What is Flow?
The definition of flow is a steady, continuous stream or supply of something. This is often associated or compared with water. In terms of internal martial arts or flow arts, there are several aspects that need to be obtained to achieve true flow:
1. Structure & Posture: In whatever art you do, practicing techniques slowly to understand the mechanics behind the movements will lead to good form. It is easy to rush and try do things fast, however as you develop your movements and techniques you will naturally find the ability to adjust your speed in a controlled manner without forcing it.
2. Timing & Rhythm: Many people may confuse this stage as flowing. However there is a difference. Once you have developed good technique you can link these predefined sequences of movements with correct timing to give you a fluid rhythm. However flow can break the timing and change from one technique to another without conscious thought.
3. Relaxation: To be able to break the rhythm within a movement your body and mind need to relax. Tension restricts movements and is a barrier to achieving flow.
4. Adaptability: To be able to adapt to any situation in whatever art you are doing you need to understand the various options you have. Whilst being relaxed it is still important to maintain good dynamic structure.
5. Freedom: This is the final stage to achieve flow and arguably the hardest! Your ego and desire to be able to do something needs to be controlled. Movements need to be internalised and executed without thinking so they feel natural, not forced. It will then transcend any technique, form or sequence becoming something fluid and intangible. This is flow.