The family martial art

Here are eight ways being a parent gives you on the job training to be a better martial artists.

  1. Learn to roll softly by Spreading some Legos on the ground and rolling over them. If you dare 🙂
  2. Listen to silence as well as noise to know when it is time to sprint to the rescue.
  3. learn to feel a change in mood before it erupts to avoid conflict and build the family.
  4. Sleep with one eye open for the rest of your life to monitor the noise, heat, air movement and scent of everything around you.
  5. learn to track several independent movements at once and prioritize.
  6. learn to catch with the right amount of tension and to bump without harm with fragility.
  7. learn to accept hard truths at surprising heights and depths without clinging to illusion. It can make and unmake the story in spectacular ways.
  8. Learn to mind where you place your bulk and avoid mindlessness. Any moment void of awareness can wreck havoc on tiny feet and arms.

And smile, if it makes sense or if it feels good.

four breath drills to thrive each day

Here are four drills to use throughout your day. They come to make your systems work better with one another and offer smoother sailing without extra energy involved.

  1. When you intend to speed things up or expect the need to move under pressure (running up the stairs or facing an enemy in the ditches), Increase the tempo (not depth) of your breathing and your heart, temperature and the processes that secrete mood and energy changers (endorphins for example) act accordingly. This drill will let your body change gears in sync and if you pay attention to your breath and note when your breath speeds up you will know your body is telling you something.
  2. When you consider the environment or your inner world hard pressed, Decrease the depth of your breaths and tempo. This will help you avoid hyper ventilation and guide your heart, temperature and glands to ease the pressure and help release without pain the tension that was accumulated in the body in posture, blood pressure and poisons galore. One of the easiest ways to do this is to use counting for the length of the breath and awareness to the area beneath the lungs for the depth of the breath. As long as we are a closed system, each one affects the other and the more we inhale, the more our abdomen and lower back are pressured.
  3. When you need to perform a delicate labor such as heart surgery or proposing, attune your breath to your pulse. This is easily done by pacing your breath by your heart beat and if you cannot feel it, place a finger on a surface artery such as the side of the neck or on the heart itself. This helps in placing yourself more within yourself and making each action more in tune and more thought your own.
  4. Once a day or before a large undertaking, pace and breath in the square breathing method. This means you inhale for one step, Hold for one step, Exhale for one step and hold again for the same. You can increase the count to two or more steps per phase of breath and this will allow you to maintain yourself within a rough wave.

Adjust with the waves and let go of the current. be your own man.

Ask smaller questions – be faster, deeper and healthier

What does it mean to ask smaller questions? It means to find a heading instead of a destination, a way of life instead of a martial art and joy instead of fear.

The martial artist prepares the body for combat, prepares the spirit for the clash and the heart for trial. The one who lives past the battlefield may find that living a full life makes the body more supple and ready; the spirit at ease with itself to ride the ebbs of warfare and the heart that loves can more easily relinquish pride and dogma for learning and freedom.

The one who pursues a destination draws the eyes narrow to focus on the end goal. The goal whether set or moving will determine the mindset and actions of the pursuer rather than the core of the person. There is little freedom on that path. A heading is not as much of a choice as much as it is self-awareness. Know what you are and follow through to be of service to yourself and to those you care for. The focus of your work will not stray or be a slave to outside forces and freedom is abound on this path.

Two practical examples:

1. You ride the bus to work and someone keeps shoving you as you stand in the crowded enclosure. You can shove back if you consider short term comfort or use an expletive to shove verbally but both of them while being valid at times, are responses, not collected choices. Most time we react because we do not allow for the thought and feel loop to reach its end. We become crowded within with thoughts, projections and fluff put there by people with causes that are not your causes.

A long question can be “why is this person shoving me at my side on the bus on this time of day?” That question while looking somewhat detailed is also very limiting and narrow in focus. It may seem counter intuitive but the more you stay in yourself, the easier it is to broaden your horizons. Placing the focus of another person on you in your mind limits the options a lot. Look past the initial contact and see if he is pushed himself by relaxing your eyes (The small question – Am I comfortable?). Pay attention to your feet and see if the bus is moving in a jerky motion and you have a stable spot which the other person does not? And sometimes, though you are tranquil within, you can choose to be violent but without any show of aggression or increase of tension which comes from fighting with yourself.

2. A knife is thrust to your middle. Fear of pain and the unknown future spasm your arms and hips to block and bend as the feral side surfaces and you see just what is in front of you. Fighting fear is a brave quest but is it really a small question?

Seeing is much shorter than judgment and has far less filters between senses and sense.

Judgment is an integral and inseparable part of us all but acknowledging it is the small step we do not take which separates us from tranquility and our natural vigilance.

Fear is actions we do not control fully such as instincts and emotion – response we all have to keep us safe and reproducing. Our bodies through evolution record the actions that keep us reproducing and launch them at what our core sees as survival moments. Accepting fear as a part of us allows us to use the energy it releases into the various systems of the body without disengaging the non-automatic functions. Things become much simpler once we stop fighting ourselves.

The knife comes to the body. One leg releases tension already held and the body is out of the way. The arm moves from the body relaxation without tension to gyro the knife into the person and you are able to avoid harm while maneuvering whining calm. All this is allowed by using small simple questions that do not have definitive answers.

Am I comfortable?

Why am I afraid?

What made that noise?

Keep the loop small and simple.

Keep safe

Three methods of hand/wrist work

In this piece we will explore three methods of hand work for a more capable and healthy hand and wrist.

Wall work

  1. Stand a step away from a wall and place the flats of your fingers on the wall. Press your body gradually to the wall with increasing activation in the hand and wrist to maintain the shape and gradually release the tension. Work this in different angles and distances from the wall.
  2. Stand a step or two away from the wall and place your hands on it. Lean slightly on the wall and with combined body and wrist work, rotate your hands around the forearms.  Vary the work in the same manner.
  3. Stand an arm length away from the wall and place both hands on it. Walk side to side with a slight lean forward and then the same while facing away from the wall with arms both over and under head. Progress to walking down and up the wall in the same way with varying in the regular method.
  4. Stand or sit a step away from the wall and place your hand on it. Lean on it and under this pressure, close and open your hand in various angles. Make sure your eyes and breath are free to move and continue to function.
  5. Stand a step away from the wall and place the back of your palms on the wall. Walk on the wall on the back of your palms and then on your fists and lastly using your fingers acting as spiders. Remember to breathe and keep your spine free to shape itself to the needs of the movement.

Rope work

  1. Take a long towel and place a  light soft wight in the middle ( a sack with some sand or a water sack). Fold the towel over the wight and secure it with strand. Now hold the ends in one or two hands and start rotating it around you in the air. You will learn to vary the resistance by angle and speed and learn to coordinate better while creating healthy tissue.
  2. Hang a rope from a sturdy tree or beam and stand while holding onto the rope at various heights. gradually move the wight to the rope by using your arms and body and return to the ground in the same graduation.
  3. Hang a rope from a sturdy tree or beam (a rope can be made of 550 cord and a towel with a bit of thought) sit under it and with some help from your lower body, climb up and down the rope in sync with your breath.
  4. Stand by your hanging rope and climb up and down the rope once facing the ground and once facing away from the ground. Remember to release tension from your back and hips by letting them move freely.
  5. stand a step away from the rope and fall forward. Catch the rope on the way down and swing your way back into a standing position. Breathe continuously.

Stick work

  1. Take a stick ( a shovel handle works well) and hold it in the middle. Rotate it in your hand so both ends swing in circles and hold it in various angles to the body and at various heights. The more you are acquainted with working dynamic angles, the better your inner map of self will be.
  2. hold a stick in one hand at its end with your hand relaxed at your side and slowly move it up and down. Breathe continuously and slowly draw circles in the air and work to use the least amount of tension and your best form to move the changing resistance. Your can load the end of the stick with a hammer head or heavy rope. Stay light and work on control before tension.
  3. Hold the stick at both ends. Tense arm against arm in different directions and twists through the stick and make sure you are tension only the parts you want to use. Move the stick overhead and place it on the flat of your back and vary the drill further by placing your hands on various locations on  the stick.
  4. lie on the ground and hold the stick at one end and further on the length. Place the free end on the ground and drag your body in various directions while maintaining a relaxed face and body.
  5. Take a heavy object suck as a rucksack or rock and hold the stick with both hands. Breathe and work to move the heavy object around using just the free tip of the stick and with the least amount of tension in your body. You can also do this with a partner laying down and relaxing and learn further about tension and appearance.