The Brick

im_art7There it sets like a stubborn rhino. And in about half a nano-second I’m going to take my right hand and smash down on that unfeeling lump of concrete to crush it.

I’ve done this before. I’ve also hurt my hand before. There’s one truth about all this you can bank on. If you don’t feel a thing that’s good . You’ve broken through. If you feel anything, you lose and it’s going to hurt.

How did I get to this point? Training or stupidity? A martial artist trains at first for what any Joe Blow off the street could understand: power, speed, balance, coordination. That sort of thing. But later other factors come into play: discipline, centering, concentration.

Concentration. That’s what I should be using right now on this flat bit of matter sitting there waiting to crack my metatarsals and ego.

Let’s review. The martial arts has indeed produced some amazing displays which turned a lot of heads around. Right now neurologists are starting to validate the so-called “death touch”. Then there’s Miller’s creation of bio-feedback definitely help by the controls shown in martial arts and yoga. The “tuck and stack” of the physical therapist was developed 400 years ago by experts in T’ai Chi.

Does any of that help me with this particular brick right here sitting like a three-day old meat loaf? Well, what’s the physics here?

I’m going to smash my fist down creating six hundred pounds of pressure per square inch. At that point the bones of my hand – which are to be considered colloidal, not “solid” – will actually compress, scrunching together like the face of a teatoteller with too much lemon. That does NOT break a thing, so far. At that point things are undecided. An instant after impact my colloidal skeletal structure will resume its natural shape and that push in the bones re-forming actually snaps the weaker atomic bonds of the brick.

All that’s if I win. I slam down with a loud yell not only so I don’t have to hear my own bones fracture – in the good scenario – to suppress my pain response while, exhaling tightens my intercostal muscles and adds structural integrity to the general downward direction of force.

Bricks of course aren’t that unusual in martial arts. I’ve seen people bare handedly break bottles, leaving their bases undisturbed, ice blocks – up to 900 pounds at a time – and watermelons just by a thrust of the finger tips. Do not try any of these tricks at home.

There’s always some wise guy
who will remind you that “bricks don’t punch back”. True. And neither do punching bags but we use them anyway to develop a skill that will lead us to an experience. And what is the experience?

Oddly enough, freedom. The freedom felt by the rock climber, the poet or the actor. The moment is everything. Brick or me. Here goes…

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