Power and vulnerability.

Many are afraid of being vulnerable. But is vulnerability really a bad thing and something to be fearful of?

When we punch, for example, we actually put ourselves into a deeply vulnerable and off balanced position; but this same body weight shift that causes vulnerability also enables us to get the most power into the technique.

In our personal lives, without vulnerability we never step out of our comfort zone…we never grow…we never connect to others. When we make ourselves vulnerable we actually open ourselves up to life.

Can we be fully alive or powerful in both our Hapkido and our personal lives without a degree of vulnerability?

I would be really interested to hear your thoughts on the relationship between power and vulnerability.

About Master Tammy Parlour

Head instructor at Chang's Hapkido Academy UK, a London martial arts school.

One Response to Power and vulnerability.

  1. Ade June 6, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

    Hi Sabumnim,
    It’s a very interesting point you have raised.

    At the risk of exposing myself(!), I have a few hopefully relevant points to make:

    Vulnerability exposes us to potential failure. And failure is the only path to learning. So to your point, without vulnerability we are sentenced to our comfort zones forever and thus are unlikely to develop as a person.

    However vulnerability is an indirect form of power. Babies exploit human nature in that their vulnerability causes us to protect them. Thus we can mobilise self-serving behaviours in others through appearing vulnerable.

    And finally if we take the high stakes negotiation challenge of two juggernauts charging down a narrow road towards each other. It is the driver who throws her steering wheel out the window that prevails. She has surrendered control and has thus left the matter of avoiding a crash to the other driver. So here again we see vulnerability as a tool of sorts.

    Many eastern martial arts are focused on self mastery rather than mastery of others. The degree to which we are comfortable being vulnerable is thus a measure of our progress in martial arts. If we engage (fight) in a way that protects us from being vulnerable then our mind is tied up assessing the options (typically defensive) rather than flowing freely with the circumstances. Thus I would suggest that vulnerability is essential if we are to engage naturally with the world regardless of whether the conditions are hostile or otherwise. And thus vulnerability is a key factor in being ‘fully alive’.

    A thought provoking post. Thank you.

    Ade

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