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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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