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Second Nature - Soft Power

The alternative to muscular power.

Wayne Belonoha

Professional athletes all use skilled power. They learn how to use good technique coupled with the training of specific muscles to maximize their power, whether their sport is weightlifting or golf. Understanding the types of energies and the strategies to deal with heavy punches is key to improving your Kung Fu.

Power is an influence. In our martial context, power is the ability to make somebody else move into a compromised position so we can escape a confrontation unscathed or even perhaps inflict injury should the situation warrant.

There are many ways to exert this influence. The most common, known as Link (“Power/Force”), and easiest to implement is to simply use your muscles and smash or crush or shove. It’s brute force power, or “Dumb Power”. However, there is another type; a type, which is developed and honed through proper technique and practice. It’s known as Gihng (“Energy, Skilled/Trained Power”). Most professional athletes use this skillfully trained power in their sport— striking a baseball, powerlifting weights, striking a golf ball, or kicking a football.

By and large, while muscles are developed and used in Gihng power, it’s only the right muscles—supplemented by tendons, momentum and skeletal structure. By minimizing the muscles used, it gives the athlete a feeling of relaxation. When we talk about “relaxation” at Wai’s Kung Fu, we’re talking about this.

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Issue No. 48, 2019

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