Martial Arts Flow Theory, what I call Flux theory, is prevalent throughout all the arts. The problem is that most people don’t understand how these theories come together, and when they oppose. One must understand each type of energy and how they fit together if one is to be a complete martial artist.
One thing you should know, as we go through the concepts, is that there is a hard and a soft side to everything. Sometimes hard and soft is a difference of direction, which is to say one collides or one guides. Sometimes the difference is a little more difficult to understand, as in external or intrinsic, but we will do our best to explain the distinctions.
The first concept, one that most people are aware of, is that of Explosive Power. You’re going to discover this power in Karate, Kenpo, or most any discipline (or portion of discipline) wherein the fist greets the face.
We have circular energy, but there are a few distinctions here. There is circular, as in rotating the waist in Shaolin, and then there is circular, as in aikido. Obviously, we have a first class example of how one energy can be viewed as hard or soft.
The next energy to be considered is spiral, as in Bagua. This is an odd type of power, as it depends on rotating limbs on a rotating body. Odd or not, it is incredibly potent, simple to understand, but sometimes difficult to make work in the real world.
Now we come to suspended energy, as in Tai Chi Chuan. Interestingly, Tai Chi Chuan energy, in one sense, is simple weight lifting, but it is of the body, and one does not explode, but rather sustains the lift of the body, which creates a longer lasting and enduring type of energy. This type of energy is actually easy to understand, but, in an oddity of education, one has to either understand what the proponents of the art are saying in terms of western physics, or forget about it all together.
Many arts develop more than one type of power, which can be good or bad, depending on how cleanly they understand the distinctions, and how to use them. That said, Taiji is one of the few arts that develops negative energy. This is a rare type of energy, not many students develop it as it takes correct understanding of the principles involved.
In conclusion, we have barely scratched the surface of this field of energy, and there are not only many gradations, but whole types of power which the future and hard study will uncover. Still, if you can get these basic five types of power down, define them exactly, and learn when and how to combine them, then you are off to a great start. Really, when you think about it, Martial Arts Flow Theory is where we are going, for when you get the moves down, what is left but to grow your power potential?