use chinshin, don't just twist your hips
Most of the time, especially for beginners, power is created by twisting the hips.
This comes down to rotational movement. Rotational movement is movement from left to right in a circular manner. Chinshinho and Fushinho however, are methods to create power in the up and downward direction.
Chinshinho is the method to create power by dropping your body i.e. lowering your centre of gravity. Fushinho is the opposite, creating power by rising your centre of gravity.
Now, let's carefully examine Chinshinho - the term and concept that I learned from Kazumasa Yokoyama Kancho.
One Minute Principle Series
What is Chinshinho?
is chinshin the same as vertical dropping?
The Kanji used for Chinshinho (沈身法) indicate that your body is going to lower. 沈 translates into sink or submerge. In English we use the term Body dropping. When you drop, you should drop straight down in the vertical dimension facilitated by Hiza No Nuki. Vertically out of Seichusen, not in a diagonal.
Another term that is used is Vertical dropping (my term), which emphasises the direction of the dropping movement. Imagine standing up straight and leaning to a random direction. Your body will fall and eventually diagonally downward. This is a bigger distance than straight down and it is also slower. Chinshin is quite visible is most cases but invisible in other cases. If you speak of Chinshin there are basically two kinds to distinguish, of which the first is a visible big movement (from hereon called Body dropping) and the second is an -almost- invisible small movement (from hereon called Internal body dropping).
Body dropping is the first to learn before you can proceed to Internal body dropping. As Sakagami sensei told me several times: "The big includes the small, but the small does not include the big". Within Karate, 沈身 therefore has the meaning of explosive and immediate dropping of body weight.
The term vertical dropping refers to the perpendicular dropping of the body or actually the body weight.
kazumasa yokoyama on chinshin
This video on Chinshin is the result of me talking Kazumasa Yokoyama into shooting it. It's one of his main fundamental principles that he highlights in his book. It's really the next thing for advanced Karateka who have heard the twist your hip story over and over.
It's time to dig deeper, so best is to learn from Yokoyama himself.
5 reasons to use chinshin
The function of this technical ability is to increase impact and it is also a helping aid to maintain kinto. Chinshin can be used to:
- Increase impact;
- Maintain Kinto;
- Control momentum;
- Avoid Itsuki;
- Control Maai.
Note that you do not always have to drop deeply, say from Shizentai into Shiko dachi. Although that is a good way to use it and easier to learn, eventually you need to be able to drop with a smaller movement. For example, even Sonobazuki contains dropping movement (Internal Body Dropping). Hence, once you advance you need both the skill of dropping deeply and dropping in a small movement, so that you have a choice which one to use to suit circumstance.
The concept is mainly two-fold. The main thing is generating power by body dropping, the other is to use it to stop moving (and create power at the same time).
Use This Method To Learn How To Connect Dropping To Your Punch
To apply Chinshin in Sonobazuki, you can use the following method that I learned from Nukina sensei.
key points of the method
The demonstrated training method on this page is also demonstrated in this video. In the video, I also share a variation that allows you to drop more deeply and is easier to learn. Furthermore, -apart from explaining Chinshin from a different angle- I share a nice little fact of Ishikawa sensei's experience with Ohtsuka sensei.
practise chinshin together in the dojo
To conclude, I would like to share the following variation on Sanbon kumite Jodan uke 1. Instead of using three steps, we will demonstrate this version as an Ippon kumite, executed from Hidari hanmi ai gamae.
This Ippon kumite is based on Ishikawa sensei's way and is absolutely different than Suzuki sensei's way. Although the handmovements are identical (of the Sanbon version), the body movement of the 'first' movement is fairly different. Suzuku sensei used to use Shizentai and leaned back while executing Nagashi uke and Urazuki, while Ishikawa sensei used Shiko dachi. It is not the stance that matters though. What matters is the body movement that causes this stance.
Ishikawa sensei used a leg switch using Chinshin visibly to control Maai and stopping the backward movement. If you use this way, it is easier to adjust to the movement of your opponent (who might enter deeply or fall short).