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Saying that chin na is a technique of pain-inducing grappling and locking would certainly be true, but by far too little. Chin na is not a style or an individual technique. It is a large part, although just a part, of the traditional Chinese kung fu and it includes more than grappling. These are the principal elements of chin na:
- twisting of joints and bones;
- pinching of muscles and tendons;
- blocking of breath and veins;
- applying pressure to bioactive points.
Normally, chin na studies start at the very beginning of kung fu classes. It helps a student to grasp the very substance of martial arts with his first steps. It is a common assumption now that a picture of a big strong man beating up a weaker one shows us martial arts. In fact, it is the other way around. The real martial art is when a person of a weaker physique can defeat a stronger opponent. Strength is a defining factor in combat sports, but in the real world the winner is the smarter one, whose technical arsenal is not limited by the rules of competitions. Of course, bravery, composure, and sense of justice play a significant role. In all ages, the substance of martial arts stays unchanged and it goes far beyond simple mastering of fighting techniques.
Chin na is based on deep knowledge of anatomy and physiology. In order to use this technique successfully, one will need to understand how the human skeleton is built, how our joints function, what kinds of muscles we have, what they are attached to, and how they contract. You will need to know virtually everything about ligaments and tendons, the passageways of arteries and veins, and where on a man’s body, damn it, are these special spots which you can push to find out his credit card number?! Of course, the latter is a joke. Nevertheless, you will have to work hard to make Chin na work. Chin na studies go from simple to complex. As learning of the basic kung fu techniques progresses, they are supplemented with structurally appropriate elements of chin na that, in its turn, offers a more profound perception of the principles. Without question, chin na teaches not only how to harm a body, but also how to strengthen it. Special exercises that are included in the training process along with the actual chin na techniques are highly effective for firming of tendons and ligaments and, at the same time, increase their contraction speed and elasticity. Besides, counter techniques against painful grappling, the so called fang chin na, enhance the body’s sensitivity to the opponent’s efforts and give your brain a good workout, too.
In spite of certain complexity, the initial chin na elements are quite easy to learn. This is why chin na is so perfect for real self-defense. It does not involve spectacular stances or complex moves. It is all simple: just a little effort and your opponent cannot wait to apologize for any inconveniences caused. There is a good reason for chin na being the basis of combat training of the Chinese intelligence. But you should study chin na not for self-defense only. In training, you will learn to control your fear and maintain your composure at most critical times. Your spirit will be strengthened and your mind will think more rationally once freed of groundless theories. In short, you can expect only positive changes from chin na practice. Try it and, who knows, you might like it!