Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Basics of Energy Point Alignment

This principle did not come from Isshinryu, but since I was shown this I have found it to be applicable.
The basic theory behind energy point alignment is that when the parts of the body (symbolized by the energy alignment points) are correctly aligned, the bodies power is more fully harnessed in a technique.

The points used for alignment are on the front of the body. They are:

  1. The 3rd eye
  2. In the front of the right shoulder
  3. In the front of the left shoulder
  4. The Solar Plexus
  5. In the front of the right hip
  6. In the front of the left hip
  7. The groin
Basically I think of alignment of a triangulation of lines coming off from the points.  If the shoulder points center on the centerline (from the solar plexus) they are aligned.

The example we used, your stepping out with a left front side block, required the block stopping aligned with the left shoulder and hip points, A fraction of an inch off, and a simple touch to the left shoulder point causes you to buckle, where as correct alignment remains solid when touched.

Even the placement of the eyes (to be on the centerline) can affect the alignment.

Essentially a correct technique will be aligned, not open to body buckling if an energy point is touched, and the alignment increases power behind the technique.

How to teach

First keep it non-verbal. When somebody is doing a technique wrong, touch a point and prove it to yourself, then correct their position and touch again, proving they’re now in alignment.

Eventually you’ll recognize the alignment scheme you’re using for your art from sight (btw you likely already are doing this when you correct a student, this just gives you a tactile overview why you’re making the correction.

But basic technique correction  is only the opening to the story.

Next take a basic kata, (not an advanced one) and make sure the students are executing it 100%, or begin working towards it. There you begin working alignment in more advanced motion (than just one technique). I use Fyugata Sho for this as I really like the technique series.

In time you can vary the timing, breathing patterns, even techniques, but keep renforcing correct technique (alignment).

Wait until they begin really getting that kata down, then slowly transfer that to their other kata studies.  Consistence in movement pattern, alignment and breathing all will help move towards better technique.

Subsidiary values

I discover anytime the two hands are together (as in Chinto’s ‘X’ blocks, or Seiunchin’s augmented block) what actually is happening the 2nd hand is keeping the body alignment correct, increasing power correspondingly. 

Likewise, when working a lock, having the 2nd hand involved (even with slight touch) keeps the body alignment more correct, increasing the power of the technique. This also is where you discover keeping the eyes and the centerline focused on the area being locked, and rolling the center to counter and then work into the attacker, increases the power too.

The touching hand is an automatic countering device against grappling, the slight touch keeps your alignment, and disrupts the perfect touching of both attacker and defenders bubbles of focus that must be perfect for a lock to work. Couple that with the knee release mechanism, and  almost instantly an automatic grab counter is born.

In the very complex book on tai chi chaun, “Mastering Yang Style Taijiquan” by Fu Zhongwen, he goes into incredible detail on a very small piece of the tai chi movment, showing how the energy point (the focus of the alignment points IMO) moves around in technique execution. What I take from this, is the moving point is actually changing the alignment for an incredible array of different fractal uses, within a simple technique series.

Thus this can be a simple or as complex as you wish.

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