Scales: A Training Aid




Scales? What do scales have to do with Lotus Self-Defense?  One definition of scale is: A progressive classification, as of size, amount, importance, or rank. In our case, I am referring to a system of amounts or degree regarding the nature of certain physical actions that take place during self-defense techniques.

Let us start by creating a sample scale. Take the simple physical action of shoving someone with both hands placed on the other person’s chest. The amount of force exerted can vary widely depending on the desired outcome. The amount or degree of force can be thought of as being located on a “scale of force”- a ruler used to measure how much force we need to apply to a particular tool to accomplish the desired result. In this case, our tool looks like a double palm-heel.

To set the limits of the scale in the case of the shoving action, let us establish what the two outcomes at opposite ends of the scale might be. If we use the least amount of force required to just shove the person away from us we determine the point at the lower end of our scale. Likewise, if we want to make our opponent’s body absorb all of our energy, we set the upper point on the scale.

We now have a ruler that we can use to see what happens to our opponent when we vary the amount of force used with a particular tool.  The shove is performed using a double palm-heel strike with minimal force delivered rather slowly to move the person away from us and the other extreme is a very fast double palm-heel strike used to deliver the maximum amount of energy to the internal organs of our opponent without wasting any energy causing his body to move. Same strike but two very different outcomes caused by the varying amounts of speed with which our tool moved.

Try applying your own scale to each tool we use in Lotus. One tool is made by forming our hand into a fist and another by forming it into a spear shape. When our foot takes the shape of a snap kick will it be used as shove or will it REALLY be a kick? How about that chop? Is it a chop or simply a quick grab or is it a spear? Can you apply a scale to side kicks? How about “blocks”? Really think about this one!

Using scaling as a training aid helps us see that by using just a few tools we end up with a vast array of weapons in our toolbox.

Ed Parker, the founder of American Kenpo, was a master at applying scaling to his system of Kenpo and he came from the same roots that we in Lotus come from.

Written by Tim Hollembaek