The performer and the martial artist

It is a given statement to almost everyone that you have to push and pull to move people and that you need support for this effort.

We are modeled as pulleys and beams, elastic and hard and it is all true but we are ignoring three simple things.

The first is that we are dynamic structures and the nervous system governs this shifting and tilting mechanism with great grace and ability. That same nervous system corresponds with us and mirrors the contact it has. We naturally brace for impact and naturally relax when touched with a loving touch. Implement this into your practice by not pushing and pulling on each other and letting your contact move about the person until you feel where both your nervous systems meet and you can connect and release instead of an attempt to override and control. Stroking a cat and leading it to relax on the ground is easier than trying to push it there by force… If a person punches me. My goal is not to be relaxed or tense. My goal is to support my moving structure with just the right amount of tension to avoid excess which leads the contact into impact and harm. There is no right breath phase for getting hit. Only a continuous and dynamic shift of breathing to accommodate REALITY.

The second is will and desire. We want to stay where we are when we are uncertain of where to go and we want to see where we are going or we become afraid and display it with anger. It is easier to give several options to your contact without forcing them to one strict path or choice and thus avoid a struggle of will and conflict. Allow your contact to lead themselves and place before them the option that makes sense so it will be their choice or so it would seem. For example if a person with a knife grabs for my arm, I may let him grab it so I will know where his arm is and through that contact I will guide the rest of him or her away from myself or according to the situation. Avoiding a grabbing hand may be a gut reaction but also a choice of not entering the game on better stakes.

The third is our perception of how the contact should act and follow through. People expect that the robber will extend his handgun in a display of control over the space so they can grab the gun and be a hero for the day. An experienced person will hold both groceries and weapons close to the body where they are less likely to be taken away and hinder our movement.  If a person is straddling us and pushing us down, most try to push away and to roll away. Why not use that person for a shield against his or her friends and bring him closer to you so they do not see where your arms are going.

There are many ways to paint a canvas and even though the end result may seem the same. It is the way and not the end which matter and unsheathe the person within. Take joy in the daily practice of becoming who you are and make everyone your teacher.