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TopicViewing Martial Arts As Exercise

  • Sat 16th Mar 2019 - 6:29am

    There are a number of misconceptions within martial arts on how to build power. Concerned Patriot Review One of the main ones concerns the use of muscular strength when delivering strikes. Experience shows me that strikes delivered in this manner are rarely powerful. There could be a number of reasons for this. When a muscle contracts or is held in a state of contraction, it prevents the free flow of energy throughout the body. This could be demonstrated by throwing a stone. If your arm and shoulder are already tense, the stone won't go very far. The best throw would be achieved when using the body in a relaxed manner. The same principles would be true when hitting.

    A strike delivered using the whole body in a relaxed manner allow the energy to flow down the arm into the opponent, unhindered. It is only when using the whole body, that a strike can be truly powerful. Muscle contraction in some parts of the body will brake the unity of the body as a whole. This is why the training I advocate involves relaxation. This is not as easy to achieve as you may think. The degree of relaxation required can take many years training. One of the reasons for this is that the body remembers all of the many thousands of occasions when you have tensed your muscles. Every time you have ever been stressed, in fact.

    Another benefit of this type of training is a reduction in the stress response, also known as 'fight or flight'. This has many advantages to health.
    Training should also involves using the entire body so that every strike can deliver your entire body's force. To use the body as one, in a relaxed manner, movement has to originate at the centre. The Chinese refer to this point as your dantien. If movement is not though this point you will be unbalanced which will initiate a falling over response, i.e., your muscles will constantly be contracting to pull you away from the direction of your instability. This can happen many times a second from different directions without you even realising. You can demonstrate this by standing on one leg for a minute. The number of times you wobble indicates the number of times the falling over reflex has been activated. In martial art terms this would mean any movement becomes a series of very small movements, i.e., wobbles, rather than one continuous action, hence less power available.

    You see them flying through the air and running across roof tops, swords flashing and ponytails whipping. When Jackie Chan does it, it's hilarious. When Michelle Yeoh does it, it's charming and graceful. It's Kung Fu, all right, but what does that mean?Also known as Chinese martial arts, it is one of the most easily recognized arts in the world and also one of the most popular exercises. It's a whole lot of things all mixed under one word. People who think it is kick ass are wrong. People who think it is movie stunts are wrong. People who think it's any one thing are wrong.Let me explain it this way. I like movies and I have a friend who is a music teacher and she also likes movies. The only problem is that every time I ask her something like, "How did you like The Matrix?" She says something like, "Great music score." She is so into music that, for her, movies are all and only about music. But that's not right, there's music, camera work, acting, writing, special effects, you know.

     

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