Please take a look at Articles on self-defense/conflict/violence for introductions to the references found in the bibliography page.

Please take a look at my bibliography if you do not see a proper reference to a post.

Please take a look at my Notable Quotes

Hey, Attention on Deck!

Hey, NOTHING here is PERSONAL, get over it - Teach Me and I will Learn!

When you begin to feel like you are a tough guy, a warrior, a master of the martial arts or that you have lived a tough life, just take a moment and get some perspective with the following:

I've stopped knives that were coming to disembowel me

I've clawed for my gun while bullets ripped past me

I've dodged as someone tried to put an ax in my skull

I've fought screaming steel and left rubber on the road to avoid death

I've clawed broken glass out of my body after their opening attack failed

I've spit blood and body parts and broke strangle holds before gouging eyes

I've charged into fires, fought through blizzards and run from tornados

I've survived being hunted by gangs, killers and contract killers

The streets were my home, I hunted in the night and was hunted in turn

Please don't brag to me that you're a survivor because someone hit you. And don't tell me how 'tough' you are because of your training. As much as I've been through I know people who have survived much, much worse. - Marc MacYoung


The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books. Please make note that this article/post is my personal analysis of the subject and the information used was chosen or picked by me. It is not an analysis piece because it lacks complete and comprehensive research, it was not adequately and completely investigated and it is not balanced, i.e., it is my personal view without the views of others including subject experts, etc. Look at this as “Infotainment rather then expert research.” This is an opinion/editorial article/post meant to persuade the reader to think, decide and accept or reject my premise. It is an attempt to cause change or reinforce attitudes, beliefs and values as they apply to martial arts and/or self-defense. It is merely a commentary on the subject in the particular article presented.

Note: I will endevor to provide a bibliography and italicize any direct quotes from the materials I use for this blog. If there are mistakes, errors, and/or omissions, I take full responsibility for them as they are mine and mine alone. If you find any mistakes, errors, and/or omissions please comment and let me know along with the correct information and/or sources.

“What you are reading right now is a blog. It’s written and posted by me, because I want to. I get no financial remuneration for writing it. I don’t have to meet anyone’s criteria in order to post it. Not only I don’t have an employer or publisher, but I’m not even constrained by having to please an audience. If people won’t like it, they won’t read it, but I won’t lose anything by it. Provided I don’t break any laws (libel, incitement to violence, etc.), I can post whatever I want. This means that I can write openly and honestly, however controversial my opinions may be. It also means that I could write total bullshit; there is no quality control. I could be biased. I could be insane. I could be trolling. … not all sources are equivalent, and all sources have their pros and cons. These needs to be taken into account when evaluating information, and all information should be evaluated. - God’s Bastard, Sourcing Sources (this applies to this and other blogs by me as well; if you follow the idea's, advice or information you are on your own, don't come crying to me, it is all on you do do the work to make sure it works for you!)

“You should prepare yourself to dedicate at least five or six years to your training and practice to understand the philosophy and physiokinetics of martial arts and karate so that you can understand the true spirit of everything and dedicate your mind, body and spirit to the discipline of the art.” - cejames (note: you are on your own, make sure you get expert hands-on guidance in all things martial and self-defense)

“All I say is by way of discourse, and nothing by way of advice. I should not speak so boldly if it were my due to be believed.” - Montaigne

Search This Blog

On Sanchin

Blog Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

Sanchin is subjected to a great deal of mythology created by the uninitiated and just plain ignorance of a testerone driven egoistic feeling of what it means to be strong and powerful. As humans, especially the male of our species, is driven by natures survival instincts of long ago where our ego’s and our strength, power and abilities mean a higher status in the clan or tribe where our physical ability to get-r-done for conflicts and violence is critical - even in modern times at least in our brains if not actually in reality. 

Sanchin is about a means of practice that incorporates a type of dynamic tension or what early pioneers used to build strength, etc., called, “Isometrics.” Although isometrics was a system of movement, resistance and breathing that tended to isolate muscles and muscle groups to work sanchin tends to do the same in its unique way. 

Isometrics or Sanchin, which ever way you want to describe the proverbial dynamic tension breathing process, has its own rules to follow for maximum benefit in karate and martial arts. One should first learn the rules, and the second become knowledgable and fully understand those rules and how to implement them in the practice and third how to practice the sanchin kata using those principles as well as implementation of fundamental principles of multiple defense methodologies. This is one of those most critically important aspects of sanchin and its greatest benefit not just health and fitness but the teaching, learning and application of physiokinetic sub-principles to learn and apply karate and martial arts regardless of the distinction of its final applications by each individual. 

The next few paragraphs are most excellent descriptive teachings that will help the student of sanchin learn, understand, train, practice and apply the kata in their karate and martial arts be it for sport, combatives and/or self-defense. The two sources that lead me to this set of descriptive teachings are:

Sanchin Kata and Health,” by Kowakan blog

Note: I extracted those quotes I felt were pertinent to this article and they should stand alone from my perception and perspective simply because my beliefs differ slightly, as the comments between each will indicate, from the actual articles. It is also of significance that my comments and article are not about disagreeing with the articles that inspired me but simply a means to add at the end of the articles the word, “AND,” and then the expressions of my views, perceptions and practices of this most dynamic of karate and martial art kata - Sanchin!

“There are benefits to breathing control, but it appears physiologically that sanchin hard ibuki breathing should go the way of knuckle toughening, knuckle pushups, and straight leg sit-ups - DON’T DO IT. If you want to work on muscular dynamics, use weight training with proper breathing control, including kata with weights for resistive exercise and balance control. For breath control and focus, it would be safer to use tai-chi style soft breathing and concentrate on centering, rather than using the extreme isometric contraction of sanchin style forms.”

PERSONAL COMMENTS: I concur, if you are not using the concept of, “Moderation,” when practicing sanchin as well as karate and martial arts then you are violating the principles that make sanchin such a wonderfully beneficial kata practice. I practice both Tai-chi-chuan for health, fitness and other more applicable understanding of physiokinetic sub-principled applications. I use a concept that was taught in the early fifties called, “Isometrics,” that uses a dynamic tension process with movement, etc. There are rules as I state earlier and like the principles I advocate they must be adhered to in order to find balance and achieve a type of mastery of efficiency in their training, practice and application - all types of applications. 

“Moderate tension should exist only to hold the pelvis under, keep the abdomen firm (not hard), keep the shoulders pulled down, and keep the straightened fingers rigid.” 

PERSONAL COMMENTS: I teach this as, “Positive Relaxation,” while applying the sub-principle of physiokinetics in the application of, “Economical motion, live and dead energy, natural and unnatural motion, body-mind centripetal and centrifugal forces, sequential locking and relaxation, rooting, structure, alignment, etc.” The other mentions of pelvis, abdomen, shoulders, etc., involve application of other sub-principles such as, “Breathing, posture, alignment, centeredness, spinal alignment, structure, heaviness, etc.” 

“Little counter resistance as possible, i.e., in other words - moderate tension. Application of low internal resistance, focused techniques – good relaxed and fluid movement. The proper breathing in Goju Sanchin and a bench press should NOT be a Valsalva maneuver (breath hold). Karate, the amount of counter-resistance to an exhale should be proportional to the amount of work that one wants to do with a motion. We don’t do a Valsalva maneuver in weight training or karate because we don’t want strokes, aneurisms, hernias, hemorrhoids, or blackouts.” 

PERSONAL COMMENTS: All of this is pertinent but I must stress that to breath as naturally as possible according to what you are doing is critical to not only health and fitness but toward the application of multiple defense methodologies while adhering to fundamental principles where, “Holding your breath” is never a part of your training, practice or applications. The breath holding technique is a bad thing and if you find yourself using it then it is telling you something critically important, “What ever you are doing, you are doing it wrong!” Add in that in the application of self-defense against a predation attack holding your breath results in a huge loss of energy and strength in a faster manner then from proper breathing application. Holding air in to achieve a misconception and false goal of perceived strength and power actually drains you of energy faster and faster - in mere moments to a couple of minutes in the fight will leave you exhausted and fatigued, i.e., holding your breathe stops and restricts the inhaling and absorption of energy fuel we call oxygen and oxygen starvation never provides positive results. Always, breathe, continued deep diaphragmatic type breathing counters the adrenal chemical dump experienced in the stress conditions of conflict and especially violence. If you are breathing, your mind and those adrenal effects are being combated so you can remain in a higher state of effectiveness and so on. There are so many benefits to proper breathing and holding your breath means you are rapidly depleting that energy you need in creating endurance, force and power necessary for defense. 

“Sanchin was designed to give us the ability to practice a tremendous dynamic range of resistance motions, and to learn how to correctly titrate the breathing resistance. Those I see practice the vein-popping muscle-rippling window-rattling sanchin are – in my humble opinion – suffering from testosterone-induced showmanship.”

PERSONAL COMMENTS: A false sense of energy, power and force manifested in the chinkuchi like demonstration of dynamic tensioned application of technique that is more outside the principles necessary to achieve true energy efficiency toward the creation of maximum application of power and force in the defense using multiple methodologies. Showmanship, good term describing a false sense of ability and mastery. 

“Most smart martial artists evolve to a point where they get the job done with the LEAST amount of effort. The nose-restricted inhale is the yin half to the epiglottis restricted (yang) exhale. Restricting an inhale LOWERS the intrathoracic pressure. This increases venous return and subsequently gives the heart more blood to pump out on the exhale. This also eliminates the cumulative negative effects of restrictive exhales. One should not be done without the other.”

PERSONAL COMMENTS: THEORY: Efficiency; PHYSIOKINETIC: relaxation, body-mind, sequential relaxation; TECHNIQUE: economical motion, active movement, natural and unnatural motion, live and dead energy; PHILOSOPHY: mind, mushin, non-intention, non-action, empty cup and inner peace. The gokui of hard-n-soft and so on …  

“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.”

PERSONAL COMMENTS: I now stand corrected that although I see and discern the use of both isometric and isotonic contractions the use of isotonic better suits the type of actions and tensions used and practiced in sanchin. Dynamic tension is not adequate but maybe both isometric/isotonic as a pairing much like the yin-yang principle allows a fuller understanding. In reality sanchin is a hybrid application of isometric/isotonic along with their associated concentric and eccentric concepts. Sanchin is therefore - Sanchin, the three battles of the body, mind and spirit manifested through a unified practice of the same three into a physiokinetic form with stability, rooting, balance, structure, alignment, centeredness and so on. 

“Biological systems will develop stronger engines if put through a regimen of moderate stress and then rest.”

PERSONAL COMMENTS: Balance, the epitome of a yin-yang state of being. 

Bibliography (Click the link)

STATEMENT: “There is no need to use or create a breathing process with strikes as it makes no difference in the ultimate effectiveness of that strike.” 

RESPONSE: In a very narrow way this may be true but it doesn’t explain that breathing, continuous breathing, is necessary for a variety of reasons and should not be influenced by this type of statement either way. Physics and Physiokinetics and Biologically speaking breathing deeply into the diaphragm and in a rhythm and cadence will have an effect on your body and therefore your actions taken using the body. It also applies to how our brains function as to efficiency and control of such things as the adrenal stress-conditioned chemical dump felt under high stress. 

The best way to discover this for yourself is to test it out. Using a makiwara and/or a heavy bag while performing a variety of methods such as a strike, punch, push, etc. properly can tell you the changes in effectiveness with different breathing techniques or methodologies. 

STATEMENT: “Is breathing properly about taking breathes between strikes?” 

RESPONSE: No, strikes or techniques or any number of methodologies should not be governed by the type and  method of breathing. Breathing should be as natural as the situation and circumstances allow as regard to your training and practice as well as any experience you bring to the table. Breathing or breathe should never be held, it should remain active according to what your goals are and such continuous proper breathing will provide you the energy fuel that comes from oxygen intake as well as carbon monoxide exhalation that cycles our air and therefore contributes to our energy generation much like fuel, gas, and air intake of carburetors to an engine. To expend rapidly all your energy and cause fatigue and exhaustion to set in quickly then don’t breathe properly or worse - hold that breathe. 

STATEMENT: “Resistance training, how does it involve sanchin kata training?”

RESPONSE: Proper resistance helps fitness conditioning as long as it is not overdone and done with appropriate physiokinetic and biological boundaries. Resistance or isometric/isotonic type exercise found in sanchin is good for you as along as you don’t violate those physiokinetic and biological boundaries.

No comments: