Theory of Power
Power is obtained by using a person's full potential through mathematical use of TaeKwon-Do. The average person only uses 10 to 20 percent of their potential power. Training will not necessarily give a person superhuman strength or stamina but rather enable a person to increase to a high level of power. There are seven components to the theory of power: reaction force, concentration, equilibrium, breath control, mass, speed, and sine wave motion. The formula for power is as follows:
P = power, m = mass, v = velocity g is gravity (constant) h = height influenced by gravity (i.e. no sine wave, mhg = 0)
Reaction Force: Newton's law states that for every force there is an equal and opposite force. Applying this to TaeKwon-Do, if your opponent is rushing towards you at a high speed, by the slightest blow to his head, the force with which you strike his head will be equal to his own force or momentum plus that of your blow. When the two forces are combined, it creates a greater reaction force.
Concentration: The concentration of force into a smaller target area increases the effect of that force. An example to prove this point is to observe water coming out of a hose. The smaller the opening in the hose, the greater the force. Therefore in TaeKwon-Do, all the force is concentrated onto the edge of an open palm or the ball of the foot. All of your strength should be released gradually and concentrated at the point of contact with your opponent's body. The shorter the time taken to concentrate the force, the greater the force is behind the blow. All of your mental concentration is needed so that the muscles of your body can focus into the smallest target area.
Equilibrium: In order for a blow to be most effective, balance is required and without it one can be toppled quite easily. Every stance should be stable and flexible in order to maintain balance in both offensive and defensive movement. To obtain balance, the centre of gravity must fall on a straight line between both legs, and this will vary with each stance. The centre of the foot may also be used if the bulk of the body weight is on that foot. Flexibility and knee spring are essential for both quick attack and instant recovery. It is also important to remember to keep the heel of the rear foot on the ground at the moment of impact to ensure balance and produce more power at the point of impact.
Breath control: Controlled breathing is necessary for endurance and speed, helps condition the body to receive a blow, prevents loss of consciousness, and helps to stifle pain. An important rule to remember is to never inhale while focusing a block or a blow against your opponent as this will hinder movement and result in loss of power. Disguised breathing is encouraged to help conceal any sign of fatigue so that your opponent does not get the upper hand. Only one breath is needed for each movement. Therefore inhale on the preparation for the movement and exhale on its execution.
Mass: Force is obtained by speed and the correct utilisation of the body weight during the release of a blow. Using the knee joints to obtain a springing action and dropping the body weight into the motion can increase force. This action is obtained by raising the hips at the beginning of a motion and lowering them at the moment of impact.
Speed: When an object is dropped it increases its speed while falling because of gravity. Reaction force, breath control, equilibrium, concentration and relaxation of muscles all contribute to develop speed. These together with the flexibility and rhythmic movements, produce maximum power in TaeKwon-Do. Because of the high speed involved in TaeKwon-Do techniques, it is important to remember to look at the opponent's eyes and not their arms and legs. We must train our eye to detect on-coming movements executed by our opponent, thereby allowing for the time it takes our reflexes to respond. Because the velocity (speed) is squared in the formula for power, it is easy to see why speed is considered the most important factor in developing power.
Sine Wave Motion: Movement in TaeKwon-Do is characterized by an up and down motion of the body. This up and down movement is referred to as "sine wave motion". The force delivered through blocks and strikes is increased by dropping the body into the block or strike immediately prior to and at the moment of impact. This effective use of body weight provides an increase in velocity resulting in increased power delivered to the target through the blocking or striking tool. Sine wave motion also enhances the flow and beauty of movement so characteristic of TaeKwon-Do.
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