Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Friday, March 04, 2016

Power Generation in Martial Arts

Below is an excerpt from an article that appeared at Full Potential Martial Arts. The full article may be read here. Enjoy.

Many students in our San Diego martial arts school ask: “how can I increase the amount of power in my strikes?” The answer is simple: get to understand your center, and how to use it effectively!
The center is an incredibly important concept in martial arts. Where beginner martial artists use their limbs in an effort to generate power, experienced martial artists exhibit dthe skill of harnessing their center to generate what seems to be unlimited amounts of power. Such power generation appears effortless to the observer. “Gamaku” is the special term for the center in Okinawan karate-speak (Uchinaaguchi). In the Chinese arts such as Tai Chi and Kung Fu, the related (but not entirely equivalent) terms to Gamaku are Dan-Tien (sometime spelled Dantian) and Ming-Men.
The center, or core, is a key to progress in martial arts. But what is exactly the center? Why is it important? What do we need to do to harness it to generate power in martial arts?
Ancient Okinawan and Chinese martial arts masters knew a lot about how to harness the center and the core to generate tremendous power. This article will attempt to share this knowledge, as well as to relate the knowledge to modern science and anatomy.

The Center or “Core” is All the Rage

Core exercises are all the rage today in fitness circles. Academic studies have shown that weak cores are associated with back pain and joint injury. The core or center is also of paramount importance in martial arts.
It is interesting that what is good for us in martial arts, karate and self-defense fighting is also good for our general health. A lot of martial arts training is dedicated to teaching us how to use our bodies efficiently. This is because the only way we can hope to win in a self-defense confrontation with a large opponent who is stronger and faster than us, is to be more efficient than our opponent. Once we learn the “secrets” of efficient movement, we can use this skill not just in fighting but also in everyday activities, protecting our back, knees and other joints from injury or premature wear.


Charles James said...

Our center, or centeredness, is only one very, very small part of the entire equation. As it applies to the Okinawan concept of, “Gamaku,” speaks to our center as in the musculature that surrounds the waist and connects the torso to the pelvis. When using gamaku you are using a, at least in this example, the twisting action that is actually a energy, power and force enhancer. Remember, there is only so much energy and power in each individual governed by certain physics as to size, weight and movement, etc. When koshi, the lower back area as it connects to our waist girdle, i.e., waist, back, hips, and lumbar region, etc., all work un unison to make the twist action that enhances the entire process of hitting whether a strike, push or other type of method.

Increasing power can be manifested in a variety of ways where implementing all of them contribute to the power and force applied regardless of the methodology. If you take a look at the fundamental principle of Physiokinetics with its sub-principles you begin to get a more accurate picture of power and force generation.

Take for instance the sub-principle of structure, you structure through out the striking process, hitting, needs to be aligned and held stable by our muscles, skeletal system, tendons, cartilage, etc., to achieve true power and force. If any part of that process fails then we bleed off energy and therefor power and force.

I can agree to the importance of the center but it is more than focusing and using a twisting action at the waist, the center, to achieve power in the strike. One more consideration is even with proper use of the center if the shoulder girdle, upper arm, elbow, forearm, wrist, and hands are not properly aligned in the appropriate way according to what methodology used then all the waist and centering in the world will not matter.

It is highly recommended reading the book by Marc MacYoung (see bibliography for the books) on hitting and being hit because although the book is about writing fiction it is about using reality to write fiction so the book itself is an awesome source to learn how to hit and get hit effectively and with power and force but don’t forget that other fundamental principles are also involved such as those under the heading of physiokinetics.

I am not trying to say centeredness is not good, viable or effective but it is not the center, so to speak. Getting to understand and become proficient in using our center is, as you state, important but it is very important to understand there is so much more to it then using our center.

Rick Matz said...

Thanks, Charles.