Everyone is unique. That’s something we all share.

Another thing we share is that we all have 206 bones.

Most of them are in our hands, feet, spine and ribs. 

We might be used to thinking of the big bones in our arms and legs as our bones. And we might think of those big bones as levers. 

They do function as levers sometimes. But not all the time. When we are moving with skill in karate, or any other martial art, they are frequently not functioning as levers.

They function more like links in a chain. Chains do not work as levers. Levers depend on a stress-bearing fulcrum to transmit energy. Chains, as they move, function as whips. They transmit energy from link to link as wave of energy. 

This wave will flow from the origin point, where the energy is generated, to the end point, where the energy in transmitted to the target. 

Ideally, that is how our body transmits energy. 

It is possible to use the arm to punch as a lever. But that way of punching uses only a fraction of the power available. If instead of relying exclusively on the large muscles of the arm and shoulder, the power driving the punch is initiated from the waist, with energy flowing through the torso and shoulders into the arm and hand and then into the target, then more muscles are engaged in the action than just the muscles which power the levers of the arm. 

To maximize the power of the body the energy flow and mechanical operation of the body initiated at the waist also simultaneously flows down to the root, the point where the feet make contact with the ground or the floor, so that the body architecture is stable, and the power of the legs contribute to the punch (or to the block or grab or whatever technique you are doing.)

So, instead of using the three arm-bones as levers, powering the closed fist as an impact weapon, we use all the bones of the body, as well as all the muscles to power the technique.

This is an important aspect of the way we move.


Post copyright © 2023 by Jeffrey Brooks, Mountain Karate Dojo, LLC

Photo by Joey Kyber via Pexels, detail

Another interesting post: True Karate Dō

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