Rick’s Blog February 21, 2014
Defending yourself is both a simple and complex thing.
Learning to hit and move and deal with being grabbed is not that complex.
However, learning to do it against bigger, stronger, violent and more malicious people who will assault you at your most vulnerable point is complex (until you “get it”).
It is complex because it deals with our mental, our emotional and our physical abilities.
It also deals with reactions that happen within us that have been there for a very long time and while they are there to assist you in your time of need they can also take you by surprise and hinder your ability to protect yourself.
It also deals with an area many people have never, and in truth may never, deal with – harsh malicious violence.
Before I go on I want to say I loved a rant of Randy King’s against fear based marketing. One of his comments is that most people will go through their lives without ever encountering violence. And that can be very true. So why train to deal with it? I say for a number of reasons. Not out of fear but out of preparedness. Many people have life and disability insurance just in case and I can see self defence training as insurance.
Another reason is that truly learning martial arts in-depth means dealing with some very deep and complex mental and body awareness that can be very useful in all portions of our lives. I am not talking mumbo jumbo here just good healthy self assessment and awareness.
For me while there is a practical side to training the development of the body, mind and spirit is the enjoyable work. If however, what you do in martial arts training cannot be used practically then I also feel you have wasted all your time and what you thought you were getting out of it – didn’t really happen.
For instance, health can come from moving properly aligned with gravity but you will never know if that alignment is true unless you take it into martial application. If you don’t then most of the time you are not actually aligned properly and you are getting nothing out of your training.
For me in-depth training resides in two areas:
- Body mechanics
- Mental preparedness
This blog will introduce a few aspects I go deeply into on my web site.
Body mechanics are pure science and physics. There is no mysticism in being able to send a bigger stronger person flying or to be a small person and hit like a tank.
Every martial art will tell you that to generate power you must use your entire body. To use your entire body is a deep study. To also use it correctly is a deep study.
I mentioned aligning with gravity. Gravity is a constant ever present FREE power. The best body mechanics align with and make use of gravity.
To use the whole body you must be centred and move with your centre. Your centre directs all movement.
To use the whole body you should understand two terms often confused by mistranslations.
“Song” is often translated a relaxation when it is better translated as loosen. The difference is one of our basic nature and the natural forces we deal with. To stand on two feet and to move we must use some muscles to resist gravity but only the muscles we need to resist gravity. True relaxation would require us to be prone on the ground unmoving. Therefore loosening the joints and unnecessary muscles is closer to what we need than to relax. Plus I always found when I tried to relax my body sparring I relaxed my brain (as opposed to calming) and got hit, so the word relax does not resonate with me.
“Kua” is often translated as waist but in North America the waist is around our belt line so when we say turn the waist we turn at our belt line. The proper translation is the pelvis and more so the hip joint. The hip joint is one often too stiff in North America and therefore ignored in some martial arts. The pelvis and hip joint not only can turn but the joint can open and close. Using the Kua to turn the body is a very different body mechanic than turning the body at the belt line. .Turning at the waist can disconnect the upr half from the lower alf and disengage the ground making it less effective.
When I discuss body mechanics I talk about many layers. You can be very powerful with a few layers BUT you can be more powerful with more layers. Just because someone hits hard doesn’t mean they can’t hit harder.
In the next blog I will introduce the three External (Physical) Harmonies of the Six Harmonies. Using these ensure absolutely the use of the total body.