Chin Na: the basics

The fundamentals aspects to understand about Chin Na’s effectiveness

After having seen what Chin Na techniques are (read Chin Na), let’s see the necessary capabilities at their base.

Some important premises before starting:

  • Not the first step – If we want the Chin Na not to be reduced to a “trick to amaze friends” it is very important to face their in-depth study only after an adequate basic martial preparation (read /// Subscribe (it's free!) or Login to see this content ///)
  • Not an easy choice – Chin Na are not a substitute for other fighting techniques (kicks, punches, etc.) but rather a complement (striking, in most cases, is simpler to apply and simplicity is a winning card in any combat scenario)
  • Hard to apply to high-level fighters – Against a skilled opponent, Chin Na are difficult to apply (he probably knows them, their counterattacks, liberations, etc.); if we do not have the right spatial intelligence, conditioned limbs, instant adaptation capability, speed, deception ability (etc.) their use could be even deleterious
  • They are not a universal solution – Not all Chin Na work with all opponents; if from one side the best techniques largely outweigh (for example) the tolerance of naturally flexible people, on the other side, we may find a limit of effectiveness facing highly conditioned practitioners (but in most cases we talk about a level near contortionism)
  • They work when they are not expected – Chin Na works better when the opponent is not aware of what we want to do (eg. he does not have the time to react, he has been deceived, etc.); with similar physical form and preparation, in the 70% of the other cases, even a middle-level fighter may be able to withstand, react or get rid of them

A note by Master Kongling – Why are we trying to be so clear (almost at the point to discredit this kind of techniques)? Because we must be aware both of the positive, both of the negative sides of what we learn. I remember a (bad) Kung Fu “instructor” who used to fool his own students, deceiving them that he could resist any Chin Na technique, in reality he simply had the advantage of: choosing which part of his body to give them, of being sure not to be subjected to distraction tactics, of knowing the technical background of those who challenged and above all to enjoy the advantages related to the respect of the people in front of him (slow-motion movements, no sudden actions, easy surrender, low power, etc., read 4 Tips to effectively apply any fighting technique). When instead it was a question of facing (even on a friendly level) people or techniques of which he was unaware, he always had a different excuse, every time (once the elbow that hurts, once the pinky, once the fear of not being able to control his reactions, etc.). Unfortunately, the world of martial arts is full of such people, they do not share knowledge, they are only in search of an audience to give vent to their personal frustrations (read Recognize a good / bad master: 5 characteristics).

What we need to address the study of Chin Na

At the base of Chin Na are the following “compositional elements”:

  • Balance and rooting – The more our stance (or movement) is stable the more we can effectively apply our techniques; on the other hand, the more rooting (read Kung Fu rooting: the pyramid concept) we are able to subtract to the opponents (read also The 3 phases of a throw), the more opportunities we will have to completely control them
  • The ability to interact – The capability to adapt to or guide the opponent’s action in a coordinated, fast, natural, intense, safe and extremely precise way (eg. grasping, wrapping, compressing, twisting, pushing, pulling, aligning, etc., read also 6DKF’s interactions: from the strong blow to the light touch)
  • Space / time management – Even before the attacking intent, the position we occupy must always aim to keep us safe from opponent’s reactions (counterattack, sudden release, etc.) throughout the application of the technique
  • Knowledge of the body and combat dynamics – The mechanics of the levers and the human anatomy, through which always find the way to subdue the opponent (eg. through the use of a small force against a larger one or to force the limb we are focused on to have no other choices than accompany our action)
  • Trapping – The ability to dynamically block / trap the opposing action; If we are not able to stop / parry / divert / etc. an attack (or to impose our own initiative) the Chin Na techniques are completely useless (read Trapping)
  • Practical experience – Active and passive but always connected to deep concentration and research of a global vision; only with constant training and experimentation we can reach the proper mastery of the physiological concepts behind the Chin Na (which, at the highest levels, flow into TCM, traditional Chinese medicine)

Chin Na work on tendons, muscles, bones, cavities (etc.) we will see how through various techniques (eg. My first Chin Na technique: finger grabbing) but first, we will expose the ideal exercises to bring our psychophysical skills to the right level (read Chin Na: basic exercises).

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Author: Master Kongling

Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.

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