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Flow of power


Power flows outward from the center of the body.

Tanjun and ki

The tanjun is the center of the body (considered to be at the center of the torso behind the belt knot at the center of mass). It is the source of ki, which is mental, intrinsic, or breath energy, as opposed to muscle energy. All power emanates from the tanjun and flows through the body as ki.

Think of ki as water and the tanjun as a pump that pumps ki through the body. If ki is just released into the body, it will disperse over the body like rain over a lawn. However, if the flow is directed to a specific area, like water being pumped through a hose, the energy will be available at the end of the hose. If more water is needed at the end of the hose, the pump can increase the volume of water it pumps. Since the size of the hose doesn’t increase, the water pressure will increase in the hose and the force of the water leaving the end of the hose will increase.

A properly executed technique will conduct ki directly to the point of impact. If the technique is not executed properly, a break may occur in the hose and ki will leak into an undesired area, such as a ki flowing into the shoulder instead of continuing to the striking hand. When the flow of water divides and flows into several hoses at the same time, the force of the water is weakened in each branch. If ki is directed to more than one area of the body during the execution of a technique, the technique will not attain maximum power. Maximum power is attained by concentrating the flow of ki from the tanjun directly to the point of impact.

Ki flow must be timed so it reaches the point of impact at the exact moment of impact. If it reaches the point of impact too soon, it cannot flow into the opponent and will be reflected back into the body, causing a disruption of ki flow throughout the body. The principle is illustrated by watching a logger chop wood. The ax is swung in a smooth arc with the body relaxed and the muscles acting to progress fully increase the velocity of the ax. At the movement of impact, the ki is released, the body tenses, and all the body's energy is directed to the edge of the blade. If the ki flow does not occur, the ax may bounce off the wood or not penetrate deeply enough.

Is it real?

The existence of ki as an actual thing may be debated, but even it does not exist, the concept of ki helps martial artists explain how energy flows in their body and how they can harness this energy and use it to execute more powerful techniques. Whether ki is real or it is merely a placebo, when you think of power as emulating from the tanjun and flowing as ki into the target, it will help you increase your energy, gather it, and focus it toward the target.

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