Thursday, February 11, 2016
Achieving Force Efficiency
The achievement of force efficiency with one's technique application (regardless of the manor of that application) is performed though the utilization of the entire bodies weight, as well as it's stability while delivering the application. To do this the student will need to study the individual limb's motions as well as the alignment of the body during the application of those techniques.
Optimal efficiency is achieved through proper stance, torso positioning and technique delivery.
In evaluating the efficiency of those motions, one initially considers the utilized limb (arm or leg), then should consider the efficiency of the (remaining) entire body (while delivering that strike).
Initially considering “Strikes”, these can be either extensions or lateral “swings” of the utilized limb. The most efficient manor for delivering momentum and force, are through the “extensions” (of the utilized limb) that are combined with the inclusion of body weight being used in conjunction with that motion. Lateral “swings” are the more popularly used manor of striking an opponent (whether aggressively or defensively). They are unfortunately also the “weaker” choice of/for an application, and are the more easily deflected and/or avoided through (defensive) motion.
Though (direct) redirection/avoidance is the more easily achieved response, physical intervention (contact) will produce a (defensively) more efficient result. Correctly doing so, can additionally unbalance the striking individual, and has the potential to create opportunities for (further) defensive “counter” measures.
Though lateral (defensive) strikes/deflections are what is more/most commonly taught, they are (most often) being performed in opposition to the bodies “natural” motions. Oyata's methodology emphasizes performing those motions in accordance with the bodies (naturally) most efficient manor.
This entails the user utilizing their entire body (body-weight) with any/every performed motion. This is often equated to a (circular) “swinging” bucket of water, the “problem” (with this analogy) is that energy (momentum) will only (efficiently) travel in a straight line. Therefor the created force (through the circular motion) of the body, is constantly moving outward, and rearward (on the opposite side) as well. The retraction of the opposite side (arm, hip, shoulder) is motioning in the opposite direction (along with any momentum created through that motion).
If the entire body is not motioning in the same direction (as the strike), that energy is wasted (non-productive) in relation to the strike. Energy/momentum will only travel (efficiently) in a single (straight) direction. The only (accurate) way to equate the “swinging” bucket of water (which is "the" most commonly utilized analogy), is if the bucket is swung with the open end of the bucket pointed outward (which demonstrates that the water will exit the bucket in every direction until empty, leaving only the weight of the bucket itself).
Neither energy, nor momentum will travel in a circular motion (without a counter-force acting upon it). The “mistake” that people make, is that doing so (motioning their hips/body) is in believing that because it “feels” more powerful, that it (actually) is. When a motion is (truly) efficient, the user should not “feel” anything (other than the impact).
Oyata stressed the utilization of a (more) direct force application. Though not always delivered in a “straight” line, the motion was a consistent extension (of the limb/body) in a single direction. This meant that arm motions (such as the motions commonly referred to as “blocks”) were performed as extensions, not as lateral “swings”, as the aforementioned “blocks” are commonly performed. When these arm motions are performed as (forward) extensions, the entire bodies weight can (then) be included with that motion.
The brain is capable of evaluating the direction/attitude of an approaching impact. The brain will (attempt to) resist/absorb that strike (as to how the body perceives it). That is commonly perceived as a being a direct (straight-line) impact. If/when that impact is “other” than being direct, the performed actions (on the part of the receiver's body) are inefficient (at absorbing/resisting that impact). For that reason, Oyata taught that an impact (regardless of the manor/type being used) should include a lateral motion included with (commonly at the “end” of) the impact.
This concept is initially taught with a students performance of the “milking” punch. This striking method adds a lateral rotation of the user's wrist just following/included within it's initial impact.
To maintain the entire bodies stability, the hips must remain aligned with the user's shoulders. If/when that alignment is altered, the utilized limb's motion is unstable (and thus, inefficient). This will apply to either an arm or a leg motion. This “alignment” is initially practiced in the students performance of the instructed kata. If/when that alignment is altered through various “superficial/extra” body motions (“hip/shoulder/waist” rotation), the alignment/efficiency of the performed actions are diminished.
The majority of these “extra” motions, are commonly being included in the attempt to extend one's range (and are thus emphasizing that the user wasn't properly positioned to begin with). The argument is often made that it is more “powerful” (it isn't), it may “feel” more powerful, but as stated previously, if/when the motion is performed properly, it shouldn't be “felt” by the user (as all of the created force/momentum is being transferred into the target), except at the point of impact (by the striking limb).
The concept of being “rooted” is (often) being misapplied/perceived as well. Being “rooted”, is simply being stable (in balance). This shouldn't imply immobility. If/when one exaggerates this concept, they will become unstable if/when moving. Stability should be a factor during one's (body) motion as well. One's concern is (commonly) during their changing of stances (movement). Stability (in motion) can only be maintained in limited directions while doing so. That is commonly recognized only in (direct) relation (both with, and away from) the direction being moved (commonly forward/back, though side to side is equally applicable).
Body rotation should include “correctional” motion(s) as well (thus providing those additional 2 directions of increased stability). This is the concept that “rooting” is attempting to convey, it should not be equated to immobility.
The most susceptible portion of the body to an aggressor, is the lower body (ie. The “legs”). A student should include attention upon protecting the lower body. Even though the majority of aggressive actions are performed above the waist, the lower body remains the most vulnerable to being struck/injured. In that effort, students are taught numerous stances, not that these positions will (entirely) protect the lower body (legs) from any aggressive actions, they can limit their vulnerability.
Every stance has is (own) vulnerabilities. Circumstances will dictate which of those stances are the most efficient for the given situation. Understanding those vulnerabilities will allow the student to utilize them against/upon their opponent/aggressor as well (when those vulnerabilities are present). Stances are constantly being changed during a confrontation. Any vulnerabilities should be recognized as they occur, or are being created (through the actions of the user).
Depending upon the strike being utilized (by the tori), their stance can enhance or diminish the available force/momentum available with it. Understanding the most efficient delivery method for the utilized limb is determined through proper stance, efficient limb motion, body (torso) and foot positioning and proper (effective) distancing (range). These factors are pieces of what constitute what we refer to, as “Force Efficiency”.