Full On Frontal

Sometimes it just takes a while for a concept to sink in.  Like the frontal plane for instance.  It’s not like I haven’t heard it explained and felt it demonstrated many times before, but the understanding didn’t hit me for quite some time.  How hard can it possibly be to move parallel to the plane of the body?  The frontal energy looks easy, but requires a deceptive amount of precision to manifest.  Until I had to teach it, I didn’t fully appreciate just how poorly I understood how to manifest the frontal energy myself.

The idea behind movement in the frontal plane is quite simple: the circular path moves in the up-down and left-right directions which define the frontal plane.  Theoretically, there should be no net forward-back movement components.  When it comes to interacting with a force using the frontal energy, there must be a forward-back matching energy with your opponent.  After matching the incoming force, the actual movements to change must be perpendicular to the forward-back force vector; in other words, the movement must be strictly in the up-down, left-right frontal plane.

Therein lies the most common (in my experience) mistake in applying the frontal energy.  Insufficient attention to maintaining the forward-back matching force results in pushing forward or dropping back at the point of contact during the frontal movement.  Once there is a forward push or backwards yielding, the matching force is changed and the movement is no longer purely in the frontal plane.

Pushing forward during the movement is directly resisting the incoming force.  Pushing forward rather than just matching force at the point of contact usually diminishes the effectiveness of the frontal energy; either you jam up your own movement or you end up stabilizing your opponent.

Dropping back from the point of contact is equally problematic as it is essentially releasing and disengaging from the point. Usually, the releasing from the point results from imprecise engagements with the north, south, east, and west energies.  The engaging energy at the point must point to the center of the circle while you move in the frontal plane.  When the engaging energy does not match the frontal movements, there is no unification to the point and the frontal plane energy is lost.

Kenshiro is familiar with the frontal plane, but quite frankly I think the Fist of the North Star could improve his south energy