Friday, April 29, 2011

Inner pliable force vs. outer rigid force

The power of karate

Inner pliable force vs. outer rigid force.

When one begins karate training the focus is on the outer form, at this level when one wants to make strong technique there is normally a lot of tension and strength involves.

As we progress we realize that through the outside form we should learn to move from the inside out, the outside form gives us the means, the position of mechanical advantage and it contains the principles that when internalized allow us to move from the inside and make power effortlessly.

At advanced level one should realize that when the body is tense it is very hard if not nearly impossible to connect and transfer energy from feet to legs to torso to top technique.

You see, the external form gives us the mechanical advantage where minimum effort can be used to achieve maximum force, but it is not a given, one has to understand the underlying principles. In fact, Kata is symbol of principle, the external form is a mean to understand and digest the underlying principles of movement and combat.

Only when one is soft and elastic we can make total connection and transfer of energy, when soft and properly aligned and moving in proper sequence we can make clear tunnels and the energy will transfer without interference or discontinuity, and energy increases at each segment.

That is why good form is only the first step in learning, next, when good form is natural, we learn to move from the inside out and from the ground up; from around the spine musculature and than energy increases in a ripple effect to the outer big muscles and to the extremities, and we do this by using the breath.

We must learn to put the intention, ki energy and breath in the Tan Den, center of energy, located 3 fingers below the navel and toward the spine.

When we move from the center, or the small diameter of the spine around the sacrum, energy increases in ripple effect.

We learn to use the breath to store energy internally, by interaction of the abdomen and back, and than to release energy from the back using the breath as trigger.

Than we have no back motion, the preparation is internal, and therefore the opponent does not know my timing, and has very little space to react to my technique, and we can react quickly to any space and generate force to any direction at an instant.

When we reach this level, when the body is soft and connected, energy is stored and released from inside, the technique is sequenced correctly, and every segment move in the right time and in the right amount, the body follows the intention, breath and ki energy.

At this level there is no hand, the whole body is a hand and there is no foot, the whole body is a foot, the power of technique is tremendous and there are no gaps or holes for the opponent to attack, and yet we can utilize any space.

Back to moving from the centerline of the body, you see when the muscles around the spine activate first, and the spine is stable and aligned optimally, the bigger outer muscles, will be in optimal length and will have a stable platform to move from and therefore they can be soft or contracted in the right amount and time, they can be used to the full rate of contraction.

If you ever see Sensei Nishiyama punch it seem soft and effortless, but I felt it many times, and it feels like a heavy hammer hitting you. On the other hand, some athletic people look strong but the effect is minimal, when one move from the outside it is impossible to be soft, and utilize the full range of muscles contraction/relaxation.

To reach this level we need good guideless, teacher, but even with the best teacher one can be stagnant in training, understand intellectually but not digest internally, unless one develops awareness of self and increase sensitivity, and one must constantly reflect on self.

This is the beauty of traditional karate.

1 comment:

  1. Ossu! Avi this is a very well explained, in depth explanation of the real physics behind developing true power. Excellent article!
    In the spirit of Budo.
    By the way, thank you so much for your hospitality and the very kind treatment of my young students.