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Sanchin - "Three Battles" or "Three Conflicts"

Sanchin kata has the simplest techniques, and yet is arguably the most difficult to master of all Goju kata. Sanchin is often taught as a black belt kata, yet it is simple enough to teach at the white belt level. This is often done in order to prepare the student for this kata by the time he or she reaches black belt.

Only one stance is used-the sanchin (meaning "three battles") stance, from which a name of the kata is derivative. Sanchin-dachi is a practical stance, and yet is the most difficult stance to master. The legs protect the body from sweep kicks, the thighs are to trap low kicks. According to a tai chi manual ("Zhuangzi 13 postures"), the punch draws its power from the earth through the legs; The flip of the hips enables the strength of the whole body to be channeled and focused into one punch.

Properly employed, Sanchin kata follows the "hard" style of karate - all the muscles are to be flexed and tensed throughout the kata - actually making it the most strenuous kata. This type of strength training, taught for thousands of years, is only recently understood in Western science and is known as "isometric training" in bodybuilding.

In Chinese training, Sanchin kata also introduces the student to the use of "qi" (Japanese "ki") for training and fighting applications. Many western interpretations of qi/ki explain it as an enhanced understanding of internal body dynamics and muscle control through repeated and strenuous training.

This kata was developed by Sensei Chojun Miyagi because he perceived the original Sanchin kata he learned from Higaonna Sensei, was too long for beginners. As stated above, Brown and Black belts should do their own personal training using Sanchin. Sanchin we know today has all the same movements as the original Sanchin kata but is shorter and no turns.

Sanchin kata is the basis of the Goju-Ryu Karate system. All other kata are based on the Sanchin form. The principals of Goju-Ryu Karate are all encompassed within this kata. The Grand Masters in Okinawa have explained that in the olden days Goju-Ryu or Naha-te karateka would learn the Sanchin Kata and only one other Kata, based on that person's body type, therefore you would only have two katas. Today we are very lucky to be able to learn the whole system, however we must remember Sanchin Kata was and still is an very important kata.

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