Technique and Power
We often hear people
say that power is invincible, it can destroy all things and defend against all
techniques. We also commonly hear the concept that one ounce can overcome 1000
pounds. These two statements contradict each other and have created confusion
and controversy among martial arts practitioners, especially among beginning
practitioners. In order to become a better practitioner, it is necessary for one
to clarify these two vital yet differing ideas about technique and power in
martial arts practice.
Article By Master Vincent Chu
- What is Power?
When it is said "Power is
invincible, it can destroy all things and defend against all techniques," this
refers to when one is in martial confrontation, power plays a very important
role in winning. It also refers to the kind of energy behind the work.
"Technique" refers to the art of being familiar with and utilizing a physical
movement to deliver power onto the opponent's body.
A martial arts confrontation consists of competition in power, technique and
strategy. The outcome of a confrontation will be determined by a number of
factors, including: who is stronger, has a more powerful and speedy strike, is
more familiar with and able to utilize the techniques correctly, and is more
able to seize the opportunity. These are also the things the practitioner should
focus on in training. Among these components, power is foundational and the most
important element. If there is no power, it does not matter how good the
techniques are or how much experience one possesses, it will all be useless
because the techniques alone cannot cause enough harm.
At the same time, in martial arts practice, power or lack of power is not the
only issue. The issue is how to apply techniques properly. In other words, one
has to apply techniques effectively so the power is behind each technique.
Therefore, all martial art practitioners agree that power development or
acquisition is the key to martial art's training. Throughout Chinese history,
martial arts practitioners have gone to great length to obtain this guarded
information and knowledge.
- The Types of PowerAlthough there are many
people who describe all kind of powers, there are actually but two types of
power. The first type is what one was born with. It is called "Li" power. It is
a localized physiological power. There are many conventional ways one can
improve this power. The second type of power is obtained from practical
experience. It is called "Jing" power. It is the result of body integration and
coordination. This integration takes place when the muscles involved become
activated, and the muscles not involved remain relaxed so that all the muscles
in the body act together in each movement. Jing power is the advanced stage of
li power. All martial arts practitioners begin with li power as the source of
power and progress slowly in training towards using jing power. Therefore, it is
appropriate to developed li power at the beginning of training. But, li power
alone is not a very good power source for the unpredictable situations one
encounters in the martial art's for the following reasons:
Therefore, it is necessary for
practitioners to develop jing power. In addition, jing power is also divided
into "internal" and "external" jing among Chinese martial art practitioners.
Although the method and principles of cultivating this jing varies among
practitioners and styles, internal jing can often be obtained from static
training and external jing from dynamic training. It is only when one combines
these two types of jings (and training) that one is able to effectively apply
them in martial art application.
- It does not cause a lot of damage to the opponent
- It changes or reacts too slowly
- It is not spontaneous
- It is exhausted very quickly
- It makes it difficult to involve the whole body.
- Sources of PowerThere are two sources of
powers, "pre" and "post-heaven" sources. Pre-Heaven power is explained as coming
from the parents. Post-heaven comes from life experience. Among these two, the
second source is the most profound, mystical and guarded among martial art
practitioners. Although individual practitioners claim their methods are the
best to obtain more power, there are actually several elements involved in the
amount of power one can discharge:
- It is related to the size and mass of muscle.
- It is related to the quality of muscle. In other words, it
depends on the number of muscle fibers and their elasticity.
- It is related
to the nervous system and body coordination.
- It is related to speed. When the movement is faster, the muscle is able to discharge more power.
- What is Technique?Generally, "technique" refers to body
skill, methods and certain procedures. In martial arts, technique is commonly
understood and interpreted as the art of delivering power onto the opponent's
Today, all scientific knowledge and technologies come from practical
experience. The same is true of martial arts skill. In order to be skillful as a
martial arts practitioner, one must train a lot in practical applications. From
this training, a set of movements or experiences is developed called martial
- The Application of TechniqueTechnique is
the application of physical movements commonly involving seven areas of the
body: head, shoulders, legs, elbows, knees, hips and hands. In martial art
confrontation people employ all kinds of techniques and strategies. To win any
martial confrontation, a practitioner must be familiar with all kind of
techniques, able to apply them with speed and power, have a nimble body and
mobile step, have a sound strategy and also correct execution. Therefore, when
one is engaged in martial art training, one must train the seven areas of the
body to strike so that they can all be powerful in execution.
- Technique DevelopmentAll things that exist
are evolving constantly. All things are changing in relationship and many times
these changes are based on the changes in technology and society. It is the same
in martial arts. Everyone applies similar techniques to strike. A victor often
has new and improved technique. Therefore, one has to constantly improve on
techniques and make sure the strike carries enough power so that it can cause
Now, we can see that the relationship between power and technique is very
complex. A skillful martial arts practitioner must combine and incorporate the
two components together in all responses to be successful. When one has power
without any technique, it is equal to no power because one does not know what to
do with it. When one has technique but no power, the strike has no effect. It is
the same as no technique. When power and technique combine, it is the perfect
combination. Therefore, throughout Chinese history, skillful martial art
practitioners have recommended that one must combine internal and external
aspects in their training and practice. The result is The Six Harmony Theory.
Copyright © V. Chu. All rights reserved.