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Nov 27 2010

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Proper Way to Check a Student in Sanchin

This is what I believe proper ‘testing’ should be like….

by Van Canna

1. The instructor first applies simple pressure to the nukite [3.] then strikes the fingertips with his palms. The instructor seeks to “feel the floor” when pressing down upon the student’s fingers.

This “feel the floor” concept results from the proper stability of the entire Sanchin posture. Any “break” in focus, such as a lax elbow or improper posture results in structural collapse at that point.

Counteraction of the finger flexors and extensors, with the thumb actively pulling towards the heel, stabilizes the palm and fingers in a proper nukite. The student stabilizes wrists and elbows by balancing the relevant flexor and extensors.

Once the student achieves proper arm, hand, shoulder and trunk structure, the instructor should find that the student’s hands feel as though they are attached to a pliable yet enormously strong structure.

2. The instructor tests the stability of the shoulder girdle by stoutly striking the arms posed in Sanchin kamae. Should the shoulder girdle feel slack, the likely deficiency is insufficient tension in the latissimus dorsi rather than the deltoids.

Beginners often interpret the focus of Sanchin as an “all or nothing” choice. As an exercise, shime teaches proper focus at the point of initiation and completion. In order to move and strike, the student must learn when, where, and to what degree to relax.

The shoulders, for example, require relative relaxation to serve as hinges upon which a powerful strike may pivot to completion and kime (focus).

3. The instructor tests the abdominal and pectoralis major muscles to assess the student’s structural integrity and balance [4]. As with all of the strikes discussed, these assist the practitioner in developing a conditioned or “iron” body and will.

The instructor assesses and conditions the thigh muscles– the rectus femorus and the quadriceps — with a mawashi geri (round kick) [5]. The instructor similarly tests and conditions the muscles lateral to the shin, the peroneus group].

4. With completion of the test of the anterior portions of the student’s body, the instructor continues with the posterior aspects.

The instructor begins with the trapezius shoulder regions. The instructor may first palpate the trapezius or apply a measured strike to test the tone.

The instructor tests the shoulders with an open hand slap.

This conditions the shoulders as well as insures that the student does not raise his shoulders in anticipation of testing.

When the shoulders are slapped, the hands should have the same feeling as is derived from slapping a properly inflated basketball. If a ball does not have the proper inflation, the hands will “sink” into it. [6] & [7]

5. The latissimus dorsi pull down and stabilize the shoulder girdle. The instructor checks the latissimus dorsi with three measured seiken tzuki (closed fist) strikes.

6. Depending on the level of the student, the instructor may test the gastrocnemius (main upper calf muscle) will either gentle pressure or a sokuto geri (snap sidekick).

7. Finally, the gluteal area and the external oblique muscles should be prodded to assure that the hips and waist are appropriately tensed to facilitate the pelvis tuck necessary to stabilize the spine and consolidate the posture.

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