Qinna or Chin Na is primarily known as the Chinese art of joint locking. Qin means to seize or catch and Na means to hold or control; so Qinna is the art of seizing and controlling an opponent.

The name itself means to capture and hold. It is a technique by which an attacker can be neutralized without suffering permanent physical damage or experiencing excessive pain. The intensity and duration of the discomfort felt by an attacker is completely controlled by the Qinna expert, making it a perfect defense technique for a Shaolin warrior. For this reason, Qinna is a highly developed art form of Shaolin Kung Fu.

Qin Na is considered one of the four traditional fighting aspects of Shaolin Kung Fu, which are Ti, Da, Shuai, and Na.

  • Kick – Ti
  • Striking – Da
  • Throwing – Shuai
  • Lock – Na

This means that any given movement may be interpreted as a possible strike, takedown, or joint-locking maneuver, not to mention as a defensive posture or action, or a combination of both attack and defense.

Qinna techniques are not only joint-locking, but include five essential aspects, known as the “Five Principles”.

Five Principles

  1. “Fen jin” or “zhua jin” (dividing the muscle/tendon, grabbing the muscle/tendon). Fen means “to divide”, zhua is “to grab” and jin means “tendon, muscle, sinew”. They refer to techniques which tear apart an opponent’s muscles or tendons.
  2. “Cuo gu” (Bone Misplacement). Cuo means “wrong, disorder” and gu means “bone”. Cuo gu therefore refer to techniques which put bones in wrong positions and is usually applied specifically to joints.
  3. “Bi qi” (sealing the breath). Bi means “to close, seal or shut” and qi, or more specifically kong qi, meaning “air”. “Bi qi” is the technique of preventing the opponent from inhaling. This differs from mere strangulation in that it may be applied not only to the windpipe directly but also to muscles surrounding the lungs, supposedly to shock the system into a contraction which impairs breathing.
  4. Dian Mai or Dian Xue (Vein & Artery Pressing) is a very dangerous component of Qinna. Used to block the circulation of blood, Dian Mai techniques can disrupt motor function, cause unconsciousness, or potentially be fatal. For this reason, these techniques are often not taught openly. A student who learns Dian Mai must be of high morals. However, when used in correct combinations, Dian Mai can be used to treat or heal ailments and relieve pain.
  5. “Rou Dao” or “Rou Shu” (soft techniques) which generally refers to the techniques deemed safe for sparring and/or training purposes.


Qinna is a very specialized skill of Shaolin Kung Fu. It should only be used as a defense technique, and the pressure applied should only be as much as is necessary to interrupt an attacker’s fighting ability. Real skill lies in the ability to neutralize an attacker without causing permanent physical damage or excessive pain.

Qinna techniques should be used with care. In the best case scenario, Qinna can be used as a healing method to alleviate muscular, tendon and joint pain of a patient. If however one is faced with an unfortunate confrontation with an attacker, Qinna is the preferable way to incapacitate them without long-term physically damaging effects. This way, they may have a chance to heal and grow spiritually. To reach this level however, takes many years of training under a qualified and experienced teacher.

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