The use of Physics is necessary to our treatment of speed, time, position, stability, momentum and other aspects of linear and rotational mechanics.
Speed, Timing and Distancing must be discussed at the same time because talking about one without the rest is meaningless. If we consider an action which can be performed at a certain speed, the opportune time to perform it is timing. However, if judging timing is not a problem, the minimum speed required to successfully execute the action becomes the important factor. The distance that determines whether there is enough time to launch an attack across that space, or react to one, is directly related to speed. These relationships and the development of speed, timing and distancing are better when dealt with systematically and not just experienced through sparring.
Canterbury Grading 2014
Actual response time, is the sum of the conditioned reflex and the absolute speed of the body. Scientific evidence shows that reaction speed cannot be improved with training contrary to common belief. Therefore training can only be in: 1) predicting or reading the opponent to eliminate the unlikely options hence saving time in selection of rehersed standard responses and; 2) relaxing to improve efficiency of the muscles used.
Sinking or lowering the centre of gravity is fundamental to increasing stability, which has obvious advantages. Besides being a primary defence against throws or pushing, the lowered body can also be viewed as a compressed spring, storing up vast potential energy for lifting, leaping or throwing punches or kicks.
Sinking also means concentrating the "chi" energy at the accupuncture point approximately one and a half anatomical units below the navel. At a higher level of training this energy will be tapped for use in other parts of the body.
Patterns Competition 2014
Sequential action is one of the greatest "secrets" of the immense source of power in Tai Chi. Momentum is most effectively built up through a series of small efficient actions rather than one large action or several smaller actions performed simultaneously. The sequential build up of momentum is like the voltage of batteries connected in series as compared to the voltage of batteries connected in parallel. One large action will tend to be less efficient as prolonged activation of a muscle will create tension and cause inefficiencies. Large movements also tend to be easily seen and the trajectory more likely to be intercepted or avoided by the opponent.
Another example of this is like driving a car through the gears gaining momentum with each up change. The initial deployment of the slower lower gears with more torque, is equivalent to pushing upwards with the legs, the intermediate gears are equivalent to the twisting of the strong abdominal muscles followed by shoulder rotation and the highest gear is equivalent to the relatively weaker but faster arm and occasionally even wrist action. These small movements must be performed smoothly like changing gears in a racing car. This source of power is to be used in every technique.
Small circle (rotary) action can be used to describe following through and the whipping power release. It is also fundamental to stress free kicking and striking. When striking a target, maximum power is attained if the maximum speed generated is reached on impact. It is therefore unwise to stop the strike or kick on impact or even after impact because stopping requires significant braking distance. The small circle action only requires power to be cut on impact to facilitate a small circle or more accurately a rotary action. Therefore the strike need not stop completely hence more speed and power on impact.
Black Belt Grading 2013
A looping action can even be introduced earlier to create a whipping action which increases speed and power. This is similar to the action of a whip which reaches supersonic speed. This can only be achieved through relaxation and sequential action of the body.
Rotary strikes are also more economical in recovery because no effort is required since the residual momentum after cutting power is sufficient to facilitate this. This is similar to using the "blow back" principle in a self loading rifle. Reciprocating strikes requires new effort to overcome inertia to retract as well as consuming energy to stop initially.
The final advantage of the small circle action is avoidance of hyper-extending of the joints in question or at the very least, tension of the muscles, tendons and ligaments in braking is greatly circumvented. The harder reciprocating strikes and kicks are performed the more stress is generated. The circle action also eliminates the recoiling force hence assisting flow and stability.
Anatomical study is vital to know the strength and weaknesses of the body and the best ways to improve its performance.
Patterns Competition 2014
Relaxation is essential for physical and mental efficiency. It means not over activating the protagonistic as well as the antagonistic muscles when moving. Muscles get significantly inefficient with increasing tension. To begin a new movement a certain threshold of relaxation must be achieved. To move at maximum speed, such as speeds as high as a 'startle reaction', that threshold must be higher still. The range of movement of the body will be confined by the flexibility and the state of relaxation of the muscles in question.
Tensed muscles or minds will also lead to physical or mental stress respectively. Training with too much stress can cause mental burn outs and severe 'Repetitive Strain Injuries'. Martial artist can avoid chronic pain in the neck, lumbar vertebras, rotator cuffs, elbows, hips and knee joints because of RSI by relaxing and using the correct biomechanical action.
Patterns Competition 2013
Sensitivity in touch is necessary for the efficient application of trapping, throwing and holding techniques. The sense of touch must provide accurate information on the strength and direction of the opponents intent so that adhesion can be maintained and the precise effort is applied to control the opponent's balance or joints.
The greater the sensitivity, the more economical the effort and therefore the greater the efficiency. This applies for kicking and striking out as well, since sensitivity is necessary for relaxation. Incidentally, the lighter the touch, the greater the sensitivity.
This kind of relationship can be described by Weber-Fechner's differential equation:
Where dp is the differential change in perception, dS is the differential increase in the stimulus, and S is the instantaneous stimulus. The parameter k is to be estimated using experimental data.