Yesterday I attended my first karate seminar. It basically consisted of me, me best friend & 3 other "color" belts, 4 brown belts, & around 45-50 black belts. Mr. Advincula was a 1st generation student of Tatsuo Shimabuku and, arguably, studied directly under him for the longest amount of time of any of Shimabuku's American students. He has been studying martial arts for 60 years, and I met numerous others with anywhere from 30-40+ years experience I estimate that the room had well over 1000 years of total martial arts training (including my 9 months!)
The seminar was focused on body mechanics, and proper body positioning in relation to truly proper (& thus more devastating) technique.
One thing that struck me that as many of the martial artists got older (& their strength naturally depreciated), they had to compensate with superior understanding of how the body mechanisms work & ESPECIALLY with perfect body positioning in relation to their opponent.
What was most interesting however, was that their martial arts skills (and technique effectiveness) have IMPROVED as their body strength has decreased. The key, we were told, was relying less on power & more on body mechanics & positioning.
The idiots that pound away at brick walls & trees in the attempt to get "lifeless hands of stone" are truly missing the point. The more one gets away from relying on power, strength & muscle... the more effective their technique becomes.
Speed and technique kills, power merely hurts (also, there's always someone out there stronger than you are- by nature, bullies only pick on those that they are probably stronger than). Mr. Advincula was truly a sight to behold. at 68 years old, he has the regular aches & pains that come with age, & he has a tremor in his right hand when he tenses his fist. However, all of his techniques appear as a blur, and many were too fast to see. When performing one block/parry- grab- strike combo, he had to slow it down so we could see the initial block/parry.
I learned alot this weekend & had a great time (I've made alot of friends in Isshinryu in the past months, & many treat each other as family rather than just friends).
All in all, I hope that alot of the younger martial artists (as the young tend to highly value power) on this board realize that in order to become the bast martial artist they can be, they may need to re-evaluate the importance they place on pure power (hands of stone, one-hit one kills, etc).
This philosophy serves well in all phases of life. Mostly, powering through an obstacle is NOT the most efficient or effective method.