Friday, October 16, 2009

Hydrostatic strength

Olympic weight lifting trials

Imagine trying to push a car or lift weights or throw a punch without any air in your body, if you exhale all the air out of your body you will not be as effective at any activity that requires the use of core strength.

In most martial arts this holds true since you are trying to use the body's core strength and connect all body parts as one syncronsied unit.

Hydrostatic strength plays a big role in the efficiency and effectiveness of your techniques and the sequential linking of all body parts through the core of your body.

In most traditional karate styles the idea of using the whole body behind each and every technique is the ultimate aim, to achieve this requires you to link your lower body to your upper body, while the tensing of the legs , glutes, loins and mid rift muscles achieves this to a certain degree the adition of hydrostatic strength will complete your connection to the lower extremities and the ground.

So what is hydrostatic strength, well basically for this article lets say thats its the pressurisation of a fluid, which in this case is the air in your body.

If we take a look at new born babies they are always breathing with the abdomen and not just using the lungs, by breathing with the abdomen this guarantees that the lungs will be filled to capacity with air, if on the other hand you only breath with your lungs (chest breathing) this will not draw air down into the tanden or hara which is what martial artists want to do.

The tanden or hara is about three inches below your navel (belly button), this is where you should be directing the air that you are breathing, now i'm not saying that it should be a forced type of breathing, it should be relaxed and natural.

When you have air in the tanden and execute a technique lets say a punch, usually this might be associated with a kia for a karateka or a su su su for a boxer through the vocal chords.

At the moment of impact both the karateka and the boxer might let out alittle bit of air but the main thing both are doing is compressing the air in the tanden to give them hydrostatic strength which connects the upper and lower extremeties of the body and enables them to deliver full body weight blows, this also protects you from being winded if you get hit.

By the way compressing the tanden does not equate to holding your breath, you may still breath when the tanden has been compressed although it might be more shallow, you should never hold your breath while doing martial arts.

So remember to breath like a baby (stomach breathing) and compress the air in your tanden when executing techniques.

Breathing with the tanden