THE SCIENCE OF FORMLESS FLOW by Monya Gorelik, M.Sc. : What is a formless motion? What is a formless Martial Art?

Monday, February 16, 2015

What is a formless motion?
What is a formless Martial Art?



Formlessness is a one of the coolest things all Martial Arts practitioners of all levels fall in love with.
It is the highest level of the Martial Arts. It symbolizes the freedom from any limits and shapes of any specific Martial Art, from any rules, traditions and cultural characteristics. It is universal, out of any country, nation and time. It is the ultimate goal of all of us.
But what is a formless Martial Art?

We will start from discussion of formless motion.
We will see that understanding we will obtain brings us naturally to the understanding of what is a formless Martial Art.

Merriam-Webster dictionary provides us with definition of formless:
Full Definition of FORMLESS
1:  having no regular form or shape
2:  lacking order or arrangement
3:  having no physical existence

Only the points 1 and 2 are relevant to us. We understand quite clearly, what does it mean "lacking order or arrangement". We want to know more about the first point – "having no regular form or shape".

How is it possible? Our hands, legs, all the body have well defined shape or form. They are regular because they can't change during the motion, within minutes or seconds.

We all study one or more Martial Art having special techniques and movements that provide us with advantages in different skills. So what do we feel when we say "formless motion" or "motion that has no regular form or shape"? How can we translate what do we feel into the words?

Formfull motion

It will be easier to understand the term "formless" as an opposite to "formfull". It means as opposite to having a form.
We can agree that when we speak about formfull motion we mean something created by our conscious mind. The form is a very important part of every plastic art like ballet, modern dance, contact improvisation, movement therapy and many other practices. Martial Arts are not different. Everybody who trains in Martial Arts learns proper techniques and all these techniques are based first of all on proper shape or form of movement. All these shapes are result of analyses, traditions and aesthetics. We learn and train how to close the fist, how to punch, to kick, to move, to stand, to breath – everything. These shapes made our motion formfull.

Be free of conscious formation of the motion

 What happens when it is no conscious intervention in the process of the formation of the motion or at least it a minimal one?

First of all lets remind to ourselves that we don't speak about the motional task, something that we can define as "what to do" or purpose of the motional action. We discuss only the matter of "how to do" or the method of the performance of the task "what to do".
According to our definition minimization of conscious intervention in the "how to do" results in Natural Motion, natural – because it based on statokinetic reflexes, basic behavioral reflexes and biomechanical efficiency of the motion. In most cases our motions are not natural because our cultural needs suppress our inborn nature instead of working in harmony with it.

These three components are actually just the parts of the one whole entity. We artificially divide this whole into parts in order to study and analyze but it is one entity with distinguished fractal shaped form (morphology), velocity and acceleration (kinematics). The biomechanical efficiency or minimizing of energetic costs of motion results in preferring of inertial motion instead of more energy costing motions. But this is a great engineering problem that Mather –Nature had to resolve. There is need to carry out this inertial motion fast and energetic all way along from the starting to the finishing point. Inertial motion normally gradually decline getting slower and weaker toward their end. The Mother-Nature resolved this engineering problem with the help of Self-Annihilating Inertial Motion (SAIM). About SAIM I already wrote in the article "The hidden meaning of the Golden Ratio" and about morphology and kinematics I wrote in "The Fractal Nature of the Natural Motion".

My experience of many years as a practitioner and coach make me to believe that without analyses and consciously directed training of Natural Motion it's impossible to get free from unnatural habits and motional and behavioral patterns.
Neither exhausting training nor long standing in different positions will cause us to move naturally. It can be done only by specific training on Natural Motion. Only then our motion and our Martial Art will be formless.

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