Opposing Forces is one of the main power principles in Kenpo. Here, I am using my own definition of Opposing Forces, and that is: Generating power through motion going in opposing directions. The way I see it, this could mean whipping the opponent one way and then quickly the other way; whipping one of your own weapons one way, then the other way; or the standard understanding of it, two weapons/limbs moving in opposite directions. This basic power principle can be seen in something as simple as walking; notice your arms and legs/feet move in opposing directions when you walk. This also brings in principles of counter-balancing and also counter-rotation in some cases.
One technique in Kenpo that offers a good example of Opposing Forces is the Yellow Belt technique called Attacking Mace. In one of the moves, you are getting at least three things done at once; you pull the opponent’s arm and kick him, generate Opposing Forces power and chamber your left hand for a punch.
The technique starts when your opponent tries to punch you with a right punch; you step back and block it; you are now on the outside of his arm and body; you punch him in the ribs, which turns him and opens his center-line (a category completion move for other moves that turn the opponent to open his center-line) and also knocks him back; before he gets away, you grab his arm, making sure not to leave contact with him; that’s when you pull him into the kick and then you land, with marriage with gravity and back-up mass, with a punch to the ribs.
Let’s look at the technique.
Here you see Joe slip James’ punch and deliver a left inward block. The right hand is chambered, because this technique shows what to do when your hand is in that position and also full range of motion. Notice the block is at or above the elbow to prevent the arm from collapsing and turning into a strike. Also, using oppose the line or margin for error rule, notice that the block and punching arm make a cross.
Joe punches James’ in the ribs, which turns him, opens his center-line, and knocks him back.
Keeping close contact with the arm, Joe grabs James before he gets away.
As Joe kicks James, both of his hands pull back, creating opposing forces, the two hands matching the thrust of the bigger leg.
Finally, Joe lands, checking James’ leg with his leg, while pulling his arm downward and diagonal to turn him and open him up while cancel his height, width and depth zones, and punches him in the ribs.
This technique is another good example of the use of Opposing Forces. It’s against a right cross-push to the chest, by the book. You step in and catch the arm on the outside with your left and on the inside with your right, then turn and tweak the arm, using a sort of scissoring motion, which is Opposing Forces. Notice too, that you step and turn, which is the rule for Torque. Torque techniques always involve a step and turn.
Let’s look at the technique.
James pushes Joe
Taking advantage of how the push turns the body anyway, Joe steps in and turns and catches the arm in a “scissor” and wrenches the elbow. This also turns James to cancel his back-up weapon–the left hand, which he was probably going to use next.
Joe pushes James arm down and into him, which keeps him checked off
Joe delivers a glancing heel-palm through the face, of course turning into using proper body mechanics and torque.
Joe pulls back on James head with his hand and drives a knee to the groin or body; this is the Opposing Forces of this technique, mainly; the arm goes back and the knee goes out; pull and push.
Joe lands with an elbow to the face. Notice here that the elbow goes in as the foot lands down.
If you’ve ever done this technique properly, you can feel the power principles at work. One weapon is going out as another goes in another direction. I advise that you practice it to get a good feel for what it’s supposed to feel like.
Gift of Destruction
This technique not only shows you Opposing Forces, but a good deal of Back-up Mass. The technique really is mainly Back-up Mass. But it also shows you a good deal of Opposing Forces.
Here we go.
James shakes Joe’s hand, really with the intention of punching him.
To cancel the back-up weapon, Joe pulls on the right arm, while striking the elbow with his left and kneeing James in the groin. This is Opposing Forces–the right arm goes back, the left in, and the knee out and into the groin.
Joe checks the right arm with his left hand.
Joe lands into James with an elbow to the face. Notice her that the movement is all forward and that the weapon goes in while the foot goes down.
One of the main ideas of this technique is to keep your momentum going forward. It’s meant to totally cancel the attacker’s depth zone so that he can’t punch or kick you.
Dance of Darkness
This is one of the techniques you find in one of the advanced forms, Long Form 4. It is against a kick and punch combination.
James parries the kick with his right as his left covers high and he step back into a twist stance with his right foot.
He steps in back of Joe with his right while parrying the punch with his left and right
There is a double strike with both fists to the spine as you step with your left and turn your body from left to right–this is whipping sort of opposing forces.
Grab the head
Pull down on the head with the left as you punch up to it with the right–opposing forces.
The right hand dips down the arm and up into the eye
The leg is swept with the left foot as the left hand tracks the other arm to shoot up to a poke to the eye
This move is opposing forces because the right hand and left foot go back as the left hand goes into the opponent’s eye.
Grasping Eagles also makes heavy use of Opposing Forces. It is against a two-man attack. In the beginning of the technique one weapon is going out in front of you to handle the front guy while another weapon shoots back to handle the guy in the rear, making use of opposing forces to simultaneously keep both guys off you.
Dan punches, Joe blocks and kicks Dan at the same time while hammer-fisting James in the groin.
When you consider this technique, also consider Parting of the Snakes, which has related moves and also makes use of Opposing Forces.
Snapping Twig makes use of Opposing Forces in the first move when you snap the arm at the elbow joint, when you use frictional pull on the arm with your right hand as you deliver a thrusting chop with your left, and as you smash his face with an elbow or forearm as your left hand strikes the other side of his face.
Clutching Feathers has Opposing Forces in two spots: When you use counter-rotation on the “dragon’s tooth” strike and also with the frictional pull on the arm as you do the heel-palm strike.
Middle-knuckle, or Dragon’s Tooth, strike to nerve under the arm.
Protecting Fans makes use of counter-rotation on the outward parry and uses Opposing Forces on eye poke, the pull on the arm and the kick to the groin. Then, as you do a sort of wind-shield wiper motion with the right hand across the attacker’s face– this is a whipping sort of Opposing Forces back and forth– there is then a scoop kick that pulls you back into a stance in which you land with a thrusting chop to the throat–also Opposing Forces because your foot goes back as your hand goes out. Notice how Opposing Forces lends Borrowed Force to the technique.
Joes delivers a left inward parry to the left punch that James delivers.
Joes executes a right outward parry for the right punch as he pivots to a forward bow, creating Opposing Forces or counter-rotation, as his hips turn to the left and the parry goes to the right and back.
Joes grabs the right arm, pulls on it as he turns and delivers a left poke to the eye and a kick to the groin. This is Opposing Forces because the pull is going in and the weapons go out.
Joe lands with an elbow to the face. This is Back-up Mass mainly.
Joe slices through the eyes horizontally toward the right, turning James’ face.
Joe then slices, and pulls in, the eyes as he scoop kicks the groin.
This creates Borrowed Force by pulling James in, for the thrusting chop to the throat. This is an example of Opposing Forces aiding Borrowed Force.
Flight to Freedom
Flight to Freedom has Opposing Forces on the whipping around and pulling down on the arm as you front kick. It can have Opposing Forces on the break on the arm at the end, if you pull up on the arm as you drop with Marriage with Gravity with the strike to the elbow joint.
James gets Joe in a hammer-lock from behind.
Joe reaches out to get travel for an elbow, and steps back into James to bump him and get space and also get a base. Also, he will have counter-grabbed James’ right wrist in the first move–get on top.
Joe delivers an elbow, as would normally be done in Locked Wing, but in this scenario the elbow is blocked.
Joe opts for an alternative as he steps with his left foot to his front 45 (corner).
Joe delivers a back kick to the ribs, because he hasn’t hurt him yet, needs to get a nerve response and loosen him up.
Joe spins, whips James’ arm around and down and delivers a front kick up into the face or body.
Joe lands with Marriage with Gravity and a break on the arm.
Spiraling Twig mainly has Opposing Forces occurring when you pull the attacker into a front kick and then when you land with a lifting back-knuckle strike.
As you grab the hand for the wrist lock, make sure you keep pressure on his right elbow under your arm using your elbow.
The right arm pulls back as you pull attacker and you shoot out a front kick, creating Opposing Forces.
This is Opposing Forces too, as the foot goes down, the strike goes up.
In Returning Storm, you are actually using Opposing Forces in three places, two of which blend together: Using the arm bar, you pull the attacker out and in and then deliver a front kick as you pull you him into it and pull your right arm back; then you foot lands down as a strike goes up into his face.
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.
Other Techniques to Consider
- Thrusting Prongs–Against a Bear Hug from the front with your arms pinned. Your first move is to step back with your right foot and shoot your thumbs into his bladder (to create space and loosen him). Then your right elbow shoots back as you drive a knee into him. Lots of Opposing Forces.
- Thrusting Wedge–Against a two-handed choke from the front. After you drive your fingers into his eyes, you pull down on his arm as you shoot an elbow up into his chin.
- Hooking Wings–Against a two-handed low push. Initially, you parry, hook, his arms when he pushes, pulling his arms back as you shoot a kick into the groin.
- Unfurling Crane–Against a left punch, right kick, right punch combination. You block the left punch with your left, your right picks up that punch as your left arm blocks the kick, your right and then left pick up the punch and your right turns into a hammer-fist to the groin. That is all Opposing Forces.
- Tripping Arrow–Against a Bear Hug from the front, arms are free. On the sweep and take-down, the strike goes horizontally to the left as your right leg sweeps your opponent’s legs, sliding to the right. This is also part of a category completion for sweeps, a horizontal, or sideways, sweep; as opposed to sweeps in which you strike-takedown upward and downward.
So, there you have it. Opposing Forces: Two things going in opposing directions and generating power. In and out, left and right or up and down.