First, it should be noted that I have largely stopped daily training. There are multiple reasons for this, mostly due to some lingering injuries and a burst of time spent at work. But here is a little summary of the points I noted:
- Sanchin causing knee pain. I need to look further into this - perhaps perform this with less tension in the legs. I have very strong and big legs, and it is possible that I am pulling too hard with the larger muscles than what my weakened ligaments, fascia and smaller muscles can handle. I did find this to be great training though - I could be exhausted after a single form. Truly, I need to read and experiment more.
- Tensho is relaxing, but no great breakthrough. I have not had much in the way of great internal work that I have been hoping for. Perhaps I need a different mental aspect when doing this form, but honestly trying to create this myself without some indication is difficult. I need to learn more about the Chinese systems and see what they utilize.
- Tiet Tsin Kune seems to help shoulders and lower back. Oddly, a lot of the internal stuff also tends to really aggravate my neck and shoulder area. Sometimes even this Hung Gar form does it too. Perhaps I am over practicing it, or perhaps this is the chi trying to escape? ;)
- Pao Chui is also helpful for energizing, but I just don't have room for it. It barely fits inside the dojo, forget my little condo home.
I pulled something in my leg during the end bit of a 9 hour training in the beginning of the year. I am sure this influenced by sanchin practice, as well as discouraged me from continuing. I know the pain isn't real damage, but I had a bad experience with this earlier. About a year and a half ago I had such severe knee pain that I would wake up at night, several times, almost crying. It was starting to even wake my wife, despite trying to hold it in. Only after some good physio, strengthening, stretching and massage was I able to sleep normally. That was a very draining period, and I didn't want to relapse. I have found that stretching carefully as well as other movements from yoga and calisthenics have helped immensely, but I need to remember to keep up this practice!
Recently I have also started to include some irregular Naifanchin practice into my routine. There is something very Sanchin-like about this variation of Naihanchin that speaks to me. The breathing is similar, and I like the emphasis on non-traditional strikes. Too much of karate focuses now on the usual seiken (forefist) technique, where the original forms had much more variety. Indeed, looking at other Southern Chinese arts shows a great variety of hand forms and unique striking possibilities. I want to start changing my own preference from fist to open-handed variants. On that topic, there is a great article from Ryan Parker at his blog.
Of particular interest to any karateka should be the use of ipponken, nukite and washide uchi techniques. Really interesting information by one who has done the research and practiced what he found. I have never had anyone teach me the boshiken technique, and its not in any form I know or was taught, but I find it very useful for massage! I suspect there is a strong link between correct massage (hitting points to release stress and muscle tension) and hitting soft points to weaken enemies - perhaps a correlation between karate and jujutsu here, where bone setters would also be jujutsu masters. Wishful thinking on my part, but it gives me hope for my own studies. Thumb strikes are great to get into little places like collar bone, armpit, knee pit (?) and arteries like carotid and femoral.
Well, this was a longer post than intended, but I hope something of interest has been exposed to others. At least I have set my own mind straight - more gentle leg tension in Sanchin, more playing with Naihanchi, and look into mental exercises for use in Tensho. I need to get back into a daily routine as well, even if it is more gentle. As I mentioned recently, don't let perfect be the enemy of good. Daily something is better than daily nothing!