In Search of Efficiency Part Ten: Arms are MOVED not Moving
So, what the heck am I talking about now?
I see a lot of martial arts and self defence performed perhaps with speed but with just arm movements. Fast but, unless your arm weighs a lot the effectiveness can be limited.
In my practice the arms do three things:
1. Fold (bend) and unfold (unbend).
3. Expand: done with two concentric expansions
i. Shoulder dropping expanding the elbow and chest away from each other.
ii. The elbow using that expansion to rise expanding the hand and shoulder away from each other.
Concentric expansions will be covered in more detail in another post so #3 can simply be referred as expand.
However, to move your arm, say your left arm held in a guard position in front of you (arm bent or folded – left foot forward stance), across your body to guide or intercept a strike you do NOT move the arm. You rotate your body MOVING the arm across.
If you just take a guard position with your left foot forward and keep your arms still as you rotate to your right, then your arm is moved across your body. It is moved with an entire body movement making it much more powerful than just an arm movement.
If I take that same guard stance and rotate to my left AND unfold (unbend) may arm as I do so I can guide or intercept a low strike.
If I take that same stance and rotate to my right expanding my left arm out as it unfolds and rotates then it becomes a strike.
As you rotate to move the arms they can fold/unfold, rotate and expand. One can fold as the other unfolds etc.
This body coordination is vital in my knife defence book “Watch Out For The Pointy End.”
If you try to intercept a knife thrust with only an arm movement then it has to be done as a jam or block that you hope stops the thrust because your body is still right where it was when it was targeted. However, if you intercept by rotating then the arm is moved to intercept AND you are simultaneously moving off the line of attack.
I recently watch a clip on a 78-year-old master of stick and every move was concise and done with a quick rotation of his body. His arms were moved by his movement and not moving on their own. It was beautiful to watch such skill.
So, when arms move on their own they are not as effective as they are if they are MOVED by your body movement.
Just my thoughts of course but easily tested.