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The Weight Responsibility
15 May 2018

The Weight Responsibility

In some Chinese Martial Arts there is a concept known as ‘double weighting’. Some people use this term to describe the distribution of weight in the legs and how to efficiently control the position of our mass. However, there is another very interesting definition, it describes the situation where you make the opponent responsible for a proportion of your weight in addition to their own, often causing a bias of distribution and ‘doubling weighting’ them. I must caveat that I use this definition to discuss the topic of the post without disregarding other interpretations.  In this article I will explore some of the basic ideas related to this interpretation (via the HeavyBody attribute). Understanding that some arts are foundationally reliant on this concept, and it is a deep area of study, I will only outline some foundational ideas here and will leave out some of the more advanced concepts.

MartialBody is not a martial art of course, and the purpose of the methods presented in it are to enhance the attributes for the individual use case regardless of the martial art one studies. I am a martial artist however, and as such will begin to write more on how the attributes of the well trained MartialBody can be applied. As many of you know I am an active grappling competitor and I often use the concepts found in this article to avoid the strength of larger opponents or to force my own tactics upon them. This is work that has been tested in the heat of free and uncooperative exchange.

With that said the ability to create these effects is reliant on a body that naturally expresses the attributes that will make them effective. In this case the most important attributes are found in the HeavyBody and SpiralBody. For those interested in creating some of the effects presented here, it would be advisable to begin to train these methods to slowly develop these attributes. Onto the article.

Accommodating extra load or mass.

medicine-ballTo understand how ‘double weighting’ someone works we have to examine what happens to the body when it has to accommodate extra mass. What happens if someone hands you a medicine ball and you collect it with outstretched arms? The entire body will create tensions and arrange itself to incorporate that mass into your own. Mechanically we will engage chains of muscles and create structural alignments to adjust to the added mass and hold it still. This is the first reaction to additional mass that we have and it is quite difficult to stop yourself from doing, therefore, if we can create this natural reaction in the opponent we may be able to use it to our advantage.

Further, when we hold the medicine ball we will also naturally attempt to carry it as close as possible to our structural centre, using our strong vertical alignment so as to lessen the muscular effort required to hold it. This idea of aligning our strength to the load can be seen in countries where massive loads are carried on the heads of individuals. Imagine trying to hold this load out from the body, of course it would be impossible. But any heavy enough weight applied correctly will make the individual bring it towards them in order to minimise the effort of holding it.

Both effects are natural responses to having to accommodate extra weight. There are similar untrained responses that occur when having to oppose incoming forces. See my article here on some of the them.

Giving them something to carry.

So, with these natural reactions in mind, for us to ‘double weight’ someone we need to be able to give them some mass that they become responsible for. However, there is a common danger inherent in this tactic, that we hand over all of our mass and structure without knowing. This is what I call ‘unintelligent’ application of our mass. It is typified by leaning on the partner, pushing on the partner so that one side of your body becomes light, or hanging off the partner so that you are stuck to them. These method are be avoided at all costs if we want our own centre to remain stable and unaffected by their movements. If, however, we want to perform sacrifice throws or similar body drop methods, we may well want to use some of these ideas, although they must rely heavily on tactical advantage before being applied.

taichiInstead, we want to apply mass or weight to the partner intelligently, NEVER giving them access to our centre of mass, and never leaning on them. When we do this, we can give them weight that they must accommodate without sacrificing any of our own. But when we try to think about how to do this it becomes difficult to understand how it may be done. How does one give someone mass without giving it to them!?

The first step to this skill is to train the body to be able to express the heavy body attribute. Without the trained body the correct degree of full body release becomes impossible and the application of mass becomes more unintelligent. The interesting point with this skill is that the weight is not applied on the point at which you and your partner connect. Instead the perception of weight is created through the opening and softening of all the joints, of the centre and in the legs, simultaneously and across the entire body. When this occurs, the feeling at the point of contact is that you are carrying (or about to carry) something very heavy, and as a result the whole body forms up to accommodation this massive weight that is about to drop to the floor in front of your contact point.

It is this subtle trick that means you will not have to apply a lot of weight to create a significant reaction in the partner. When your whole body expresses a strong potential that it is going to drop, by the whole volume of your mass minutely moving in that direction, the partner, often unconsciously picks up on it and will accommodate. It is a frustrating and strange sensation for the partner.

I move, you move.

Once we have the partner in this ‘carrying’ or double weighted state, we can begin to manipulate them via our own motion. This motion can be overt stepping or it can be subtle rotation of the centre that causes them to loose positional security.

tensionsYou can try this drill. Have someone hold a medicine ball out in front of them, they are not allowed to move at all or drop the ball. Then take one finger and push or pull the medicine ball in various directions, they will be compelled to move as a result. The mass outside of their usual base of support, which they are responsible for, makes them move.

This is the first and most basic idea of double weighting someone to move them. And it must be said, that if someone is trained in the internal arts or any system where this is a tactic, they should be able to deal with this simply trick.

The interesting work comes when we play with the tensions inside the partner that are the result of accommodating the extra load. Remember, when someone must carry something heavy, an entire sequence of muscles, alignments and tissues combine to accommodate that load. These lines of tension are things that we can manipulate when we have sufficient sensitivity to their formation.

Imagine you are carrying a heavy backpack, you are moving with it on your back then suddenly the buckles break and the backpack falls to the floor, what do you think your reaction would be? You would probably barrel forwards having to step to regain your balance.

A similar concept is at work when we double weight someone and play with the resulting tension it creates, we can add, remove, rotate, push or pull on the weight we have applied extremely quickly. This will often result in the partner being off-balanced, destabilised or rocked in some way that will give us an opening.

It is important to point out here, as I have in other articles, that we should not imagine a scene where someone flys away from a person at the slightest waive of their hand. This is not how trained people react and we should wipe it from our minds. In this instance, it may simply be that the individuals root is raised, that they go to the balls of their feet, that they must step or have to contort their body to recover. These responses are strong advantages for the fighter who knows how to take the opportunity. If someone is off balance, trying to recover, and in their heels when you punch them in the face it can be very effective.

taijiAvoiding having this applied to you.

Of course, this situation is not one we want applied to ourselves. If someone applies intelligent weight to us and we are subject to their movement, tricks, tactics and attacked … it will be a bad time. So, we must find ways of not allowing the weight of the partner to land on us. This leads us back to the concept of Rotational and Spiralling Pairing I discuss here.

Fundamentally, first we can imagine a free moving wheel on extremely smooth Barings. When you try to balance a weight on the wheel, especially an uneven or lopsided weight, the wheel simply rotates and weight falls off either side. This is of course an extremely crude model. But taking this crude model further, imagine now that the wheel is motorised and as a weight is laid on it, it actively turns. This is one of the ways in which we can avoid intelligent weight being applied to us, there are many other, but they will be for future articles.

Play with this concept

To play with this concept, you must be able to release your mass effectively all over the body and have acute awareness of maintaining your secure centre. This takes training and time to achieve just as getting bigger muscles, getting better cardio, or getting better skills do. We must approach training in the same way and ensure that we are creating the Body skill first, after all it is what makes this effect possible. However, once trained you can then play with this skill in ever more demanding conditions.

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