Sunday, October 07, 2012


In Yoshinkan Aikido, my teacher used to tell me:

"all your power, all your force, at a single point, at a single time."

He said it so much it became like a mantra to me.  He meant that I always have to connect my contact point with my partner to my hips, and deliver (through hip rotation) my full body power into the contact point to control it and use the force to disrupt an attack.  This idea is at the core of Yoshinkan.  In Japanese, this focus is called "kime" 決 and is the subject of a lot of discussion both practical and philosophical.

My views on aikido have changed over the years, but I still think it offers some really important insights for training.

In Kali, our goal is to be in motion all the time, never static.
At the same time, we want to use our entire body all the time.

This may seem counter-intuitive to my prior post about relaxation, but it is not.
A central idea here is that we want to use the bigger muscle groups wherever possible.
This means not relying on our arms to do the work, but rather connecting through the hips and back.  We want to hit by driving from the balls of the feet up the line through the pelvis and hips, and deliver that power via the spine.  The feet are principally important not just for balance, but to deliver the explosive power of the coiling steps.

A second major concept is that we want to use our full bodyweight.  This means that I am actually dropping my weight into my strikes, as well as my stick.  It also means that I am letting gravity give additional force into what I am doing.  I do not want to lift my opponent.  Instead I want to drive down through the weak point of the structure and disrupt it.  When I throw someone I do not ever lift them.  Instead, I load them onto my hips and then use my bodyweight to drop or launch them.

The more efficiently and completely you can use your full body, the easier the motions will become.  Start by overemphasizing this motion.  Later on, you will remain tight but still be able to connect and drive.  The key is to focus your full body power at the same time on a single (weak) point of your opponent.

Filipino Martial Arts are very effective and easy to learn, but take a lifetime to do properly.
If you do not use your body efficiently, it may even take several lifetimes.

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