Torque

An interesting aspect of integrated strength is the internalization of momentum, which in our lineage is referred to as martial velocity or torque.  The presence of torque within a gesture is one of the reasons integrated strength can be applied with little or no visible movement.  The idea is that when the entire body is in motion there is kinetic energy in that momentum.  That energy is very obvious when a football player crashes into a training dummy but much less evident when movement of mass is contained within an internal orbit.  Consider this video of my teacher coaching me through a testing strength exercise:

Each time my fellow students attempt to use their strength on me the presence of torque within my gesture allows me to hijack their strength and redirect their energy at an angle of my choosing.  The kinetic energy of momentum is present but there is very little visible movement of my body to indicate its presence.  The mass in my internal orbit is being used  to route the force they are attempting to use on my frame back to them.

This is all possible because inside what looks like a static frame is a constant orbit of my mass.  Like a ball bearing rolling around on the inside of a sphere it can go any direction  and never stops.  Because my mass and  center are in a state of constant change it is difficult for my training partners to move my center.  I developed this ability through my teacher’s process of elongating the external orbit, condensing it internally and then folding the internal orbit inside of the external one.  Only later, while learning stand up paddle boarding,  did I realized how the internal orbit is really just a natural part of our balancing capacity.

SUP is exhausting at first.  Trying to stay balanced while standing on something so unstable leaves you looking forward to getting back on solid ground.  After a while you relax and find balance by letting your body constantly adjust to the subtle changes being introduced by waves, wind and paddle strokes.  The process reminded me of the challenges I endured in the beginning stages of standing practice (Jam Jong).  Trying to hold my balance on the paddle board was as exhausting as remaining motionless in Jam Jong .  My feet even hurt the same way in the beginning stages of both activities.

Much like accepting a state of constant change allowed me to relax on the paddle board it was allowing constant change in my frame during Jam Jong that transformed it from a bitter practice of will and endurance to a sweet experience of unity and flow.

Perhaps the movement required to maintain the stasis of balance is the mother of martial velocity or torque in Yi Chuan.  Anytime I am able to let go and really relax inside my standing practice a subtle orbit appears.  By accelerating and controlling that orbit I am able to control the external orbit and motion of my body through space.  When interacting with an opponent the same orbit controls the route used to defeat their attempt to take my center of balance.

About steveehrenreich

I am a long time practitioner of martial arts and Yi Chuan student of Master Cheuk Fung.
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