Three Punches 三捶

The Three Punches (三捶) is better understood as the one of the core principles of the Six Harmonies branch of the Mantis school of martial arts, instead of one single move set.

The idea behind is not simply throwing three punches together, but to use the movements to maintain body composure and control, create tension, and draw power in a very short distance. This is essentially the same as the “one inch punch” made famous by Bruce Lee, but that is, in fact, a faulty translation, as the move is about how power can be generated in that distance without pulling the arms back, not about punching at all. The better translation would be Inch Explosion (寸勁).

Calling it an “explosion” is still figuratively inaccurate, as “explosion” can only describe how the energy is generated in such short amount of time and distance, but not how it feels when it lands:  being hammered to the ground by a tank.

The hammering power is drawn from the whole body and the tension the opponent has given you, then release in a a tight and controlled burst, while maintaining tension and contact with the opponent, in a twisting motion and in a downward angle.

Because tension and contact are maintained, you can keep pressure and maintain control, thereby giving you faster reaction time and allowing you to open up your opponent in a safe manner. Therefore, it isn’t necessary to completely perform all three punches; the three punches help to understand the motion and tension better as a practice exercise.

Suppose the opponent counterattacks, you can parry that attack by turning one arm towards yourself and making it vertical in the process, then proceed with your own counter punch with the other arm. This is then called the Cruciform Punch (十字捶, lit. “figure ten” in Chinese character).

六合螳螂拳視「三捶」為「母拳」,所表述的其實是六合螳螂拳的核心原理,而不是簡單的一樣技擊手法。

故此「三捶」並不是簡單的發出連環三捶,而是要在整個過程中,利用和控制雙方身體的姿態去凝聚張力,並在極短距離中將張力轉化成勁力發揮出來。這與因李小龍而變得非常有名的「寸勁」很相似。

跟一般人說「寸勁」不一樣的是,「三捶」並不是要將人打飛出去,而是要在極短距離中,像坦克一樣將人撞倒在地。這股「撞」的勁力是用上全身的力度,加上對方所提供的張力而形成。發揮的時候要繃緊,節奏要短速,同時要緊貼對手維持張力,以往下旋轉的角度出拳,將對手「撞」在地上。

因為緊貼著對手維持張力,你可以藉此向對方施加壓力並控制他的節奏,因此你的節拍更短,反應比他更快,你就可以安全的打開和尋找對方門戶的空檔。所以,在使用「三捶」的時候並不需要三捶都用上,可以根據情況變化;練習時用上三捶是為了幫助瞭解整個動作與如何維持張力。

假如對方出拳反擊,這時你可以將手臂往自己方向旋轉、扭直以架開對方的拳向,同時以另一隻手出拳反擊。此時你的雙臂形成十字狀,故此稱為「十字捶」,為「三捶」的變異。

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