Tuesday, November 20, 2012


"For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction..."

No, I'm not going to try and provide a physics lesson.  But, I do think this principle is very applicable to Karate (and life).

Here are some examples:
  1. You walk into the Dojo and interrupt class.  Sensei makes you do push ups...Action/Reaction 
  2. You hold the door for someone on the way in to the coffee shop.  They say thanks and smile.  Action/Reaction
  3. You save your money for a long time and then buy something you really want...Action/Reaction
  4. You practice a particularly difficult technique in a kata over and over, analyze the way you are doing it, and you figure out something about the kata that no one ever told you...Action/Reaction
  5. etc....
You get the picture, right?

Anyway, I think it goes without saying that the reaction you receive is directly related to the action you provide.  Think about action/reaction next time you do a move in a kata...or maybe try the same move against a heavy bag. See what the reaction is to your action.  If you're using your whole body to make the technique and your koshi is engaged in the activity, the more power you put into the technique, the more power there will be in the reaction.  To really see this in action, try hitting the heavy bag with a swinging nunchaku.  Just be careful of the reaction!  Punching the makiwara is also a good way to see action/reaction.

Here's an activity you can try with a partner to see action/reaction in action...

Stand in natural stance one arm length apart from your training partner. Let your arms hang freely at your sides. Have your partner push on your left shoulder. Take the action in with that shoulder and let your hips swivel freely with the reaction. Let your other loose arm swing out as part of the reaction into an open hand strike.  Note: this works best if you are relaxed!

Action/reaction isn't just physical.  I think good actions yield good reactions.  Call it karma, if you will, but it does seem to be so.  Keep your actions good, and good reactions should follow.  Maybe not immediately, but eventually.

Anyway, if you really look a little bit, you can find opportunities for capitalizing on the reaction to any action in karate or in life.

So here's wikipedia's definition of Newton's Laws of Motion, for those of you who want a more academic perspective.

ps. I don't actually make people do pushups when they interrupt class, but if they feel like they need to do some pushups, they're welcome to.  Action/reaction is always best when self imposed :)

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