Sum Chien, also known as San Zhan, Sum Cheen and San Chin is perhaps the most famous martial arts training routine used by many styles of both Kung Fu and Karate.
Like many of the training systems developed in ancient Buddhist cultures, it is intended to reveal greater and greater depth of meaning through consistent practise and study. This is no quick fix – it epitomises the old Kung Fu saying: success follows perseverance. It is real Kung Fu. It forges strong character. It connects mind, body, breath, emotion and spirit. It is both the most basic and the most advanced of the Kung Fu routines. It is an advanced system of Chi Kung / Qigong in its own right and contains the basis of the famous Shaolin Iron Shirt Chi Kung art.
Sum Chien is the classic internal power training routine. It connects the web of fascia which runs throughout the body into one springy, elastic whole from which power can explode out.
Sum Chien teaches the transmission of power through the body from the feet all the way to the hands.
Sum Chien teaches correct body mechanics and joint alignment to transmit force without loss, weakness or ‘wobble’.
Sum Chien teaches the raising and lowering of Chi (internal energy) through conscious control.
Sum Chien trains the packing of Chi into the internal organs to strengthen and invigorate.
Sum Chien concentrates the mind.
Sum Chien trains the conscious manipulation of emotion: the ability to control our emotion at will.
Sum Chien teaches us to speak with our bodies to another person’s subconscious mind.
Sum Chien contains the techniques needed to escape from grips, locks and holds.
Sum Chien contains lethal techniques to be used only in the most serious emergency defence situations.
Sum Chien is the favoured routine of Kung Fu masters and Karate masters alike.
Sum Chien is a relatively short sequence of movements with a huge depth. Unlike exercise which is purely physical, it gets harder and harder as a greater ability is achieved. Hence in the golden age of Kung Fu beginner students might have been expected to practise Sum Chien 100 times a day but as they progressed the number of repetitions which they were able to do would gradually reduce until advanced students practised as little as three repetitions per day.
At the Kung Fu Retreat, we take Sum Chien practice very seriously. It is part of every training day and we offer detailed instruction right up to the most advanced level.