The Theory of Power: A defining feature of Taekwondo

Taekwondo is a martial art form that originated in Korea which is known for its kicking and punching techniques with an emphasis on head-height kicks, jumping spinning kicks, and fast kicking techniques. The word Tae-kwon-do is translated as kicking-punching-the art of and it has been created by a collaborative effort of the representatives of nine Kwans and supervised by Choi Hong Hi. One of the essential features of this martial art form is the theory of power put forward by Choi Hong Hi.

According to Hong Hi, the power is based on biomechanics and Newtonian physics. The kinetic energy of a strike increases quadratically with the speed of the strike and increases linearly with the mass of the striking object. Speed is much more important than the size for generating power.

Choi also gave a principle known as tha relax-strike principle. The principle says that between strikes, blocks, and kicks the practitioner must relax his/her body and then use the muscles only when the practitioner performs the technique. This way the power of the technique increases since the energy of the body is conserved.

The Theory of Power has the following components:

  1. Concentration: This component says that to perform a strike, the muscles of the body should be brought together and concentrated at a single point so that the area of the impact becomes very small. The smaller the impact area, the larger the force generated.
  2. Equilibrium: This component says that the body should be maintained continuously in equilibrium or balance while a technique is performed. The centre of balance should be maintained in such a way that the practitioner’s body can perform the technique easily setting aside any injury.
  3. Reaction force: According to it, the striking limb is brought forward while simultaneously moving the other parts backwards which results in more power generation. For example, if the left leg is brought forward while performing a roundhouse kick then the left arm will go backwards while will provide the necessary extra power.
  4. Speed: The speed is at the centre of Taekwondo. Without speed, this martial art will be without soul.
  5. Mass: Mass component says that the mass of the body should be brought as much as one can to perform a strike. The following example will suffice the use of the component. If one uses a turning kick then one should rotate his hip and the leg (meant for kicking). The rotating hip’s mass will provide additional power to the kick.
  6. Breath Control: Inhaling and exhaling are the principles that also provide the power to strike, kick, or punch. The component says that one must exhale which proves very effective as a weapon. The exhalation works side by side with the strike giving the body the necessary power to inflict serious damage to the opponent. Also, controlling the breath is very effective against diseases and inner body complications.

The Theory of Power provides a necessary base for Taekwondo and a practitioner is required to follow the theory so as to become an efficient martial artist.

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