A Sanchin a Day

Back in Hawai’i this summer, I woke up at the crack of dawn every morning to hit the beach and work out with the crew from my karate school. We’d spend about 45 minutes or so running kata and doing partner drills, then go back to the hotel, clean up, and regroup for breakfast. Despite the early rising, it felt great. I’d have plenty of energy for the day, and I felt a hell of a lot less guilty about some of the big meals we had.

Think I can capture that same discipline at home? Not so much. Being a late tinkerer and a not-so-early riser is one thing, but then I allowed a number of other things to derail my home workouts. No fun, especially with the scale telling me the three workouts a week in the dojo may not be enough.

Yesterday I found an article on developing a strong morning practice. It got me thinking about those days, about how much better I felt. I hate dragging ass going in to work, and that’s exactly how it’s been for several weeks now. The end of the article mentions starting simple, with maybe just five minutes of exercise at first. That would be a piece of cake, even with my current, slow-moving habit of moping in front of the computer, thinking about the work day ahead instead of trying to be productive with my own time.

The other day, I posted a note that said “A Sanchin a day keeps the doctor away.” I was mostly being facetious, but Sanchin really is not a bad workout. It looks like this (the Shuri-ryu interpretation I practice is very similar):

It’s a tension kata, which means all of the muscles are tensed through most of the movements. It’s like doing a long isometric exercise, and when executed properly, the performer really feels it in all of the muscles and is a bit winded upon completion.

It occurred to me that it can take a few minutes to complete the way we run it. A warmup, a set of pushups, and a Sanchin, then, could be a great way to clear the mind and wake up before I jump in the shower. Then I can build from there.

It would have the added benefit of improving my Sanchin. Of all the kata I know, I feel like Sanchin is my weakest; the stances are different, the posture is tough (for me) to maintain, and if I’m already winded I have a real tough time performing the breathing properly. That all needs to be fixed.

I’ll start tonight. It’s way too easy to say “I’ll start tomorrow” over and over again. Hell, I should already be in bed to get an early start, not fooling around on the laptop and watching Terriers. It may be a great show, but come on, it can wait until tomorrow on DVR.

Off I go.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

One comment

  1. Noah L says:

    Watch, you’ll have run a Sanchin before bed and won’t be able to sleep :P. Seriously, I find that Sanchin is a very good “wake up” kata and Tensho is a very good “wind down” kata, so you’ll just have to make it to a Sessen where Shihan teaches Tensho again, haha