Chinkuchi: The Unique Power of Uchinandi
by Dan Smith, Kyoshi, Shorin Ryu Seibukan
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 Shorin Ryu Seibukan 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.
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
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
Speed of Movement – Speed of movement is determined by the
acceleration and velocity of the movement. The transfer of energy
from the koshi to the limbs creates the speed of movement and impact
of the technique.
Power of Movement – Muscle contraction, 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.
The five elements are the keys to creating a technique that will
have the possibility of “chinkuchi”. If one element is missing the
achievement of obtaining maximum power with minimum effort is not
Kyan perfected the five elements discussed above and passed those
concepts and techniques to Zenryo Shimabukuro, who was the founder
of the Shorin Ryu Seibukan dojo. His son Zenpo Shimabukuro carries
on the teachings of Kyan and places great emphasis on attaining
maximum power with minimum effort. The kata of Kyan were designed to
teach and develop these five elements.
Kyan sensei is reported to being able to lift a bag of sugar
weighing two hundred pounds with a pole and throw it several feet in
the air with just the movement of chudan soto uke. Okinawans called
this a demonstration of “chinkuchi”.
A carpenter demonstrates “chinkuchi” when a nail is driven with a
single blow. A perfect hit with no thought creates the best outcome.
Sensei Zenpo Shimabukuro demonstrates “chinkuchi” often in the
kata Wansu when he picks up men that outweigh him by one hundred
pounds. He performs the movement of kataguruma with ease as he uses
the perfect movement with no thought as to how much the opponent
weighs. If he considered the weight of the opponent the spontaneity
of the movement would be lost and he would have to rely just on
Zenpo sensei has said, “ Through constant practice and doing
the technique correctly you will realize chinkuchi”.” If you
are looking for chinkuchi you will not find it”, and “chinkuchi
comes from natural movement, it just happens.”
“Chinkuchi” comes from the spontaneous movement that brings all
the body and mind together at one moment. We practice the kata and
seek the perfection of movement to bring us to the execution of