Chin Na: basic exercises

How to use Chin Na techniques

As we said (read Chin Na) in order to effectively learn, use and resist to Chin Na’s techniques, it is essential to fortify our body and refine the control we have on it in terms of:

  • Application of precise movements and actions – Without the interference of external factors, what we want to do and what we actually do must perfectly coincide (read Introduction to the idea of Precision Control); even if we do not mind, there is an abyss between what a beginner think he is doing and what he is really doing (with a video camera it can be easily checked)
  • Resistance to opponents’ initiative – More we are conditioned to resist to what that the opponents try to perform (eg. joints lever), more we have time / space to react and to do not be subdued (read Physical conditioning: how it works); the best way to avoid suffering a Chin Na technique is to prevent it from reaching / stabilizing at its final application stage; in the previous phases the damage is in fact (for a conditioned practitioner) more “bearable” (if not null)
  • Instinctive reaction to opponents’ interaction – When we are directly in touch with our opponents we absolutely have no time to think strategically, everything happens in fractions of seconds; the only rational thing that an expert can do is to tactically choose what kind of instinctive / preformatted reaction to adopt (read 6DKF’s interactions: from the strong blow to the light touch)

The psychophysical conditioning that 6 Dragons Kung Fu requires for this set of techniques includes various types of training, in this discussion we will list the main categories.

The path to the application’s effectiveness

About the increase of effectiveness of technical application, the exercises are related to:

  • Using advanced body mechanics – We need a basic mastering of muscle chain (read Use the body power: the muscle chain), Dragon Motion (read Dragon Motion: the swirling movements), etc.
  • Deepening of basic combat techniques – We must be able to intercept, deviate, parry (etc.) instinctively; against a good opponent, Chin Na creates each time different situations to face in real time
  • Sequential and calibrated movements – Every motion of our body must work in coordination with a good timing, rooting, balancing and perfect managing of positions / directions
  • Muscle memory – Training through repetition in ever-more different and increasingly complex contexts (read Same exercises, different execution)
  • Interiorization of ideal contexts – The ability to spontaneously and instinctively choose a Chin Na in the exact time / space when the opportunity occurs and never forcibly
  • Recognizing the effectiveness of an application – Primarily (during training) through dialogue with our partners and later (during combat) only feeling the reactions of the opponents’ organism
  • Acquire a good knowledge of the human body – Understand with the touch where internal organs, tendons, muscles, bones (etc.) are; know their shape, their mobility, their elongation capability, their weaknesses (etc.)
  • Learn how to apply combat tactics – Manage the distances (grip change, misdirection, etc.) and deception trough faints (provocative, directional, etc.)

 A note by Master Kongling – Why are we stressing so much the needs of so advanced abilities? I do not want to hide it, anyone can quickly manage to perform most of the basic Chin Na techniques within a couple of hours’ lesson; the problem is that this type of knowledge does not find any effective feedback outside of a friendly collaborative context.

The path to resistance

With regard to resistance and power, the exercises are aimed at:

  • General conditioning – Condition all joints (wrists, arms, shoulders, etc.) in terms of flexibility, tightness, etc.
  • Generate explosive power – Study and development of Fa Jing (sudden manifestation of vibrant explosive force, more about this later)
  • Grip strength – Increase the grip power of our hands, fingers and all the potentially involved body parts (in the various type of grabbing); we must know that the perfect grip is the one that causes pain by itself
  • 6DKF’s Contacts – Increase solid, liquid, fluid and elastic strength (to avoid being the victim of adversaries’ action, read The 6DKF’s Solid Contacts and The 6DKF’s Liquid and Fluid Contacts)
  • Advanced fabric cloth training – Develop the ability to easily manage various kinds of flying mobile objects (gradually heavier); we need to reach an efficient (trajectories studied and “clean”), dynamic (agility and speed) and economic (in terms of effort) way of managing them (read Basic tools: the cloth and Advanced exercises: the dynamic water bottle)

 A note by Master Kongling – The raw reality is that even apparently good practitioners, faced with any (really) non-collaborative partner (not an expert), not only are not able to perform any technique but even to create the conditions to apply them (they are slow, uncoordinated, predictable, imprecise, feeble, etc.).

The path to reactivity

With regard to reactivity, the exercises focus on:

  • Remove all the possible joint limits – Inhibiting the work of antagonistic muscles (which restrain and slow down our movements, read Body flexibility and martial arts)
  • Speed up the movements – Both in terms of trajectory / path (read Find effective aerodynamic trajectories), both in terms of physiological enhancement (muscles, etc.)
  • Space management – Develop a solid spatial intelligence and spatial memory (many techniques require almost millimeter accuracy, read The most important skill in combat)
  • Instant access to maximum strength – Develop instant, secure and solid grip (with fingers, hands, legs, etc.); more in general, we have to make our body muscles able to immediate contract and to maintain / increase the performance at need (eg. during a strangulation)
  • Quick reasoning – Acquiring the ability to make fast and / or instinctive assessment (about the change of grip, the interruption of an adverse action, the change of path to achieve a specific goal, etc.)
  • General sensitivity – Build a high intuitive, visual, and especially tactile sensitivity to adversary movements; we have to develop all of our senses to connect them and have the most precise information about what happens around us

A note by Master Kongling – Applying the techniques of Chin Na is not at all simple, people do not wait passively to get a broken arm, they try to do not be caught, to free themselves, they strenuously attack and defend. That’s why it really has to make a leap in quality to be able to use so articulate techniques in combat.

Final notes

It is important to stress that:

  • Poor study, poor results – Face the Chin Na’s study in absence of these premises inevitably leads to poor results and dangerous illusions of effectiveness; instead, if we follow the right path, the interiorization of Chin Na will become a direct and natural consequence of our new capabilities
  • Chin Na includes countermoves but… – Get to have to use the countermoves against a Chin Na technique (instead of preventing it) should always be considered as a “half-defeat” and / or an instructional situation; in a real fight, the achievement of the last phase, for example, of a lever coincides with the serious damaging of the body elements involved (eg. explosive breaking)
  • The ancient method – It was not by chance that Chin Na in Shaolin temple (and not only) was taught only after physical preparation, after the study of positions / forms / sequences and after the full acquisition of the most common fighting techniques (kicks, punches, parries, etc.)

In the next articles of this series, we will look in more detail about specific Chin Na exercises.

Author: Master Kongling

Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.

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