Some of you have read this blog before and know that I am a student of Uechi Ryu a Okinawan style of martial arts that is based on southern style Chinese boxing. As I go into my 52 years of age I am hoping to accomplish one of my lifetime goals, a black belt in martial arts. I am testing in May and I have all my requirements learned, now I’m fine tuning the small stuff. “The Devil is in the Details” one of the hardest things is the position of the body as you move through a set of attacks known as Kata. In the style we only have eight Kata, some styles have as many as fifty, so we really put a lot of time perfecting each Kata. Even the most basic Kata known as Sanchin is never perfected in ones lifetime.
That being said, learning this style can be a very humbling experience. But I am going to talk about transition in movement, and body position, not about my many failures in martial arts. Transition and body position is everything. The position of everything and every muscle from head to toe. (literally) I like to compare it to ballet, When a great ballet dancer moves through the performance the will seamlessly move from one position to the next making it appear effortless and stop and hold poses during the performance.
A martial artist will do the same thing focusing on foot position, hand position, center balance, head and neck position and even facial expression. You have to be very aware of every muscle of your body and how it moves, sets, and flexes. You don’t just throw a punch, every aspect of the movement from the chamber of the strike and core position to the extension of the strike and the finishing position of the body. as with anything in life over extension will leave you exposed and under extension will leave you short of your goal. Sounds like Sun-tzu in The Art of War but it is true in everything in life. Where I struggle is not anticipating the next move. Like a chess player I have to be patient between moves and not rush to begin the next move. You don’t want your attacker to know what your next move will be.
The other thing that I struggle with is shoulder and core position specifically my hips. Most people don’t realize or even care that all the power in a punch or kick doesn’t come from the limb involved but from the hips. That’s right the power of the punch comes from the hip and one of the hardest things to learn is whats called the hip twitch. By twitching your hip forward and back during the punch or kick can double the power transfer from your core to your hand or foot. Think of a Bull Whip and try to reproduce that quick whip-like motion. You will notice when your hip moves your arms will automatically move with with the hips.
The patience required to achieve these methods is beyond the average person, which is why so many people quit. I think it takes a certain type of crazy to want to dedicate ones self to the advance of martial arts. This may be why there are so few Americans that teach traditional martial arts. Most people ,unfortunately, give up learning and try to create or change the style and create their own style. The proliferation of the Mac Dojo here in the United States is saddening to any true martial artist. I can’t imagine anything worse than spending years and thousands of dollars on some made up martial art that has no place to go and no real use in a fight. But enough of that, the subject at hand is the details and the importance of these details in the application of the moves.
Is your core centered, are you balanced what is your hip and shoulder position, are your feet in proper position to move in the direction you need without compromising balance. these are my Great White Whale. But, I know, With hard work and determination I can get this down in about Five or Six years.