So March 14 we celebrate Pi Day. The number truly is something to celebrate as it is a mathematical constant. We need constants in life, like the ground, that we can count on all the time.
Pi is defined by the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. One approximation is above. Another one is 22/7.
Here is a visual representation of pi.
This is one of the most profound ratios in math. In fact bridges, tunnels, rocket ships and fast cars use this relationship in order to function.
In martial arts we also have divine ratios. For example, we can kick and punch most effectively when we use the ground to drive the hips and connect to the target.
Using the concept of levers, we can amplify our techniques making them more powerful.
Pi day reminds us that there are universal concepts that we can use in applying our techniques. But is it just in the physical world we see this?
We can also use the constants of ki, specifically in how we breathe and move. All of our life is predicated on this understanding. At first we learn how to exhale when we make contact with the target, board, or opponent. We coordinate it with kiyap, the beast yell, to amplify the power. We then learn that if we are moving just a little in our fighting stance, then we can move quicker to the target. After that we discover that when we are hit, there is a space of time needed to recover. How to recover? It is in the way we breathe again, move forward, and return the negative energy.
The understanding starts out as an intellectual exercise. We can answer the questions of what are the cardinal movements both internal and external. However it is in the practice, repetition and training over time that the concept becomes ingrained in our nature. This is what we refer to as neuromuscular coordination, where the thinking is removed and there is simply the reflexive movement.
Similarly, we can use this idea of constants in other parts of life as well. Think about school or a task at work. When we learn the ABC's at first it requires considerable mental energy to remember the order. Then it gets easier and we learn how to use those letters to write sentences and then those sentences into prose and poetry! In surgery, the intern learns how to hold the scalpel not just to cut but also to draw the future of his patient. In this way, the intellectual appreciation becomes as simple as breathing and moving.
So enjoy Pi day with a pizza pie or apple pie. And when you go to school or work, see if you can find one of those constants that are all around us.