By Grandmaster Joe Martin "It is the philosophy of any system that holds the tactics, techniques and applications together. Without a full understanding of these subtle concepts, a martial art becomes a group of pre-defined movements, void of any true continuity. Esoma has a well defined philosophy that binds the resulting tactics to create a remarkably well formed art." - Joe Martin, Founder
Any martial artist can acquire techniques, tactics and applications but to understand the philosophy behind it requires a knowledge of martial arts that far surpasses mere tactics.
The word Esoma comes from the overlapping of the Latin words 'ESO', meaning within and 'SOMA', meaning body. Kung Fu must be embedded in the body to allow the mind to be free to think of strategies or evaluate unfamiliar situations.
The central aspect of Esoma philosophy is the separation of the mind from the body at a certain point in your training. When a person is learning something new, the mind & body must work as one. Once the mind has reinforced the body and the body has reinforced itself with repetition, it becomes a conscious effort on the part of the practitioner to actually separate the mind from the body. Then the body has to react to a situation based on what it has learned, not what it believes could happen; not what could be. The success of your kung fu is based on what you retain inside the body more than what the mind remembers.
- Resisting force:
- Yin and Yang
- Forms, Techniques and Sparring:
There are two major considerations for adjusting attitudes in Esoma;
The Extremist and the Pessimist.
The degree of importance placed on a task sets the stage for determining one's attitude. It is the attitude that controls how the body and mind function. Even though a person may be very proficient at a given task, it is the attitude while performing the task that determines the results. Attitude can outweigh experience in martial arts.
Imagine walking across a two inch wide beam, suspended eight inches above the ground between two concrete blocks. We keep score, adding one point to each person's score if they fall, until every person has crossed the beam twenty times without falling. Here the importance placed on not falling and getting the best score sets the attitude for the game. The value placed on winning the game will have a definite affect on performance.
Change the rules somewhat. This time, we say that anyone who falls must pay the others in the game $10. Though no other parameters change, some people will have problems crossing the board without falling because the importance placed on the outcome has increased and affects the performance of the players. To carry the point to extremes, change the rules again. If the same beam were placed thirty feet above the ground, imagine what would happen. Even though every player had previously crossed the same board twenty times without falling, very few, if any, would be willing to cross the board. The body will not function properly when the risk becomes too great.
This is the attitude of the Extremist. Many students place themselves in this situation every time they come to class by placing so much importance on the outcome of what they are practicing. They place so much emphasis on getting everything perfect that the body and mind can not function. They try so hard that nothing seems to work, it becomes impossible to relax. It's important to be aware that it is OK to make mistakes. Growth comes from trial and ERROR. Analyzing applications in Esoma is great but to be over analytical stagnates progress. Most of the techniques, blocks, punches, kicks, require the student to experience the sensation and grow accustomed to how things feel. No amount of reading, thinking, or analyzing can prepare one to perfectly synchronize the gas and the clutch of a car if you have never driven. It is something that must be felt and experienced. Learning Esoma is also something that must be felt and experienced by the mind and the body.
The mind can not analyze and do at the same time. One must give way to the other. Do the technique, Do the kick, Do the form, without placing undue importance and pressure on the outcome; then analyze what happened and what can be done to improve upon it the next time.
The Pessimist wills himself to fail by constantly telling himself that he "can't
do it"; or, "why can't I do it". The mind is very proficient at providing
answers to all questions, regardless of how ridiculous they may actually be. Ask questions
that will stir the imagination toward a positive mental attitude. Turn "I can't do it
" into "I can't do it, YET"! Esoma techniques cannot be mastered in
one or two attempts.
Avoid the word try. Replace it with the word do. To try something is to not do it! The moment you succeed, you have done it. The only time you can say you tried something, is when you have failed. The more you use the word try, the more failure is reinforced.
Get in the habit of asking positive questions about who you are, what you want, and how you can get better. This will keep you focused on solutions, not problems. Questions like: "What's not perfect about this kick yet?"; or "How can I make this stance better?"; or "What can I do to get this form to look like the instructor's?".
Attitude is based on awareness. Awareness is the result of what we're focused on. What we're focused on becomes our reality. If you want to be down, depressed, spiritless; it's easy, keep your awareness focused on everything bad in your life. But, if you want to be up, happy, and full of spirit; that's easy too, focus on the good in your life.
You change your attitude by changing your reality. You change your reality by changing what you're aware of. You change what you're aware of by changing your focus. You change what your focus is by changing the questions you ask yourself.
Consistently ask questions that force you to focus on things that make your reality more pleasant. Do it in a way that becomes very natural and normal.
Breathing should remain natural and relaxed, utilizing the diaphragm to pull oxygen
into the lungs. This frees the chest muscles and allows them to be used for kung-fu.
Breathing with the chest forces the practitioner to hold their breath during strenuous
activity. Proper breathing helps relax you. It allows more oxygen intake. You do not tire
as quick. It removes more waste, allowing the muscles to work longer without fatigue. You
can deal with pain and cold better if you are relaxed.
Gently push the tip of the tongue against the roof of the mouth and breath through the nose. When a strong exhalation is needed, open the mouth and thrust the diaphragm upward to force the air out. This is similar to the action of a cough. Use the diaphragm not the chest muscles. The diaphragm contracts, (pulls down) and elongates the lungs, drawing in air. When it relaxes, it goes up on it's own and allows the lungs to expel air.
- Shoulders down, elbows in, armpits tight.
- He who thinks in a confrontation, loses; he who thinks in practice, wins.
- Relax and breath low.
- Clear the mind, clear the eyes.
- The hand that's "not doing" is always "doing". Look north, strike south.
- Pull! Twist! Flow!
- For self defense... use simplicity. (Minimize movement)
- For conditioning... use complexity. (Maximize movement)
- For learning... use experience.
- For relaxation... use breathing.
- or strength... use concentration.
- For wisdom... use memory.
- For confidence... use repetition
In training the body, the Esoma practitioner speaks to the body by relating the
pulling action of the muscles as being more important, in the beginning, than the actual
block or strike being executed. Since the muscles of the body can only pull, not push, it
is believed that the body understands the word "pull" more clearly and therefore
reacts quicker to harmonize the movements of the body opposite the striking hand. By
concentrating more on the hand that is not attacking ( "the hand not doing").
The attacking side remains much more relaxed and natural. Later, after the fundamentals
have been acquired, attention is focused on the striking hand. The same applies to blocks.
There are three basic types of pulls taught:
- Linear - Pulling one hand from in front of the body, back toward the body, forcing the other hand out toward the target.
- Lateral - Pulling the elbow out to the side, away from the body, allowing the hand to whip out past the elbow toward the target.
- Torque - Twisting the body by pulling from the feet, through the hips, to transfer the force through the limbs to the target.
In Esoma we put the visual idea into student's minds, of the muscles pulling.
People can practice kung fu and do well until an object is placed in front of them to hit;
then it all falls apart. The attack is no longer a powerful thrust but a push. The body is
trained through everyday occurrences that whenever it meets a resisting force, it must
prepare for that resisting force by contracting the opposite muscle group. (See Resisting
Concentrate on the "hand that's not doing". Put more emphasis on the hand that's pulling than the hand that is actually attacking or blocking.
Later, in green sash and above, the students will thinking about where they are hitting and concentrating on their focal point, so the emphasis won't be on the pulling hand as much.
In our philosophy; we never hit anything, we never hit anyone, we never block anything,
we hit or block our focal point. Our focal point is always going to be there, it allows us
to be able to maximize our potential without compromising our technique due to perceiving
a resisting force. An excellent opportunity to practice this is when you strike at a bag,
mitten or break a board. Board breaking gives you an opportunity to see how easy you can
punch with proper timing and still break the board.
In Esoma, we say there is no resisting force other than your own. When you tighten the muscles at the end of a punch, that becomes the resisting force. One of the hardest things to overcome is the body's natural tendency to compensate for a resisting force. It is like punching at an object and knowing that there is going to be a tremendous force sent back at you equal to the force you are going to hit. You have a tendency to punch harder, to lean into it more, to actually make contact sooner and push through it in order to compensate for the resisting force. Whenever you train the body in the beginning to deal with pulls, it is our hope that you will be able to deal with these resisting forces with a little more control because you have told your body over and over to pull.
Kung-fu began as an exercise, and grew to embrace self-defense; therefore, Esoma has no calisthenics as warm-ups to practicing. Warm-ups should be comprised of kung-fu routines.
Esoma teaches economical movement and relies on it's three "allies" to enhance speed, increase power, and reduce effort. They are:
- Centrifugal Force.
How can you use your allies?
When in a stance such as a horse stance, pick up one foot without shifting your weight. Gravity will pull you in the direction of the foot that you pick up. An important fundamental about using gravity as an ally is, when you are moving, the weight you have on the foot closest to the direction you are moving is proportional to your ability to use gravity as an ally. In a cat stance you cannot use gravity as an ally very well, but in a horse, forward or bow and arrow it becomes a tremendous ally, (mainly, this is for late orange sash and above).
How can we use momentum as an ally? Momentum is the ability to keep in motion once you start it in motion. This is why we use circular movements instead of short choppy ones. Momentum is what you use to keep the weapon going instead of forcing it. In spinning kicks it is important to generate enough centrifugal force to start the kick and finish the kick. Use centrifugal force on your spinning kicks as an ice skater does to spin. To go faster they bring their limbs closer to their center of axis. Pulling them in or lifting them higher achieves the same result -- you spin faster. Be aware of these things and stay focused on them. Ask yourself the right questions and you will come up with great ideas. You'll find these allies being used all the time.
Exaggerate movements for refinement - Minimize movements for application.
During the first year or so, the student learns exaggerated movements for blocks, strikes, kicks, stances. This is similar to how first graders learn to write the alphabet by printing their letters large and exaggerated. It helps to refine the motor skills of the novice. Once the student has reached Green sash level, work begins on shortening many of the circles and arcs to be more effective in defense applications.
There are four levels of sparring in Esoma.
- Level One is practiced by the beginner after learning the basic blocks, kicks, stances, and passing the test for yellow sash. The objective is for the aggressor to maintain a steady rhythm while attacking; and for the defender to match the aggressor's tempo. At no time should either attempt to trick the other by sudden moves, or include strikes for the purpose of scoring. By sparring slowly and matching each other's moves, the student quickly learns to block strikes and kicks from all directions while remaining relaxed and fluid. As the student becomes comfortable with the speed, the aggressor should increase the tempo yet maintain a steady rhythm while attacking. More advanced students use this as a practice tool for very fast, aggressive sparring.
- Level Two, beginning around Green Sash, incorporates strategy and mismatching tempo. The
objective is to match tempo in defense, and mismatch tempo in offense. Since the aggressor
is attacking with a broken rhythm, the challenge for the defender is to match the broken
An additional skill for the defender here would be to begin working to develop accuracy and concentrate on placement of blocks and counter strikes.
- Level Three, practiced above Green Sash, is designed to develop strong fighting skills by requiring the student to commit mind and body to attack with the confidence and spirit of a warrior whose intent is to totally overcome the opponent. Each blow should be delivered with enough speed, power and focus to finish the fight.
- Level Four, practiced by the most advanced practitioner. This level is called "Slippery Hands". When a hand attack is blocked by the defender, the attacker swiftly bounces off the block, absorbing the force of the block and using it to redirect the attack in an arc back to the defender with greater speed than is possible without the aid of the block.
Let's take a closer look at why this approach to learning self defense through sparring is important to the healthy growth of the martial artist. We will do this by making a comparison to teaching a young person to hit a baseball.
- Level One: Let's assume that you are wanting to teach your young son or daughter to hit
a baseball. There would be a few things that would be natural for you to do.
Would you want to throw the ball slow?
Would you want to throw the ball as consistent as possible each time, with the same speed?
Would you want to pitch the ball as close to the strike zone as possible?
The obvious answer to all of the above is YES! And the reason to do so is also obvious; you want the child to have every opportunity to make proper contact with the ball. Would it really be fair to the youth to be trying to strike him/her out before they have acquired the necessary skills to make solid contact with the ball?
As the youth acquires the skills necessary to hit the ball consistently, it would be time to increase the speed of the throw to where hitting the ball consistently becomes a little more difficult. You would still throw to the strike zone and keep the speed consistent. Increasing the tempo should continue until the youth is fairly comfortable at hitting the ball at a reasonably fast speed.
An additional skill for the batter here would be to begin working to develop accuracy and concentrate on placement of the ball. Hitting to the right, left, high, low, bunting, etc.
- Level Two: Now is the time to begin additional training tactics. The pitcher (miss matching) now changes the tempo of each pitch to allow the batter (matching) to become accustom to hitting the ball of varying speeds. Next, by adding strategy to the pitching (curve balls, sliders, knuckle balls, etc.), the batter now gains experience in a more controlled environment than that of an actual game!
- Level Three: At this level the pitcher is trying to keep the batter from hitting the ball. You can see how this applies to sparing, the pitcher is gaining valuable experience in offense and the batter is learning how to overcome the strategy of the pitcher.
Many martial art styles have the practitioner seek out the best target and then determine the best weapon to use for that target. Although this is true sometimes in Esoma, it is not the general rule. Through green sash, focus on determining which weapons are available first. This will ensure fluid continuous movement. Do not allow yourself to fall victim to the practice of searching for openings to attack. That leads to forced, un-natural techniques.
Visualization is very important. You have to "see" it in your mind's eye first or you will not be able to do it. Things that you cannot "see"; normally, you cannot accomplish. Many people do not try to visualize what they are doing because they are concentrating on the thing they are learning. Become accustomed to visualizing your actions. Most people learn to dance by visualizing.
Some simple tips:
- Concentrate on a color until you can "see" it in your minds eye. This will develop your visualization skills
- Say the names of things as often as possible, words help people with visualizing things.
- In sparring and techniques use your peripheral vision so as not to focus on any one thing. (3d photos are a good example, relaxing the eyes and looking through an object).
- Do not visualize yourself doing something visualize the instructor doing it. This is easier for most students.
Sounds are as important as visualization skills. In Esoma, we hear sounds and rhythms in our heads; not in our ears. Sound skills are to your hearing as visualization skills are to your sight. If you cannot hear something you cannot comprehend it.
Let's use a punch to gain a better understanding of how sounds are used in
When you punch, there is a rhythm that can be established that begins when the muscles contract, pulling the fist toward the target, and ends when the muscles contract again just prior to impact. The time this takes can be measured with a device such as radar. For the brain to determine the exact speed or amount of time it takes for the fist to start and stop through the use of our sense of site would be extremely difficult. If there were a sound corresponding to the speed or rhythm of the movement, this would be much easier. The sound provides a reference that is easier to relate to. We can tell from the rhythm produced by the sound whether the punch is slower or faster than the previous punch.
This is a great training aid in solo practice. By creating a sound of a pre-determined length, we can match the length of the sound with the timing of our punch. As we shorten the length of the sound, we increase the speed of our punch. Many students of martial arts maintain the same speed for years, not understanding the importance of pushing themselves past their comfort zone. Our objective should be to practice a punch at a speed that is just past our accomplishment until that speed is obtained; then we should increase the speed just past where we can comfortably execute the strike. Relating a sound with the strike makes this much easier.
There are actually two sounds that correspond to most movements, the body sound and the striking sound. The striking sound is explained here in detail. The body sound is similar to the time signature in music (4/4. 3/4, etc.). It is the rhythm established by the concert conductor. The striking rhythm exists within the movement of the body. If the conductor speeds up the song, all the notes of the song must speed up conductor's rhythm. Therefore, as the body speeds up, so does the strike. Many practitioners will maintain the same body movement speed and try to increase the striking speed at the end of the movement. This will never work in a combat situation. It is the body's movement that first signals the opponent of the impending attack.
Working with a partner on sounds is similar. The person blocking a strike must develop perfect timing. The best way to accomplish this would be the same process explained in the section under sparring. By starting off slowly and maintaining a consistent speed, we learn how to respond to the speed of a strike. In Esoma we believe that this knowledge of timing is then stored in our body, not in our brain; much the same way we store the knowledge of a dance. It is much easier to match the movements of your body to the sound of the music than it is to attempt to just follow another person's movements without the music as a timing reference. One can not think how to dance, it must be felt within the body. Imagine the difficulty in dancing without, audible music. If there is no music, we tend to create it within our heads.
As we work with a partner to develop timing, we create sounds in our heads that correspond to the movements of our partner. By maintaining a consistent speed, our body begins to absorb the rhythm produced by the sound of the movements. This only happens through repetition of the same speed. As we become more proficient at one speed, the speed is increased until we have absorbed the new rhythm. Later, we become accustom to varying speeds and recognize the changing rhythms without thinking; it is our body that recognizes the speed, not our minds.
It must be understood that every movement has a corresponding sound. A strike or kick has a sound that must be matched with a block that also has a corresponding sound. In the beginning, learning this is much like dancing with a partner. Each person is doing everything possible to help the other learn to develop impeccable timing.
Every action in Esoma has a sound that corresponds to it. Without sound it's
very difficult to have good timing, and timing is everything to the martial artist. One of
the most important aspects in the development of good timing is your ability to hear the
sound of movement in your mind's ear. Dribbling a basketball, for example, is based more
on sound than sight.
Block based on the sound, or rhythm of an attack. Practice by first hearing the sound; then match the sound with your movements.
Timing:Timing is probably the most important aspect of Esoma Kung Fu. Timing must be impeccable. Concentrate more timing instead of speed and strength. With timing, speed & power will come. It is the key to getting energy out to the end of your fist.
Take the analogy of the rubber band. The timing of your release makes all the
difference in the amount of energy released by the rubber band. If you let go of both ends
at the same time, the rubber band absorbs all the energy back into itself.
There are all kinds of timing, the upper body to the lower body, the twist to the torque, from the lateral to the linear, etc. All these must be taken into consideration. Timing the stance to an attack, some feel you should be in the stance before the attack, some believe you should attack just before getting in the stance. Some think they should both be at the same time. All are true. Learning is an evolutionary process. So you must evolve from one thing to another.
Many times in an evolutionary process the end result is nothing like the beginning product, and that is true with kung fu. In solo techniques we exaggerate the moves to develop finer skills, just as child learning to print exaggerates to refine the motor skills. In application the movements will be minimized. Many think that because we practice things a certain way, that's the way they will always be done; that is rarely the case.
There is constant change from yellow sash to black sash; though there are some constants such as the focal point for a block being in the same place. Always block the same way when practicing, but in application, the only thing that holds true is that the focal point must be at the point where it intersects the attack in such a way that you're not going to get hit.
If you look at blocking in transition while minimizing your movements you'll find that most of the time whenever you block you do not need a lot of force or energy. When you use timing properly in your attacks you do not need a lot of distance. However, it is always helpful to get as much distance out of it as possible. Remember when practicing, to make the punch as long as possible. This does not mean everything you do should be long range. Esoma contains, long range techniques, short range techniques, hard & soft. Develop your skills and then put them into application.
Be aware that you change as you progress. Sometimes you will be asked to exaggerate
something to the extreme so that you can be brought back to where you need to be. It is
easier to exaggerate something and then minimize than to minimize and then push it out to
where it should be. It's easier to develop timing with things that are exaggerated.
For example, in slow sparring (levels 1 and 2), you are trying to match your opponents timing, that's all your doing. Usually when students are sparring for the first time one is attacking and one blocking. The one blocking is trying to match the timing of the one attacking.
Sometimes the body gets in such a hurry to punch that the strike gets there before the lower body gets set, so you don't have the brace that you should have. Get the body into sync first. It's much easier to get it out of sync later. It's very easy to minimize once you maximize; it's very easy to get out of sync if you have learned how to be in sync.
In striking and kicking, timing is much more important than power. Power is important; but without proper timing all the power can be neutralized. What is the proper timing for a punch and a stance? What is the proper timing for torque? At what point do you make contact? Where is your focal point? How far do you go past it? These are questions that must be answered in order to put the maximum amount of power into the target with the minimum amount of effort. Work on getting the maximum speed timed with the maximum mass so that they both reach the point of impact at the same time. Then you will have your timing correct. Practice this slow to get the timing. Speed will come later.
Distance, timing, accuracy, application... Yellow sash techniques, with their exaggerated moves, work on distance and timing. Orange sash techniques work to refine distance, refine timing and concentrate on accuracy. Green sash techniques refine distance more, refine timing more, refine accuracy and concentrate on application. In application use the five modes of execution. Be aware of, concentrate on, and use those in the techniques and in the forms. After working on application, work on committing yourself to the attack. Generally it is better to work on only one of these levels at a time. We teach in the beginning to not throw the shoulders to learn how long the arms are. The natural tendency is to throw the shoulder and it is very hard to learn distance when you throw the shoulder out at varying distances.
Your movements should be like water. The body is constantly trying to pour out on the floor like water. When struck, you become like water and absorb the punishment instead of resisting. Resisting creates greater damage. Esoma is like water, not stone. Maintain the attitude of water. If you spar or do techniques like the oak you will eventually break; but, if you are like bamboo, you will spring back.
Acting like water can be part of your everyday life, as well as part as your martial arts life. This will show in the way you relate to people. It can be part of your relationship. Many people are hurt because they can not take on the attribute of water; emotionally hurt, physically hurt, or spiritually hurt. The more you become like water the less you can be hurt. The more opposite you become like water, the more you can be hurt. You might ask, "How does that work emotionally?". It's easy to see when someone punches you and you are not like water, something has got to give. The same applies in relationships, business ventures, whatever kind of attack it is; your resistance is directly proportional to the amount of pain that is going to be involved. Whenever the attack comes you don't have to avoid it , absorb it.
Yin and Yang
Yin - female, passive, moon, night; Yang - male, sun, aggressive, sunlight, positive. They cannot exist without each other and one is always evolving into the other. There is a little piece of one in the other. They are not total opposites, if so the yin and yang symbol would be a straight line with two half circles. They are smooth arcs that are constantly getting bigger and moving. Yet right inside the biggest part, there is a piece of the other. Study Yin and Yang and learn the philosophy of it.
Forms, Techniques and Sparring:
There are some who feel that forms were invented by someone who wanted to keep the real stuff from their students and the outside world; therefore, he only showed a few the real meaning behind their art. And there are some who think forms teach you everything about the martial art and that forms can accomplish anything in and of themselves. Our philosophy is somewhat in between. Forms play a specific role. They give you an opportunity to use many of the skills and philosophies that make Esoma unique.
When doing forms you must use the concept of the body taking responsibility for it's actions and allowing the mind to stay ahead of the body. You must use the philosophy of sound. You have to use visualization skills and work on minimizing and maximizing techniques. You should work on tempo for defense, tempo for offense. You should concentrate on emptying the mind and emptying the eyes. In forms you have the opportunity to go over so many of the things that binds Esoma together. It is important to practice the forms in such a way that you get something out of them rather that trying to get through them. Too many students go through forms just so that they can say they have done them. Never practice for the sake of practice, never work on a form without a specific goal. For example when working on a form you can concentrate on nothing but good stances, concentrate on developing torque, getting twisted all the way around. Always have a goal.
The most prominent thought that stands very isolated from other martial arts is the
philosophy that the body, once trained by mental questioning and physical repetition, must
release itself from the control of the mind and except responsibility for it's own action.
Keeping the mind and body together and then allowing them to separate is a unique philosophy in Esoma that we use all the time but are mostly unaware of.
Learn to allow the mind to stay ahead of action. When driving a car, you look down the road, not right over the hood. The faster you go, the farther down the road you look; but when the conditions are more precarious, then you bring your eyes back closer. That analogy holds true with Esoma Kung Fu. The more uncertain you are with a situation or your surroundings, the closer to the situation you require the mind to stay. The more comfortable you are with it the further you allow the mind to separate from the body's actions.
The beginning student must concentrate on one move at a time when learning a new form.
The mind stays glued to the task at hand; analyzing each move. This is natural. However,
after the student becomes familiar enough with the individual moves of the form, it
becomes necessary to allow the body to accept responsibility to perform each move
correctly and allow the mind venture out ahead of the actions of the body. Then the mind
is always sending back images of the next few moves.
This is similar to reading one word at a time. When the mind stays on one word until the person sounds the word, reading is slow and jerky. Only by allowing the eyes to venture ahead does the speed and fluidity of reading improve. Soon, the eyes and mind can capture entire sentences in an instance.
Five modes of execution:
The modes are critical to Esoma. Many people feel they have never gotten accuracy down well enough to go on to fluidity; so you find some people who have gotten all the way to green sash and have never practiced anything but accuracy. Remember that you have got to expand your horizons, expand your comfort zones. Do more repetitions.
In Esoma, forms allow you an opportunity to refine the manifold attributes that would be difficult to accomplish otherwise. Chief of those being that the body must accept responsibility for it's own actions. About the five modes of execution and specifically, for forms it's perfect. Practice your form by putting together individual moves you have previously learned. This is where a lot of problems arise in students. Have a good understanding of the individual moves before putting them together in a form. If you do that, learning accuracy is much easier. THE FIVE MODES OF EXECUTION This discourse is concerned only with the application of the specific moves of any given form and does not include other necessary information pertaining to the development of a proficient form, such as breathing, focus, decomposition, etc. The five modes of executing any given form should be practiced individually in order to obtain the most desirable results; they are given here in their order of applicability.
1. Accuracy -
Accuracy denotes the ability to perform a specific movement exactly as it was intended. The first step in dealing with the application of movement is the acquisition of the skills to perform the movements correctly. The movements should be learned individually and collectively until the movements for the entire form can be executed from memory - with accuracy.
2. Fluidity -
The form should be performed with fluidity until all individual movements, collectively, become as one continuous action. A slow constant tempo or rhythm is advantageous for the acquisition of this mode.
3. Speed -
Neither speed nor power should be emphasized until reaching third and fourth modes. Both speed and power enhance only controlled action. (The slowness required in performing newly acquired movements in a fluid manner greatly facilitates the ability to gain control of the movements and therefore, must be learned prior to the addition of speed or power to the form). Gradually increase the speed of both the individual movements and the collectively movements, maintaining a constant tempo.
Neither accuracy nor fluidity should be sacrificed by the addition of speed.
4. Power -
When a movement is performed accurately, augmented by speed and fluidity, potential power is the result; potential, because it does not manifest until it is transferred either to an object, by the collision of the movement upon the object, or back into one's own body by the termination of movement. The speed and fluidity of the movements collectively will be thwarted somewhat by the abrupt termination of a movement or group of movements, but not to the extent of appearing rigid. Speed and fluidity must still be maintained during the movement or group of movements prior to each successive cessation.
5. Tempo -
After a moderate degree of proficiency is obtained in each mode, one is prepared to perform the form using the qualitative actions of the four preceding modes, so as to achieve an ever-changing combination of Accuracy, Fluidity, Speed, and Power as the mood of the individual, at that moment, perceives. Never will the movements of the form be performed exactly the same; however, the accuracy and fluidity of the individual movements must remain distinguishably the same, while the speed and power of the movements fluctuate proportionately to the change in tempo.
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