Balance: A State Of Being In Physical Or Mental/emotional Harmony With Environment.

By JJ Simon
Published on Feb 29th, 2012

If your intention is to work on being in balance then your attention has to be focused on whatever you are working on while training.

The study of balance in the Martial Arts begins with the physical dimensions.

It should not end there. As our training progresses there should be a widened understanding of what it is to be in balance with our external and internal world. In Kenpo we call this being in balance with the environment. Environment is everything in you, on you, and around you. This includes thoughts and emotions, body sensation, other peoples bodies and all other objects.

In the physical sense balance is the stability produced by even distribution of weight and or force on each side of the vertical axis. In martial arts training this principle is key to understanding self defense. Can you keep your balance while interrupting your opponents'? There are several ways to interrupt an attackers balance. You can destroy their base by attacking one of the limbs that supports their physical structure, essentially negating the stability between the load of their body and the force of gravity. You can further help gravity propel your opponent to the ground by striking, tripping, buckling or throwing. You can also move their head towards their weakest base of support by doing any of the above stated methods. This compromises the vertical axis itself and makes balance difficult or impossible. Or you can do both in tandem with one another. For instance by buckling, which attacks height zone 3 and striking the head, neck or chest which attacks height zone1 this turns the vertical axis into a horizontal axis thus compromising your opponent’s balance.

The other side of this experience is whether you can keep your balance or regain it when it has been interrupted? Can you protect your self from injury if your balance is completely compromised and you fall? Is falling, rolling and diving part of your regular training?

The human body is best balanced when the head and the hips sit generally between the feet. Different stances distribute the load of the body at times putting the spine a little closer to one foot or another. For example the forward bow distributes the weight of the body 60/40 towards the front foot. This is because the torso is closer to the front and the distribution of weight must be adjusted in order to keep the body in balance. If you assume a forward bow and try to distribute your weight 50/50 to both feet you will feel as if you are pushing back on your rear leg and your torso will begin to tilt backwards pulling you out of balance. Proper stances are one of several concepts and principles such as anchoring, natural spine, proper alignment of hips and shoulders, proper corresponding angles of feet, knees, elbow, shoulders, neck and head and proper dimensional sequence of muscle movement that must be trained continuously to improve balance and the ability to regain balance once it has been interrupted.

All of life is a balancing act. From getting out of bed and standing up, to working with our relationships to people, food, money etc. The skill of balancing all the relationships in our environment produces the result of minimal chaos and maximum reward. Imagine what life would be like if you over ate at every meal or couldn't have a conversation with anyone without getting angry. Imagine what the consequences of that kind of life would be like. In my next article we will look at ideas like that.

Filed under Techniques and Tutorials

Author Bio :: JJ Simon

JJ Simon has studied the Martial Arts for over a decade. In October of 2010, he tested for, and earned, his black belt at TheMALC's annual Residential . Mr. Simon has studied meditation since 1990 and has completed a number of Meditation retreats from 3 to 30 days under such noted teachers as Lama Surya Das, and in the Shambhala training tradition created by Chogyam

JJ has acted as a meditation coach for friends and martial arts associates since 1992. Mr. Simon is a tattoo artist of some renown with some 20 years of experience in the field. He owns Explosive Tattoo South in Salisbury, MD. JJ is also a painter, knife maker, and the Artistic Director for The Martial Arts Learning Community, Inc.

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