With the san shin no kata we have five solo exercises that are used to teach you how to move your body in correct alignment with minimal effort. At this point in your training the san shin is about teaching you how to generate power though unified body movement, taking advantage of the natural alignment of your skeleton and muscles.
When practicing the forms you want to move all of your body at the same time on both the right and left side. This means that as your feet and legs are moving, so are your arms. When your feet stop moving so do your arms, etc. You want to move away from using your arms and legs as separate limbs to using them all at the same time. While you are practicing you should be breathing normally while keeping your body relaxed and free from tension. You want to be able to go ten minutes or longer practicing one of the forms without getting tired, out of breath, or tense.
Chi No Kata “Earth Form”
Shoshin No Kamae à Sanshitan Ken
Sui No Kata “Water Form”
Shoshin No Kamae à Jodan Uke à Omote Shuto
Ka No Kata “Fire Form”
Shoshin No Kamae à Jodan Uke à Ura Shuto
Fu No Kata “Wind Form”
Shoshin No Kamae à Gedan Uke à Boshiken
Ku No Kata “Void Form”
Shoshin No Kamae à Gedan Uke à Metsubishi à Geri
In practice sink your weight as low as possible, bend your knees, and keep your back straight and hips tucked under your spine as you go through the movements. Pay special attention to your knee as you step forward with the strikes- don’t let your knee go past your toes and make sure your lead foot is facing in the direction you are delivering the strike.
This keeps the correct alignment of your knee and makes sure that all the striking power that you are generating is moving ahead in the same direction as your body. Also, pay close attention to the level of your head, if it is bobbing up and down as you move that means you are not moving on a steady plane, but rather, moving up and down as you move forward- hardly efficient movement.
At any moment somebody should be able to yell out “STOP” and you should be able to freeze in mid motion without falling over or loosing your balance, obviously if you are, then you are not in balance.
The san shin no kata is also about breathing, naturally breathing as you perform your motions. Being able to continue breathing to supply oxygen during movement is important. If you can’t even do it in relaxed practice, how is it going to happen in a self defense situation?
Finally you will want to practice the three versions of the san shin no kata:
Run through the sets the first time focusing on the movement of your joints, arms/legs and body. Think of it as a form of flexibility training. Next time through focus on delivering crisp and clean strikes and blocks in a relaxed manner, and finally for the third run though of sets deliver the strikes with goshinjutsu in mind.