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Chinkuchi: The Unique Power of Uchinandi

By Dan Smith

The Uchinan Chu or Okinawan people use the term “chinkuchi” in Uchinan gushi (Okinawan language) to describe the power that occurs when using the mind and body in a spontaneous action creating maximum power with minimum effort. To achieve “chinkuchi” all of the muscles, tendons, ligaments, breathing and mental intentions are in perfect coordination in a single moment of time.

One of the goals of any Okinawan style karate-ka is to achieve “chinkuchi” at the right moment. It is not possible for all movements to achieve “chinkuchi” due to the situation but every technique should have the possibility. The achievement of this unique power of Okinawan karate is accomplished through the five elements of creating maximum results with minimum effort.

Intention or Zanshin: You must have the correct intention and understanding of the particular circumstances of the situation. Strategy and tactics are of extreme importance. Okinawan kata provides the strategy and tactics to be deployed for multiple situations.

Perfection of Technique: Execution of the kamae, intermediary movement, and timing and distance are elements that when integrated with perfection lead to “chinkuchi”. The balance and stability of the postures are effected by the correct use of shitabara, koshi and jushin.

Fluid Movement: Fluid movement comes from the relaxed use of the body. The body moves as one without pauses. Breath control and use of the koshi, shitabara, and jushin are key ingredients to fluid movement.

Speed of Movement: Speed of movement is determined by the acceleration and velocity of the movement. The transfer of energy from the koshi (hip area) to the limbs creates the speed of movement and impact of the technique.

Power of Movement: Muscle contraction and snapping of the tendons and ligaments have to be strong to produce energy to deliver a decisive blow. The correct posture has to be maintained to allow the energy to be transferred to the opponent.

This article was reproduced with permission of Dan Smith.


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About the Author:

Dan Smith, Kyoshi, is a senior member of the Shorin Ryu Seibutkan. Seibukan Shorin Ryu is a style of karate developed by Master Zenryo Shimabukuro, student of the great Master Chotoku Kyan. Smith lived on Okinawa and has been studying with Zenpo sensei for over 35 years. He is a teacher and author and frequent online contributor to online martial arts discussion groups.


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