On Chin Na Practice

We just got a shipment of the Chinese text for Eagle Claw Style Chin Na arts.  A number of customers have been waiting this book and, when unpacking it, I decided to sit down and look at it again (even though we already have a review of it on our site).

As I looked at the illustrations I couldn’t help but think of a few things about Chin Na which are rarely mentioned in the books but are useful for the training. Like…

Set up your safety system and stick to it. If you  are a beginner the “double tap” method is best. Verbal responses are not very useful because you get stuff like , “No problem, That doesn’t even hURTT!!!” It’s hard to interpret inflection. But two taps or stomps (if you hands are tied up) means “Stop!” and that’s pretty clear.

Li Ying Arn's 72 Hands

Every move has a sister. If you turn the wrist CW you should know a move that turns the wrist in the CCW direction. The reason is simple, people tend to resist one twist with a reaction in the opposite direction. Part of the art of Chin Na is to understand the sequencing. But there’s another important point, namely that if a movement doesn’t work singly it probably shouldn’t. Don’t go jerking that wrist back and forth, you might hurt someone, but as you apply one torque keep the opposite one in mind.

Chin Na is not necessarily about taking the guy to the ground for a game ending arm lock or choke. Some of the movements gain a minor and temporary advantage, a tweak of the wrist, a kink in the neck. One of the distinctive aspects of Chin Na is that most of the locks and holds can be dropped instantly and transformed into strikes.

Chin Na against a weapon

There is a rule which you should remember for optimizing your Chin Na skills. The rule is the same as that of military engagements, namely, try never to fight on two fronts at the same time. In Chin Na you use this rule against your opponent. Simply translated it means that when you apply a Chin Na movement to any part of the body, say, the elbow you should keep your eye on the opponent’s torso. Make sure the posture is not stacked, the integrity of the spine should now be challenged. It is far more effective to throw a wrist lock on a person who, at the same time, is off balance. If done properly this adds the person’s own body weight to the technique and more than doubles the power of the hold.

For people beginning their Chin Na training this art can be very uncomfortable and confusing. People find themselves bending the arm in the wrong direction (the good direction which, in Chin Na, is wrong), unable to deal with their partner’s strength or awkwardness, succumbing to their own fears about hurting someone or, worse, feeling a lot of pain in the hands of less than competent partners.

But, if explained and played slowly, with little force and much focus on technique the art of Chin Na adds more than just self defense capabilities to the Kung Fu student’s arsenal. It also adds a sensitivity to angle, intensity and pain threshold, a valuable addition to anyone’s repertoire.

Resources: click pictures

Chinese text: Eagle Claw

DVD: TSP Chin Na

DVDs: Various Chin Na

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