Flowing chin na

classes     taijiquan     self defence     qigong     tai chi for health     about us     reviews     a-z


The danger with learning specific chin na applications is that you may come to see them as techniques.
This is not the approach advocated by Sifu Waller.
Techniques have their place as a learning tool but are not a good approach to use in actual self defence.
A technique involves a series of steps employed against a particular attack.
Should your opponent deviate from the anticipated course of action, a technique could easily fail.


For chin na to work, you must concern yourself with the underlying principles rather than technique.
Once you understand how the principles work, you can use them spontaneously in accord with the requirement of a given situation.
This is more realistic.
Adaptation is essential; you change what you are doing relative to what is happening.
If your chin na is countered by your opponent, you move into a different one or adopt a different strategy entirely - such as stepping or striking.


The ability to flow from one chin na to another has distinct advantages:

  1. It enables you to persist with your intention of inflicting injury

  2. You remain sticky

  3. You maintain in control

  4. You demonstrate your skill

  5. You can inflict a wider variety of damage without risk of an effective counter

All of this hinges on two things:

  1. The ability to apply a range of chin na in the first place

  2. The skill of being sticky

Stickiness enables you to remain in contact throughout your encounter, and not give the advantage to your opponent.


By changing your chin na, you can confuse the opponent. You can flow from one chin na to another without warning and produce an effect each time.
This will unsettle your attacker.
It is important not to show off or be complacent; an error on your part can rapidly lead to defeat.
Never underestimate the opponent.


Students are encouraged to apply one chin na and invite their partner to escape it.
As they escape, apply a different one.
This becomes a yielding game, where the chin na flow seamlessly.
Try it with your eyes closed and your partner countering your chin na.


Flowing chin na tests your capacity to use chin na and asks whether or not you are bound by technique.
A skilled practitioner will instinctively find points of leverage and just move.
Until you can spontaneously improvise and adapt, you are not ready for the 2 person form.
It is necessary to expect a counter and then counter it.

The single most important fighting skill in internal martial arts is waiting. You wait until your opponent gives you an opening as a gift. Look at joint locks, which are hard to do in full-speed fighting, particularly if you go for them aggressively. Some martial arts like jujitsu and aikido make joint locks look deceptively easy and make them out to be a perfectly reasonable fighting strategy applicable to a majority of situations. In their training practices one partner willingly lets the other grab his arm, usually with a decent grip., deliberately making himself vulnerable. This is a foolish and potentially suicidal strategy in real-life confrontation with a well-trained opponent.

Internal martial artists don't go there.
They develop training methods like silk arms where they can twist and bend their joints like a piece of silk, making their movements highly fast, reactive, unpredictable and mobile, which makes it hard to grab or lock their joints.

(Bruce Frantzis)

school database

Page created 18 April 1995
Last updated 29 September 2019