The phenomenon of ‘sinking’ or dropping your weight was first shown to me by a Go ju ryu instructor in Southampton on a sanchin course I attended many years ago (thanks Mike). I’d gone down there to learn more about the kata that underpins Go Ju ryu Karate. He showed us how the structure of sanchin dachi hourglass stance allows you to drop your weight and make yourself heavier!
To ensure that you actually drop your weight correctly the following procedure was followed. Firstly, stand upright, as if standing to attention. Your partner stands behind you squats and places their arms around your middle to lift you up. Unless the other guy is huge you should manage this fairly easily.
Then you adopt sanchin dachi, ensuring each part of the stance is adopted and the body is aligned correctly. Then your partner adopts the lifting position and lifts. At least they attempt to, because the sanchin person will be significantly heavier than before!
I was pretty blown away by this revelation at the time and still enjoy showing people this trick. If the structure of the stance is adopted as intended the sinking of weight can be used to your advantage. Much later on I met and did a very little amount of training with a karate bloke who had been doing some wrestling. He was a big bloke and insisted on showing me some bits and pieces. In the clinch he grabbed me and threw me around a bit but not as easily as he had thought. We discovered that sanchin had saved me, I had naturally dropped my weight and made it difficult for him to chuck me around.
When you drop your weight your ‘centre of gravity’ is lowered and you are more stable than otherwise. This and other facets of sanchin helps in the clinch enourmously as not only are you more stable but you become strong throughout your body making you a much more difficult proposition than if you were upright and stiff legged.
For myself, I have found that many bigger guys have had more trouble with me in this position than if I’d had no experience of sanchin. The problem for many Goju practitioners is appreciating the mobility within sanchin, but that’s another story. Suffice for this article to reiterate the sinking and stability of sanchin dachi.
In addition to the sinking it is important to tighten the body when in the stance to add to the stability benefits for two reasons. Firstly, if you fail to connect the upper and lower portions of the body the sinking at the feet will occur on its own and not be passed onto the upper body. This is beneficial in itself if you want to prevent someone lifting you up, or at least make it more difficult; limp upper part, sanchin sunk lower part. Secondly, by pulling into your centre you pull on the opponents limbs (or whatever you are grabbing) helping to control him in some way.
In the clinch, for example, it is important to keep the shoulders down and pull in with the traps to fix the arms to the opponent while dropping the weight. Further, doing a little sit up with the pelvic floor muscles pulls the body down slightly further adding to the sinking action and connecting the upper and lower portions of the body. This is one way to use sanchin dachi.
Originally posted 2011-02-07 05:00:44. Republished by Blog Post Promoter