Using Sanzhan to improve my Sanchin Kata (Sanchin/Sanzhan pt 3)

So in my part 2 of Sanchin/Sanzhan posts I was discussing how me trying to follow more of the principles that Sensei had been recently talking about, led me to practice sanchin in three different ways, and that in turn led me back into practicing Sanzhan.

In part 3 I want to write about why I now think that some of the changes were made, and how practicing Sanchin and Sanzhan together has helped me improved my Sanchin kata.

What is interesting to note, and I mentioned this in another post is that when I was describing the power generation of Sanzhan’s with Sensei, he told me that in essence the power generation is the same with Sanchin, but because of the language barrier to get the key principles across they ended up over emphasising certain aspects. With the power generation being from the core in Sanzhan the Okinawan’s emphasised the hip to generate this effect.

The same can be said for the stance. The stance in white crane is like a cross between wing chin and a boxer’s stance. In the Sanzhan form, you have to tense your body everywhere, my sifu in China said that you had tighten everything including your anus. So you can
practice tensing your entire body from attack (but he also said it was to do with chi). We tense our lower legs to give us a strong stable stance, protect the legs and the groin.

I was just practicing both Sanchin and Sanzhan kata/form, because I noticed on the weekend when doing Sunday training with my mate that practicing that the Sanchin kata, I looked very knocked kneed, and my stability in the stance wasn’t great on the Saturday. Anyway I was going through both the kata and form several times and noticed that my Sanchin dachi was much narrower than my Sanzhan stance. After I focused on correcting it, and still going through both kata/form that it was much easier for me to tense my whole legs, groin and bum.

Which has led me back to thinking what Sensei discussed, about explanations lost in translation, and that to get this tension in the legs the Okinawan’s pointed the feet in as it’s easier to emphasis tension in the legs.

This is why I like the Okinawan martial arts and it brings me to something Sensei said, they are willing to learn and absorb kung fu from China, and they evolve or adapt it to focus on aspects they think are necessary. They don’t change it like the Japanese do just to make it more Japanese. They take what works and create their own art, their own interpretation of the path of the martial, the budo, of karate.


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