Martial Arts Flow Theory, what I call Flux theory, is prevalent throughout all the martial arts. The problem is that most people don’t understand how these theories come together, and when they oppose. One must understand each type of energy and how they fit together if one is to be a complete martial artist.
One thing to remember, as we go through the theories, is that there is a hard and a soft to everything. Sometimes hard and soft is merely a distinction of direction, which is to say one collides or one guides. Sometimes the distinction is a little more difficult to follow, but we will do our best to show the difference.
The first theory that most everybody comes in contact with is that of Explosive Power. You’re going to find this power in Karate, Taekwondo, or most any art (or piece of art) wherein the fist collides with the face.
We have circular energy, but there are a few distinctions here. There is circular, as in rotating the waist in Shaolin, and then there is circular, as in aikido. Obviously, we have a first class example of how one energy can be viewed as hard or soft.
The next energy is spiral, as in Pa Kua Chang. This is an odd sort of energy, as it depends on circling limbs on a circling body. Weird or not, it is incredibly effective, simple to understand, but sometimes difficult to make work.
Now we come to suspended energy, as in Tai Chi Chuan. Interestingly, Tai Chi Chuan energy, in one sense, is simple weight lifting, but it is of the body, and one does not explode, but rather sustains the lift of the body, which creates a longer lasting and enduring type of energy. This type of energy is actually easy to understand, but, in an oddity of education, one has to either understand what the proponents of the art are saying in terms of western physics, or forget about it all together.
As you may notice, many arts have more than one type of energy, which can be good or bad, depending on how cleanly they understand the differences, and when to utilize the various powers. That said, Tai Chi is one of the few that use negative energy. This is a rare power, not many people develop it as it takes correct understanding of theory, which not many people possess.
In summation, we have barely scratched the surface of this subject, and there are not only many gradations, but whole types of energy which the future and hard study will bring. Still, if you can get these basic five down, define them exactly, and learn when and how to combine them, then you are off to a roaring start. Really, when you think about it, Martial Arts Flow Theory is what the future is all about, for when you get the moves down, what is left but to grow your energetic potential?
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