Internal Energy to me, is part of the mystery and mystique to the martial arts. Today in a very scientifically defined world we live in, I think the notion of hidden energy is discounted or ignored totally. I don’t think it is a magical power but I do believe it exists.
Our mind is the most powerful part of our being. When feel pain and/or pleasure our mind must process it and send the feeling through our body. As we get older we prepare ourselves for these feelings when we see or feel evidence of the particular feeling approaching us. If you get ready to walk out into rain storm you prepare mentally to get wet. If you are getting a needle for a vaccination or other related health measure you prepare to get stuck by that needle. Seeing the evidence of what is approaching you, signals our mind and prepares our body for the feeling it will receive. Unfortunately for most responses our body prepares by tensing or negative thoughts. These preparations limit and drain our energy as well as skew our response.
I am describing our mind reacting to these experiences virtually without your control but instead instinctually. We breathe and blink our eyes naturally without you having to control it. Now, if you want to control breathing and or eye blinking you can, but when your mind goes elsewhere it will resume back to it’s natural pre-programmed way. If you are aware of your breath, you will notice in any confrontational or uncomfortable experience, your breathing pattern will change automatically.
Breathing is of course vital to our existence. Breathing influences and controls our energy. The faster we breathe the more energy we burn and the more stressed our body gets. Calm breathing occurs in a relaxed state, you can witness a person having a soothing sleep and notice their eased and slower breathing pattern.
If we could learn to manipulate and control our breathing to perform as we want in any situation then we would be over riding our preprogrammed senses and influencing our body to perform a custom tailored way for us as an individual!!
Hopefully you are starting to see that with intangible body functions such as breathing and thinking we can train them to function and respond the way we want. This is the key to unleashing internal power and achieving the pinnacle for self control and awareness.
I think some people especially professional athletes achieve true self control and internal energy but don’t always understand this accomplishment or how to apply it outside of their sport
We need to align our energies to define our synergy. Aligning our energies means we use earth’s forces to source and align their course with our body and mind to maximize our life’s course.
Gravity is a natural force on earth and effects every step and every breath we take. It actually can provide resistance or assistance, opposite actions that depending on how we manage, controls our balance!! Like Yin and Yang or magnetic force where opposites are the source of attraction or the force of repelling action, we must understand how the physics flow to gain the maximum go.
Economy Of Movement
Energy alignment is to me as Bruce Lee said “The Economy Of Movement” which is all about Energy improvement. Minimum Energy spent for Maximum Power Affect. We need to learn and train our body and mind to use earth’ s forces and not resist them as tension can become the ultimate hindrance and energy drain we can encounter. Tension is evoked from our mind and it distorts our physical side.
Energy alignment takes knowledge that can be obtained through the study of Martial Arts. We will learn muscle and mind control to move with Energy efficiency and maximize our life’s experience by being able to do more and live with less stress.
Our bodies are machines that amazingly function like a dream. So complicated and intricate how everything fits and functions together without any conscious effort from us, just behind the scenes with automatic means. Our minds are the steering wheel to our body which is the fine automobile.
Access And Understand
Now if we can tune in and understand some of these functions of our bodies and access some of the processes we can have some control over aspects like energy consumption and mood functions. We can propel ourselves to achieve more and have more consistency.
Stay In the Present
Body Awareness is a crucial aspect of Martial Arts Training and furthering your quality of life. Body awareness requires us to stay in the present and not let our mind wander or get filled with clutter. Tension, attitude, and energy can be maintained and understood through this awareness. Meditation is the core and root of opening your mind to accept and understand this constant presence of mind and full functionality of our body.
Improvement to body mechanics and motions can be the key to economy of movement and reduction of stress. I try to constantly evaluate my posture, walking, body tension, and mind perspective. I have also found through massage and stretching that I have become more knowledgeable and in tune with my body.
Snap Power is a fundamental of TaeKwonDo. It is a whipping like motion that can provide internal damage to its target. Like a whip this Snap Power doesn’t require a lot of power to execute properly just proper timing and proper body motions. Snap power is timing which reflects our body and mind alignment!!
Snap power is the means that can achieve effortless waves of force that are the source of energies converging on a defined course with exact timing and aligning.I call it the flip of the hips for full power snap assist. Like the excitement of sleight of wrist in a magic trick this snap power can be a fascinating incredible whip.
A towel is a perfect example of how snap power can be achieved. It is very soft and not much weight to the touch but can sting so much when we lunge it forward and suddenly change direction by pulling back it gives a snap whack. Pictured to the right is a TaeKwonDo staple Front Snap Kick hence its name gets it devastating power from the snap.
Change In Direction
The snap power is created by the change in direction the quicker the change and the more mass of our bodies we can arrange the more power the snap will obtain. I will mention any resistance or tension in either direction on the travel path can inhibit the extension as it will temper the snap and lose its dynamic smack.
Sleight Of Hand
One of my favorite sayings that correlates to my TaeKwonDo vision is “Sleight Of Hand”. This saying is used to describe Magic Tricks which deceits the eyes as it appears a normal relaxed motion but with a great deal of skill actually performs a hidden or disguised action which makes us say wow!! This excitement lies in our understanding or misunderstanding that this trick or movement occurred without us seeing it so we therefore don’t fully believe it. Well our expectations are such that in order to achieve a desired movement or result we need to execute the action with certain movements and/or expressions. Well TaeKwonDo and in fact most if not all of our body motions can actually be performed with probably more efficiency and ease then we are aware of. Tension in our mind and body slow us down and are unfortunately usually part of almost everything we do.
The execution of TaeKwonDo techniques are designed to be effortless and the power is actually created by being so relaxed and then tensing at the exact moment immediately followed by relaxation again of the muscles.This sequence of muscle control to me is magical within itself. The idea that relaxation and power are used in the same sentence was an anomaly to me. I think human nature, at least in our modern day society, teaches us we need to exert all of our energy to have maximum effect on our designated goal. The misconception is typically that we will squander that peak power because we exert it all at ounce, without any breathing or mind coordination. Our movement therefore probably way under performs our expectations and goals. Improper Muscle tensing in my opinion, can fatigue us almost instantly. Tense muscles also slow us down. Again to properly tense our muscles to be energy efficient to our bodies we also need to coordinate the proper breathing. Breathing is another fatigue factor. People will typically hold their breath when they exert their maximum energy and therefore fatigue themselves very quickly.
Relax for Power Max
So, as my Grand Master says “if you want to move faster or have more power than relax more”. Sounds like the opposite of what you might think is so. The “Sleight Of Hand” is the magic and of course the laws of physics which make the hidden power we posses achievable by “emptying our mind” and coordinating our skills to perform in relaxed harmony.
In the Picture
In the picture to the right I am swinging a Mokum (Wooden Sword) to extinguish a Flame from a candle!! This is an exercise in Gumdo (Korean Sword Art) we do for sword work. We do this do improve our cutting stroke by reducing tension and increasing fluidity. It takes a relaxed swing to properly gather the air flow with the sword to extinguish the flame.