Martial Arts, Yoga and Dance… Breath, Energy and Movement

“To move without thought is merely flailing.”

The debate of “What is the best martial art” will probably go on until eternity. Yet recently I have been thinking about movement, energy and breathe, and how regardless of the style they are all moving towards the same unknowable knowledge.

I have been fortunate enough to be a dancer, martial artist and yogi. A good dancer will link breathe and movement, sending forth energy from outstretched hands, oozing this energy and emotion from every movement. It is beautiful and powerful to watch.

A hard style martial arts practice such as Kyokushin or Muay Thai teaches you to ki (breathe) into your strikes. As supported in the show Bizarre Sports Science and undoubtably agreed across the martial arts world, breathing out and focusing your energy into your strikes and blocks takes physical, technical ability and power to another level. Like dance, advanced martial artists can look breath-takingly devestating performing their art.

Soft style martial arts such a Qigong, Tai Chi and we will include the discipline of yoga, teaches that ever movement should be made with breathe. Many teachers believe that the breathe and focus of energy is more important than the movement. Although most of the movements in the above disciplines are performed slowly, a highly proficient practionner can look as powerful and imbued with energy as the very best karateka or exponent of Muay Thai.

So what is the importance of this breathe and energy? Is it the building of internal power? Will it lead to enlightenment? Is mastery of this energy, chi as many call it, the level ten of understanding skilled movement?

What I believe is that a specific style is not a precurser to excellence. Whether you choose Karate, Yoga or dance does not matter. Physical movement is necessary to teach discipline, strength and grace, but the real treasure lies beyond. Strip away the obsessed ego of physical prowess and our true seat of power can be revealed. Mastery of movement whilst connected to breathe and flows of energy can lead to a power and understanding physcial prowess alone can never and will never achieve.

-Reposted from another chi-kung site.