Shapes not sizes..

Once again, a cracking discussion on a social media site has provided me with the inspiration for a blog post.

The discussion was on the hidden use of geometric shapes in the martial arts.

Here is what I have been taught, learned through practice and believe.

Geometric shapes are everywhere we look.

They can be found throughout nature.

It makes sense that we use them as a learning tool.

They are an easy way to give students a visual representation of what can often be a difficult concept to explain with only words.

Each art has it’s own point of reference, usually discussed while the student learns the Kata or forms of the art.

To keep the forms secret, these were recorded as simple line drawings, with no techniques or directions.

You could only learn the techniques from your instructor.

This maintained a certain level of mysticism, as instructors may use the same line drawings but the Kata was unique to the teaching of the instructor.

This is one explanation of the subtle differences we see across the styles for Kata with the same names.

During my martial journey, none of the line drawings were quite as mystical as the “universal pattern.

I was taught that the “universal pattern” was a template for all the possible techniques in Kempo/Kenpo.

I was told the technique “patterns” would show themselves to me as my knowledge and understanding of the arts increased.

And eventually, if I trained long enough, I would see the “heart”

As I’m a scientist, I’m not big on mysticism.

I needed to understand the principles to morally buy in to what was being taught.

Unfortunately, I found many instructors knew little or nothing and tried to “baffle with bullshit”

So this is my theory on the Universal Pattern and hoe to use it.

It will hopefully answer some questions or at least point you in a direction

We have four planes of movement.

Height, width, length and time.

If the pattern is a 2 dimensional drawing, how can it applied in 4 dimension?

Consider the universal pattern as a representation of movement in a single plane.

If we mark it out on the floor. It gives us a “template” to work from.

Starting with the pattern of foot positions on the floor, we use triangles.

Then move on to circles and finally squares, allowing for “sanctuary points” to be developed.

Eventually the pattern, will describe all possible directions of movement.

Change the plane on which you draw the pattern, for example by drawing it on the wall and it will give the angles of attacks/blocks that can be delivered by your limbs or weapons.

It will describe inner and outer gates, straight line attacks continue to circles but only as far as your understanding will allow.

Then apply the pattern to movement of the head and body in the vertical plane and you have the basis for static evasion, bobbing and weaving.

I believe the jumping and hopping techniques taught by Mitose may fit in here but I don’t know for sure, as I have never seen them.

The final plane is time.

I’m not sure how to apply the principles of the universal pattern to “time”.

We are taught that time is measured in such a way that it should be considered a constant.

But it isn’t a constant, it is relative, individual and unique to the person observing it.

If I’m enjoying myself, time flies. If I’m bored it drags.

It is the same during your training.

As a beginner, you will see all techniques as fast and explosive.

While a senior grade will experience moments of clarity, where time will slow as if to give us extra “time” to react.

I have experienced these moments of clarity.

But my journey is not complete.

Hopefully, one day, I will be able to discuss and explain the application of the pattern on the fourth plane.

Until then, thank you for your “time”,


One thought on “Shapes not sizes..

  1. Thank you for sharing your insight Grandmaster Gavin Sir! 🙂 You might enjoy a book entitled ‘Flatland’ by Edwin Abbott. It has a unique approach to understanding dimensionality. Best Regards

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