Monday, October 20, 2008

Feel The Power

Recently I came across a good read that I thought could be relevant for martial study. Power vs. Force is a book that describes how power, as per author David Hawkins' definition, is of the authentic variety, whereas force belongs to the antiquated self-serving agenda which is typical of the egoic human condition. Low attractor fields manifesting in fear, including its offshoots such as shame, anger and even pride, will actually produce physical weakness. True empowerment emanating from high attractor fields will always produce the desired positive effect. I must warn you that Hawkins' views and research findings are not without controversy. Still, his work has some compelling implications for the martial arts. He writes:

The most highly developed martial arts clearly demonstrates how motive and principle are of ultimate importance... The most frequently heard admonition to trainees is "stop trying to use force." Schools devoted to these arts produce masters whose overriding concern is victory of the higher self over the lower self through control, training and commitment to goals aligned with true power. Alignment with these power attractor patterns is not limited to the exercise of the discipline itself but becomes an entire lifestyle.

"Victory of the higher self" is an oft quoted noble sentiment in the martial arts, but it's usually not a priority for beginning students. But beginners (and occassionaly their seniors) can be subject to these so-called lower attractor patterns. Emotions such as self-consciousness and especially stress have been known to produce catabolic hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. These "fight or flight" agents certainly have their place, but too much can be health detrimental in the long term.

Here's an interesting test found in the book that will supposedly yield a valid answer to just about any kind of question. You need two people for this. Somebody poses a question, one that requires a concrete yes/no response. The test subject holds out one arm parallel to the floor while the second person presses down with two fingers on the wrist of the extended arm and says "resist." The subject then resists with all of her/his strength. If the answer is no the subject will go weak and the arm will descend. If the answer is yes the subject will remain strong and be able to resist the downward pressure. That's it. Check out these sample questions you could pose. Remember, you'll need a partner for this experiment.

  • Am I training in the right style? (Y/N?)
  • Is my instructor a true master? (Y/N?)
  • Do I deserve to be promoted? (Y/N?)
  • Will I be able to kick Joey's butt if I take karate? (Y/N?)

The possibilities are endless. Try this out at home and get back to me. In the meantime keep training!

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Blogger Charles James said...

Hi, John

Hawkins actually references the martial arts, how bizarre and how interesting. This book will soon be a part of my library.

The test is not a new one for me as there is this guy who teaches about such things as the power of now who used that test to demonstrate that not only words but things can do the same.

He used different types of food, such as healthy vs. sugar with the same results.

Interesting and informative, thanks!

10:06 AM  
Blogger Rick Matz said...

It's good to see you posting again. Welcome back.

8:06 PM  
Blogger Miss Chris said...

I've heard of that little exercise before and actually tried it. Very interesting.

6:23 PM  
Blogger Colin Wee said...

That's a very interesting test.

It occurred to me some time ago that analogies or instructional words I used in class would also affect how my student's performed.

It has helped me review and evaluate what I want to get from each training session.

Traditional Taekwondo

4:41 AM  

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