Wearing the hat of an Architect/Designer we could emulate this by doing all of our forms in a continuous progression from the pole back to the beginning of the First Form.
‘Form Follows Function’ is an old and much-used provocation, it comes in many flavours, Product over Process, Empirical over Theoretical, often sides are chosen the same way people choose football teams and are defended with just the same vigour.
The American Architect Louis Sullivan first coined the term ‘Form Follows Function’ and this became a battleline in more than just architecture, it is everywhere in the Martial Arts.
I find it enlightening to take a mental sidestep when contemplating anything like this, to put it in an alien context to see what is being looked at.
Think of your favourite shirt.
List the 3 things that you think are most important about that shirt.
Where on the list does growing the plant that the fibre came from sit?
Or how about making the cloth, designing the pattern of the cloth, cutting the cloth.
Usually, it is the fit, the feel and the look that rank highest, these are the things that FUNCTION as a shirt.
Sullivan had a young assistant, Frank Lloyd Wright, who realised how easy it was to misinterpret this IDEA and amended it to ‘Form and Function should be one, joined in a spiritual union’.
Without the plant that the fibre came from there could be no shirt, and equally, without the desire to make a shirt, there would be no need for the fibre.
The most famous example of Frank Lloyd Wright’s approach is, of course, the Guggenheim Museum in New York.
Designed in the 1940s with Wright’s IDEA of the unity of purpose and design it still works today even though styles and tastes have changed so much.
On the Guggenheim’s web site it quotes a letter from Wright just before his death that reads…
“Yes, it is hard… to understand a struggle for harmony and unity between the painting and the building. No, it is not to subjugate the paintings to the building that I conceived this plan. On the contrary, it was to make the building and the painting a beautiful symphony such as never existed in the world of Art before.”
As Martial Artists if we can approach our work with the same openness and hope that Frank Lloyd Wright imbued in his designs, to not only look for but encourage a spiritual union between Form and Function, not take sides…
Again from the Gugg’s web site…
This principle is thoroughly visible in the plan for the Guggenheim Museum. According to Wright’s design, visitors would enter the building, take an elevator to the top and enjoy a continuous art-viewing experience while descending along the spiral ramp.
Wearing the hat of an Architect/Designer we could emulate this by doing all of our FORMS in a continuous progression from the pole back to the beginning of the First Form.
Then we might understand the “Art” as deeply as the “Martial” and vice verse.
WORK ON YOUR WEAKNESSES, PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTH.