The Mechanics Of Powering Your Martial Arts Movement

JowGaWolf

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This thread is to discuss the ways to power one's martial arts movement. I was originally going to focus only on strikes, but decided to focus on movement instead. This was originally a side discussion in another group so I'll start there. Feel free to discus any mechanics of any system.

To start off here are the power generators
1. Linear Movement
2. Circular Movement
3. Weight Movement (dropping into a strike)
4. Gravity Movement
5. Foot Pivot
6. Foot /leg push
7. Hip twist vs Hip Rotation
8. Waist Twist vs Waist Rotation
9. Torso Twist vs Waist
10, Shoulder Twist vs Shoulder Rotation
11. Arm and leg power generation.
12. Body Rotation
13. Wrist Motion

Before this thread we were only talking about how to power a punch using the Torso, Waist, Shoulder. We were looking at a boxing video on how to generate power. Keep in mind that every system is different and even with in the same system a person may engage all power generators or engage only a few depending on the technique and distance. There is not only one way but many ways. Share your knowledge.
 
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JowGaWolf

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What he says in video is true and taught in Jow Ga as well. The major difference for me is how I teach it. I tend to use the term Waist and not Torso. Torso to me is too general. Upper torso. = anything above stomach. Lower torso = below chest and above the hips. I like to use the term "waist" because most people understand that location. If I ask someone to wrap a belt around their waist, that person will place the belt in the area that I need the student to focus on.

I train in a circular system and the concept of using the waist (torso) to generate power is key. Jow Ga Kung Fu has these long circular punches that take some effort to get going. Here you can see a demonstration of one of these punches and how the power is generated. Typically the power starts at the ground and picks up other areas of generation. Ideally, a punch should use a "Power Multiplier" concept. The more you can add the better. How many you add it up to you and the position you are in when throwing the strike.

From what I've seen. Learning to power a punch is one of the most difficult lessons to learn. The difficulty often revolves in the connection of the power, most people bleed power and as a result their strike has breaks in power connections. In general theory, the more power connections you can make the more powerful your strike will be. The reality is that the number of possible power connections available will vary some techniques have a lot and some have only a couple. If you try to add more than what exists then you'll not only break the technique, but you will also break the power.
 
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Wing Woo Gar

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What he says in video is true and taught in Jow Ga as well. The major difference for me is how I teach it. I tend to use the term Waist and not Torso. Torso to me is too general. Upper torso. = anything above stomach. Lower torso = below chest and above the hips. I like to use the term "waist" because most people understand that location. If I ask someone to wrap a belt around their waist, that person will place the belt in the area that I need the student to focus on.

I train in a circular system and the concept of using the waist (torso) to generate power is key. Jow Ga Kung Fu has these long circular punches that take some effort to get going. Here you can see a demonstration of one of these punches and how the power is generated. Typically the power starts at the ground and picks up other areas of generation. Ideally, a punch should use a "Power Multiplier" concept. The more you can add the better. How many you add it up to you and the position you are in when throwing the strike.

From what I've seen. Learning to power a punch is one of the most difficult lessons to learn. The difficulty often revolves in the connection of the power, most people bleed power and as a result their strike has breaks in power connections. In general theory, the more power connections you can make the more powerful your strike will be. The reality is that the number of possible power connections available will vary some techniques have a lot and some have only a couple. If you try to add more than what exists then you'll not only break the technique, but you will also break the power.
i will give one example of what Im doing in one particular stance, with one particular punch, in detail. Please bear with my description/definition/terms as these vary person to person and place to place. Starting in parallel footed shoulder width and a half horse stance. I feel the pinkie toe line as the balance line. The big toe line as the power line. Feel the toes long and the heel long. Feel the center of the bottom of the foot like a big suction cup. Feel the bottom of the bones inside the foot. Take all the tension out of the ankle. Feel the tibia or shin bone like a stick in a hole. Keep the knee above the third toe. Feel the peroneus longus muscle on the outside or lateral aspect of the the calf or foreleg. The knee should not be loaded, instead the thigh muscles bear the weight. The femurs roll outward. The feet are neither pronated nor supinated. The pubic bone comes forward. The femoral heads go back. This forms a triangle. The inside of the space in the pelvis goes down but is opposed by lifting the inside of the body(Kegel). The back is spread. The tips of the scapula are flattened against the back of the ribs(spreading the lats). The back wraps around the front without collapsing the structure. The armpit is open. The shoulder girdle floats on top of the torso. The sternum presses to the spine and the inside of the abdomen is lifted like a tube. The breath goes up and down in this tube like a respirator. The motion of the torso(waist) turning creates the breath. The throat holds up the head. the top of the head feels suspended by a wire. Tongue on the roof of mouth. I pull with the bottom of the foot, squeeze the space between the legs, turn the waist, let the back come forward, let the upper arm come forward off the body, rotate the radius bone keeping the elbow pointed down on this straight flat punch. Hope that gives a picture but that isnt really complete and remember this is a description of a training exercise.
 

isshinryuronin

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Ideally, a punch should use a "Power Multiplier" concept. The more you can add the better.
You listed a bunch of specific power generators, some of which I couldn't quite understand :confused:, but no matter. I might have spent time thinking about individual power sources in the past, but at this point, it's all muscle memory or what you could call holistic natural movement. The whole body mass delivers in one way or another. Explaining this is difficult as you mentioned.

I liked that you did not deal with individual strikes, but with movement as a whole. It's all about delivering what you got, all at the same time at impact. You don't even need to strike to demo this - the step alone can deliver great power, whether it's a full step, a slide step or other variant. It just has to be explosive. I believed it all starts in the core.

You did not mention speed as a multiplier, but that's a part of explosiveness. I think mental attitude is a part of it, too. Fierce, focused, unleashed commitment.

The number of power sources and the mechanics required to utilized them do indeed make the teaching of power complicated. A few (5-12?) years of practice is needed to internalize it so it all meshes together. This is what I meant by "holistic." Once you have "it" you have a big part of being an "expert martial artist."
 
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Wing Woo Gar

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What he says in video is true and taught in Jow Ga as well. The major difference for me is how I teach it. I tend to use the term Waist and not Torso. Torso to me is too general. Upper torso. = anything above stomach. Lower torso = below chest and above the hips. I like to use the term "waist" because most people understand that location. If I ask someone to wrap a belt around their waist, that person will place the belt in the area that I need the student to focus on.

I train in a circular system and the concept of using the waist (torso) to generate power is key. Jow Ga Kung Fu has these long circular punches that take some effort to get going. Here you can see a demonstration of one of these punches and how the power is generated. Typically the power starts at the ground and picks up other areas of generation. Ideally, a punch should use a "Power Multiplier" concept. The more you can add the better. How many you add it up to you and the position you are in when throwing the strike.

From what I've seen. Learning to power a punch is one of the most difficult lessons to learn. The difficulty often revolves in the connection of the power, most people bleed power and as a result their strike has breaks in power connections. In general theory, the more power connections you can make the more powerful your strike will be. The reality is that the number of possible power connections available will vary some techniques have a lot and some have only a couple. If you try to add more than what exists then you'll not only break the technique, but you will also break the power.
Absolutely agree with this.
 

Wing Woo Gar

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You listed a bunch of specific power generators, some of which I couldn't quite understand :confused:, but no matter. I might have spent time thinking about individual power sources in the past, but at this point, it's all muscle memory or what you could call holistic natural movement. The whole body mass delivers in one way or another. Explaining this is difficult as you mentioned.

I liked that you did not deal with individual strikes, but with movement as a whole. It's all about delivering what you got, all at the same time at impact. You don't even need to strike to demo this - the step alone can deliver great power, whether it's a full step, a slide step or other variant. It just has to be explosive. I believed it all starts in the core.

You did not mention speed as a multiplier, but that's a part of explosiveness. I think mental attitude is a part of it, too. Fierce, focused, unleashed commitment.

The number of power sources and the mechanics required to utilized them do indeed make the teaching of power complicated. A few (5-12?) years of practice is needed to internalize it so it all meshes together. This is what I meant by "holistic." Once you have "it" you have a big part of being an "expert martial artist."
Sure I agree with all this. Its a difficult topic to discuss because of terms and semantics. We are all accomplished at our way of doing this, so I want to hear YOUR way. This isnt about who thinks they are right, but hearing multiple points of view. More than likely everyone has something valuable to add. This is also not about a specific strike but more about how YOU generate power for a strike. More specifically what you are doing with your feet, legs, waist, hips, core.
 

Alan0354

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I only talk about punching, it is the whole body. I learned boxing hands in my TKD class those days. When we punch the right cross, we lift the right heel while turning with the feet, the waist turn also. We judge the movement by looking at the belt that goes flip-flop when we do jab and reverse punch to show the feet-hip-waist motion. The should also push forward with the punch. The arm and hand is kept relaxed until the point of contact before the fist tighten up. Then pull back after the focus point.

The best way to describe this is the Okinawa Karate "Chinkuchi" where the motion of the whole body synchronize to the focusing point and all the forces add up together at the target point.

I looked at quite a few different punches from different style, looks to be the same idea but look different. The idea is very simple, there's no secret in this. Practicing is a different story, took me months of constant practice those days to get that. I since lost it even I never stop punching heavy bags. Just because I only went through the motion without concentrating, I lost it.

It was until I join here, GowGaWolf showed my a video he punch in very slow motion and relax. That reminded me to start from the beginning and do it show and light. Till now, I still start the exercise doing a set of light slow set. It's been over 2 months, sometimes I can feel it, mostly still not quite there.

I don't think there are secret in this, we learned on the first day of class. Doing it takes a long time. I think punching is much harder than people think to do it good.

I am sure swinging the golf club or baseball bat have the similar idea also.
 
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Bill Mattocks

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I agree with you. In addition to power generation, consider speed, timing, distance, and focus; all play into power that is delivered.

Stance, especially as it pertains to grounding matters, as well as that old bugaboo, balance (yours and the opponent's). Targeting also plays into how delivered power is perceived.
 
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JowGaWolf

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You did not mention speed as a multiplier, but that's a part of explosiveness. I think mental attitude is a part of it, too. Fierce, focused, unleashed commitment.
That didn't even come to mind. Speed is tricky because you can have a lot of speed and no power and you can have a lot of power and no speed and then there's the balance of the two.

When people are ask to hit their hardest, It is usually a punch with a slower wind up. When people are asked to hit their fastest they don't wind up and almost "cheat the punch".

Something for me to think about. When I do my forms, I sometimes train only power (no consideration to speed.) Only speed (no consideration for power ) Then the balance of the the two (speed with power, power with speed)
 
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JowGaWolf

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i will give one example of what Im doing in one particular stance, with one particular punch, in detail. Please bear with my description/definition/terms as these vary person to person and place to place. Starting in parallel footed shoulder width and a half horse stance. I feel the pinkie toe line as the balance line. The big toe line as the power line. Feel the toes long and the heel long. Feel the center of the bottom of the foot like a big suction cup. Feel the bottom of the bones inside the foot. Take all the tension out of the ankle. Feel the tibia or shin bone like a stick in a hole. Keep the knee above the third toe. Feel the peroneus longus muscle on the outside or lateral aspect of the the calf or foreleg. The knee should not be loaded, instead the thigh muscles bear the weight. The femurs roll outward. The feet are neither pronated nor supinated. The pubic bone comes forward. The femoral heads go back. This forms a triangle. The inside of the space in the pelvis goes down but is opposed by lifting the inside of the body(Kegel). The back is spread. The tips of the scapula are flattened against the back of the ribs(spreading the lats). The back wraps around the front without collapsing the structure. The armpit is open. The shoulder girdle floats on top of the torso. The sternum presses to the spine and the inside of the abdomen is lifted like a tube. The breath goes up and down in this tube like a respirator. The motion of the torso(waist) turning creates the breath. The throat holds up the head. the top of the head feels suspended by a wire. Tongue on the roof of mouth. I pull with the bottom of the foot, squeeze the space between the legs, turn the waist, let the back come forward, let the upper arm come forward off the body, rotate the radius bone keeping the elbow pointed down on this straight flat punch. Hope that gives a picture but that isnt really complete and remember this is a description of a training exercise.
Do you train with shoes on or shoes off? Some of this sounds familiar but some of it sound strange to me. I don't if it's because I train with shoes on.
 
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JowGaWolf

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I was going to keep this secret to myself but I gave it some thought and remind myself that just because I say it doesn't mean someone is going to adopt it or believe it. I guess one could be referred to as "experiencing the concept" Keep in mind that Secret too me is just information that clarifies training in a way that makes it easier to improve one's ability and understanding. Some of you already know this through your own training, but maybe not through this exercise. This is what I would use with someone who has difficulty in understanding the difference. They would still have to do the work to apply it concept to technique. But at least they will have a better idea of what it means when people speak of connection the different parts of power generation.

This is something that I use to help my son understand what he should be feeling.

How to generate power using the waist

This isn't a lesson but an exercise that can help someone understand the difference between just twisting the waist and engaging the waist and supporting structures

Step 1: Relax and gently twist waist. The twists looks like this. Don't double pump the twist. Just go left to right very gentle, no need to get crazy with it. If start to feel twist in your knees then decrease how for you twist. By the way I personally wouldn't follow this guy. I just knew he would have the relaxed twisting movement.

Step 2: Do the same twist but time, get into a horse stance, nothing super low. This time tighten your stomach as you twist and slowing increase how fast your twist. The faster you go, the more you can feel how your legs and your feet engage the ground to power the twist. Engaging the stomach muscles protects the spine. Taking the horse stance helps to prevent twisting on your knees.

One way should feel more powerful. Not because you are going fast, but because more is engaged to produce the trip. The only reason I didn't say to do Step 1 fast is because of my own back injuries and the understanding that twisting on the spine. There is real risk of injury. Step 2: I can do fast without worries because I know that my core and my legs are going to be the things that supports the twisting movement. I'm not overloading one area of my body by trying to isolate my movement.

I think once people can feel the difference, they should be able to recognize when it in training when the waist is engaged.
 

Wing Woo Gar

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Do you train with shoes on or shoes off? Some of this sounds familiar but some of it sound strange to me. I don't if it's because I train with shoes on.
Cotton soled slippers on a waxed and polished slippery concrete floor.
 

Wing Woo Gar

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I was going to keep this secret to myself but I gave it some thought and remind myself that just because I say it doesn't mean someone is going to adopt it or believe it. I guess one could be referred to as "experiencing the concept" Keep in mind that Secret too me is just information that clarifies training in a way that makes it easier to improve one's ability and understanding. Some of you already know this through your own training, but maybe not through this exercise. This is what I would use with someone who has difficulty in understanding the difference. They would still have to do the work to apply it concept to technique. But at least they will have a better idea of what it means when people speak of connection the different parts of power generation.

This is something that I use to help my son understand what he should be feeling.

How to generate power using the waist

This isn't a lesson but an exercise that can help someone understand the difference between just twisting the waist and engaging the waist and supporting structures

Step 1: Relax and gently twist waist. The twists looks like this. Don't double pump the twist. Just go left to right very gentle, no need to get crazy with it. If start to feel twist in your knees then decrease how for you twist. By the way I personally wouldn't follow this guy. I just knew he would have the relaxed twisting movement.

Step 2: Do the same twist but time, get into a horse stance, nothing super low. This time tighten your stomach as you twist and slowing increase how fast your twist. The faster you go, the more you can feel how your legs and your feet engage the ground to power the twist. Engaging the stomach muscles protects the spine. Taking the horse stance helps to prevent twisting on your knees.

One way should feel more powerful. Not because you are going fast, but because more is engaged to produce the trip. The only reason I didn't say to do Step 1 fast is because of my own back injuries and the understanding that twisting on the spine. There is real risk of injury. Step 2: I can do fast without worries because I know that my core and my legs are going to be the things that supports the twisting movement. I'm not overloading one area of my body by trying to isolate my movement.

I think once people can feel the difference, they should be able to recognize when it in training when the waist is engaged.
Yes ! This is what Im talking about.
 

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Karate calls this koshi, generating power from the hip. It can be overdone.

 

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1638024476476.png

Understand this and you can harness and transfer power.......For those of you that know of Okinawan GoJu, or it is your art of choice, this comes directly out of kata.... Sanchin.
 
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isshinryuronin

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When people are ask to hit their hardest, It is usually a punch with a slower wind up. When people are asked to hit their fastest they don't wind up and almost "cheat the punch".
Sometimes it appears that speed and power are antagonistic - either/or - try to do one, and the other suffers. It is tricky to get both together. Though there are times when one or the other can be stressed, depending on the tactical opportunities. While I also practice each quality separately (not so much anymore,) it's important to realize they are symbiotic, working together, adding each one's quality to the other. No reason not to have both at the same time.
balance of the the two (speed with power, power with speed)
The way I see it (and maybe I've been exploring the art too long) it's not a matter of balance. "Balance" is a good word to use in describing things, sometimes the only word, but I think it falls short of the theoretical ideal as the word infers two things: Black on one side, white on the other side of the scale so the arrow in the middle is pointing straight up. Instead, I visualize both intertwined together, resting on top of the arrow blended in a yin/yang symbol as one entity. Nowadays, I tend not to look at karate's components as separate pieces or notes, but as a chord. I hate the word "holistic," but it's the only one I know to easily convey my mental approach to the art.

When I was 8 or 9, on the way home from school, us kids would stop off at a mom and pop convenience store and order our favorite drink (that I think we invented) called a "suicide." It was every soda flavor they had in a single cup. You couldn't tell one from the other, but it tasted good (as I remember it.)

WTF, this is just conceptual philosophical BS. True, if it remains simply conceptual. At some point it has to be physically executed. But, concept lays the foundation for execution. To bridge the two takes a lot of practice, looking outside the box, and an open mind. Oh, and don't be in a hurry - it took me 50 years (or maybe I'm just getting senile and only think I've discovered something useful.)
 

Alan0354

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Karate calls this koshi, generating power from the hip. It can be overdone.

I think this is similar to Chinkuchi of Okinawa Karate I talked about. But it's about the whole body, not just the waist. I don't know how you can separate the movement into waist, feet, legs, shoulder etc. I just don't think you can practice one at a time individually.
 
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JowGaWolf

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I think this is similar to Chinkuchi of Okinawa Karate I talked about. But it's about the whole body, not just the waist. I don't know how you can separate the movement into waist, feet, legs, shoulder etc. I just don't think you can practice one at a time individually.
In general, for the basic punch you will have access to all points of power generation. But when fighting, body position and technique will sometimes take away access to some points of power generation. For example, someone who is doing a single leg take down or double leg take down on you will take away your lower power generation. This means that only the top power generation is available.

Shuffle forward Jab doesn't use all points of power generation. It's a good example of Full Body punch with only 3 points of power generation. Each of these can be trained separately.
1. Push from the leg
2. Foward movement
3. Arm

Some punches use sinking motion or collapsing motion which is a lot different than the the twisting and pushing motions to power punches. other punches use rising motion to power.
 

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Cotton soled slippers on a waxed and polished slippery concrete floor.
This reminded me of something an old teacher pointed out and it's why keeping the fashion and technology of the times in perspective is valuable to me.

We often take our modern world of "grip" for granted.

People of the past often learned to fight and wrestle in footwear and on surfaces that would have you slipping around if
you weren't careful.
A lot of fighting traditions come from a time when grippy concrete surfaces and rubber soles were just unfathomable.
Best people had was leather soled shoes or sandals against surfaces like stone or wood that were just getting smoother with age. There was give inside your socks, shoes/boots/sandals, and then between your soles and the ground.
 
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