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Zero Friction Training

Of all the martial arts moves: which ones could be performed on a sheet of slippery ice and which ones are impossible to perform on such a near zero friction surface?

Some moves may be inherently unbalanced but this is obscured by their *usually* successful application on rough surfaces. If we try many moves on a special low friction surface we will be able to determine the moves that are inherently balanced. We can then expand this set of balanced moves within our repertoire of moves and discard the unbalanced ones. We can base our whole martial art on balanced moves. Also we can understand, via the training, in what direction the forces of inbalance operate during the performance of a particular move. We can use that knowledge to discover weaknessess in our opponents. In other words we can be aware of the forces within an opponent that are masked by the friction of the ground and use that information to deal with their attack more effectively.

So zero friction training can act as an "X ray" allowing us to see the hidden forces in martial moves. In our moves: we can eliminate the unbalanced moves from our training repertoire. We can develop a range of balanced moves and understand our bodies more deeply. In our enemy's moves: we gain the knowledge of hidden inbalances and thus can exploit such weaknesses for our tactical advantage.

We will have an advantage when fighting on slippery surfaces as we will have greatly improved our natural balance plus we can consciously refrain from unbalanced moves. In some cases we will be able to maneuver our opponent onto low friction surfaces that will make their favourite moves impossible to perform whilst we will still have available to us the full range of our moves etc etc.

If you see the benefits of zero friction training and intend to try it then please remember these points. No surface is actually zero friction-slippery surfaces are low friction not zero friction. Start your training on higher friction surfaces and after some time and experience progress to more slippery surfaces. Be careful that there are no sharp or dangerous objects nearby. Also wear appropriate clothing with nothing in the pockets. Take of your watch and any jewellery. Wear padding if appropriate. Expect to fall during this kind of training, are you fit enough to do so? Do not train on thin ice. If you are not certain of the thickness of the ice then do not train on it. Stretched polythene sprayed with water can be used as the training surface. Polished floorboards and certain footwear can create a good low friction surface to train with. Remember to start slow and stay deeply aware of your body as you perform a range of moves. Keeping a written record of your discoveries can be very useful.

By contemplating defence on slippery ground what lessons can we learn for our everyday lives? Do you have particular shoes or clothing that make you more vunerable in some situations whilst others that make you slightly more secure?

Another aspect of zero friction training is to develop specific moves to be used against opponents on slippery surfaces. For example modified leg sweeps. In other words as with all Shhhhh (the new martial art) training we consider all the conceptual opposites and permutations.

Zero Friction Training is only one example of a wide range of training exercises that can deepen our awareness of and increase our control over various relevant variables.

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