Unfortunately one sees far too many practitioners of martial arts leaning precariously forward, backward or sidewise. We gain judgement not to overreach in paired practice. Facing your partner, stand at the distance you think ideal to strike from, hit at say chest height (do not move your feet), stopping the blow just before meeting the target, now extend till you can push your partner off balance, at this point stop. View yourself, are you leaning forward, is there a feeling of reaching. This would be your position should you have delivered an effectively hard blow. We must learn to strike or throw without losing posture, It is often the case of being closer before unleashing the blow. It is desirable to keep a straight back, without undue leaning forward, backward or sideways. We must avoid wobbling after a strenuous effort such as striking or throwing, in training after delivering the attack one should end with good posture, no wobble or extra step. Stop settled and balanced, we should use this time to hold our posture for about the count of 3, maintaining extension of power, focus of mind and awareness of our surrounding, your head must not look down at a fallen aggressor. It is the ease of movement, good posture that makes well-practised martial arts graceful, this ease of movement is essential in meeting a multiple attack, where turning and balance are of prime importance.
We must learn to turn with our hips. Stand up straight with one foot forward, Imagine a rod vertically through your middle, focus your mind on your hips and spin some 90 degrees, try this a number of times facing forward spin to face the rear, as you hips turn the rest of the body will follow, you will have to adjust you feet a little.
Standing straight will help you turn from your central access. It many help to think of a rod going from the head straight through the body to the ground. Spin the rod, this will give you a tight to strong turn.
Turning from the hip will have used one of the strongest and largest muscles in your body, much stronger than biceps and shoulders. We can also appreciate that by rotating from the centre axis, balance and posture are better kept. Relaxed shoulders are just one benefit as no tension on the upper body will now be necessary. When turning and thrusting, or stepping forward and thrusting we can gain power by concentrating energy through the moving hip, such movements must be practised often till strong blows even without stepping forward can be generated through the use of the hip. Muscles are far more powerful in the hip than in the arm, therefor a blow using hip power will be stronger than if using biceps triceps and all the other arm and shoulder muscles. We can now deliver punch or throw without tensing our shoulders as much of the power is generated in the lower body leaving the upper body relaxed to let the inner power flow extending well beyond the capacity of arm and shoulder power alone.
There is a theory that suggests that if one has done a movement say 10,000 time in ones life, one has to practice a replacement movement 10,001 times for it to become natural.
Low centre of gravity
lowering the mind and hips will give a low centre of gravity, stability and power. Let us try an experiment. Stand up and think tall, get a partner to push both shoulders simultaneously, if pushed from the front you may well lean or fall backwards. Now stand again this time lower both mind and hips, have you shoulders pushed with the same intensity as before. Having felt this practical difference of a low centre, it makes sense to keep a low mind and hips at all times.
Various disciplines have their variations of breathing exercises, if we accept that more oxygen gives grater energy, increasing the capacity of the lungs to hold air must enhance energy.
We tend to breath shallow, changing only the air at the top of our lungs, if we learn to use our lungs to their full capacity we can increase our reserves of energy. Let use try a simple exercise. Think of our lungs as a box, this box is divided into four equal parts, top right-top left, bottom left- bottom right ( we have mentally divided the lung into 4 boxes). After exhaling fully, inhale slowly, concentrate on filling the top right “box” when full move the air from this box into the top left, but keep on breathing in filling the top right as you do this, as both the top right and left become full concentrate on moving air form the top left to the bottom left, keep on filling the top as before moving from top right to top left and then on to bottom left and finally on to bottom right. The air would of moved around to each quarter in a curricular clockwise motion. Having fully expanded our lungs let the air out slowly in the same circular movement. The extra oxygen you are now able to pass through the lungs can give a vital reserve of energy.
There is yet a further source of “ENERGY” to be tapped. Lets see if we can find it. Stand and fully exhale, then breath in deeply , think of this not as breathing in air but taking in energy, enhance this thought by lifting your arms and through the extended arms draw in energy from the sun or stars. When your lungs are full hold the air/energy in and press it downwards, at the same time slowly lower your arms, keep on pressing the air down, as it compresses make it into a tight ball of energy (you may well feel it connect with your centre) Now we can expel this ball with a explosive movement. Having felt the “power” possibly no further explanation will be necessary.
Some forms of martial arts have 24 inner powers others only one. What is inner power? Is it real?. Until one can harness, and direct the power, it is difficult to understand. Some believe you should visualise water flowing, in this method they would suggest lifting a bent arm say just above shoulder height with tense muscles and have a strong person see how much power is needed to bend the arm further. Then try again but this time relax the muscles, but imagine water flowing out from your centre through the arm once again having pressure borne on the arm, the result should show that there was greater difficulty bending the relaxed arm. This is not one of my favourite examples. Simpler by far is to hold your hand out fist clenched, about waist high, have your arm held strongly and lift your clenched fist upwards and slightly forward, if held firmly this could present quite a difficulty. Now start again with your arm held as before, but this time stick your thumb up from you closed fist, lift you arm/fist following the upward direction of the thumb. Was it easier to lift. following the direction of the kie flow, by extending the thumb allows kie energy to extend outward, with closed fist the energy was curled round in a continuous flow through the body, We could think of the energy as a laser, by extending thumb we let the “laser” energy up and out. We can now use this energy, project it well beyond the reach of our physical body.
We can appreciate that everything has a form of energy. Think, how dose homeopathic medicine work. Could it be that it releases its Kie energy when taken. We have a well of energy that once controlled, becomes a major contributor in martial arts and in our everyday life.