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Goju Ryu Okinawa Karate Doh Jundokan South Africa Kihon Kata Sanchin 

Shimé Testing PART 5

There are many misconceptions regarding Sanchin shimé testing. I was once an observer at a 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 kickBuddy Sanchin Katas that the examiner administered to him? Did they both know what was expected and required of them? I am convinced not!

Yasuda Tetsunosuke  Sensei (9th dan) performing Sanchin shimé testing on Buddy Govender at the Jundokan Hombu Dojo in Naha City, Okinawa - 1997

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 SHIMÉ TESTING                                                                                                                                                                                       These should always be performed in the same sequence and once completed another cycle Buddy Govender Shime testing in Okinawa must be administered.

  • 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 right blend.
  • 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 damaging.
  • 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 again.

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.

PART 1 : Introduction To Sanchin Kata

PART 2 : The Benefits of Sanchin Kata Training

PART 3 : Body Alignment and Foot Movements

PART 4 : Sanchin Breathing Methods

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