Sunday, May 02, 2010

Use Your Head

Martial arts is more than just moving our bodies around. Proper training should yield a detailed understanding of the human body and how it functions. At a high level, this is learning where our key weapons are when we attack (hard points) and where to apply them on an opponent (soft points).

At a deeper level in Chinese martial arts you find systems like dim mak, where practitioners learn to use energy meridian theory as a means of disrupting the opponent.

While formidable, this is not enough. We must also complete our circle of knowledge by understanding how to deliver strength from our bodies (and remove it from others). Another related body of knowledge is about our health and healing. In our study of Hilot, we are taught several sub-systems such as massage/osteopathy, dietetics/naturopathy, and psychotherapy to keep ourselves in optimal condition and to promote our longevity.

In short, martial arts training is for those people who want to achieve a deeper understanding of the human body.

One of the basics is how to use your head.
When we use our body to deliver strength, we know that it must always be done with the head in alignment to the cervical spine. That is, we must have our head in alignment to generate power. This means no looking down, no looking sideways, no twisting of the head, and no leaning forward or backward. If any of these things occur, the power of the technique is diminished or removed completely.

When you train, it is very important to pay attention to the position of your head as you move.
Be sure you are not looking down. Be sure your head is not twisted or rotated for any movement. In principle, maximum power is generated when our head and hips are in the same alignment, since they are at either end of our spinal column. This is important to consider.

The converse is also true. When we fight, our primary objective should always be to ensure that the opponent's head and hips are NEVER in proper alignment, so our opponent is unable to generate power. Not only should we try to get the head/hips/spine out of alignment as soon as possible, our action should be designed to make sure the opponent never recovers that balance.

A very simple way of defining martial arts is to say that it is the "science of our strength applied to our opponent's weakness." This is worth thinking deeply about.

See you in class.

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