Friday, May 18, 2007

Power
v.
Force

To me, force requires strength. So, a stronger person can generate more force than a weaker one. Translated into sports (like paddling and, especially, Judo), stronger individuals often do well at the beginning because they can use their force (strength) to over come poor technique. Heck, any stroke if applied with enough force will get a boat moving (maybe not well, but moving...but I digress).

As one acquires wisdom and technique, they learn to apply a minimum amount of force with a maximum amount of efficiency and technique. The results is something awesome and, well, powerful. When carried to the ideal, no amount of force can overcome full blown power.

In judo, if you can generate the force of 10 and I can only generate 5, I am going to lose to a head to head show of force. If, on the other hand, you push with your 10 and I pull with my 5, I will generate a power of 15 against which you will be helpless. So it is with paddling, so it is with life.

I often see people trying to force their way through life in an effort to fill a mold of someone else's design (pleasers). How sad. This only serves to bleed off their power which lies in following their true calling. On a more mundane level, I see paddlers who actually think that it is the force of the paddle on the water that rolls a boat when, in fact, the paddle has very little to do with coming upright. In fact, as I tell them, a look at the physics involved will quickly tell you that it is not possible to roll up.

The power comes in relaxing and, while upside down, falling upside down-up. Or to put it simply, let the boat roll under you and pick you up. That's power and requires little force.

As I tell my Judo and kayak students, alike, if you are working hard you are doing it wrong.

Paddle safe...

DS

6 comments:

Alex said...

Excellent analogy Dick. Remembering back to my high school physics days, force = mass * acceleration while power = work / time. Therefore, a new student who is big and strong can generate a lot of force through their size and ability to accelerate the kayak by pulling really hard on the kayak. An experienceed kayak however could much more efficiently apply "work" to paddling over a period of time as to waste energy. I was terrible at physics though...

Capt'n "O" Dark 30 said...

As I tell my Judo and kayak students, alike, if you are working hard you are doing it wrong.

Work in general is over-rated!! :-0

derrick said...

good post. I'll have to tell you about an experience with that while in wales. those poor "power guys" always wonder how you can be weaker and over take them. . . a lesson in technique. :)

Silbs said...

Thanks, guys.Alex, it sounds like you remember quite a bit of physics. How about a blog on paddles, oars and primary and secondary levers? :)
And Derrick, those guys don't know about our secrete weapon: bratwurst.

Michael said...

Interesting post! I wonder if the 'pleasers' you mentioned could learn to 'pull' their 'opponents' and thereby win out? I can think of some paddlers who seem to be constantly pushing when they might to better to pull...

Silbs said...

Interesting Michael. Actually, when I work with men like that, I invite them to look at why they have a need to please (what it is about them) and go from there. Kayakers seem to do such fine at pleasing themselves :)