Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The physics behind the apparent metaphysics

See David Lane's recent IW article on body surfing. He talks about picking up subtle physical cues through experience that were previously considered magical. He discusses the physics of how to ride the tube of a big wave as it breaks so that one gets tucked under the wave and out the back instead of getting pushed forward and down. Which reminded of my tai chi training with a Chinese-American student of our Chinese master.


The latter never discussed the physics but this student did. For example, he taught us how to use the water content of our bodies to create a bouncing effect when attacked. We allow the attack energy to transfer through the water to the ground, which hits it and bounces back as a wave on the attacker. Another physics lesson was literally drawing bows with our arms, legs and spine, creating the same sort of tension of a drawn bow. Then how to release this stored energy in our own attack like an arrow. Another physics lesson has to do with coiling our fascia like springs with a similar effect, pressing into the springs and then releasing them. It was all physics, not metaphysics. Subtle to be sure, but the physics behind chi 'energy.' And all applicable when one practices forms alone, this continuous physical manipulation of pressures, tensions, torques and releases through precise and aligned structural integration.

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