Archives for January 2010

Whole Body Power – One of the real secrets of 1 Touch Knockouts!

When you use proper waist and knee power together while relaxed you will gain the benefits of whole body power. Start by first taking the waist and knee power exercises and doing them without any waist or knee movement and then do them with both the waist and knees acting in coordination at the same time. There should be a significant difference in power.

Also, if you shift your body weight from one side to the other by shifting on your feet and then allow the weight to transfer into your pushing or pulling action then you will add another dimension to your power altogether. Trained properly you will find that this kind of training will give you powerful movement and striking ability while you are relaxed and moving relatively effortlessly. The trick to using this for self defense is to train fluidly and softly while maintaining the integrity of your body enough so that whatever action you are performing is done by your whole body as fast as you can move to do it.

If you apply yourself to this training then you will find that the transference of body weight required to perform 1 Touch knockouts is something you can build into your movement so that whole body power is available whenever you need it. This kind of movement is essential for all of the advanced material in Clear’s Silat.

Keep up the Good Training.
Please send me any questions you may have.
Regards.
Sifu

Knee Power

Knee Power primarily works on the vertical up and down aspect of power and although you are bending your knees it is about the use of your legs for power. That power can be utilized in your horizontal movement and added to your waist power. When first learning and working on Knee power isolate any tests and drills so that you just work on your knees and legs while not using any waist motion so that you can see what your knees (legs) will do without confusing the issue.

In this training you really want to gain a visceral understanding of how it feels and what you need to do to really use your legs for power.

In waist power you are mostly working on the horizontal movement. In knee power (leg power) you are working on vertical up and down movement. When you add the two together you are working on being able to express more power in all directions.

Here are a couple of knee power (leg power) tests and exercises.

Try pushing a resisting partner or heavy object without using knee power and then push against the same resisting partner or heavy object while using knee power. There should be a noticeable difference. Also, try throwing a punch in the air without using knee power and then do the same punch using knee power by squatting half way and then bouncing upwards as you throw the punch and dropping back to where you started without delay. Essentially do it as a bouncing action. Then do the punch again without using knee power to get a good comparison between the two things.

Another good comparison exercise for knee power is to have a strong partner grab you. Try to pull your partner without using knee power and then try to pull them using your knees / legs for power. Also, try to escape by pulling your arm away without using knee / leg power then do the same thing again but primarily using your knees / legs as the source for power.

Waist Power

In Clear’s Silat Phase 1 we have a class to specifically work on Waist power, Knee power and whole body power. Waist power is often mentioned in many sports and physical disciplines and I find that most students have had some exposure to the concept and principle of waist power. However, I also find that most people do not “physically” know the difference between moving the waist and turning the hips.

To the untrained eye, for waist power, turning the waist and turning the hips appears to be the same thing. But, these two things are very different from each other. The hips are bones and part of the skeleton. The waist is primarily muscle. The ramifications of this are huge. The ability to physically turn the hips is quite a bit more limited than the ability to turn the waist and the range of motion of the waist is much larger than the range of motion for the hips.

Also, using the hips for power over time actually damages the hips and in most people eventually over 20 – 30 years calls for a hip replacement surgery in order to fix the damage that has been done to the bone. Actual waist power has quite a different affect. Correctly training and using the waist for power builds the core muscles and is very healthy for the body as a result.

One of the basic ways to differentiate between hip and waist motion is to stand with your feet at slightly wider than shoulder width, stand up tall with your legs locked or stand in a strong horse stance and practice turning your upper body 90 degrees to the left or right. Make sure that your hips stay facing the front. To exercise the waist muscles and to work on your range of motion turn 90 degrees or more back and forth to the left and right. Do not be alarmed by your breathing because when you do this correctly you will feel your diaphragm pumping up and down as you turn.

For a comparison of waist power and no waist power try pushing a resisting partner or heavy object without using waist power and then push against the same resisting partner or heavy object while using waist power. There should be a noticeable difference. Also, try throwing a punch in the air without using waist power and then do the same punch using waist power then do it without using waist power one more time to get a good comparison.

Another good comparison exercise for waist power is to have a strong partner grab you. Try to pull your partner without using waist power and then try to pull them using your waist for power. Also, try to escape by pulling your arm away without using waist power then do the same thing again but primarily using your waist as the source for power.

Silat Alive Hands Applications

Phase 1 - Vol 2Following are some applications for alive hands. I have included one application that involves getting a strike blocked and the response to it, another application whereby the attacker is trying to close in and suppress you to stop you from being able to strike and the last one is a grappling counter application.

A basic application is that I throw a right handed whip to the eyes and it gets blocked. I immediately (non-stop) retract it using my left hand whip hand and retraction to move their arm and bounce my right whip hand off of my body and then strike to their groin. When I retract my left hand off of my body I use it to control their arm (and ideally body) position so that I then execute another bouncing whip hand to their eyes with my right hand.

Another application is that the attacker is trying to suppress my arms. Instead of trying to push back I simply use one hand as a whip pushing against their suppression thereby helping to create the space I need to execute a whip hand with my other hand which retracts and bounces off of my own body and then is fired where they are not protecting. If they are pushing against me up high between arm and head level then my whip is to their groin. If they are trying to take me down at the waist then my whip is to their eyes.

If the attacker is a lot bigger and stronger than me and has grabbed both of my arms then I perform Drill # 1 alternately whipping and retracting / pushing and pulling with both of my arms until I am free and fully whipping and retracting and the attacker is getting pulled into bad positions and hand/finger whipped and can no longer hold on.

Silat Alive Hands Drills

The first alive hands drill is to practice throwing whip hands and retracting body slaps that in application are open hand blocks that pull your opponent closer into your whip hand eye shots while turning them into a difficult position to do anything about it.

Phase 1 - Vol 2The 2nd alive hands drill is to practice alive hands using your partner as the contact surface so that your hands retract to them and do not return to the surface of your own body.

The 3rd alive hands drill is to practice throwing the hits off of the air so that the extent of your physical reach in the air is where your hit bounces off of and you alternate hands so that as soon as one hand hits the farthest point in front of you is when the hands alternate. The retracting hand should be no closer to you than your extended elbow at the point of change from retraction to whipping. When performing this last drill your hands tend to look like you are working two yo-yos at the same time or that you are dribbling two basketballs off of the wall in front of you.

The first alive hands drill is practiced in various ways to build your coordination, ability and speed.

1. Drill #1 Solo in the air practice throwing continuous bouncing off of your own body hand whips and retracting open hand blocks.

2. Perform drill # 1 but move around more. Walk and change the position of your feet while you are doing it. Change where your retracting hand makes contact with your own body so that there is a lot of change in position and placement. Think about flanking someone and continually striking and blocking while moving like this.

3. Continue to do drill # 1 but choose a hand to alternately strike their eyes and then bounce off of your body to strike to their groin and then back to their eyes again etc.. The other hand bounces straight out in front of you and then back to your chest and then straight back in front of you. Once you have it basically going on you will see that there is a hand coordination that you learn from doing this. Now do it faster and faster until you can go fast enough that the naked eye cannot keep up with your striking speed.

4. Alternately pass and bounce your hands. Both hands are whipping and retracting in front of you. The first pass of your hands is like drill # 1. The second time your hands do not pass but instead at the half way point between yourself and your fully extended arm your retracting hand bounces off of the back of your whipping hand so that the hands both change direction at the same time. Now your hand that was retracting becomes a whip hand again and your whipping hand becomes a retracting hand again. This is training so that if you get blocked you simply change direction instead of trying to force your way through. This is so that you change direction and go around them faster than they can adjust to your change in direction. Once again do this drill to the point of blinding speed.

5. Perform the last drill alternately passing and bouncing with both hands but move around more. Walk and change the position of your feet while you are doing it. Change where your retracting hand makes contact with your own body so that there is a lot of change in position and placement. Think about flanking someone and continually striking and blocking while moving like this.

Silat Alive Hands

In simple terms alive hands refers to the idea and principle that “both” “hands” are “constantly” “moving” and each of the hands are performing a task.

I have found that a lot of folks with some boxing training are able to move both hands at the same time but the distinguishing characteristic of alive hands is the principle that both hands are performing a self defense function as opposed to one of the hands simply being a retraction of a fist that has been thrown.

Phase 1 - Vol 2A basic example of an alive hands technique is to have a training partner throw a punch. I slap block their punch with my retracting hand while at the same time throwing a finger whip to their chest with my other hand so that the block and the strike occur at the same time. The finger whip strike is in reality intended to be an eye or throat shot but of course you must exercise caution and safety in your training. My retracting hand is brought all the way to my body and bounces off of my body (chest or shoulder) and without stopping it turns into and is used to fire off a second whip hand shot.

After getting used to the first technique then the second technique is performed. I retract my whip hand strike and use it to slap block my training partners second punch while my second whip hand strike is on the way to them. This slap block and whip hand strike can be performed and is practiced to be performed continuously without stopping the action until at least half a dozen or so whip hands and slap blocks have been thrown.

The slap block and whip hand combination can be practiced solo in the air and to someone observing it simply looks as if you are explosively smacking your hands on your own body and throwing whip hand strikes. Interestingly enough most people do not notice the whip hand strikes unless they are standing directly in front of you where they can see and feel that the whip hands would be dangerous to them. This is partially because everyone can hear and see the body slapping. In the art this distraction is intentional and in reality would help to distract and confuse an opponent / attacker as well.

Have a Safe & Happy New Year!
Sifu Richard Clear