Chin Na Fa: Skill of Catch and Hold


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Techniques of CHIN NA include a wide set of various movements: press and blows on vulnerable points, grappling, strangling, throws and so on. That set of movements (impacts on the enemy) allows to realize the following methods: “Separation (tearing) of muscles and sinews" (FENG JING), “Dislocating (breaking out) of bones and joints" (YU GU), “Suffocation" (BI QI) and “Impacting on points" (DIAN XUE). Also, those methods must be used skillfully, not just with brute force.

The introduction to the book by Liu Jin Sheng “CHIN NA FA: Skill of Catch and Hold" (Shanghai, 1936) says: “Initially this skill had several names: FENG JING FA – “The technique of separation (breaking) of muscles and sinews"; DI TANG FA – “Methods of combat when lying on the ground"; YU GU FA – “The technique of dislocation (breaking out) of bones and joints" and CHIN NA FA – “The technique of catch and hold. " At present the name CHIN NA FA has predominantly become established. Totally, there are 72 methods. The ancient manuscript calls this skill DI SHA SHOU – “Devil’s Hand". Specialists in WU SHU say there are 36 “big" and 72 “small" points on a human body. 36 positions, 72 positions and 108 positions (techniques) are also marked out in CHIN NA FA. That traditional division has been maintained till now since long time when our ancestors created the theory of CHIN NA on the basis of the conception 36 TIAN GANG and 72 DI SHI . But actually, that is only a tribute to tradition that has no great practical significance.

It is recorded in Shaolin Treatises on the Pugilistic Art:

“The beginnings of the Shaolin art CHIN NA trace back to many centuries. Inmost GONG FU of secret methods of CHIN NA is passed down from one generation to another to attain the highest perfection in the martial art.

When you find yourself face to face with the enemy armed with a “short" weapon, fully rely upon methods of CHIN NA and your vision. Position of the enemy, his body, his face, how he stands and what he is going to do – everything must be clearly sized up. When you understand intentions of the enemy, rely upon your own force, seize an opportunity, alternate “hard" and “soft" techniques.

If two outstanding fighters encountered in a combat, like a tiger against a tiger, the outcome of the combat depends on a measure of skill in CHIN NA. He is in the process of transforming, so do I, closely following him. Blows and grips follow continuously, without a moment’s respite. You see an opening and needle your way into the vulnerable spot, clear a passage and rush forward.

If you encounter a villain, make a grip (CHIN) at first, then use the technique (FA), and you will be able to exercise a control (NA). An arm of flesh and bone can deprive even an iron man of courage. Hard to defend oneself against deft techniques, no defense against skilful finger efforts. "

Shaolin Kung Fu OnLine Library - Canonical Texts of Shaolin Monastery - Old Chinese books, treatises, manuscripts

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