Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Explosiveness in Pencak Silat - Part 2

Sorry for the long delay in getting this part out... I was ill for a time and I've been swamped ever since and just trying to keep up....

Before I continue with the specifics of explosiveness amongst the three types discussed previously, it seems appropriate to expound further on the idea of explosiveness and the mechanics which make the individual appear explosive when, in fact, it goes beyond the actual movement itself and enters into other realms of ability and scope.

Some methods have already been discussed, albeit briefly and utilizing different words, such as:

1. Being non-telegraphic
2. Knowing the range of the tools you intend to use and the relationship to the target you intend to strike.
3. Masking your intent by first using another method to distract.
4. "Zone" the tool to be used, being sure to use the appropriate tool for the task and "assigning" each tool in your arsenal a general task. (Though this may not be directly useful in short encounters it does train you to be aware of your body in relationship to the opponent each time you engage one.)

This next idea could be viewed as number eight of the DO's list in the previous posting or part 1 on explosiveness, or number five of the list above - it's your choice.

In regards to explosiveness, there are more details that could be added, such as the need for movement. That is to say, that an object in motion tends to be able to generate more motion, easier, and therefore more quickly, than a static object. It is then, generally useful for a practitioner to keep their "objects", i.e., hands, feet, and waist moving, at least a little in order to best be able to take advantage of an opening when it occurs. The movement itself does not need to be large or, in my own experience, even noticeable as such. It does however, need to be intentional.

For years I used large and exaggerated movements when I trained. I could understand the need for movement and the difficulty that it posed for my attackers, ufortunately, for much of that time there was little, if any, particular purpose behind the movements. This sometimes (maybe often) led me to be caught off guard by attacks because my hand and feet had no particular purpose when I moved them. Oh, don't get me wrong, I moved them as though it looked like they had purpose, but in reality, it was not all that purposeful. Don't walk that path. It's mysterious and often frought with "accidents." Instead, train yourself to be aware of how you move, when you move, WHY you move. Be mindful of the purposes of your movement and learn to become aware of vulnerabilities in your movement patterns and start trying to understand them and ultimately remove those vulnerabilities.

So what does that have to do with explosiveness? Well, you cannot have directed explosiveness in your movement if you are uncertain of your own well-being. You will trapped into a reactive situation versus being active and being able to exploit the weaknesses of your attacker when they show themselves.

In addition, by studying yourself, you will start to learn about others more deeply with the ultimate hope or goal of being able to see openings before they occur, so that, by the time they actually do occur, you are moving to take advantage of them. This is typically called "reading your opponent" and refers to the ability to see things developing just slightly ahead of the time in which they actually develop. This is the same ability that makes the average stock broker rise above his or her counterparts and become great.

This is often called timing as well in the martial arts, and can help you to seem explosive or quick when in reality your explosiveness is combined with your ability to read an opponent. This is a critical component to successfuly utilizing explosiveness as you age. It is certain that as you age, your speed and response times will be reduced and having this ability will help you to remain more viable in any encounter you may face.


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