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Concentrated Power

There are two ways to generate more power. The first is to actually generate more power -- to hit harder and put more weight behind it. Since there is a limit to the power we can generate and a limit to our weight and ability to move it, this method is also limited. Using this method, a bigger and stronger person always has the advantage.

The second method is to concentrate the power we generate. This means to channel the power to as small a surface as possible. For example, if we could place all of the power we generate into the tips of our fingers, then the power transmitted in that surface area would be quite great. In other words, we would transmit more power per square inch.

There is also a limit to concentrated power -- the striking point must be able to take it. If we did manage to concentrate all of our power into the tips of our fingers, most of us would have broken fingers the first time we hit something hard! However, we can use our knuckles, elbows, knees, and other hard surfaces pretty easily and safely (if we condition these striking surfaces). In fact, the masters of old did condition their fingertips and toetips and could strike with great force using these parts of their bodies.

In this way, a smaller person can generate more power (per square inch) than a larger person and gain the advantage.

I watched a television show about bulletproof vests. Sometimes, such a vest was pierced by a knife. As it turned out, there was so much power concentrated in the very narrow point of the knife (a smaller area than the point of a bullet), that the vest would fail. Imagine all your body weight focused into the tip of a knife. My sensei sometimes says that punching is like stabbing.

By focusing power, the damage inflicted increases and the attacker's ability to withstand the strike is greatly reduced. If the power of a punch is spread out over the entire surface of the fist, the power per square inch will be relatively little. If however, all of that power is concentrated in one or two knuckles, then the power will be greatly increased.

When that concentrated power is then directed to weak or vulnerable spots on the attacker's body, then the effectiveness and efficiency of the technique is greatly magnified. We can accomplish much more using much less effort.


Charles C. Goodin