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  • Writer's picturePSBN David

1.21 Gigawatts - Finding Your Power

What makes someone a strong martial artist? Would you measure it in the size of the opponents they could throw? The number of techniques they practice? The physical feats they’re able to pull off?

Is a strong martial artist necessarily powerful? Or vice versa?

Do any of these questions even matter? Aren’t strength and power completely interchangeable terms?

Right off the bat to clear potential confusion, I will define power as “the ability to exert your will onto the world around you,” and strength as just a measure of physical strength.


Physical strength by itself is just a tool, a means to an end. You can have the strongest person in the world, but put them up against a top MMA fighter? They’ll lose, likely without even landing a single hit. Throw them onto a farm? The wiry old farmer will be running circles around them with the equipment. Strength needs an application and skill before you can transform it into any form of power. While there can be an overlap between physical strength and power, they are definitely separate entities. Power in any area, not just the physical, is cobbled together with many disparate pieces that then complement each other to form this esoteric idea of “power”.

Bringing this back to martial arts, does this mean that your focus shouldn’t be on trying to get by just using your strength? Yes and no. Strength can play a very important role in martial arts, as with any physical activity. You need the strength to be able to endure through the training, get into a low stance, take the wobble out of your weapon, and so on. But all of this is having your strength supporting your skill. As your skill progresses, you’ll eventually run into times where you feel limited by your own body. This can be a sign that you should do some strength and agility workouts to push past the barrier, but this may be due to an injury or even just how your particular body is put together. Listen to your body and work with it, not despite it. “Mind over matter” won’t magically cure an injury or change your bone structure!


Speaking of which, take some time right now to go do that workout you’ve been putting off!

I’ll wait.


Is it strength and skill together that make for a powerful martial artist? Still not quite. That will make for a strong martial artist. How would you use that ability to change the world around you, however? If you play Batman and go beat someone up, you’ll only accomplish being immediately arrested and thrown in prison for a few years. So now we also need to add intelligent application into the mix.

Where do you “apply” martial arts in a civilized world, though? There are so few acceptable applications that it appears like there really IS no place in today’s world for martial arts to gain anyone even a modicum of power. Yes, you could become a famous MMA fighter and use your money and fame to accomplish what you wanted. Though you may first want to ask how the professional athlete route turned out from the countless promising high school athletes across the world. The only other acceptable use of martial arts outside of the ring is in self defense situations. This isn’t ideal for trying to leverage in order to get power, as people will start to question how you keep getting into these questionable situations that end up in fights every week.

Martial arts actually gains you power through the confidence you build through your practice. People who may normally be intimidating, for whatever reason, are now less so. That primal part of your brain that tells you to be quiet to not anger the dangerous person is quieter. You’ve worked hard for something and achieved it. When you look back at where you started, you’ll see the efforts that you put in to get every step of the way to get where you now are. With that, you’re put in a much better position in which to voice what you want and why.

Over time, this confidence becomes more and more ingrained into your being. You realize that your brain was lying about these “dangerous people”. You’ve built up the skill of being able to speak up for yourself with confidence. Martial arts acts as the road to the power, but it’s not actually the source.

This is why the old martial arts master, now faded with age, is still an incredibly powerful person.

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