When we think of ACTIONs and motions each can be broken down into specific parts. These parts then have concepts that are essential to making it effective this we call a key component. As we look at the term key- we can recognize that there might be several aspects that are essential to a single motion. Ideally we would/should work each of those components individually and also as a whole.
For example to take a simple step forward we can identify; posture, balance, relax, kneel, independent motion with legs, body alignment, etc. Each something that we could identify and focus on independently. Then to make a greater use of them we need to work them in relationship and timed with the other key essential components.
What simplifies and yet magnifies our training is when we can learn to identify the “master” key components. These are the components that connect one motion to several other motions. Both that seem related and others that seem completely unrelated.
As stated in our previous example we might quickly identify the relationship between a step forward with a step backwards but not see the relationship between a step forward and a single leg hop forward. These two motions are connected by several of the principles of motion but are both established and made more effective with the Master Key- Launch.
Mr. Hancock has identified for us 5 essential Master Keys. For executing defensive actions (identified as Methods of Execution) we have Hammering, Whipping, and Thrusting:
Hammering– Is the inner rotation action of the shoulder and arm. We can have both high and low hammering actions. Again the importance is to look at the method. The arm for the most part starts outside the path of the body and moves inward through the path of the body. The degree of angle is established both by the “easy barrier” or flexibility of your shoulder and the angle of contact with its target. For many ways this is the internal rotation of the shoulder but not uniquely just internal rotation.
Whipping– Is the outer rotation action of the shoulder. Again just as with hammering actions we can have both high and low whipping actions. The whipping in many ways is simply the counter action to hammering it starts with arm on the inside of the path of the body and moves out and away from the path. Again like the hammering the degree of angle is established by the “easy barrier” of shoulder and angle of contact. Again, this is many ways is the external rotation of the shoulder but not uniquely external rotation.
Thrusting– Is not as involved with the shoulder joint as much as it is the extension at the elbow joint. It is more the linear path of the action. A good way to look at thrusting is when the weapon is aligned to the target and maintains that linear approach as the arm extends. An interesting awareness is that both hammering and whipping actions can morph or as we state, graft into a thrusting action.
Please Note: Legs work very much in a similar awareness but because of the hip action and leg process for this article we will address the Methods of Execution strictly towards the arms. We will address legs in an upcoming article.
For initial actions and movement we have:
Launching– Is the pushing from a surface with your base, part of your base and/or a weapon. It “explodes” the body part into action and into motion. Allowing for a unique process of extension and flexion to work together with tension and relaxation to uniquely enhance your overall motion. As Mr. Hancock states “Launching creates a deception in time, distance and power.”
For positioning we have:
Neutral– The remaining master key is neutral or often we refer to as “Being Neutral.” This master key is a unique concept in which we attempt to express our mental state through the positioning of our body. This ironically is also the process of establishing an attitude, a physiological connection. In physical application the intent is to position my body so that we have the freedom to use either hand or foot, we can move in any direction; front, back, side, up, down- equally. Our angle allows us both offensive and defensive actions while still allowing the strong parts of our bodies to shield the more vulnerable. In this process the connection our body has with our mind is that it is not necessarily “predetermined.” It is ready to respond correctly to a given situation. We establish a plan but have back ups ready for unknown results or changes in the situation and environment.
The master key of neutral allows us to move in and out of actions and positions that enhance those actions freely without over committing us. It allows our minds to make effective choices as we seek to resolve problems and situations.
Identifying and focusing on the Master Key aspects of our art help to synergistically improve our ability to understand and express our art. They allow us the opportunity to fully “unlock our potential.” Each master key component like the other key components can be worked on individually but when combined with each other creates a unique moment of effectiveness and connection within ourselves. This connection can not really be explained but can be felt within ourselves to be understood.