Latosa Concepts, FMA Terminology 3. Balance.
As you have seen with the previous two entries for Latosa Concepts, FMA Terminology, I have written about subjects that were relevant at the moment. With this entry we will be getting back to basics.
Balance is required to do almost anything. The question is what is balance. Before getting into the martial arts aspect of it we will start with the bare basics of balance. While writing this, I am standing on a balance board at the desk. How am I physically able to do that. To start with my body had to learn how to cope with gravity and it’s own weight. If we look at a baby that has to learn how to sit up and then stand up. The muscles in our body have to learn how to time what could be called a tug-of-war between the two sides of the body. (we are sticking with the front and back side of the body to keep it simple). If one side is too strong we fall that way. We also need core structure to hold us up and function as a base for the rest to work off of.
How does this pertain to martial arts? The same process is happening the whole time we are trying to stand solidly against an attack or while performing an attack or some other movement. A simplified example could be when comparing a baby learning to sit up and myself writing at the desk while standing on a balance board.
A beginner in Filipino Martial Arts will have to learn how to find their balance in simple situations to start with. This will have to do with how and where to have place their weapons while in a relaxed and ready state as well as in an attack or movement. From there the next job will be to learn how not to fall out of the position while under pressure from one or more attackers. As well as the physical act of standing and coping with attacks and adjustments we have to look at developing the Power Mechanisms that we use to generate and absorb / deflect / destroy an attackers power.
This brings us to finding a balance regarding our mental energy. When we are in a state of arousal our nervous system reacts to this. Adrenaline kicks in and parts of our nervous system shuts down taking certain motor skill with it as well as many other handy tools we could use in a fight. By learning to relax at moments we choose, we increase our ability to act and react in the best possible way. The ability to explode with power and intensity then relax a moment afterwards has to be trained over time. We are talking about training a mental balance. To get back to the first example we used, we have to cope and adjust. Instead of gravity it is the adrenaline rush and other effects we are coping with.
You know what’s coming now…. What else? The last thing I’ll write about is the ability to balance our exertion of energy and which power mechanisms we use according to our surroundings and the tools we are using. In other words Transition. This has to do with environmental balance and environmental training. I remember when I trained with GM Latosa in California. The first thing he did was put me on loose gravel because he knew what kind of power and speed I was capable of. On top of that he had me on the balls of my feet (both of them). I had to adjust quickly. What happened? Instead of using a pushing back leg as a main power mechanism, dropping power took over. Once again this adjustment was an act of balancing my environment with my movements.
If you want to physically train your balance while working on general strength and condition, then you need to work on complex exercises. What I did Sunday was a good example. Two of the exercises:
1. Burpee, sumo dead lift, curl performed in an explosive movement.
2. Landmine one arm deep squat, stand and rotate to ball of back foot, perform an over head press. Once again this is a an explosive movement.
3. Kettlebell and sandbag training are always good because you are working with asymmetrical forces and complex movements.
As usual I could go on for a while so I’ll just stop here so your ear/eyes are not bent too much. Keep the questions coming and keep an eye out for the next terminology post. Ya’ll have a great holiday.
Time to get off the balance board.
Be Proactive in Life and Training