Kata Lab # 2120 – Reverse Sanchin Kata

20 Oct

“What becomes authentic (traditional) when you live in Purgatory?”
(Chef Roy Choi interviewed on Anthony Bourdain, Parts Unknown: Last Bites)


There are those that feel that Sanchin Kata is “too easy.” Personally, after forty-three years of Sanchin, I find this a ridiculous statement. But, let’s see. In lieu of presenting a new approach to bunkai (analysis), this Kata Lab will offer a challenge. Before giving up on Sanchin (or Kata in general) as “too easy”, try this Kata Lab. As my father would say, “I bet you a dollar to a donut” you can’t perform the lab correctly on your first attempt. If you cannot perform this Kata Lab on the first attempt, keep practicing Sanchin Kata (and your other kata) just a little bit longer; another decade or two should be adequate.

Experimental analysis (Recommended Reader Experimentation):
You have one “simple” task – perform your Sanchin Kata in reverse order (stepping backward, start with the last moves).
You can cheat if you need – perform the kata as you normally would to first refresh your recollection of the moves.
I bet you can’t do it correct the first time you try it.
To assist you, I have prepared a short video (filmed at the beautiful Lower Salt River, Arizona).

Once you achieve success, try performing Tensho Kata in reverse.

For Future Reference:
I have an advanced, master level, form of this Kata Lab.
As to this Kata Lab you should consider the following points and use them for future reference in the master level Kata Lab.

  • The movements of reverse Sanchin are calculated or intentional;
  • Even though the movements are performed in reverse order, the breathing pattern is exactly the same, to wit: a step & single move, a step and single move a step and a triple move, a step and a triple move, a step and a single move and a step and a single move;
  • Given the above, of the three battles of Sanchin (physical, spiritual and metaphysical battles), only the physical aspect of the kata is changed in reverse Sanchin. For those needed a refresher on my definition of the three battles of Sanchin, please see Endnote # 1.


You get from Sanchin (and every other kata) exactly what you put into it. If you consciously (or unconsciously) put in boredom, stagnation and dullness, that is what you will receive in return. You set your kata boundaries and must live within them. If you are bored with Sanchin and other kata, blame yourself. Period.
If you look at your kata with a wide open imagination, innovation and a pure spirit, you will always find more and more below the surface. Remember, the mandate of my Kata Laboratory – Think * Sweat * Experiment!

HANKO-master Cum superiorum privilegio veniaque (“With the privilege and permission of the superiors”)
Sensei John Szmitkowski

If you enjoyed this post, help support my Kata Lab experiments,

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My definition of the three battles of Sanchin are the

  • Physical Battle, the physical movements of the kata;
  • Spiritual Battle, the manner in which a kata affects your mental, physiological and emotional state;
  • Metaphysical Battle, the manner in which kata connects you with your external environment and how same affects you.

Sensei John is now on Facebook, under – FLY FISHING DOJO, you are invited to send a Facebook friend request.

You may wish to view my other blogs –
LOGO-WEBSITE  my martial related fishing blog http://flyfishingdojo.com


DOJO STICKER-1  the Goshin-Do Karate blog at http://defeliceryu.com

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