Sparring in Sanchin/Sanzhan style

Trying to fight in sanchin/sanzhan has been very interesting, and something I will continue to experiment with. there are positives and negatives to it, and I will try to highlight and discuss as many as I can, please remember that this is only from my perspective up to this moment, and it may change in time.

Some of the positives, are that i have noticed that it is harder for opponents to punch you as your strikes seem to be less noticeable. Gives you a solid base, and with the right sanchin mentality you can absorb strikes and unleash them like a beast, leading to some of your friends believing that you have become very tense in your actions (going backwards in a sense) where in fact you feel extremely relaxed, and that relaxation makes your strikes alot faster. It was seems help me to tie up my opponents quicker, and leads me to think that if people argue that karate is only striking, then you only need to look at sanchin for all its grappling concepts (need to ask sensei about this).

Some of the negatives are that it makes you much more reliant on striking with the upper body, but that maybe just a mindset of how I have been doing sanchin/sanzhan, also the solar plexus and center line seems to be much more open and vulnerable which means you need to time your breathing and hope your center line is conditioned enough. Your in the area of close quarters all the time, so you don’t rely on light footwork and if your opponent is using sanchin type fighting style as well, but are much faster than you then your size advantage goes out of the window as they will strike you more, your only way of beating them is to hope to time a power strike in time and then unleash a fury.

So there are several ways I can develop this way of fighting for me, and see why we need the other kata! To protect my center line I either practice the forms of san dan gi 1 and 2 with a mate, or practice geksai especially linear to make sure i’m training myself to protect my center line. Ideally I wish I could learn tensho! It is a kata I have wanted to learn since I started karate, and I consider it part of my holy trinity of training of sanchin/sanzhan/tensho. Tensho is almost the opposite of sanchin, works the centre line and develops the softness, but I will need to have patience until I learn it.

I need to work on footwork like a boxer, so moving from my stances, skipping, being lighter on my feet and learning to move in angles. Update on this, my footwork has greatly improved, however Instead of just being heavy footed, I use it way too much, the best strikes i have delivered are when I change from southpaw to orthodox without the opponent expecting it.

With kicking and a faster opponent its simple, practice kicking or shadow boxing! Similar with a faster opponent, I tend to fight like a brawling boxer in orthodox and a counter striker in southpaw, I need to write down (not here!) what combos work for me, and in which stance, what I give away and how to time my strikes better.

Time to start training 😉


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