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Sunday
Mar022014

The Importance of Maintaining Center - by Jim Baker

Tae Kwon Do is an awesome martial art. With its fast and powerful kicks there is no doubt it is a very effective fighting style. As with most martial styles, striking power in TKD is generated from committing the mass of the body to the attack. This generates tremendous power; but it comes at a price.

Watch the embedded video closely. The fighter in red begins to launch an attack. His opponent (in blue) initiates a countering spin kick while the red fighter is in the air. The fighter in red appears to see the kick coming, but cannot launch an effective defense because he has lost his connection to the ground and is off balance when he lands. He is not in control of his momentum and, therefore, cannot evade or counter.  The result is a knockout victory for the blue fighter.

This scenario is not unique. Watch almost any knockout video closely (and in slow motion, if possible) and you will observe a similar series of events. The loser often sees or senses an attack coming, but simply cannot respond because he has given up control of his center.

The founding masters of the internal martial art styles knew of this flaw and developed systems of training that taught students the ability to “maintain center” at all times. When done well, the practitioner can move in any direction at any time and strike with power without committing his body to the attack. By employing this ability, he does not fall victim to his own momentum. 

It is for this reason and others that a main focus of internal martial arts training is the principle of “maintaining center”. 

 

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