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Marriage with Gravity Techniques

The Kenpo power principle known as Marriage with Gravity has to do with using gravity and your body weight to add power to your strikes in a downward direction. In other words, you drop with your body weight into the strike. Another way to look at it is that Marriage with Gravity is Back-up Mass moving downward. While Back-up Mass is generally thought of as moving in or forward, Marriage with Gravity moves down, or on top of the opponent and target.

Let’s look at some examples.

Thundering Hammers

In this technique, after the initial block and then the forearm strike to the body, you drop two hammerfist strikes onto the kidneys and back of the neck (or base of the skull). You drop with your weight with these strikes as you simultaneously drop your knees into his calves to buckle him.

Observe.

Joe slips and blocks the right punch.

Joe slips and blocks the right punch.

Joe shuffles in with a forearm strike to the body.

Joe shuffles in with a forearm strike to the body.

Joe strikes the kidney and drops a knee into the calf.

Joe strikes the kidney and drops a knee into the calf.

Joe checks the arm and chambers his other hand.

Joe checks the arm and chambers his other hand.

Joe drops a hammerfist to the back of the neck and drops a knee onto the calf.

Joe drops a hammerfist to the back of the neck and drops a knee onto the calf.

Joe steps at an angle and claws through the eyes.

Joe steps at an angle and claws through the eyes.

Continuing the circular movement of his hand, Joe chambers that hand for a strike.

Continuing the circular movement of his hand, Joe chambers that hand for a strike.

Joe's body and the attacker's face are now in a position for Joe to deliver a back-knuckle strike to the face.

Joe’s body and the attacker’s face are now in a position for Joe to deliver a back-knuckle strike to the face.

Following all the way through with the strike, Joe's hand is now chambered.

Following all the way through with the strike, Joe’s hand is now chambered.

He comes up with a heel-palm claw to the face as he shuffles in.

He comes up with a heel-palm claw to the face as he shuffles in.

Mace of Aggression

In Mace of Aggression there is a heavy emphasis on Marriage with Gravity on the first move–after you’ve pinned the attacker’s hands to your chest, following the Kenpo “get on top” rule applied to grabs–in which you stomp on the attacker’s right foot with your right foot (a cross-check) and rake across his temple and bridge of the nose with the knuckles of your right fist; the attacker is pulling you so you go with it and land with those hard shots to his foot and face, with Back-up Mass, Borrowed Force and Marriage with Gravity.

Dan on the left grabs Joe on the right.

Dan on the left grabs Joe on the right.

Having struck Dan's face with a downward strike, Joe continues down onto the arms to bring Dan's face in and down within reach for an elbow strike.

Having struck Dan’s face with a downward strike, Joe continues down onto the arms to bring Dan’s face in and down within reach for an elbow strike.

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Spreading Branch

Spreading Branch is against a bear hug from behind with your arms pinned. You pin his arms to you with your left hand (following the rule of “get on top” when someone grabs you) and drop your weight; you sweep his left leg out with your right leg and hammerfist his groin; then you pull his arm off you and back-knuckle him in the face; you grab his head and pull him around to in front of you, deliver a knee to the face and then land–with Marriage with Gravity–with an inward overhead elbow into his spine. That last move is obviously totally Marriage with Gravity.

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Sword of Destruction

Both Delayed Sword and Sword of Destruction involve heavy use of Marriage with Gravity on their last moves. The techniques are related, Delayed Sword is against a right straight step through thrust punch and Sword of Destruction is against a boxer’s left hook or roundhouse punch. In Delayed Sword the last dropping handsword is done from where the hand is after the inward block, while in Sword of Destruction the handsword is done from where the hand is after an outward block; of course, a front kick to the groin is sandwiched in-between the block and handsword; the kick is used to break the height zone which is necessary for cancelling his weapons when you are in his center-line–known as the Inside Rule. Notice too that the final handsword comes from point of origin, making it economical and illustrating the rule that you don’t chamber as a separate maneuver. The hand is already chambered after the block. In Delayed Sword, you block in to strike out and in Sword of Destruction you block out to strike in. In both cases you land with Marriage with Gravity with those strikes, which occur after the front kick to the groin.

James on the left and Dan on the right face off.

James on the left and Dan on the right face off.

James comes in with a boxer's hook or Kenpo round-house punch and Dan steps back into a right neutral bow stance and delivers a right outward block, covering low with left to protect his mid-zone.

James comes in with a boxer’s hook or Kenpo round-house punch and Dan steps back into a right neutral bow stance and delivers a right outward block, covering low with left to protect his mid-zone.

Still being in James center-line, Dan must break the height zone to cancel James' back-up weapon, so he kicks him in the groin.

Still being in James center-line, Dan must break the height zone to cancel James’ back-up weapon, so he kicks him in the groin.

James now bent forward, his weapons canceled, Dan is able to come down using marriage with gravity with a handsword strike to the neck or base of skull.

James now bent forward, his weapons canceled, Dan is able to come down using marriage with gravity with a handsword strike to the neck or base of skull.

So, there you have some prime examples of Marriage with Gravity as illustrated in Kenpo techniques; using the force of weight moving downward to add power to your strikes.

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