Equilibrium In Martial Arts

According to the dictionary the term 'equilibrium' can be defined as:

A condition in which all acting influences are canceled by others, resulting in a stable, balanced, or unchanging system.
In Physics The state of a body or physical system that is at rest or in constant and unchanging motion.
A system that is in equilibrium shows no tendency to alter over time.
If a system is in static equilibrium, there are no net forces and no net torque in the system.
If a system is in stable equilibrium, small disturbances to the system cause only a temporary change before it returns to its original state.

So where and how do we find equilibrium in martial arts and what is the importnace if any?

Balance is of utmost importance in karate and deserves special consideration. By always keeping the body in equilibrium, that is, well-balanced, a blow is more effective and deadly. Conversely the unbalanced one is easily toppled.

The stance should always be stable yet flexible for both offensive and defensive movements.

Equilibrium is classified into both dynamic and static balance. They are so closely inter related that the maximum force can only be produced when the static stability is maintained through dynamic stability.

To maintain good equilibrium, the centre of gravity of the stance must fall on a straight line midway between both legs when the body weight is distributed equally on both legs or in the centre of the foot if it is necessary to concentrate the bulk of the body on one foot. The centre of gravity can be adjusted according to body weight. Flexibilty and knee spring are also important in maintaining balance.

Now, about balancing.
Balance is the ability to maintain your body position both in movement and at rest. There are two types of balance: static and dynamic. Static balance is a stationary object at equilibrium like when you stand upright. Dynamic balance is a body moving at constant linear and angular velocities, a.k.a. balance-in-motion.

According to me balance and equilibrium are one in the same thing!

For static balance, pay attention to:

1. Correct head placement
2. Correct eye direction
3. Correct body alignment (this is the key to static balance)

For dynamic balance, pay attention to details of your movement.

1. Avoid crossing your legs.
2. Keep your knees slightly bent during movement and landing.
3. Take small, quick steps rather than long strides.

Bottom line:

Balance comes from good posture. By aligning your feet, hips, spine and head, you maintain a stable upright posture. Keep your eyes fixed on one spot. You will then have perfect equilibrium.