Thursday, May 7, 2009

Not That Hardcore...Yet!

Chojun Miyagi, the legendary founder of Goju-Ryu Karate was famous, or infamous, for his devotion to the kata, Sanchin. Some accounts say that for his students would do nothing but Sanchin for the first two years of training.

It's a relatively simple kata to learn. Inspired by the form, Sam Chien or Sanzhang, there are probably not more than a half dozen moves repeated over and over. And there are probably nearly as many versions of Sanchin/Sam Chien/Sanzhang as there are practitioners throughout Asia and the rest of the world.

The version I learned came from my friend and instructor, Don Weiss. He picked it up during a trip to Malaysia from a teacher of Five Ancestor Kung Fu. Even the version that Don learned could be practiced several ways, including: slow, with dynamic tension; slow, but relaxed like a Tai Chi set; full speed; with spear hand techniques; or with the phoenix eye fist.

I'm no fan of dynamic tension, so I skipped that. But I did it all the other ways, slow and relaxed, fast and hard, with spear hands and phoenix eye fists.

For a half hour, I also experimented with the form following versions I've seen online. As Don taught me, I did it with both hands doing the same techniques simultaneously. But I also experimented with doing it with alternating hands. After several repetitions of alternating hands, I dug out my sais/tjabangs and did the set with them. It took a little doing not to cold cock myself as I flipped the sais back and forth while still being mindful of the integrity of the form.

Between several sets, I did sets of leg raises, barbell curls or wrist rolls.

I felt invigorated, but tired. Not wanting to push myself too much so soon after a cold, I did one run each of the Siu Lam Tao and the Mook Yan Johng Kuen, with both Yip Man and mainland sections of the latter form.

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