One of the martial arts that I trained in was Wu Mei Pai. It is a Southern Short Hand style of Kung Fu.
For those of you who are not familiar with those terms, it basically means that we like to fight in close with mostly our hands. I would say perhaps 70% to 30% feet.
Wu Mei teaches the concept of continuous power. In other words, you are always in a position to create power and every movement you make could potentially become a hit.
Consequently, we train in types of power rather than blows. We work on opening power, rising power, twisting power etc. We don’t really talk about hitting with this hand or this foot etc.
It’s a little counter productive at first because you’re constantly asking yourself, why am I doing this technique? How am I hitting?
Wu Mei concerns itself with teaching you the power first and then the application of that power. In some cases the application is left entirely up to you.
This can be a problem of course as the students develops without a clear understanding of what they’re doing but that’s a topic for another essay.
Continuous power was something that I didn’t really understand. I thought that if you had to work in being powerful at all times then your truly powerful blows would have to be diminished in order to accommodate for less powerful techniques.
It took me many years to internalize the concept and even longer for my body to truly understand it.
What continuous power means is that you are always ready to deliver a blow. Blows can come from any position and from any angle. You don’t even have to reset yourself to hit. Your last move becomes your reset.
It’s really had to explain with words but once your body understands the concept and is able to do it, it’s an incredibly useful tool.
You can increase the power and decrease it as you wish, delivering knock out blows if you want. But you never get yourself out of position for the next hit.
In Wu Mei we work in making the techniques expand and contract, making them smaller and larger as we need to. When the body works at its best then you become an efficient machine. Isn’t that what martial arts are about?
So next time you’re working on technique think about this concept. How can I always be in a position to deliver a blow? How can I make my previous technique the set up for the next one.