Monday, March 2, 2009

Sanchin Dachi

Sanchin Dachi (stance) is a very importance stance in Karate. It provides a sense of stability and rootedness to the earth, which is important to have when defending yourself from a larger opponent.
I have found this stance to be very effective in close quarters combat situations. I work in an office setting in a small office with chairs and desks. Our waiting room is also full of chairs and tables. There is very little room to move into a fighting stance you would use in kumite or as you see in full contact mixed martial arts. It is not for the ring, but for the street. I have used this stance (and the kata's bunkai/street applicaton) in an office self-defense setting. It works!
When practicing Sanchin Dachi it is traditional to carry heavy weights in your hands hanging down from the sides. This helps with a sense of stability and being close to the ground. It also help your muscles, tendons and nerves get used to pressure upon the legs so it becomes natural to stay this way when when someone is pressing you in an attack.
Many Karate-ka will tell you that when first practicing this stance it feels very awkward...but after years of training it becomes very natural and easy. In fact, you might just find yourself standing like this when waiting in line for a movie or at the grocery store. The stance itself can provide a sense of alert calmness as well.
Even though Sanchin Dachi might feel and look like an immobile stance, it is in fact very mobile when you learn how to use the feet and hips to manipulate your opponent. Notice the inward 'hook' position of the front foot in the photo. This can be used to hook your foot behind your opponent's leg to uproot him...or this leg position can protect you from a front kick to the groin by simply lifting your knee.
A front scrotal kick can also be 'caught' by both your legs as you squeeze them together...this one takes some practice....but all it takes is missing a few times and you get the hang of it. I could go on and on about Sanchin Dachi, however, I want to hear what you know.
I invite any readers out there to respond with how Sanchin Dachi helps them or how they use it in self-defense...or in any way for that matter. Or any training tips on making the legs stronger, etc. We love to learn at the Broken Bokken Dojo.
Be Well,


  1. Sanchin Dachi is key to just about everything we do in my school. All other stances either flow into, or out of this position.
    Mainly I have noticed a few of the things you've just described for practical application, plus trapping/locking the foot/shin/knee portion of the leg into the same portion of the opponent, slight inward/forward pressure and the opponent falls flat.
    Also, stepping, if you apply a Kung-Fu style step in conjunction with the principles of the crescent step it becomes a kick/sweep.

    Some good training I have found is just to stand in the stance, breathing, focusing down and rooting to the center of the Earth.
    Also to train posture, a bit of pushing and pulling from Sanchin Kamai.
    Then there is the wall press. Press the fist into the wall as you would punching/striking in Sanchin Kata, keep it there. If you are out of alignment and using too many muscles then you will get tired and your weight will tend to rise; relax, settle down to your feet, be mindful of each muscle.

  2. Thank you. Great ideas I will pass on and use. Sanchin is also the key to all that we do at our school as well. All things flow from Sanchin as far as I am concerned.

  3. Sanchin dachi feels akward but yes it is a durable to stance to know about.

  4. Yes, it does feel awkward, but overtime it becomes very natural and powerful...especially for close quarter combat.