What is Chin Na?
In many Kung Fu styles, there are particular types of advanced interaction with the body of the adversary named Chin Na. These fighting techniques (with significant differences between schools / styles / masters) aimed at:
- Control / immobilize / force the opponent to surrender
- Paralyze / hurt / break one or more opponent’s bodily elements
- In the most extreme of cases, to take the life of the adversary
The word “Chin Na” or “Chinna” or “Qinna” literally means “grasping and holding” and it encloses various categories (according to the styles):
- Breathing blocking techniques
- Bone breakage/displacement techniques
- Techniques for locking / closing of veins / arteries
- Techniques for separating muscles / tendons
- Pressure points
- (relative countermoves and recovery / cure techniques)
A big part of this knowledge can be applied in self-defense situations but only after years and years of serious training (read A scheme to quickly learn any kind of technique). If we are not prepared for everything that comes before (striking, spatial intelligence, sparring, balance, etc., read Introduction to the idea of Precision Control) it is ridiculous to think to use in a real scenario so articulated practices (especially against a prepared opponent, read Why martial arts do not work: 5 reasons).
The use of Chin Na
Despite the eyes of today’s civilized world these practices may seem extreme but, in the past, they were considered “compassionate”, because in most cases they allow ending a clash (potentially lethal) without committing a murder:
- Immobilization – Immobilizing the opponent with the intent of demonstrating an overwhelming superiority
- Slight damage – Causing slight damage but able to discourage the continuation of the fight
- Serious damage – Causing serious damage that makes impossible to continue the fight
Chin Na methods can be efficiently performed at multiple levels of incisivity:
- From the lowest (for instance in learning / teaching)
- Up to the highest (which involves serious injury if not even death)
Behind this millennial knowledge (still widely applied by high-level martial artists) there is a profound and articulated scientific study of bodily mechanics (double-stranded with TCM, traditional Chinese medicine).
In the specific context of 6 Dragons Kung Fu, we will see, with time, several of these techniques (from the simplest / most educational to the most articulated, from the most traditional to the ones born / perfected in our days).
To terminate this introduction it should be emphasized that:
- What is most important in the interiorization of Chin Na is not the mechanical application of each individual technique but the understanding of founding concepts / principles behind them
- At the end of the path, we should be able to improvise and adapt at the speed of instinct “new” applications based on each fighting context
- Without a high-level attitude, it is better to use normal striking techniques
- The best thing that we can do with low-level Chin Na interiorization is to trick our friends in predetermined settings, nothing more
In the next article of this series and in the following we will look at the basics of this important branch of martial arts (read Chin Na: the basics).
- Stretch the upper limbs: 3 easy exercises – Elongation exercises that contains Chin Na principles
Author: Master Kongling
Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.