Someone I trained with years ago used to have this saying. “Don’t go chasing your aura…”, he’d say. Of course, he also liked putting peanut butter on his hamburgers. Savage.
What he meant with the saying, was that you should never outreach the outline of your body. The top of your scalp, the width of your shoulders and the outer thighs dictate how far your techniques and blocks should go.
The martial arts requires a significant amount of practice. This practice must include focus and concentration. That takes a lot of energy. And such use of energy can exhaust the body. In a true combat or fight situation, you need to conserve every ounce of energy possible. This means that your techniques need to be simple, flexible and precise. Straight to the point.
Some styles like to focus on maximum power and flamboyance. This often causes arms or legs to stray well beyond the outline of the body, leaving key areas vulnerable to counter attack. And the farther out you reach or attempt to strike, the more vulnerable you become and the weaker your strikes will be.
Although my system has a combination of hard and soft (meaning that a strike should be hard but still contain elements of a block, blocks should be soft but still capable of being a strike) we have always trained in such a way to keep our limbs within the lines of the body. To do otherwise wastes energy and also time that would be required to properly execute the NEXT technique.
Very few martial artists I’ve worked with have neglected to pick up Bruce Lee’s “Tao Of Jeet Kune Do” at some given point in their training. The beauty behind what Bruce Lee did with the martial arts (besides some of his classic fight scenes) is demonstrate the exact concept I’m explaining in this blog post.
In his book, Bruce Lee has drawings of Jeet Kune Do’s ready positions and the eight basic defence positions. These drawings clearly show how the arms are close to the body, with elbows tucked in close. This allows you to be ready and flexible without being tense.
While training, you should focus on being as economical in your movements as possible while maintaining your techniques within the contours of your immediate aura. This will allow you to be faster and more precise.
And remember: if you get to the point where you assume you’ve mastered a technique, it probably means you haven’t. ☯