Updated: Aug 18, 2019
Chin Na is a style of Classical Kung Fu that I have specialised in for many years, and which has now been added into my Hung Gar syllabus at Spectrum. It primarily specialises in joint locking, grappling/wrestling techniques used to control, joint lock, manhandle or subdue/submit an opponent to take down, so he/she can neutralise the opponent's fighting ability.
Chin Na (擒拿) literally translates as lock capture and hold. Some schools simply use the word na ("hold") to describe the techniques. Chin Na features both standing and ground-based grappling techniques.
It is how Chinese martial arts actually started out in history, using wrestling and weapons fighting, hands, feet and elbows - and styles - came later. Kung Fu in its earliest stages was used primarily for the military in war, hence the name Wushu (War Art) and was the primary implementation of weapons work in its earliest stages.
Although wrestling and grappling styles, such has Jiu Jitsu and shoot wrestling, have become more and more popular throughout MMA sport, these fighting styles use a large number of Chin Na techniques.
All Kung Fu styles contain Chin Na techniques to some degree. The southern Chinese martial arts have more developed Chin Na techniques than northern Chinese martial systems. This is due to southern martial arts styles having much more reliance on hand techniques, which causes the practitioner to be in closer range to their opponent.
There are said to be over 700 Chin Na traditional techniques found in all martial arts. Styles such as Tiger Claw in Hung Gar incorporates a large number of techniques due to the fighting principles it employs of man handling an opponent, take downs and subdue techniques, as does Snake style (python) for neck chokes and wrapping movements and Earth style which specialises in floor fighting.
There is no universally accepted systemized form of Chin Na. Instead, its techniques are littered throughout Kung Fu styles such as Hung gar, Mantis, Tiger, Crane and snake as well as general Chin Na drill wrestling/sparring.
The major difference between Chin Na in Kung Fu vs sport is the use of vital point striking mixed into the grappling, as there are no rules, so eyes, groin and other points can be targeted.
Of course the training at Spectrum is always completely controlled in these respects and in sparring certain techniques are held back.
Through my own Kung Fu development and my Grand Master Liao Wu Chang's deep knowledge of the Chin Na style, these techniques were passed down through the lineage. In the video above, my Grand Master is demonstrating some Chi Na movements in drill application. As a side note - in the video he is over 80 years old. His skills speak for themselves.
For me - and my school Spectrum - self-defence in the Hung Gar Kung Fu system has to cover all of the ranges of fighting, mid-range hand striking to close elbow strikes, long range kicking, sticking and trapping hands, Chin Na locks to take downs, crowding, pressing, floor fighting and submission, back to upright, through to weapons work.
With over 20 styles and 50+ forms of Kung Fu to choose from, all the ranges are deeply covered in my teaching at my school. Our system of Hung Gar is such an all-round style which is why I chose it as the main system for my syllabus here at Spectrum.
We have our Grand Master's Liao Wu Chang and Chan Hak Sing to thank for the huge amount of Classical Kung Fu that they passed down throughout the lineage, and for that I am proud and eternally grateful to be able to pass this on to my students.