Borrowed Force is a power principle in Kenpo in which you generate power with your strike by using the force your opponent is already generating or that you make him generate. The easiest way to see what this means is to imagine someone running at you and you hit him as he does; his velocity coming in at you and the velocity of your strike double the impact, generating incredible power.
It is important to note that Borrowed Force gives you what is called Borrowed Reach, meaning you are gaining reach on the guy because of movement of some kind. However, Borrowed Reach does not always give you Borrowed Force. For those who have been doing Kenpo for awhile, consider Scraping Hoof and Repeated Devastation; those techniques give you Borrowed Reach in the initial moves when you drop to a Horse Stance and punch back into the opponent’s face while you are in a full-nelson hold. You get the reach but not the Borrowed Force.
However, with the following techniques we will explore how you do get Borrowed Force.
Possibly one of the most obvious examples of Borrowed Force in Kenpo, in this technique the pull created when you parry the attacker’s kick, in addition to his own force moving forward because he’s attacking, double the impact when you then shuffle in with an inward elbow which he lands on.
Check it out.
Joe on the left and James on the right square off.
James’ own momentum and the riding force of the block pulls James in toward Joe.
In Intellectual Departure, the opponent kicks at you, you step back with the left foot and turn and parry the kick with the inside of the right forearm and immediately drive a back kick into his groin, which he lands on; that initial kick has Borrowed Force written all over it.
Dan on the left and James on the right square off.
As the kick comes in, Dan deflects it in and towards the left with the inside of his forearm, as he steps back and turns his body toward the left.
Dan continues to turn his body counter-clockwise and deflect the kick with the inside forearm block directed in toward him and diagonal.
Dan then delivers a back kick which James lands on because he still moving forward, lending Borrowed Force to the kick.
Dan then turns to face James again, because you never want your back to your opponent, and delivers a back-knuckle to the face.
Dan delivers a side kick to the knee.
Broken Gift makes use of Opposing Forces as well as Borrowed Force, the Opposing Forces lending Borrowed Force to your strikes. After you initially break or tweak the arm, you pull on it with your left and strike with your right; this creates Borrowed Force because you are pulling the opponent onto the strike. You then step to your right to the inside of the opponent and strike him with your left hand, pull his arm with your right hand and then immediately strike him in the jaw with your right forearm. This creates a sort of whipping around of his head into that last strike: A Borrowed Force effect.
Kenpo technique called Broken Gift, against an unfriendly handshake in which the handshake is a pretext for an attack.
Defender uses his arm to hyper-extend the attacker’s elbow joint and to cancel or check his back-up weapon.
Defender strikes while pulling on the arm.
Defender moves into the attacker’s center-line and strikes and controls the head which controls the rest of the body.
Controlling the attacker’s dimensional zones and having access to his center-line, defender attacks.
Calming the Storm
The very first move of Calming the Storm totally involves Borrowed Force. He comes in on you with a roundhouse club attack and you meet him with a punch to the face, as you block the attack. He runs right into the punch.
Beginning of Kenpo technique “Calming the Storm”, against a round-house club attack.
As the attacker swings the club, the defender steps in and blocks and strikes at the same time.
Defender bumps attacker’s shoulder to open his center-line.
Defender delivers a punch to his opponent’s solar plexus, sternum or abdomen.
Being wound up so using counter-rotation, defender delivers a back-knuckle strike to opponent’s face. By the book, the back-knuckle is to the ribs.
This technique shows us Borrowed Force on the very last move of the base technique. After kicking the attacker in the groin his face is going to come forward and you land into him with a heel palm strike to the face.
Beginning of Kenpo technique “Thrusting Salute”
As attacker kicks, defender blocks.
Defender kicks attacker in the groin.
As attacker’s head comes forward from the groin kick, defender delivers a heel palm strike, doubling the impact.
In Returning Storm you use Borrowed Force when you swing the opponent around using an arm bar, right into a knee to the face or body.
Fall back to dodge the round house club attack.
As he swings the club back at you, you block it and get the arm bar.
Using the arm bar you swing him out…
…then you pull him in…
…you continue to pull him into a front kick–the opposing forces again giving you borrowed force–as your right arm goes back. So, the front kick goes out as the arm goes back.
Then the foot lands down as the strike goes up. You are also moving forward with Back-up Mass with this last strike.
In Circling Fans, Borrowed Force occurs after you front kick him in the groin when you deliver the vertical back-knuckle to the face and then again after you knee his thigh and he lands on your upward forearm strike to his chin.
You drive a knee into his thigh to open him up.
Other techniques to consider:
- Raking Mace–This technique is against a double handed lapel grab in which they pull you in; you use the force of being pulled in to deliver an upper-cut to the body, which bends the opponent over and you immediately deliver a left thrusting chop to the throat; both strikes use Borrowed Force. Notice in Mace of Aggression when he grabbed you and pulled you in, you first struck high; in Raking Mace when the opponent pulls you, you strike low. This technique also shows attacking below the arms as opposed to above, or on top of, the arms, as you do in Mace of Aggression. So, in other words, the two techniques show you category completions.
- Obscure Wing–This one is against a left handed grab on the shoulder from behind with the opponent off-set to your right–after you pin his hand, step to the left and deliver a back elbow to the solar plexus and a then a hammerfist to the groin, your opponent’s face drops down into your subsequent obscure elbow to his chin.
So those are some of the techniques that very well illustrate the use of Borrowed Force.