The Unbreakable

In fighting and confrontation, there are many techniques involved. Although there are many practitioners who spend their lifetimes improving their skills and techniques so they are fast, deadly and powerful, the outcome of any confrontation is essentially decided by two factors. Hardness and Speed.

1. Hardness
Although there are many martial art practitioners who toughen their hands and feet in martial arts training, "hardness" not only refers to the hands and feet and their movements. Most importantly, it refers to invincible power. There are two types of power. Chinese martial art practitioners often prefer jing power over physical power or li power because li power involves muscle contraction and it is restricted by the shoulder and elbow joints. Therefore, li power is one dimensional and uncontrollable after launching a strike. Jing power on the other hand, comes from the integration of the whole body. Therefore, it is multi-dimensional and controllable after launching a strike. Although one of the characteristics of jing power is it can not last long, it is powerful because it involves the whole body when discharging power. Although one characteristic of li power is that it can last for a longer period, it is generated from localized muscle contraction, has no penetration capability, and cannot cause any serious damage when compared to jing power. Therefore, it is not preferred by Chinese martial arts practitioners.

There are two kinds of jing power. Yin Jing Power is for defensive and yielding maneuvers. Yang Jing Power is for offensive and attacking maneuvers. Correctly applying jing power is a very difficult task for all practitioners. Therefore, Chinese martial arts practitioners go to great lengths to get this information. If one does not correctly apply jing power, it will do more harm than good. If one applies it too early, it will be taken advantage of by the opponent. If too late, one will miss the opportunity and target. Therefore, a good strategy to execute jing power is to be calm, patient, clear of mind, courageous and let the opponent strike first. One counters the strike based on the opponent's weakness plus the opponent's power. Therefore, the execution is powerful.

2. Speed
"Speed" not only refers to the quick strike. Rather, it refers to the body's position changing quickly. It is so quick that the opponent cannot follow or respond. In confrontations, one should always avoid the obvious. This means one has to keep changing the position to search for the opponent's weak spot by advancing and retreating quickly or turning and twisting the body. Many times we observe the winner of a confrontation wins by executing a quick change in the body's position to avoid the strike and uses this to his advantage to win. Winning is not solely based on advancing, and/or retreating quickly or having a quick strike. However, it is very important for a practitioner to strengthen the lower portion of the body so it is nimble and flexible so it can support the body's profound maneuvers.

Although mobility is essential in all confrontations, advancing or retreating steps are too obvious and dangerous. In advancing, if one advances one inch less, one will miss the target. In retreating, if one retreats a little extra, one will miss the target as well. Especially if one has to cover a long distance, this creates many opportunities for the opponent to strike. In addition, quick strikes may be successful only some of the time. When one strikes, one also exposes one's own weakness. This only can be recovered by quick response and this quickness requires a very flexible body. In confrontation, if there is no advance or retreat step, and both parties maintain the same distance, then all positions will be based on turning and twisting of the waist and body. When the distance is reduced, all the strikes have a better chance to hit the target.

Although internal arts system practitioners emphasize personal development in their training, this appears to have nothing to do with martial art's vigorous physical activity, yet the training is inseparable from martial art. In spiritual practice, although there are many motionless exercises, the exercises work on purifying the practitioner's temperament, moral character and accumulation of power. These are all vital components if one wants to excel in martial arts. In physical practice, although the exercises are done slowly and in a relaxed manner, the exercises often work to fine tune the practitioner's body to improve all physiologic organic functions. For instance, it can establish better communication among internal organs, increase sensitivity in the nervous system and improve coordination among the body, hands and feet. These are the key components needed to excel in speed. This is similar to lubricating the body no injuries will occur when moving quickly or responding suddenly. Therefore, internal art practitioners actually work on some of the most important components in martial arts to better their skills. Here are some of the concepts internal art practitioners should focus on:

a. Seriousness
It means the mind is clear, focused and without extraneous thoughts. When the mind is clear, it is tranquil because there is no more space inside. Similarly, when one is engaging an opponent, one has to be calm and ready to neutralize the opponent's strike because this takes considerable clarity from the practitioner. Therefore, when the mind is clear and tranquil, the intent is pure and able to completely occupy the mind. The practitioner does not have time to be afraid of anything. Additionally, when one is peaceful, the qi circulates more smoothly and carries more nutrients throughout the body. Therefore, one will not easily tire.

b. Complexity
Literally, it means many. In martial arts this means there are many techniques or multiple strikes. A style must have a profound strategy, clear and distinguished training methods for the practitioner to be able to launch multiple strikes without any difficulty. In other words, the methods train the mind and body to act as a unit so the body is coordinated. When one part moves, all parts follow.

c. Path
It means the motion of movement. Although people say that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, a powerful straight punch must involve the whole body. When one strikes, every part of the body is going in the same direction to support the strike. Because of the human anatomy and the structure of the joints, in practice, all motions must be circulate to properly exercise the joint. However, this contradicts the straight line concept. A profound training method is stretch all the components that support the joints so they will be lubricated and the mechanics behind the strike will be lubricated by executing a slow and relaxed movements. Therefore, a speedy strike in application will not injure the practitioner.

d. Qi
It means power. For the nature of power as an insubstantial, one should begin to train with static or small movements, also known as the soft component, to accumulate power. Later, after one has already accumulated and begun to discharge power, one should train with dynamic movements, also known as the hard component. However, one cannot focus on one component without the other. Accumulation and discharging go together. A skillful martial arts practitioner understands this relationship and knows that one must combine accumulation and discharging or soft and hard components together so the skill and power will become indestructible and not easily exhausted.

e. Observation
Literally, it means perception. When one correctly perceives what is ahead, the proposition and conclusion are correct and one has good timing in execution. When one is engaging with an enemy, correct observation provides a lot of information resulting in a powerful strike that is on target. The key in observation is what to look for. In martial arts, a skillful practitioner often executes a powerful strike even when a movement is simple because his basic skills of the hands and body are well coordinated.

Although there are many misconceptions about internal arts regarding martial art's rigorous physical activity, internal art practitioners treasure and value their training of spiritual and physical practices. All skillful martial arts practitioners should make use of this information and incorporate the components of Hard and Fast as part of their daily maintenance exercises. Therefore, most Chinese martial art styles developed exercises based on these components for beginners to train their waist and body for flexibility and nimbleness.

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