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Chin-Na Book Reviews

Chinese Grappling: Tien Shan Pa'i Chin-Na by Willy Lin (Black Belt Communications 1981)

This two volume set, published by Ohara Publications (now Black Belt Communications), had as it's original title, Chin-Na: The Grappling Art of Self-Defense. It describes the Chinese system of joint techniques, nerve center attacks, restraints, and come-alongs (see previous article – “Chin-Na in Taiho Jutsu”). Volume 1 is divided into two parts: Principles and Executions. The four chapters of Part One are Basic Preparations, Pressure Points, The Quick Release, and Quick Release Variations. Part Two's chapters consist of specific defenses against specific attacks. These are The Hair Grab, The Neck Grab, The Chest Grab, The Upper-Arm Grab, The Forearm Grab, and The Waist Grab.

The photos in both volumes are large and fairly clear, and the accompanying explanations are written in an easily understood manner. The techniques themselves, while at first glance resemble Aikido, are more similar to some older styles of classical JuJutsu and Aiki-JuJutsu. Chin-Na techniques are usually applied as part of a total defense against an attacker, e.g., block, counter, apply Chin-Na. They are here presented as sole defenses.

Volume 2 includes a brief history of Chin-Na, and is divided into four parts. Part One is titled, Shao Tran (Small Bind), and Part Two is titled, Chin-Na Against Commonly Attacked Zones of the Body. The two chapters of Part One are Primary Grab, and Counters To Shao Tran. Part Two's nine chapters continue with defenses against specific attacks not included in Volume 1, primarily to the upper body. Part Three, Chin-Na Against the Moving Attack, consists of two chapters against punch and kick, respectively. Part Four is titled, Chin-Na Against Weapons, but is just one chapter of knife defenses.
In both volumes, many of the defenses are compatible with and could be complementary to the advanced techniques of Taiho-Jutsu's belt rank system. Some are not only incompatible, but could be dangerous to all but the highly skilled defender. Both volumes are 159 pages each. While the works are not the most complete volumes on Chin-Na to be found, they are a good basic introduction to those wishing to familiarize themselves with this little known art, and possible include it in their training.


Comprehensive Applications of Shaolin Chin-Na by Yang, Jwing-Ming (YMAA Publication Center 1995)

This text is written by a most prolific author of martial arts works, with over twenty texts and an equal number of video presentations to his credit. No reviewer can claim to have read every book on a specific topic on the market, but out of the many books this reviewer has read from different countries over a period of over forty years, it is felt this is the finest work on the subject on the market.

The work consists of eight chapters: General Concepts, Qin-Na (Chin-Na) Against Backhanded Attacks, Qin-Na Against Blocking, Qin-Na Against Kicking, Qin-Na Against Knife Attacks, Qin-Na Against Grabbing, Offensive Qin-Na Techniques, and Conclusion. Additionally, there are two appendices, one on the Names of Qin-Na Techniques, and the other, Translation and Glossary of Chinese Terms.

After demonstrating the techniques in very clear photos, the accompanying text is followed by a short paragraph on the theory/rationale behind the move. This consists of additional explanations of the moves, and what to expect as a result and why. Arrows and other helpful directional signs enhance the photos. The work has 424 pages, and is somewhat expensive (approx. $35). However, for those wishing to learn, as the work's subtitle reads, comprehensive applications of "Chinese seizing arts for all styles", this work is recommended without reservation.

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