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Observing Demonstrations

Whenever I observe a Karate demonstration, whether live, or on a video or DVD, I pay special attention to the way the performer generates power.

All styles are different. Even people in the same style can move differently. Techniques vary widely. Comparing one technique to another does not make much sense.

But it is fair to question power generation. How does the performer generate power? Is it all from his upper body? Is it just from his arms and legs? Does power from his lower body transfer to his upper body. Does the power come from the inside and radiate outwards? Does he use his whole body or just part? Does he use his koshi? Is he intentionally hiding his power generation or using a basic method because he is in public?

Now here's the big question. Is the power he generates more than the sum of his parts? In other words, do his body dynamics give him an advantage? Is his power somehow boosted?

Sometimes I see a large person generate very little power. In constrast, a small, slight person might be a virtual dynamo. Why? How?

In Kishaba Juku, skilled students and instructors generate power using their koshi as something of a central processor and transfer point. Power is generated using the whole body, and is directed as desired.

Other styles might generate power differently.

Good is good and power is power. Again, the question is how?

Another question I ask is how I would defend against the type of power generation being used by a person I am watching. This is a really good question when observing Goju-Ryu experts. They move very differently than Shorin-Ryu practitioners and generate power differently as well.

Which generates more power per square inch -- a sledge hammer or an ice pick? I guess it depends.

I should add that I can't always figure out how a person generates power. I do not understand all methods of generating power, or even many of the ways.

But our focus should be on power generation. Techniques are only ways of generating and transferring power. The more we recognize this in others, the more we can work on it ourselves.


Charles C. Goodin