Sanchin Kata used to keep me awake at night 'talking' to me. Yes, Sanchin speaks, if you listen. As I mentioned in my last post, Kata can teach us how to be mindful inside and outside of the dojo. It also has a lot of other lessons we can learn. Here are few in a nutshell:
1. Start with a bow and some meditation. This is how most katas begin. Bow in appreciation to all beings, sentient and insentient. Bow often...and start your day with some meditation.
2. Get grounded. In the opening moves of Sanchin the palms of the hands are pressed down to the sides. (see video at end of post). This is a time we use to 'root' ourselves and connect to the earth. During this rooting, the shoulders are also down and relaxed....when the shoulders are high, anxiety is present. In the martial arts, if we notice your shoulders are high we know you are nervous and most likely inhaling...a good time to attack you. If, however, shoulders are down and relaxed, it is best to say hi and be nice. As you go through your day, be aware of your shoulders and breathing. Are you breathing into your hara or your neck? Are your shoulders low or high? Keep them relaxed and low...your breathing will follow...and this helps keep your mind calm, centered and grounded.
3. Don't rush. When I was a young colored belt I had a tendency to rush through my Kata. Sensei Dean was always reminding me to go slower and pay attention to what I was doing. Good advice throughout the day as well...slow down, pay attention and move at a relaxed mindful pace. You would be surprised at how you can still get everything done.
4. Be aware of your feet, move deliberately and be aware. Sanchin is moving Zen. When outside the dojo, do the same. Walk with intent and deliberation...and awareness of your surroundings.
I have included a short video of two versions of Sanchin. I've posted this before, but it is a good review, and for those who don't know the kata, you can watch. Enjoy.
Thanks for visiting. My Dharma name is Shinzen. I began studying Goshindo Karate under the watchful eye of Shihan Paul Dean in 1969. Yes, I now have gray hair. I am also Lay-ordained in Soto Zen under the tutelage of Rev. Nonin Chowaney of the Nebraska Zen Center.