Saturday, 12 March 2011

The Law of Acceleration

The law of acceleration states that ‘the achievement of an objective to match or exceed an externally controlled time frame requires precise control of ones velocity’

Acceleration is the rate of change in velocity of a moving body, it can be slow or fast and the speed of acceleration is decided by the time available. When you’re driving to work and you’re running late you accelerate when you are too early you might decelerate. Acceleration is ones control of speed to fit the time frame available.

In combat we need to be able to accelerate quickly as fights happen very fast and we have to act fast to complete our objective in the time frame available. The ‘window of opportunity’ may not be open long and in combat one must maximise one’s opportunities to reduce the number of casualties.

It is said that a ‘goal is a dream with a deadline’ and the ability to complete the objectives within that deadline requires one to be able to control the speed of completion of the objectives. In a business environment that may be hitting targets by the end of the month. At the start of the month the target may seem easily achievable with plenty of time to meet the objectives, but then circumstances outside ones sphere of control step in to hinder ones progress. As the deadline approaches one has to be able to increase the speed of the task completion to match the shrinking time frame. Bonuses, pay cheques, sales prizes and the like are only awarded to those who have sufficient skills to complete the tasks and also the ability to speed up or even slow down their completion to match the remaining time available.

In one on one combat which happens very fast one has little time to make decisions, react or plan and adrenalin fuelled fear acts to cause one to potentially over accelerate our actions causing us to misjudge targets and thereby fail to build sufficient acceleration to match the window of opportunity. As with all actions speed is not the only factor and in combat the DELTA sequence of distance, equilibrium, leverage, timing and acceleration all play their part in the achievement of the best outcome. Speed alone is rarely enough and control of speed relies on the other 4 components to launch the attack or defence from. Without balance leverage is reduced, without control of distance timing is spoiled and without leverage speed is wasted and so on.
Any goal once it is truly a goal with a specific outcome and a time frame in which it is to be completed immediately becomes externally controlled by the time frame and specificity applied to it. Once you set the goal you hand over the control to an external force, in this case the time frame and outcome you have stated as your aim. If you take the goal seriously then you have a finite time in which to complete it and this can build an innate sense of resistance a paradox which we create. None of us enjoys doing anything within another’s time frame, at another’s speed even if the time frame is set by ourselves. Emotionally we will be drawn back to our habitual way of doing things unless the goal itself conforms to our established habits. As the saying goes ‘if you want something you’ve never had before, you must do something you’ve never done before’ and many of our goals require us to do something we’ve never done before.

The achievement of new outcomes requires the completion of new tasks to get there. The first time we attempt a new goal our timing will be ‘off’. Goals generally are either missed or exceeded and new goals markedly so. Achieving a goal within the time allotted requires precise control of ones objectives and the speed at which they are accomplished.

So acceleration is the speed at which the objectives are completed and that control of speed gets easier the more often/experience we have in completing or achieving the goal. In combat we all have our favourite strategies and techniques and we re-use all those that give us the best outcome. The more we use them the more we achieve the goal we want, with each achievement of the same goal we learn more about the acceleration and timeframe we have to achieve it in. If we need to speed up we can and if we need to slow down we can do that also.

Like a gymnast performing a back flip, to the outsider each one seems the same but to the performer every one is different, every one must be completed within the time frame demanded, the time it takes to jump spin and land upon ones feet. Once the jump has started there is no turning back one is committed to the goal and any deviation from it will result in disaster. So if the jump is made slightly wrong one must control as much as possible what one can make the necessary adjustments required to complete the task safely within the maximum time still available.

Once we set a goal, a specific outcome within a specific time frame the time frame becomes external to us and outside our control. As soon as we make the decision that this goal will be achieved in this or that time frame we hand over the time we have to achieve the goal as much as if the time frame was decided for us. Sure we can arrange things so that we are prepared for the goal using the law of hierarchy to set things in the right order, the law of set up to plan the first move and the law of launch point to give us the best start. But once we say ‘go’ the time is out of our control. We cannot control time but we can control what we do with the time available and in life as in martial arts, the more often we complete the same action the more efficient we become in the action and the more able we are to control the speed of the action. This is the key to acceleration not speed as in ‘as fast as you can’ but speed as in ‘as fast as necessary’. That could be slow or fast as long as it matches the time frame imposed upon us or by us.

To achieve any goal we must exert some control over our speed towards it and as I said earlier the more we practice the goal the more we can control the speed of its achievement. This is why a production line works so well because each step is repeated so often that the outcome is certain and the acceleration a completely known quantity. What matters most I suppose is the outcome we pursue with our acceleration, the goal we pursue and the worthiness of it. However that is a discussion for another time, for now its enough to understand what acceleration is and how we use it and that includes how it fits with the other 4 keys of the DELTA sequence.

Thanks for reading today and I look forward to speaking with you again soon on another topic that I hope might interest you

Best wishes

Tony Higo
Chief Instructor
National Martial Arts College
0800 092 0948

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