Let’s go geek and talk about energy. Now I’m not talking about blue lightening coming out of my fingers (although that would be cool) or new age, can you feel the energy all around us type thing, I’m talking science. Kinetic energy and potential energy.
Now before we get started the reason I’m doing this is that I will be teaching a thirty minute session this weekend in Dayton at Ninja Festival Part One. We’re going to do an exercise that shows you how to access the potential energy that is all around us all the time in gravity and turn it into kinetic energy without the need for muscular force. In the last issue of our newsletter I talked about the disadvantages of using muscular force and mentioned there is a better way. Well here it is.
The thing that separates the Ninja from other martial artists is not what we do but how we do it. The movies always portray us as super martial artists that can leap effortlessly into the air. Pesonally I’m gravitationally challenged. I don’t tend to leave the ground unless I’m being thrown. However despite my fairly large size, three knee surgeries, and sneaking up on 60 years old, I can still move pretty fast. How?
Potential to kinetic energy. You see if you are able to find your balance in gravity to the point that moving your hand slightly one way or the other sends you into the river that is gravity and moves your body for you, you become very fast and undetectible in that movement. At that moment you are converting the potential energy of gravity that is always there into kinetic energy.
The benefits of this in fighting are many; you won’t tire as fast because you’re only working to catch yourself as gravity moves you around the room. Because you’re working with and not fighting gravity you’re more fluid and less observable because your opponents eyes and brain are evolved to see things moving horizontially in opposition of gravity (something to eat or something that could eat us). But where it really gets Ninja is that somehow when you access this gravitational river of potential energy it begins to communicate to you what is happening around you.
I have not been able to find the science to confirm this but it is my theory that when you are in kamae, being completely in balance with gravity like this, it helps shape and expand our proprioceptive capabilities. This allows us to both know what is happening at a distance and influence the space around us. It’s not blue lightening but it’s close.
Any way this Saturday we’re going to do an experiment that will let the participants discover this balance and unleash their potential energy. And this will all be done with… a chair.