Goju Ryu Okinawa Karate Doh Jundokan South Africa
There are many misconceptions
regarding Sanchin shimé testing. I was once an observer
Goju grading where the examiners got up to do shimé testing on
the karate-ka performing Sanchin kata. He performed what looked
like a couple of slaps here and a couple of slap there, a kick up
between the legs and a punch in the stomach. He returned to the
grading main table and exclaimed that the karate-ka was 'strong'.
The examiner displayed no understanding of what he was doing and
was proberly going through the similar motions that he saw his
instructor use in the past. Was he there to check if the
karate-ka was 'strong'? Was he making sure that the karate-ka
would remember this grading by the blows and kicks that the
examiner administered to him? Did they both know what was
expected and required of them? I am convinced not!
Sensei (9th dan)
performing Sanchin shimé testing on
Buddy Govender at the Jundokan Hombu Dojo in Naha City, Okinawa
The job of the Sensei is to
assist the student being tested, to be aware and to focus and
tighten on various muscle groups whilst performing the hand and
arm movements, all at the same time. Full power Sanchin training
should never be performed if one is unwell, however, light,
no-powered, good form and deep, light breathing is very
refreshing. Children should also never perform full-powered, hard
Sanchin training, and, they should also never be tested as
rigorous as a senior adult student would. Slaps and kicks should
be replaced by a pressing, feeling action to the muscles and
areas to be concentrated on. Young or old, well or unwell, form
must never be sacrificed for power. The testing on a student new
to Sanchin must be a pressing and feeling one - no slapping etc.
This would assist greatly in making the student more aware and
thus develop good habit for beneficial Sanchin training.
SUGGESTED GUIDE FOR CORRECT SANCHIN
These should always be performed
in the same sequence and once completed another cycle must be
- Start by moving to the rear
of the student and down at the soles of the feet and feel
the inside edge of the feet to check that the arches of
the soles are not raised. Do the same with the outside
edge of the feet.
- Grab the ankles to assist
the student in rooting his stance to the floor and to
concentrate power into his legs and feet.
- Place your toe in front of
the students toe and press your knee onto his knee,
trying to force it backwards. The knee should not move
back, this ensures that the feet are rooted to the floor
and the quadriceps (thigh) muscles are activated. Care
must be exercised that too much or erratic pressure is
not applied - a firm and consistent pressure would be the
- Slap against the side of
the thighs at two short intervals so that concentration
of power is focused here and locked in.
- Apply the same slaps to the
buttock muscles and kick up gently but firmly between the
students legs. This ensure that the muscles inside the
thighs are also focused and tightened.
- Place you palm against his
stomach and firmly gently against the tanden.
- Check that the students
spine is straight by running your hand up along it to the
base of the neck. Then with the palm of your hand press
at regular intervals against the students back so that
focus is also maintained here.
- Move up the shoulders and
firstly placed your hands on them so that the students
tightens the muscle in that location. Then slap down
firmly making sure that you stay clear of the neck and
its immediate surrounds.
- Reverse the procedure that
was used to ensure that the spine was straight, by
starting at the neck and running your hand down the spine
the approximately its base
- Go around to face the
student and feel the tanden again, making sure that
strength is focus here as well.
- As the student extends his
arm on punching, add resistance by placing you palm heel
on the fist and firmly pushing against the punch. Do not
add too much resistance so as to hamper the students
posture and concentration.
- When the student blocks
chudan uke, apply firm resistance to that as well. When
the students performs morote osae uke and mawashi uke
apply pressure using both of your hands and adding equal
resistance to both the students hands
- Continually observe the
students face and skin color and stop the students if
signs of undue stress or pressure is noticed. The
teachers slaps and kicks should be firm but never
- Whilst the teacher is
applying the testing he must also observe that the
students breathing is co-ordinated with his movements.
- Continue the cycle by going
back to the soles of the feet and starting the procedure
The purpose of shimé testing is
also focus on parts of the body that is not actively being used
and not to forget about them, thus enabling one to concentrate
and focus on the whole body at the same time. This training is a
wonderful method to enhance your spirit and even though your body
feel a bit battered after Sanchin shimé you feel very elevated.
Only through consistent Sanchin training would one reap it's
benefits. Sanchin training and hojo undo is a great combination
to ensure a good physique and strong spirit.
1 : Introduction To Sanchin Kata
2 : The Benefits of Sanchin Kata Training
3 : Body Alignment and Foot Movements
4 : Sanchin Breathing Methods
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