This Guest Post is by my friend, Angel Lemus, of the Zentokukai Okinawa Shorinryu Toude Association. Angel was a writer and editor of Bugeisha, one of the finest Karate journals ever published. He teaches at the Ninchokan Dojo, in Los Angeles, California.
Subject: The principle of transferring your power/energy to your opponent.
This principle is also called "atifa" in Okinawa and it is applied equally with the empty hand as it is with a weapon. Its goal is to transfer all the energy generated by the body (internal and external) in the form of a massive shockwave that explodes and penetrates deeply into the opponent's body. In empty hand practice this can only be achieved when understanding and applying the aspect of "relaxation" from a martial perspective. Tai Chi and internal Chinese arts do this all too well. Okinawan Karate done correctly functions the same way as the Chinese internal arts.
As the weapon (hand, fist, foot, etc.) travels towards the opponent the entire body is super relaxed, and at the moment of impact commonly referred to as "kime" the body goes from a state of contraction (closed) to a state of expansion (open), the breath is exhaled, the body becomes one solid unit, the mind's "intention" is released towards the opponent, thus it "LEADS" the Ki/Chi into the intended target. All this happens in the time it takes one to sneeze, then afterwards one resumes the complete state of relaxation where the body again "closes" and the breath is inhaled, following the "natural" cycle of mother nature, being one with it, not going against it.
Using a weapon is very similar, you never clutch the weapon with a death grip, you hold it lightly in your hands applying only enough strength in your fingertips to hold it so it does not fall out of your hands, and so your opponent does not knock it out of them either. You hold your weapon in your fingers not your palms, therefore you have the ability to use your wrists. You then allow the weapon to travel through the air using its own momentum and impetus, the weapons master just assigns a pattern (technique) to it and guides it towards the target the same way a forward spotter on the ground in today's high tech military paints a laser beam on a target while the smart bomb heads towards it and accelerating to very high speeds using nothing more than the earth's gravity.
Being on the receiving end of techniques executed this way is an experience that leaves one in a state of complete awe. For there is very little one can do to stop the shockwave from passing through ones own body. This not only rearranges ones internal organs, it transmits a potent wave which can be described as being shocked by a high voltage electrical charge. This type of technique is the kind that causes massive internal injuries, with little external evidence. There is a basic level of Karate understanding and execution which is what practitioners naturally do in the early stages of training say the first 5-10 years. It takes a very, very long time to get to the point where this stuff starts to sink in. Everyone needs to find a teacher that has this skill and study from him. It may not be ones original teacher, but the time always comes for one to leave the nest, especially if well is dry, and find one that still has water. Anyone can learn this given the proper teacher, instruction, and training routine, and of course the ability to relax not just the body but most importantly the Mind.