No, I am not referring to Mixed Martial Arts which is what MMA commonly stands for.
In this context I am referring to Mass, Momentum, Acceleration which are the three basic components for generating force in Taijiquan or for that matter in any martial arts.
I once stood in a bookshop, opened a book on Physics and told my student that the secrets of Taiji are inside the book. To a large extent this is true.
MMA is the basic force generation principle I teach to beginners. It sounds simple and it should be simple though getting the physical coordination might take a little practice. In the the context of how we practice Taiji we need to get things accurate, not just do blindly. Getting things accurate means to move in a certain manner, certain timing, etc for certain reasons.
The first part Mass is easy. All we have to do is to stick to the rules of doing the 5-Count particularly the points of reference and our body’s mass will be aligned nicely. Nothing to it.
The second part Momentum is not that difficult once Mass is correct. However, at this point I would caution against being impatient and rushing through this part. If you rush through it then you may end up losing the alignment that you had achieved using the 5-Count. If this happens then your mass is no longer unified and you will affect the mass part of the momentum equation defined as mass X velocity.
If you move in a less than exact manner you will also affect the velocity of your moving body by subtly changing its direction. You might not notice it but an experienced teacher can tell and can easily demonstrate this point.
The third part Acceleration is a little tricky because most people think that by ramping up the speed of their movement they have acceleration. Yes and no. The funny thing is even after I explained it I find that most students still want to do the acceleration part fast.
You can do Acceleration fast but after you get the details right. Getting it right means taking your time to study it which means doing it slowly. Sounds like a contradiction right?
Normally I would set up a quick demo to explain this. The purpose of the demo is to show that even if a student moves fast to accelerate his body it does not mean that the resultant force is greater. This is because when he moves too fast, too early without getting the details right his mass and momentum may be out without him realizing it.
This is when I would do a demo to show that even though I am moving slowly and moving very little the force behind the movement is greater that what it seems and the duration of the force is long even though logic dictates that the duration should be short in proportion to the external movement that can be seen.
This apparent contradiction is the magic behind Taijiquan. It really is a careful expression of the principles behind the Taijiquan Classics to realize the principles of Physics in a wholistic manner.