Sunday, November 13, 2011

Neutral Points

Sonny had a term for places within movement where you could change your mind. In other words, places where you could 'hang out' (really for just a split second), wait for your opponent to commit, and decide if you yourself are going to go - left/right, in/out, strike/abort.
He called these places neutral points, or being 'in neutral'.
The weapon can be held in neutral positions, and footwork can be in neutral too.
The place where the feet pass each other when stepping is a neutral point. People rarely pay attention to it, though Bagua uses it as a focal point, probably for the same reason Eskrima does - it's important.
It's a great place to hide your intention, hide which side leg you are weighted on, and an easy place to switch weight from one side to the other and change direction, or get off line.

I wrote a post a while back about how Sonny used his knowledge of dance to create movement methods with a partner to practice dueling skills. I don't know the first thing about Salsa or Hustle dancing, or Cha Cha, so it was very cool last week when one of my students brought a friend to class who was in town for a visit. She is a professional dancer so I got her to teach us some basic steps and we all did some Cha Cha - Forward, center, cha cha cha, back, center, cha cha cha.
Cha cha cha are all neutral points.
As we were working on moving from weapon contact, the 'Sticky Blade' (akin to sticky hands) mentioned a couple posts back, it was a great place to put the two things side by side.
It was very interesting to add some syncopation, deception, and moving round, instead of straight to see how something cooperative can turn into something combative with very little effort.


Scott said...

Great! The Chinese term "shi" is variously translated, 'potential power' 'political purchase' or 'strategic advantage' in the military classics it is the point in place & time where the forces clashing on a battle field begin to spin. A goal of internal martial arts is to turn all jin (power/effort) into "shi."

The Hackademician said...

Thoughtful stuff, as always. Really enjoy your blog.

Leo Giron's 'media media' relied upon this concept as well. Playing 'media media' is about choosing a position that allows you to respond without committing yourself to a single range or a single rhythm or to playing open or closed.

Maija said...

@Scott - Yeah, I like the concept of 'Potential'.
@Hackademician - Thanks, and yes I think it's a pretty universal idea, just not focused on enough perhaps.