Last updated
三戦 (三戰, 三進, 参戦)
Mandarin Pinyin:sānzhàn
Min Nan POJ:sam-chiàn
Literally"three battles"

Sanchin (三戦) is a kata of apparent Southern Chinese (Fujianese) origin that is considered to be the core of several styles, the most well-known being the Okinawan Karate styles of Uechi-Ryū and Gōjū-Ryū, as well as the Chinese martial arts of Fujian White Crane, Five Ancestors, Pangai-noon and the Tiger-Crane Combination style associated with Ang Lian-Huat. Tam Hon taught a style that was called simply "Saam Jin" (Cantonese for "Sanchin").


The name Sanchin, meaning "three battles/conflicts/wars" is usually interpreted as the battle to unify the mind, body, and spirit; however, there are other interpretations. [1]

Uechi-Ryū practices a form of Sanchin with nukite zuki (貫手突) "open spear hand" strikes. In 'old style', Pangainoon, Uechi Ryu Sanchin is often done with kotsukake (骨掛け) or bone and muscle manipulation. [2] [3] [4] While the version used by many other styles such as Gōjū-Ryū and Chitō-ryū use a closed fist. [5] [6] [7]

General information

Sanchin uses the sanchin dachi (三戦立ち) "sanchin stance" named for the kata. Practice of Sanchin seeks to develop the muscles and bones of the body to help the practitioner withstand blows from an opponent, while drilling the basic mechanics of a strike that depends on a stable base.


Sanchin is the first kata learned in Uechi-Ryū, while other styles may introduce it later. In Gōjū-Ryu, there are two Sanchin kata. The first, "Miyagi's Sanchin" or sanchin dai ichi, was created by Chōjun Miyagi. The second, "Higashionna's sanchin" or sanchin dai ni was taught with open hands, as in Uechi-Ryū, but later it was also revised to closed fists by Miyagi's co-student Juhatsu Kyoda, founder of Tōon-Ryū, and adopted by Chōjun Miyagi as well. This kata was adopted by other styles such as the later Okinawan style Isshin-Ryū and Kyokushin.

Shime (締め)

Some styles use a method of checking strength, posture, hand concentration during the performance of the kata called shime (締め). This involves a range of techniques from hard strikes to check the tone of the student's muscles and overall strength to very soft and slow pushes and pulls to test the student's ability to react in order to maintain their position. [8]

See also

Related Research Articles

Gōjū-ryū Style of karate

Gōjū-ryū (剛柔流), Japanese for "hard-soft style", is one of the main traditional Okinawan styles of karate, featuring a combination of hard and soft techniques. Both principles, hard and soft, come from the famous martial arts book used by Okinawan masters during the 19th and 20th centuries, the Bubishi. , which means hard, refers to closed hand techniques or straight linear attacks; , which means soft, refers to open hand techniques and circular movements. Gōjū-ryū incorporates both circular and linear movements into its curriculum, combining hard striking attacks such as kicks and close hand punches with softer open hand circular techniques for attacking, blocking, and controlling the opponent, including joint locks, grappling, takedowns, and throws.

Uechi-ryū Style of karate

Uechi-Ryū is a traditional style of Okinawan karate. Uechi-Ryū means "Style of Uechi" or "School of Uechi". Originally called Pangai-noon, which translates to English as "half-hard, half-soft", the style was renamed Uechi-Ryū after the founder of the style, Kanbun Uechi, an Okinawan who went to Fuzhou in Fujian Province, China to study martial arts and Chinese medicine when he was 19 years old.

Kyokushin Combat sports organization

Kyokushin (極真) is a style of stand-up fighting and was founded in 1964 by Korean-Japanese Masutatsu Oyama. "Kyokushin" is Japanese for "the ultimate truth". It is rooted in a philosophy of self-improvement, discipline and hard training. Its full contact style has international appeal.

Isshin-Ryū is a style of Okinawan karate founded by Tatsuo Shimabuku in 1956. Isshin-Ryū karate is largely a synthesis of Shorin-ryū karate, Gojū-ryū karate, and kobudō. The name means, literally, "one heart method". In 1989 there were 336 branches of Isshin-ryū throughout the world, most of which were concentrated in the United States.

Higaonna Kanryō Okinawan karateka

Higashionna Kanryō, also known as Higashionna West, was a Ryukyuan martial artist who founded a fighting style known at the time as Naha-te. He is recognized as one of the first students of Fujian White Crane Kung Fu masters, namely Ryū Ryū Ko, in the Fuzhou region of China who returned with those skills to Okinawa. His student, Chōjun Miyagi, would later found Gōjū ryū Karate.

Chōjun Miyagi Okinawan karateka

Chōjun Miyagi was an Okinawan martial artist who founded the Gōjū-ryū school of karate by blending Okinawan and Chinese influences.

Tensho is a kata originating from Goju Ryu karate. Translated, it means "revolving hands", "rotating palms", or "turning palms." This kata emphasizes the soft aspects of Goju Ryu, and encompasses continuous, flowing movements. Tensho, along with its harder counterpart sanchin, was developed by Goju ryu founder Chojun Miyagi from earlier Chinese forms. Tensho may be a variant of the Southern Chinese Kung Fu form Rokkishu.

The karate kata Seisan (十三) literally means '13'. Some people refer to the kata as '13 Hands', '13 Fists', '13 Techniques', '13 Steps' or even '13 killing positions'. However, these names have no historical basis.

Chitō-ryū Style of karate

Chitō-ryū (千唐流) is a style of karate founded by Dr. Tsuyoshi Chitose, (1898-1984). The name of the style translates as: chi (千) - 1,000; (唐) - China; ryū (流) - style, school, "1,000 year old Chinese style." The character (唐) refers to the Tang Dynasty of China. The style was officially founded in 1946.

Shōbayashi Shōrin-ryu (少林流) is a style of Okinawan Shorin-ryu karate founded by Eizo Shimabukuro. Eizo Shimabukuro (1925-2017) dropped the Chatan Yara no Kusanku and the Oyadamari no Passai he learned from Chotoku Kyan and he added Kusanku Sho and Dai and Passai Sho and Dai of Yasutsune Itosu lineage. It is said that Eizo Shimabukuro learned these Itosu kata as well as Pinan Shodan to Godan and Naihanchin Shodan to Sandan from Choshin Chibana. However, in his book "Okinawa Karatedo Old Grandmaster Stories" Eizo Shimabukuro says that Chibana was too old to teach and so Chibana referred Shimabukuro to his senior student, Nakazato, for instruction. Eizo Shimabuku also added two kata from his time in Goju-ryu with Chojun Miyagi. These kata being Seiunchin and Sanchin.

Shorin-ryu Seibukan, also known as Sukunaihayashi, is one of the many Okinawan Shorin-ryu styles of karate.

The table contains a comparison of karate styles. Some of the distinguishing features are listed, such as lineage, general form of stances, the balance of hard and soft techniques, and the number and names of kata forms.

Tōon-ryū is a style of Okinawan Karate founded by Juhatsu Kyoda.

Arakaki Seishō was a prominent Okinawan martial arts master who influenced the development of several major karate styles. He was known by many other names, including Aragaki Tsuji Pechin Seisho.

Okinawan martial arts Okinawan martial arts

Okinawan martial arts refers to the martial arts, such as karate, tegumi and Okinawan kobudō, which originated among the indigenous people of Okinawa Island. Due to its central location, Okinawa was influenced by various cultures with a long history of trade and cultural exchange, including Japan, China and Southeast Asia, that greatly influenced the development of martial arts on Okinawa.

Fukyugata is the name of kata practiced in many styles of Okinawan karate, particularly Matsubayashi-ryu. There are two Fukyugata. Shoshin Nagamine (Matsubayashi-ryu) created Fukyugata Ichi and Chojun Miyagi (Goju-ryu) created Fukyugata Ni, or Gekisai Ichi. They were developed as beginner kata because the more traditional kata were too difficult for beginners.

Gōgen Yamaguchi Japanese karateka

Jitsumi Gōgen Yamaguchi, also known as Gōgen Yamaguchi, was a Japanese martial artist and student of Gōjū-ryū Karate under Chōjun Miyagi. He was one of the most well-known karate-dō masters from Japan and he founded the International Karate-dō Gōjū Kai Association.

Kanei Uechi Okinawan karateka

Kanei Uechi was the son of Kanbun Uechi, founder of Uechi-Ryū, one of the primary karate styles of Okinawa. Kanei was instrumental in the growth of Uechi-Ryū after his father's death.

Saifa is a kaishugata (kata) of Gōjū-ryū karate. According to the International Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate-Do Federation, this kata is taught third, after Gekisai Dai Ichi and Gekisai Dai Ni, and preceding the heishugata Sanchin. It is likewise taught third in the Meibukan tradition. The name is variously translated as "smash and tear", "pound and pulverize", or "tearing and breaking ground". This name might refer to the striking techniques which prioritize closed fist strikes such as back fist or hammer fist strikes, as well as simple grabbing techniques. The origins and creator of this kata are unknown, but it has been speculated that it may have originated in Chinese styles studied by Higaonna Kanryō, who was the teacher of Miyagi Chojun, the founder of Gōjū-ryū karate. However, Tōon-ryū, the style founded by another of Higaonna's students, Kyoda Juhatsu, does not contain Saifa, leading other sources to speculate that it may have been developed by Miyagi Chojun himself. Saifa is also practiced by Shito-Ryu, founded by another of Higaonna’s students, Kenwa Mabuni, and in Kyokushin karate.

Seiunchin (制引戦) is a kaishu kata of Goju-ryu karate. It was taught by Goju-ryu's founder, Chojun Miyagi, who in turn learned it from his teacher, Kanryo Higaonna. Seiunchin can be interpreted to mean "pulling".


  1. "Black Belt". Internet Archive. p.  39 . Retrieved 10 January 2015. Sanchin kata.Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  2. "Gushi Shinyu 'old style' Sanchin".
  3. "SANCHIN -International Uechi-Ryu Karate-Do Shubukai". Retrieved 2021-01-31.
  4. "G. Seizan Breyette Fuzhou Muscle Preparation".
  5. "Black Belt". Internet Archive. p.  40 . Retrieved 10 January 2015. Sanchin kata.Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  6. "Black Belt". Internet Archive. p.  39 . Retrieved 10 January 2015. Sanchin kata.Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  7. "Black Belt". Internet Archive. p.  15 . Retrieved 10 January 2015. Sanchin kata.Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  8. Mattson, George E. (2010). The Way of Uechi-Ryū Karate (First ed.). Peabody Publishing Company. ISBN   978-0-930559-38-0.