Sanchin is known as the oldest kata in Karate-do. Literally means “three battles” or “three conflicts”, and it can also be translated as “three points” or “three phases”. Certain legends attribute the creation of Sanchin to Bodhidharma in the early sixth century. Sanchin kata seeks to develop three set of elements at the same time:
- The mind, body and the techniques,
- The internal organs, circulation and the nervous system, and
- The three ki, located in:
- the top of the head (tento),
- the diaphragm (hara), and
- the lower abdomen (tan den).
Sanchin is an isometric kata where each move is performed in a state of complete tension, accompanied by powerful, deep breathing (ibuki) that originates in the lower abdomen (tan den). The practice of Sanchin kata not only leads to the strengthening of the body, but it also aims at the development of the inner power (ki) and the coordination of mind and body. It also emphasizes on basic footwork, hand techniques as well as basic blocking techniques.