What is Power?

w-140x140hat is Power?  In terms of punching or hitting I define it simply as this; punching power is a sudden, violent transfer of energy from one individual to another delivered via a strike.

It’s really just that simple.  Now thinking in these terms, the more sudden, violent energy I deliver, the “harder I punch.”  As a result of reducing everything to this basic definition we can then define, categorize and address all of the components that when combined, create the ultimate in human punching power.

Ultimate Power.  If you’ve ever trained with me you know that I use the term frequently. What is Ultimate Power?  What does Emerson mean when he uses it?  When I use the term ultimate power I am usually talking about how to develop it, train it, or unleash it.  But I define it in this way; it is the absolute summation of everything in your being brought to focus on a single task or goal.  And I mean everything, every sinew, every bone, every tendon, your lifetime of training, you’re life’s experience, all of your mental focus, and all of your intensity.  Without getting any wordier, let’s just call it, unleashing your inner Superman.  Do you have a Superman inside of you?  Absolutely yes.  Does everyone have a Superman inside of them?  You bet they do.  Why would someone disagree with this statement?  Simply because they’ve never experienced or have never had an experience that required Superman’s presence.

I had an “event” when I was twenty years old that changed my life forever.  My friend Tom had a 1971 Plymouth Belvedere and it needed new front brakes.  Along with another friend, Bill we decided to change the brake pads ourselves.  We were all young, dumb and not too full of brains at that age so we just took the ratchet jack out of the trunk and used it to raise the car.  We didn’t have any jack stands so the car was sitting up on this skinny rickety jack with Bill sitting on the ground, legs in a Vee on each side of the wheel using a pair of vise grips to pull the brake springs off the pegs.  Suddenly the vice grips slipped off the spring and as Tom and I watched, the car began to slowly tilt to the right, fall off the jack and onto Bill.  It took long enough to fall that Bill had scooted himself backwards clearing his body except for his foot.  The wheel and brake drum assemble had landed squarely on top of it.

Bill was screaming.  Tom and I grabbed the front bumper of the Plymouth and lifted up.  The car started to move as we strained to lift it off Bill.  All we did was decompress the springs on the front end, much like bouncing the shock absorbers up and down.  All we did was take a little weight off Bills leg.  He was still pinned and we had to let the car back down.  What I thought were some of the worst screams I had ever heard suddenly went times ten.  At that instant with no words spoken Tom and I looked at each other and lifted the car up and off Bill. But, not just off his foot but way off of his foot, about 9 or 10 inches off of the ground.  Bill pulled back and we put the car down.  Paramedics were on the scene within five minutes expecting a rescue and actually did not believe that Tom and I had lifted the car off of him.  Over the next few months we tried a dozen times to “go lift that Plymouth” but could never ever come close to picking it up.

Now, that’s the story.  It actually did happen and it happened to me.  Now granted it wasn’t a little old lady lifting a tractor off of her grandson.  It was a two pretty strong farm boys from Northern Wisconsin, but it was a heavy old car that we lifted off the ground once, but could never lift again no matter how hard we tried.

This event was a life changing experience for me in a number of ways but in terms of what happened, in regard to the Superman, or ultimate power it was this.  When we first tried to lift the car up we were trying with all of our might, with every ounce of strength that we had.  Our friend was screaming pinned under the car.  We had all the adrenaline, urgency, and resolve, everything that you always read about happening in that moment, yet we could not lift that car.

When we let the car back down (on Bill) something happened that seemed straight out of the Twilight Zone.  There was a moment, an instant when all thought was suspended and nothing else seemed to exist, except that exact moment in time.  It was a moment of perfect mental clarity, absolute and perfect.  At that instant in time when we lifted again, the car was weightless.  It might as well have been a box of Styrofoam.  There was no strength involved, no weight, no straining, and absolutely no exertion, none.  It was not adrenaline or any of the other scientific explanations.  I’m telling you it was weightless – no weight.

Why am I talking about this in a book about the science of hitting?  Because I was a healthy strong man who had played college football, semi-pro baseball, wrestled and lifted weights since I was about twelve years old.  I was an athlete, a great athlete and I knew I was strong.  Now, you must realize that I’m the kind of guy who looks at life in pretty simple terms.  If I can’t see it, feel it, or hear it then it probably doesn’t exist.

But, from that day forward I was much, much stronger.  My endurance, my natural strength, my training routines and my weights increased dramatically.  I had seen a small, fleeting glimpse of the Superman we all carry inside of us.  Granted, I did not become a Superman but my strength and my power increased by a good 25 to 30% in just a couple of weeks.

That may not sound so impressive, but for a highly trained athlete in peak condition, already by all standards at my own training limits of strength and endurance a 25% increase was like getting struck by a bolt of lighting.  It was like I had taken some kind of magic power pill.  No, I have never taken steroids.  What I realize was that all of my bests, my limits, were no longer valid.  They did not exist.  Was I stronger than I had previously thought?  Yes.  I could quantify that fact with weights and times.  But the epiphany wasn’t that I was 25% stronger.  I was really, a thousand times stronger.  When I said this event changed my life, it sent me on a lifetime journey in search of re-finding my inner Superman.  I haven’t found him yet but I learned a few things along the way that I hope you can use too.  Will I ever find my Superman again?  I do not know but I will never stop looking.  I do know this, if I am ever in such need again, he will find me.


Copyright © 2016 Ernest Emerson

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