kung fu punchI woke up thinking about a property in math: that between any two points on a number line*, there are infinitely many points between them. Now, I know I have used the scary word—“math”—but if you are still with me, let me go on and give you the second part of my morning thought: that this important concept relates strongly to martial training.

Back to the number line. Pick two points on the line—any two points, I’ll call them A and B. So far, so good. Now, recognize that another point can always be inserted between the first two; for instance, halfway between A and B. If we call that new point C, then you can repeat the program: now there is a point, D, that is halfway between A and C. Always? Yes, always. Infinitely? Yes, infinitely. 

If you worked through the math, GREAT! We’re back at the martial.

Take any two martial positions: striking or blocking, moving or stationary. This concept will prove as true in forms practice as in freestyle. As the beginner becomes a student becomes a master, the teacher should encourage the understanding of and familiarity with this fine and finer material: that a single punch is not just chamber (cock) at your hip (A) then shoot it all the way to the target (B), ad infinitum. As in math, the space between A and B is dense; it contains as much ‘information’ as the endpoints, information such as intent, angle, perception of minute changes of movement from both partners. You don’t want to lazily meander through this landscape, neither do you want to speed through, thinking only of the endpoints.

This realization not only make for some surprise movements—as the traditional method reveals— but brings the mind more into the art, with awareness becoming the second teacher, and perception tuning—yes!—to the infinite. 


*This is true for the Real Numbers and is called the Density Property of Real Numbers; to be accurate, it is not true for the Integers.

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