The law of leverage states that ‘with enough leverage you can move the world’ this is based on the observation by the mathematician Archimedes who famously stated ‘Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.’ Leverage creates speed and power both highly prized possessions in the world of martial arts and as we shall see also in our daily lives.
Leverage in ‘one on one’ martial arts is the application of body mechanics and this applies to stand up fighting and groundwork. Leverage is the application of available resources, in combat this means applying body weight and strength into ones technique. Power or more appropriately force is developed through leveraging ones skill, weight, distance and timing to maximise ones force. Strength is also involved but I want to deal with this separately to make it clearer. Body weight is more important than body strength as strength needs energy and body weight has energy. What I mean by this is that it takes leverage to create force but not much strength. This is good news because strength is finite in that one can only maintain a level of energy output while the energy available lasts. That is, you can only run for so long ot punch or kick etc while one’s energy out put can be maintained. However, properly applied leverage uses less energy and can therefore be maintained for longer.
This is important because in combat one has no idea how long the confrontation will last and therefore energy conservation must be a key factor as many a skilful fighter has been beaten by a less skilful opponent who had more energy.
In my old days in Boxing, trainers would shout out ‘lean on it’ meaning lean your body weight behind the punch. Whenever ones sees a good fighter who hits hard with knockout power you can bet that the power comes from properly applied bodyweight and not strength. This is why relatively small fighters can hit with massive power and some heavy, strong fighters cannot – it all comes down to properly applied leverage.
In daily life leverage is often misunderstood and therefore underused. Most people never apply any useful leverage to their daily lives because they are not familiar with how the concept works or even that it exists. For instance when ex-prime minister Tony Blair left office he was offered positions with several large organisations at salaries of in excess of £500,000 pa. at least two companies employ Mr Blair at over half a million a year each! So that’s over a million a year in income with two part-time jobs. But can Mr Blair do any more work than any other employee who earns say £30,000pa? He has the same hours available each day as any other mortal so why should they pay him so much? Leverage.
Tony Blair has run a whole government managing billions of pounds in finances, he has a proven track record of being a world leader so his experience has massive value to any organisation. The depth of his knowledge is immense and the quality of his direct contacts is huge! Imagine this one man can get any business tycoon or world leader to a meeting at the drop of a hat. Having Tony Blair as an employee opens many doors that would otherwise be slammed shut in the face of any average salesman.
On another level we can compare a self employed builder with the owner of a building business. The self employed builder has to do everything by himself and therefore has little leverage to say, take on larger jobs or contracts and if he is ill his income stops because there is no one else to do the work. Whereas the owner of a building company has employees and staff who do the day to day work whilst he/she focuses on managing the business to bigger and better profits. The business owner has used greater leverage to free himself from the day to day work and therefore earns more for longer and doesn’t wear himself out like the busy self-employed builder does.
In martial arts we understand the use of leverage by using enhanced body positioning to bring greater strength and power to techniques without using more energy. The difference between a powerful strike and a light tap is fractions of any inch and milliseconds of time but the difference is huge in application.
Leverage in martial arts uses body mechanics to enhance each technique. The human body is designed to do certain things very well and with correct application to apply weight in various directions, conversely there are also certain directions and movements that we are not designed to do. Knowing which is which is the experience and skill of the true master of the martial arts. I will cover this in more detail when we discuss the ‘Law of Alignment’ but for now it is enough to grasp the concept of leverage and to start looking at your life and training with a view to improving them both through increasing the leverage we can bring to bear.
Today, have a think about what leverage is based on the above examples and think about how you can get more done for more pay (for instance) by thoughtful use of leverage.
Thanks for reading today and tomorrow we will look at another factor affecting leverage a sub law which is known as ‘the Law of Base’. Don’t forget if you want to study the unique Aegis martial arts system, the only system of martial arts training that not only recognises how martial arts and life fit together but that has a real system for connecting them together. Look out for our New Black Belt Leadership program which launches in the new year and will completely blow away any of our martial arts competitors! Book your first Free lesson today by going online to http://www.nat-mac.co.uk/www.nat-mac.co.uk/info.php?p=8 do it today and get over £100 of free stuff as part of your Basic Program.