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Chin Na Fa - Traditional Chinese Submission Grappling

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    Chin Na Fa - Traditional Chinese Submission Grappling

    This book caught my interest a while back, given that exponents of Chinese Martial Arts were fond of arguing that somewhere in the annals of CMA techniques, there was submission grappling. Now there's a book that apparently brings them to light. I have to admit I'm a little bit surprised at some of the stuff I found (both good and bad), but overall it's what I expected.

    It's a translated manuscript from 1936, apparently written by a Chinese police officer. I suppose if you were going to need grappling and submission techniques, it would be as a cop. The techniques are presented with a paragraph description, and usually one, sometimes two, pictures. Since it's 1936 quality photography, it's sometimes hard to make out what's being done, and the descriptions aren't always that clear either.

    There's a collection of 72 techniques, most of them standing, a few on the ground, and a number of standing techniques being applicable on the ground. The thing that really stands out is the complete lack of a delivery system or interaction between the techniques. They really are in limbo, expecting a situation to just occur allowing you to apply the technique, and some of them I had to re-read to make sure I'd gotten the premise properly.

    On the all right side, there's the typical attacker reaches out and grabs your hair and you wrist lock him a couple different ways. It's amusing that the guy demonstrating the technique is balding, and would never have to worry about this, but in principle I'm sure it's useful to women. On the completely bizarre side... well, I'll just quote it: "If Y is sitting or lying down, X leaps forward and straddles Y's chest." I kid you not, that's the premise. I can vaguely see this being applicable for a cop apprehending a suspect, but other than that - no way to get him onto the ground? No bear hug? No tackle? No punch down the pipe laying him flat on the ground? There's no real context, no delivery system, and that's what sets BJJ, Judo, Wrestling, and the like, apart from Traditional Martial Arts.

    Some of the techniques shown are recognisable ground fighting techniques, at least loosely so. For standing techniques which could easily go on the ground there's "pinching with the arm from the front" - guillotine choke (incidentally I've got a friend who does Kung Fu who was taught this technique and applied it, while drunk at a party - he hung on to it after being lifted up and I assume would continue hanging on on the ground, although I'm not sure anyone would figure out to use the legs, either way, it's conceivable that they'd figure this out for the ground), "pinching with the arm from the rear" - rear naked choke (shown similar to Judo manuals with the uke upright), "rear throat lock" - cross collar choke from the side (shown standing up but some variation of it is shown earlier from mount, so shouldn't be that hard to figure out to do it on the ground) "hand block throat sealing" - half nelson rear collar choke, "bend the elbow and break the arm" - americana, except standing, "blocking the elbow" - some sort of weird armbar where you're straddling the shoulder. There are also a number of straight arm locks which can be done from guard, but you'd need that as a concept first, and I think given the complete lack of delivery system it's a stretch to think they would have thought of it by themselves.

    There are also some straight up ground techniques. "Front throat lock" - cross choke from mount, "strangling the neck and breaking the arm" - it's on the ground, but has the tori sitting with his legs sprawled out and the uke lying complacent like a kid with his head on his mother's lap, "crossing the neck" - arm triangle choke, "tread on arm shoulder lock" - it's technically ground, as the uke is prone, but has the tori standing on the uke's arm, "pinching arm shoulder dislocation" - this is the jump on someone lying down technique I mentioned above, except somehow at the end you're sitting on the uke's hands, rather than his chest, "pinching the waist" - diaphragm squeeze from guard, "binding the tiger" - it's a rope tying technique, hammerlock the crimminal and get him on his knees, then start tying him up, "rolling the elbow" - starts standing but goes into a sacrifice throw with a joint lock. "Supporting the elbow and breaking the wrist" - a really weak pin with sort of an entangled armbar and sort of an americana, "pinching the elbow" - entangled armbar from kesa gatame, "mounting the horse" - jujigatame, "separating the arms" - sort of a double armbar from a squatting mount, "forcing the elbow" - sort of an armbar from mount where the uke is rolled to the side, "breaking the leg" - leg lock from guard (as a counter to the diaphragm squeeze, it also mentions being engaged in ground wrestling, I'm not sure if that means there was any such thing or if it's being mentioned as something that happens in a fight), "sitting on the leg" - kneebar, "stamping the leg" - kind of like a scissor takedown, but attempted after already being on the ground, "breaking the foot" - standing ankle lock.

    That's really about the extent of it. Some high percentage finishes are in there, but there's nothing useful about getting into position in a grappling context. I could stand having them called ground submission holds, but calling the collection of techniques grappling? Where are the takedowns and escapes? You'd think at the very least there would be a bridge for when someone's sitting on your chest. It shows that there was at least some loose concept of ground fighting in Chinese Martial Arts, and that they had some moves for the situation, but calling that a grappling system is more generous than calling Royce's sliding front kick a striking system - at least that was strategic and integrated well into the grappling. With this, while there are some noticable transitions from striking, they weren't presented as such.

    #2
    Is this the Tim Cartmell translation? I think its a stretch to call chin na Chinese submission grappling, considering what submission grappling has come to mean, but there is some neat stuff in there.

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      #3
      Although I can't say with any certainty, since this is a text from 1936 it's quite possible the ground fighting was borrowed from Judo rather than coming from a CMA.

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        #4
        Yeah, it's the Tim Cartmell one. I find it to be a stretch too. It's interesting from a historical perspective, and a rhetorical one, when it comes to convincing TMAists of the importance of grappling and ground fighting. Telling them they've already got techniques that just need a bit of tweaking to be applied, and the addition of a delivery system is a lot less antagonistic than telling them they've got nothing at all.

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          #5
          Originally posted by Just Guess View Post
          Although I can't say with any certainty, since this is a text from 1936 it's quite possible the ground fighting was borrowed from Judo rather than coming from a CMA.
          It doesn't look sophisticated enough to be borrowed from Judo.

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            #6
            Thoughts from Jack Rusher on the subject: Chin Na Fa, Traditional Chinese Submission Grappling - No BS MMA and Martial Arts
            What a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable. -Xenophon's Socrates

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              #7
              Originally posted by 1point2 View Post
              this.

              i suppose a "search function, noob" is appropriate here, eh? :P
              "Face punches are an essential character building part of a martial art. You don't truly love your children unless you allow them to get punched in the face." - chi-conspiricy
              "When I was a little boy, I had a sailor suit, but it didn't mean I was in the Navy." - Mtripp on the subject of a 5 year old karate black belt
              "Without actual qualifications to be a Zen teacher, your instructor is just another roundeye raping Asian culture for a buck." - Errant108
              "Seriously, who gives a fuck what you or Errant think? You're Asian males, everyone just ignores you, unless you're in a krotty movie." - new2bjj

              Comment


                #8
                Calling me a noob, when I've got an earlier join date than you, is kinda retarded.

                I intentionally posted this here, rather than the CMA forum, as I'm less discussing it and more calling it out on being shit. It's "CMA ground fighting sucks" in more words, and with some backing it up, as opposed to a discussion of it, which makes it more suitable for YMAS than anything else.

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by migo View Post
                  Calling me a noob, when I've got an earlier join date than you, is kinda retarded.

                  I intentionally posted this here, rather than the CMA forum, as I'm less discussing it and more calling it out on being shit. It's "CMA ground fighting sucks" in more words, and with some backing it up, as opposed to a discussion of it, which makes it more suitable for YMAS than anything else.
                  lighten up, dude.

                  since you've been here that long there's no excuse for not getting the "search function, noob" meme. seriously, learn to take a joke.

                  that thread existed, and you didn't know about it, admit it and get over it.

                  yes, you're not a noob, but you're veering dangerously close to douchebag territory, so get a grip!
                  "Face punches are an essential character building part of a martial art. You don't truly love your children unless you allow them to get punched in the face." - chi-conspiricy
                  "When I was a little boy, I had a sailor suit, but it didn't mean I was in the Navy." - Mtripp on the subject of a 5 year old karate black belt
                  "Without actual qualifications to be a Zen teacher, your instructor is just another roundeye raping Asian culture for a buck." - Errant108
                  "Seriously, who gives a fuck what you or Errant think? You're Asian males, everyone just ignores you, unless you're in a krotty movie." - new2bjj

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by migo View Post
                    [I'm saying that] "CMA ground fighting sucks" in more words, and with some backing it up, as opposed to a discussion of [the book]
                    I think you're misapplying the term "submission grappling." The term seems to be used in that context not as "ground grappling" but as "the parts of fighting that are locks and chokes and grabbing and holding but not so much striking."

                    But the relevant post, in a thread linked to from the other thread on this subject, is here, No BS MMA and Martial Arts - View Single Post - Western Tigers in Old Shanghai where Jack floats the fairly reasonable hypothesis that
                    the jujutsu-like techniques in this Shanghai Municipal Police Manual are very likely to have come from the judo/jujutsu instructor at the Shanghai Municipal Police department during the period in which it was published, namely a Fusen Ryu practitioner with excellent newaza called Professor Okado.
                    This would make these techniques a CMA/JMA blend: Japanese techniques being practiced and perhaps modified in Shanghai. Pretty historically interesting.

                    I don't think that many people would disagree that indigenous CMA ground grappling sucks. But it looks like Chinese judo was at least present.
                    What a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable. -Xenophon's Socrates

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Ming Loyalist View Post
                      lighten up, dude.

                      since you've been here that long there's no excuse for not getting the "search function, noob" meme. seriously, learn to take a joke.
                      I suppose Dawkins has some solace in knowing that while everyone is butchering his concept of a meme, he didn't actually coin the term.

                      that thread existed, and you didn't know about it, admit it and get over it.
                      It didn't exist in YMAS or Bullshido Investigations. That's all that matters.


                      Originally posted by 1point2 View Post
                      I think you're misapplying the term "submission grappling."
                      That's the title of the book, and it has a picture of a guy doing what looks like guard on the cover. The implication is that CMA had a ground fighting system before BJJ. I'm addressing it in that context.

                      The term seems to be used in that context not as "ground grappling" but as "the parts of fighting that are locks and chokes and grabbing and holding but not so much striking."
                      The term doesn't seem to be used at all outside the title of the book, but I agree, that is pretty much what the book covers.

                      But the relevant post, in a thread linked to from the other thread on this subject, is here, No BS MMA and Martial Arts - View Single Post - Western Tigers in Old Shanghai where Jack floats the fairly reasonable hypothesis that

                      the jujutsu-like techniques in this Shanghai Municipal Police Manual are very likely to have come from the judo/jujutsu instructor at the Shanghai Municipal Police department during the period in which it was published, namely a Fusen Ryu practitioner with excellent newaza called Professor Okado.
                      This would make these techniques a CMA/JMA blend: Japanese techniques being practiced and perhaps modified in Shanghai. Pretty historically interesting.

                      I don't think that many people would disagree that indigenous CMA ground grappling sucks. But it looks like Chinese judo was at least present.[/QUOTE]

                      While I've seen incontrovertible evidence of sophisticated newaza in Judo while GJJ was still in its infancy, I have yet to see anything showing ground work in Fusen Ryu. There's the reference to it in Mastering JuJitsu, but every video I've been able to find on Fusen Ryu looks like Aikijujitsu and doesn't have anything resembling ground fighting beyond going to their knees. It's an interesting hypothesis, sure, but it seems to me like people are taking what Renzo said at face value.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by migo View Post
                        ...I have yet to see anything showing ground work in Fusen Ryu. There's the reference to it in Mastering JuJitsu, but every video I've been able to find on Fusen Ryu looks like Aikijujitsu and doesn't have anything resembling ground fighting beyond going to their knees.
                        I bow to your superior research skills.
                        What a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable. -Xenophon's Socrates

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