Qin Na is a set of techniques intended to restrain an opponent by manipulating soft tissue regions and joints. Qin Na also makes use of sensitive pressure points derived from acupuncture, in order to inflict pain on an adversary when necessary.
The term Qin in Chinese means "to seize or catch", the way a snake seizes a mouse or a crane seizes an insect. Na means "to hold and control". Therefor the term Qin Na can be translated as "seize and control".
Qin Na is one of the four basic elements that comprise practically all Chinese fighting styles. The elements are typically enumerated as:
- Punches, Strikes, Pressing, and Pushing (armwork)
- Kicks, Sweeps, Stepping, and Trips (footwork)
- "Shuai Jiao" (wrestling)
- Qin Na (controlling)
However, some of the applications of the first three groups can be used for "controlling" the opponent and are therefor categorized as Qin Na as well. For example, grabbing techniques control and lock the opponents joints or tendons, pressing techniques can be used to numb limbs or block Qi causing paralysis, striking techniques applied to nerve plexi can even be deadly. Because of this range of actions Qin Na techniques are generally categorized as:
- "Fen Jin" (splitting the muscle/tendon)
This includes attacks that twist at the joint,
as well as claw-like gripping and pulling of a muscle or
tendon to immobilize a limb or cause
- "Cuo Gu" (misplacing the bone)
These techniques involve pulling or striking joints
in order to dislocate a joint (usually a shoulder
- "Bi Qi" (sealing the breath)
This is a technique that prevents your opponent from
breathing, causing him to pass out. This includes
finger strikes to the
Tiantu (the cavity/dimple just above the
center of your
clavicle), striking the muscles that extend
just below the ribs
(causing them to retract in pain), finally the most
difficult but most effective technique is a nerve
ending strike in the armpit, above the
right nipple, or just below the sternum.
- "Dian Mai" (pressing/blocking a vein/artery)
In Cantonese this is called "Dim Mak".
Mai can also refer to a Qi
channel. These are the techniques that
cause fainting, dizziness, blindness, paralysis, or
striking nerve plexi, sealing arteries, or by
blocking Qi flow.
- "Dian Xue" and "Na Xue" (cavity press/grab)
These difficult techniques cause fainting,
organ shock, or death by applying pressure
directly to organs,
nerves, or other soft tissues.
The first three categories require merely practice and strength on the part of the student. The latter require what the Chinese call Jin, martial power or internal strength, advanced knowledge of human anatomy and Qi flow, as well as rigorous training in specialized hand techniques from a qualified master.
There is no known date of origin for Qin Na, but its influence in the oldest Chinese styles and in the native martial styles of Asian countries like Korea and Japan can be traced. In Chinese arts Qin Na is emphasized most in Taiji (Tai Chi), the southern styles of Eagle Claw and Praying Mantis, and Shaolin Gongfu like White Crane. In Korea Qin Na is most evident in Hapkido. In Japan the principles of Taiji and Qin Na are evident in the arts of Jujitsu and Aikido/Aiki-jutsu. Fraternal systems exist today in Japan as Tuite (Torite) and Kyusho.
In 527 A.D. the Shaolin temple began extensive training and cataloguing of martial arts techniques. There are records of Buddhist monks from Japan staying at Shaolin that date back to the 1300s. Shortly after Gongfu spread to Japan as "Kenpo" (which is essentially the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese "Kungfu") where the Chinese elements of martial technique diversified into the correlating styles Karate (punching, kicking), Judo (Shuai Jiao), and Aikido (controlling).
From the early 1600s to the present day Qin Na is popular for use by soldiers and policemen in Asia because it is highly effective for use in restraining an individual or prisoner with non-lethal force. Also, the nature of the techniques do not emphasize or require physical strength, making them easily taught to large diverse groups. Qin Na is also has practical, modern uses for self defense. All over the world students of Taijiquan, Wing Chun, and Aikido practice Qin Na for agility and defense.