Throughout the day working in lower Manhattan, a typical sight within the early morning hours is people performing Tai Chi near City Hall. Their slow, graceful, effortless movements, their deep roots and continuous flow are hypnotic. Most individuals looking on (including many martial artists) don’t know that the essence of developing the kind of explosive power that martial artists desire is the truth is based on the kind of slow movement present in virtually all internal systems of fighting.
The query, “Why do I would like to maneuver slower to get faster?” is a typical one and is something that after understood will add a level of power and speed to your abilities beyond anything you can imagine.
In this article I’ll delve into the importance of coaching extremely slowly then progressively build up to Contact Flow and other free-form internal movement exercises at full speed. A few of this information could appear technical and might due to this fact be very dry so it’s possible you’ll need to get a cup of coffee before you proceed reading.
It’s a provided that in an actual fight on your life, any motion or motion you undertake that shouldn’t be automatic is not going to work in an actual confrontation. With that said, the topic that I’ll cover in this article is probably considered one of the more perplexing concepts that we teach inside the internal art of Guided Chaos. With a purpose to fight, you will need to give you the option to maneuver with supernatural speed. With a purpose to develop this ability you will need to start off extremely slow, ensuring that each fiber of your being is moving as one. As your Body Unity improves you will need to maneuver faster and faster as much as full speed, remaining relaxed throughout. As your timing and muscular control develop (together with balance, sensitivity, body unity and looseness) your striking will change into more efficient in addition to powerful.
Why People Speed Up
Let’s face it: when moving slowly with a training partner, you possibly can easily counter the opposite person’s movements for those who suddenly speed up. If in point of fact, you were already five to 10 times as fast as a standard human being then you definately would not need anyone’s fighting system since you’d be Superman. The true challenge is find and defending openings while consistently moving slowly–and that may be a tremendous source of growth in your spontaneity training.
People speed up mostly on account of ego, so irrespective of how slow you tell them to maneuver, they simply cannot resist attempting to “win.” This throws off not only their timing, but their body unity as well, since generally when people speed up it’s just their arms that go faster. They change into disconnected from their root so their strikes lack power.
The opposite reason people speed up is that they intuitively feel their bodies are out of position to strike effectively. In consequence, they fight to “catch up” by moving their arms faster, somewhat than aligning their bodies to a greater position. For many who frequently attend our classes they’ve often heard me discuss that it shouldn’t be a lot a matter of speed but body positioning. It’s similar to playing tennis with tennis player: they do not run, they make you run! They play position and cut off angles, make you play beyond your “Sphere of Influence” (a critical self defense concept). Once you’re near the online, they knock it over your head just inside the back line. Once you’re removed from the online they “chip” the ball just over the online and make you sprint to return their serve. In the event you’re to the far left they hit the ball to the near right and so forth… The identical applies in self defense when you might have superior Body Unity.
Haste Makes Waste, Slow Harmonizes and Refines
“Danger, Danger Will Robinson…” –The Robot, Lost In Space
You’ll be able to at all times tell when people are usually not moving in a unitized manner because their arms begin to flail just like the Robot from Lost In Space. Their movements lack power because their bodies are usually not connected, and since they are usually not unitized they’re unable to speed up and are limited to arm strength. This disconnect is the major reason most individuals cannot avoid the initial onrush of an attack. They can not link up their arms with their feet and step and hit with unitized power under duress.
That is the direct results of an absence combat–specific balance training. Many martial arts systems have incorrectly theorized that controlled movement training within the types of katas will correct this inadequacy. They try to “structure” the fight. Their fatal error is that these patterned movements don’t take into consideration the randomness and utter chaos of an actual bloodbath, and in consequence they train for a reality of fighting that doesn’t exist. Their movements fail because they try to move in a way which is inconsistent with all known laws of physics (unless you are from Krypton).
I realize it’s hard for some to imagine but the very fact stays that to be able to move with lightning speed and power, one must give you the option to maneuver with a unitized body. The one strategy to achieve this in brief order is by moving extremely slowly in free-form, non-patterned contact flow to start with after which progressively increasing your speed. By moving your body in a unitized manner it ensures that not only are you in a position to strike with power but you’re able to take care of the total range of motion together with your legs and arms, stopping you from getting over prolonged or over committed and fighting inside your Sphere of Influence.
While body types may vary the one thing that continues to be constant is that every body’s legs and arms are only long enough for them to guard their bodies. Your sphere of influence extends from the middle of your body to so far as you possibly can strike together with your legs and arms with power in every direction. There are some who call this sphere your “personal comfort zone” or “zone of influence.” We prefer the concept of a sphere because the fight can truly come from any angle possible, due to this fact it’s essential to give you the option to fight in any direction from virtually any position (even from the bottom).
Bring the Whole House
Once you move you should bring the entire package and never just your legs and arms. Move out of your center of gravity, align your body and strike out of your center outward. Using the principles of balance, looseness and sensitivity culminate in what we call Body Unity or “grace.” Again, this may be achieved by first moving slowly, then progressively picking up the speed. Control your center of gravity as you either step or transfer your body from one root point to the following. This body transference should be smooth and even.
This quality is the culmination of your timing and muscular control ,together with balance, sensitivity, body unity and looseness. If developed, it lets you move as little as crucial to be able to strike with maximum and lethal power from anywhere to anywhere. When performing the free-form Contact Flow exercises, the continual movement forces you to change into totally immersed within the movement. Through total immersion training, the body begins to work on autopilot even when the cognitive side of the brain cannot fathom what is happening. This concept falls in keeping with the Zen Warrior Monk concept of “Mushin” through which you change into totally immersed in order that your subconscious mind can learn.
The Sixth Sense
I’m not talking here about “seeing dead people.” What I’m talking about is using the senses that you just have already got. For levitation, Yogic flying or talking with spirits, you’ll need to go elsewhere.
Bruce Lee once stated that you should train your entire senses to the purpose where they “trip” over into having form of a “sixth sense,” or words to that effect. Either through training or astute commentary, Bruce Lee had it right. The one flaw I find in his theory was the methodology he used to get there. To be fair, Bruce Lee was a rare exceptional talent and philosophically speaking, we agree on many points of martial training. In the event you read the primary 30 pages of “The Tao of Jeet Kune Do” it’s sense development in a nutshell. Nevertheless, if you delve into the “the right way to” points, the remaining of the book is lacking since it still relies on most of the same techniques that only work for essentially the most physically gifted fighters.
How Does It Work?
Moving slowly, allowing your sensitivity to drive your actions, you’ll learn to remain several steps ahead of the opposite person. You’ll learn the right way to defeat one other person’s movement even before they’ve a likelihood to strike. That is combat efficiency. Training on this fashion is known as “neural training” and should be progressive in nature to be of any value. As muscle and tendon fibers are stimulated and broken down, the nerves connected to them change into stimulated and shock your system. This triggers the neural/muscular anatomy to develop latest neural connections with the brain to develop greater speed, strength, coordination and finesse. By continually confusing the muscles you never plateau in your development.
Proprioception: The Real Sixth Sense
Proprioception: [n] The flexibility to sense the position, location, orientation and movement of the body and its parts.
Is it merely our sense of touch that permits us to differentiate objects based on feel? Is it just our vision that permits us to interpret motion as danger? Without the interpretation of spatial relationships our senses’ input is meaningless.
Proprioception is “… the method by which the body can vary muscle contraction in immediate response to incoming information regarding external forces.” No matter fighting system, enhanced proprioception is crucial for coping with the chaos of real violence.
If the conscious mind (which might only give attention to a couple of points without delay) needed to be accountable for the entire input from all different muscles, the confusion could be overwhelming. Considering takes time, whereas the unconscious nervous system responds immediately through hard wired processes.
Proprioception also permits multi-tasking. The more it’s trained, the more concurrently you possibly can mount attacks and defenses. Proprioception provides you with:
1. A way of position
For instance, we will ‘feel’ where our feet are in relation to our arms when striking.
2. A way of movement
We will accurately feel the speed and direction of the movement of our limbs. This permits us to co-ordinate our limbs in relation to our bodies and sense of balance while we’re moving.
3. A way of force
The quantity of effort a muscle needs to provide an accurate movement, which is especially vital when flowing, sticking, pulsing, bouncing people or dropping into strikes.
Below are another key terms related to Proprioception:
[Perception is what in truth drives your sensitivity since it places the stimuli you feel into context. This is more mental than it is physical and therefore one must not limit their responses solely on what they can physically feel but what they “mentally perceive” is going on.]
[n] The flexibility to know where your body parts are in third-dimensional space
[This is influenced by your sensitivity and your ability to control your body in relation to your opponent based on what you feel in three- dimensional space]
1. [n] The flexibility to answer affective changes in your interpersonal environment
2. [n] The flexibility to answer physical stimuli or to register small physical amounts or differences
3. [n] Physiological responsiveness to external stimuli
[It is your sensitivity, kinesthetic awareness and spatial awareness which drive all of the other principles and allows you to develop your proprioception to the nth degree. This is the catalyst for all body unity.]
1. [n] Equality of distribution
2. [n] Stable situation through which forces cancel each other
[This relates directly to your ability to root or balance but it goes much deeper than that since you want to develop a root that no one can find. In turn, by developing greater control of your equilibrium, you are able to hide your root and thus control theirs. Controlling balance, equilibrium and sensitivity is both a mental and physical process.]
The Importance of Body Unity and Footwork Drills
Imagine it or not, sprained ankles and other injuries common to highly trained athletes often don’t have anything to do with strength or flexibility. Rarely have they got anything to do with endurance. Most of the time, sprains and strains need to do with poor balance or poor proprioceptive balance and body unity / foot alignment. From tennis to mountain climbing to fighting, changing your center of gravity and properly lining up your body is the important thing to efficiency in any physical activity. The technical term is “agility.” Agility is what allows us to maneuver gracefully, wasting little motion. It allows our joints to maneuver through the total range of motion easily and confidently.
In Tai Chi (and our art of Guided Chaos) that is what’s known as “Threading the Nine Pearl Gates”. By properly aligning your joints you’re in a position to move with greater efficiency, power and speed and, if crucial, change direction with power and speed on the drop of a hat.
The Guided Chaos balance training is available in quite a lot of forms. For instance, we will train our bodies to enhance proprioception by creating balance challenges, forcing our muscles to make subtle changes in our feet, legs and body position to accommodate our balance. This permits us to work on the stabilizing muscles in ways in which they are usually not normally developed. A great example of that is working on wobble boards which continuously throw off your center of gravity. You might be forced to develop latest neural connections which serve to further increase your ability to manage your equilibrium. This gain in balance lets you gracefully step to a latest root point, allowing you to strike immediately with power from virtually any position.
Talk Through, Walk Through, Run Through
We achieve this many things best if performed without thought. For instance, the harder a driver focuses on what their muscles are doing as they drive, the choppier their movements, and the more severe the driving can be. This can also be why patterned fighting movements are doomed to failure. Please re-read what I just said since it is the essence of why fighting systems which have little to no free-form play fail in point of fact.
As you ingrain the habits of spontaneous, body-unitized movement into your solo free-form drills (Washing the Body and Polishing the Sphere) in addition to your partner contact flow training, you possibly can begin to extend the speed. When performing two person practice, care needs to be given to avoid the face and neck because the strikes are inherently dangerous and potentially lethal. It must also be agreed upon by each participants when you’ll pick up speed and for a way long. It can be crucial that you just each remain at the identical agreed upon speed and energy level in order to not develop an unnatural perception of timing and cheat your development.
I feel that proprioception truly is the “Sixth Sense” with regard to self-defense. The event of our proprioceptive responses via working the principles of Guided Chaos, tai chi and other internal arts is actually the “Holy Grail” for motor coordination development. Through dedication and exertions one can easily develop a level of coordination, grace, finesse and striking power that’s clearly off the charts.
Something that in a fight on your life you possibly can never have an excessive amount of of…