Balance is the B-word used in this list of martial arts principles by a tai chi master.
Balance- a state of equilibrium or equipoise; equal distribution of weight, amount, etc.
This could be one of the most important elements to success in martial arts as well as life.
To learn how to balance one’s energies, focus, and effort is one of the most difficult things in life. However, once achieved, balance can allow you to be more effective and efficient in everything you do.
First, you must realize when you are and aren’t balanced. Recognition is the first step to progression, and will allow you to make corrections to your equilibrium for overall improvement.
In martial arts, your movements and weight must both be properly balanced. With your weight off balance, it will be harder to produce desired movements. Unbalanced movement will shift your weight off balance as well.
One must learn how to use his weight to counterbalance his own movements, in equal push and pull forces. For example, you can throw your fist forward with the right side of your body, but in order to maximize speed and power, you’ll need to pull with the left side side too. Doing so not only counterbalances your weight to ensure that you don’t lose your equilibrium, but it also doubles the power produced by the movement of your body.
Knowing when your opponent is off balance is also essential for taking advantage of openings and opportunities. Sensing an imbalance in your opponents stance, movement, attack, and defense is how you can know what your opponent is going to do before he does it. Think of imbalance recognition as seeing into the future.
Taking advantage of an opponent’s unbalanced forces can also allow you to also save energy by reducing the force you’ll need to move yourself or your opponent. This recognition is what allows for a smaller martial artist to take advantage of the heavier opponent’s superior force and weight and use it against him.
Mastering the balancing act of your weight and movement, as well as your opponent’s weight and forces is one of the most essential skills in martial arts.