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Archive for December 18th, 2008

Softness version 2.0: Misunderstandings

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

The topic of softness is usually grossly misunderstood in the world of Martial Arts. When most people in America think about Martial Arts, they think Karate or Taekwondo, both of which are “hard” styles. What they and many students of both, do not understand is that in the upper levels, they both move towards softness. It just goes to show that there is no “better style” just “better practitioners.” The main reason I have been given as to why Karate starts with hardness and moves toward softness later is that most students cannot understand softness in the beginning. I do agree that it can be one of the more difficult things to teach to a beginning student as many advanced students have a hard time really understanding the benefits of being soft.

Misunderstanding #1: You can not block a punch while being soft. FALSE

You do not need to stop a punch, merely redirect it to where you are not. Just as it takes 100 times more force to stop a bullet than to deflect it. All you need is just enough force to move the punch (or better yet you) out of its path.

Misunderstanding #2: You cannot put any force behind a punch while being soft. FALSE

The force that we put into our punches and kicks does not wholly come from the muscles in our arm/leg. Instead it comes from our waist and core. Much like a Rock in a Sock, when swung, a small amount of force at the center is multiplied many times out at the rock. The sock only delivers the rock to its target. A small movement at the waist – using our core muscles – is amplified by our arm (sock), and sending the fist (rock) to its destination with devastating results.

Most misunderstandings are simply because of lack of information or experience. We try to give plenty of both. If you have questions, please feel free to ask one of your instructors. Just be prepared for a long, usually excited answer. This stuff fascinates us!