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Chin-Na in Taiho-Jutsu

Many readers may not be familiar with the martial art of Chin-Na (or Qin Na). On the surface, there are techniques which resemble the kansetsu waza of JuJutsu. However, there is more to this art than the bending and twisting and locking of joints. Prior to proceeding, it should be clarified that we are here referring to the complete kyu/dan Taiho-Jutsu system rather than the short course.

Chin-Na has been called the art of "locking hands techniques". While generally not taught as a separate art (although there are some rare exceptions), the techniques of Chin-Na, estimated at approximately 700, are found in many of the Chinese arts to greater or lesser degrees. The word "Chin" is translated as to seize or catch. "Na" means to hold and control. Chin-Na therefore, is the art of seizing and controlling an opponent.

There are some general categories of Chin-Na. Most common are: dividing the muscle/tendon; misplacing the bone; sealing the breath; pressing and/or sealing veins and arteries; pressing primary chi (qi) channels. Further, there are sub-categories found within each of these.

As mentioned, many of the "grabbing" techniques involve the bending and twisting of the joints in a style and manner more similar to JuJutsu or Aikijutsu rather than Aikido. Once the moves are engaged in, additional techniques are used to numb the opponent's limbs, which may ultimately cause him/her to lose consciousness. Nerve endings are also target points, which may cause extreme pain, thereby allowing for greater control.


With these brief descriptions of the examples given, we see why Chin-Na has been and continues to be taught to Chinese police at their academies to supplement other arts taught. In short, the purpose of Chin-Na in police work is to seize and control the criminal without causing serious or fatal results.

Many years ago, as a brown belt I was "asked" to be the uke for a class of those who were going for Godan and higher in JuJutsu. The Shihan at one point brought me to the middle of the dojo, and as he was explaining about nerve points, ran his fingers up my arm in a way that would have rivaled Van Cliburn at the keyboard of a Steinway grand piano. With each touch, the pain was extreme. Restraining me, or walking me to a vehicle would have been no problem whatsoever. The techniques work. (Some of these techniques may be found within Okinawan Ryukyu Kempo Karate, where they have Tuite (grab hand) and Kyusho (nerve point manipulation).

Given the above information, when we speak of dividing muscles and tendons, attacking chi channels, et al, it is certainly obvious that these techniques are not to be taught as part of the short Taiho-Jutsu course. Not only could they not be learned in a short period of time, but the results when used could be devastating on many counts. However, these advanced concepts and techniques are in fact in line with an art where restraints and come longs are a vital foundation of the art. Chin-Na does not have katas, feeling that flexibility and adaptation are the keys. While there are Taiho-Jutsu katas, the key to the art itself is also flexibility and adaptation. It seems that at the Dan levels of Taiho-Jutsu, Chin-Na would prove to be an excellent complement to both the student and the art itself.

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