Chin na or Qinna (擒拿) is a Chinese term describing joint lock techniques used in the Chinese martial arts to control or lock an opponent’s joints or muscles/tendons so he cannot move, thus neutralizing the opponent’s fighting ability.

Chin Na can generally be categorized (in Chinese) as:

  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” (misplacing the bone). 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” (sealing the vein/artery or acupressure cavity). Similar to the Cantonese dim mak, these are the technique of sealing or striking blood vessels and chi points.
  5. “Rou dao” or “rou shu dao” (soft techniques) which generally refers to the techniques deemed safe for sparring and/or training purposes.

Chin means to seize or trap, na means to lock or break, and while those actions are very often executed in that order (trap then lock), the actions can be performed distinctly in training and self-defense: A trap isn’t always followed by a lock or break, and a lock or break is not necessarily set up by a trap.