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Strength Wanes with Time; Power Endures

"We call our discipline Tumfo Tu which means “power movement.” One of the first things we emphasize to anyone new to our discipline is that we focus on power rather than strength. In many contexts, power and strength are used interchangeably. We recognize a profound difference between the two: strength wanes with time, but power lasts forever. When we talk about strength, we are usually referring to the ability to exert physical force. Sometimes we use it more figuratively, referring to the sturdiness of our resolve in the face of hardship. We say things like “stay strong, friend!” to encourage one another. Strength is important, to be sure, but for every one of us, there is a definite limit to our strength. Physically, this is obvious. An individual can only lift so much weight, and we have whole industries devoted to helping us increase that limit. Emotionally and spiritually, we also have limits to our strength. There’s an amount of hardship we can cope with, and anything beyond that is trauma. There are many sources from which we can draw additional emotional strength to help us cope, but there is still a limit. Power, on the other hand, is often much less obvious. Strength, whether emotional or physical, rests on myriad factors. Power rests on only one factor: the ability to move. Inasmuch as we are able to move, we are able to find a way to manage any situation. However, what if you don't have the strength to match said blow? Is there a way to contend with that blow without strength? Consider the trees. Hurricane-force winds can threaten the mightiest trees, but grass simply blows in the breeze. Trees inevitably grow old and fall over; their strength does not last. The oldest living plant on Earth is Posidonia Australis, an Australian seagrass estimated at being over 4,500 years old. Strength wanes with time, but power endures. The promise of power is freedom. Count how many times this week you do something because you feel you have “no choice.” Look at how much strength is required to manage the things over which you have “no choice.” When these moments arise, take the opportunity to recognize that there is a choice. There are myriad choices. That doesn’t mean that you’ll do something different, but it does change your relationship with the challenges of life. Whatever battles we fight, we train to be aware of our ability to move. We are not provoked; we manage our emotions. We are not stuck waiting for the blow to reach us; we move. As we age, the limits of our physical body’s strength eventually overtake us. Movement stays with us until the very moment of death. This is why we court power movement (Tumfo Tu). Strength discriminates between male and female, well-fed and malnourished, and young and old. Power only discriminates between the living and the dead. Learning how to use our movement unlocks possibilities both within and beyond the limitations of our strength. Power is the freedom we consequently embrace."


Ariel Huckabay

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