Guest Author - Caroline Chen-Whatley
The sciences and the arts have always had a very strong tie to one another. This is probably because both are an expression of the world around us, an attempt to create context to what we see and experience.
In an earlier article, I talked about the Physics of Energy in Martial Arts. In this article, I'd like to explore the Chemistry of Combinations in Martial Arts.
For anyone that has studied chemistry, you will immediately be faced with the use of equations. Understanding how and what can be combined is the essence of chemistry. When doing chemical equations, there are some basics to adhere to. Compounds always try to move towards a more stable existence. What you put in must always come out, nothing gained and nothing lost. Not everything combines together to form a stable product.
These basics are directly applicable to Martial Arts.
Compounds always try to move towards a stable existence. Martial Artist always try to move towards a stable existence.
In all Martial Arts forms, there is a beginning and end, both of which should be characterized as being in stable positions. If you defend or attack an opponent but find yourself in a precarious or unstable position at the end, you will ultimately lose your positioning and the fight.
What you put in must always come out, nothing gained and nothing lost.
This is applicable in many ways in Martial Arts. First off, in regards to training, if you don't put in the time, you aren't going to truly learn Martial Arts. Martial Arts is more than just some exercise class where you get up, perform, and forget about it. It's a way of life and teaches you about yourself and your body. But you will only gain the full benefit if you apply yourself constantly to your training. What you put in, your time and effort, will come out and manifest into your knowledge and understanding of the arts.
Furthermore, in understanding the movements of Martial Arts, it works on the principles that there are finite factors brought into the equation of any encounter: you, the opponent, your surroundings, and items on or about either of you. These factors can't be altered but they play an instrumental part in feeding into how you defeat your opponent.
Not everything combines together to form a stable product
A good Martial Artist learns to adjust and compensate for the situation at hand. They understand themselves well enough to know what techniques work for them and what do not. For instance, if you're only 5 feet tall and your opponents are consistently taller than you, it is unlikely you will make use of a lot of head techniques; your targets will more than likely be lower. With that being said, you cannot predict what your next encounter might bring and you need to train to deliver head techniques in the event your opponent happens to be shorter than you. There might also be situations where even if your opponent is taller, he has fallen to the ground and then techniques to the head are applicable again. This is the same concept as in chemistry where changing the angles of the molecules might actually allow for an unlikely combination to occur.
Being a science, the basic tenants of chemistry are also applicable to Martial Arts. Both strive to understand the world around us and make predictions on outcomes that allow for the ultimate stability of a situation.