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You are here: Index location Universal Tactics and Self Defence location 16 Postures Martial Art

16 Postures Martial Art

The 16 Postures Martial Art was an idea that I had for a unique unarmed combat system. It involves a set number (16 as an example) of carefully developed "postures". Each posture would share these essential characteristics:

The idea is that a posture is held in tension for a moment with full force. Then another posture is held in tension for a moment with full force. The transition between each posture would share these essential characteristics:/

The martial art consists only of a set number of carefully designed postures held at high tension for a brief moment in various sequences in just the same way that letters make up words in various combinations.

The practitioner must become fully aware of each posture with its strengths and limitations. They must infuse their awareness into each posture to a very high degree. Visualizing their usefullness in many varied situations.

Depending on the number of elemental postures the number of combinations over 2 or more transitions will vary greatly. For example imagine a hyperthetical martial art with only 3 elemental postures:

and so on. Here is a diagram to illustrate:
fight posture permutations
a, b and c represent the three elemental postures. The red lines represent a transition from one elemental posture to another.

How Many Postures?

A system with too few elemental postures would suffer from a serious limitation. This is because they would lack the variations necessary to deal with the complications of real combat. On the other hand a system with too many elemental postures would be impractical because it would take too long to learn them to the correct depth and the number of sequential patterns would be far to vast too learn for even sequences of only 2 or 3 transitions. In theory there must be an ideal number of elemental postures for this unique kind of martial system.

Multiple Transitions Types Between 2 Elemental Postures?

In theory, the number of transitions between any 2 Elemental Postures is variable. In other words a particular system could impose strict limitations on the transitions ie only
one precise, carefully planned and well practiced transition between each pair of elemental postures. This is in keeping with the spirit of the overall method: rapid simple and high powered. In other words, because the range of possible choices are limited they may be performed more rapidly and with more inate awareness. The transitions in such a structured system would be finite and an easily managed small number. This would allow for a much deeper and more rigorous training for each of the individual transitions. On the other hand having a relatively small number of transitions could mean that the system is not rich enough in variety to deal with real life situations.

A system could be structured such that their are 2, 3 or 4 possible transitions between each elemental posture and the next one in the sequence. This would allow much greater variety but would take much longer to learn.

A system could be limited only by the number of elemental postures but impose no limits on the types of transition between them. This freer system would miss out on some of the benefits of a more structured system but would, in theory allow for much greater flexibility and variety during combat.

Categorization of the Elemental Postures

If a system allows only for a set number of postures then obviously each one has to be as useful as possible and the set as a whole must be balanced and contain postures that cover situations from all angles etc. The natural structure of the body dictates the type of suitable postures. The symmetry of the body should be reflected by symmetry of the posture set. For example, if in the posture set there is a posture where the right arm is in a particular position, then there must also be an elemental posture where the left arm is in that same position. In other words every posture must either be symmetrical within itself or have a "mirror" partner.


This hyperthetical martial art idea may or may not be useful and practical as a stand alone system. A lot of study and research is needed to optimize it. I encourage any interested people to come forward with their ideas. It may have some use as a back up technique for martial artists trained in other systems. In certain situations a string of high tension postures in a particular sequence could totally disrupt the enemy and lead to victory.

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1) Introduction
2) How to read This book
3) The Virtues
4) Examples of virtuous opposites
5) *Exercise one: Overview
6) Summary of Exercise one: Overview
7) Beliefs
8) Two attitudes towards Truth
9) *Exercise two: Letting go of false beliefs
10) Summary of Exercise Two: Letting go of false beliefs
11) More About the Virtues
12) *Exercise Three: Awakening the Virtues
13) The Virtues are Interconnected
14) *Exercise Four: Reuniting Virtues
15) Every Virtue is Useful in Awakening the Other Virtues
16) Examples of Individual Pathways
17) *Exercise Five: Unifying Your Virtuous Matrix
18) Vices: Yours
19) *Exercise Six: Dealing with Your Own Faults
20) Summary of Exercise Six: Dealing with Your Own Faults
21) Vices: Other Peoples
22) *Exercise Seven: Accepting Others Despite Their Faults
23) A Deeper Understanding of the Matrix
24) Compound Virtues
25) Gaps in the Matrix
26) Beyond the Elemental
27) The Unknown Virtue
28) *Exercise Eight: Reintegrating the Unknown Virtue
29) Utilising Semiconciousness
30) Mental Association
31) *Exercise Nine: Positive Association
32) Social an Universal Association
33) *Exercise Ten: Enhancing Your Surroundings
34) Anchoring Positive Association
35) *Exercise Eleven: Anchoring Positive Association
36) Summary of Exercise Eleven: Anchoring Positive Association
37) Exercise Twelve: Deepening Positive Association
38) Individual Areas
39) *Exercise Thirteen: Individual Areas
40) Independence!
41) *Exercise Fourteen: Reclaiming Your Power
42) Summary of Exercise Fourteen: Reclaiming Your Power
43) The Darkness Within
44) *Exercise Fifteen: Embracing the Darkness
45) Summary of Exercise Fifteen: Embracing the Darkness
46) Improving Your Practice
47) *Exercise Sixteen: Boosting Practice
48) Final Word
Inner Medicine by James Barton