, the chi development exercises are surprisingly simple and perhaps because there are simple that it is such a big secret. Many years ago when I saw the connection between chi development and certain kinds of Yoga, I learnt the yogic energy development aspects from a teacher who had me swore that I will not teach it without his permission. When I learnt it, it was so simple. But then everything is simple when you know it.

Good Luck.

[This message has been edited by ButterflyPalm (edited 04-27-2005).]

[This message has been edited by ButterflyPalm (edited 04-27-2005).]

[This message has been edited by ButterflyPalm (edited 04-27-2005).]

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