The Effect of Spectacular Science Fiction on Martial Arts

Many of the classical martial arts, like those in karate or kung fu, are nothing more than bad fiction. Pop somebody real hard on the nose with a palm and bone shards will spear into his brain and cause his death, except there isn’t any bone in the nose, its all soft cartilage. And all those old legends that everybody swears by, a lot of them are good for not much more than washing the hog, if you feel like washing a dirty, old hog.

But, there is a certain science in the martial arts that turns out to be true. This is the science of geometrical energy potentials. I discovered this field in a series of books called the Lensmen Series, by E. E. Smith, PhD.

I suppose the first time it really hit me was when E. E. Smith, the author, describeda scene wherein spacemenwere fighting a wild battle on the hull of a space ship. The spacers were hooking their feet under hand grips so they would not fly off into space when they struck somebody. They were anchoring themselves to the solid body of the space ship so they could apply force, and not have that very same force act against them.

Soon I was completely and utterly swallowed by a universe where weapons created incredible geometries of force. A death ray was a devastating and lancing beam, and it could be deflected by a well built shield of pure energy. And if one shield could deflect, then another shield thrust sideways could slice the first shield apart.

Soon I was enraptured by the vast images of fleets of space ships creating their own particular brand of space combat strategy. Fleets of space ships would form globes around other fleets of spaceships, and cones of spaceships would swallow globes of fleets. Each time a geometry was described, my mind struggled to keep up with the wash of new concepts.

Then, shock of shocks, fleets of spaceships gave way to the exercising of real mental powers. Those same rods and globes and cones and shields, made real in the extreme of space combat, became the stuff of minds battling minds. How do you slide your awareness through the grid of another mentality, especially when that mentality is totally and utterly alien?

And, ultimately, having finished that series of spectacular books, I began extending those outer space alien mind warfare strategies to my chosen field of the martial arts. I sank my weight into deep horse stances so I would not fly away from the projection of my own force. I described cones with the movements of my limbs, and went after globes of fists as they flew out of space at me.

When I tell people about this they generally think I am a bit crazy, or they know me a genius. Reading sci fi for inspiration, who would have thought I would have come up with these concepts? Yet, isn’t the martial arts an art, and shouldn’t it be filled with creativity and expression and beams of force and mind to mind conflicts?


Al Case has researched martial arts for 40+ years. A writer for the magazines, he is the originator of Matrixing Technology. You can find out about Matrixing by getting his free ebook at Monster Martial Arts.

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