The ten best gyms you already have

Here is a list of gyms you already have. Gyms that give you results and are always open and free of charge.

  1. Your wall – do leaning pushups, walk up and down the wall using your hands and feet, Do pushups with your legs on the wall and that is just the beginning.
  2. Your stairs – walk up and down the stairs. Walk up and down the stairs on your hands and feet and jump up and down the stairs on one or two legs.
  3. Your belt– Hold it in both hands and push and pull from hand to hand. Use it to open tension in your back and shoulders by slowly decreasing the distance between hands as you move them with tension.
  4. Your backpack – Fill it with water bottles or sand and use it as a dumbbell or better yet hold it in your palm overhead and let your body learn balance as you walk with it.
  5. Your surroundings -trees, fences and so on – Climb them and do pull ups and swings on them. Don’t do the Tarzan voice early on Saturdays.
  6. Big furniture – Lift that sofa with a straight back and put it back softly. Use two sturdy chairs to dip in between and just move your shoulders under tension.
  7. That  giant picture book you got as a present – Strengthen your fingers and wrist by holding that big picture book (1000 pictures no one wants to see …) at its end and moving it about. Use slow deliberate movements and remove the book jacket before the work…
  8. Your wheeled chair – Start on your knees with your hands on the seat and slide forward and back with control, continue to bringing your knees together to lessen the support and then rise to sliding on your feet so your entire body has to work dynamically
  9. Your plastic containers– Cut them in half lengthwise and make them flat with a bit of time under that picture book. Now place them on your rug and either stand on place your hands on them and slide around. Stand and open and close your legs, pushing and pulling from the center. Place your hands on them and spread your hands to the sides and bring them back up. Turn your head if you lose control so your nose stays in tact J
  10. Your rug or big beach towel – Take your small rug or big beach towel outside and hold it at the narrow side. Move your hands up and down to wave the rug/towel and try to keep the movements small and fast so the rug/towel is as parallel to the ground as possible.

Have fun and use that money you saved on the gym to a good cause.

Notes from one class – tension

Each class we compose a progression according to the needs of the students at that moment. Here is an example of one lesson. Have fun.

  1. Tension pump – in order to truly understand the ladder of tension we operate on and to avoid getting blindsided by tension we do not willingly acknowledge, we do the tension pump: Keep one fixed posture and breathe continuously. Choose a body part and tense it on the inhale. Keep the tension and on the next inhale increase the tension and again and again until there is nowhere to go tension wise. Release on the tension built on the next exhale and shake your body to avoid inner buildup. Go over the body using this method and gain deeper understanding of your tension ladder. Without this, you will always have a blindside where you are not aware.
  2. Drawing with tension – in order to move ourselves under pressure and resistance we must know we can move with various levels of tension and from different places within ourselves. Tense your arm from your shoulder to your fingertips. Draw numbers 1-10 or shapes while your arm is tense and focus on breathing and keeping your eyes free. Repeat the process with a tense body and relaxed arm and note how one body part radiates to another and how to breathe and move through it. Continue to tensing just your hand and forearm and draw the same shapes with the emphasis to move the forearm fully even when tense. Finish with tensing the wrist and hand and drawing the same shapes with just the tensed parts. This will allow you to articulate and make choices under tension instead of being reactive.
  3. Shake hands with tension – Shake hands with your partner and feel where they are comfortable and where they are not. Move your body and arm together to illuminate these areas or directions for your partner by binding them in twists, turns and bends. Your partner will work to maintain movement freedom by keeping their awareness in their breath and moving with the contact instead of following it. Continue to keeping your arms tense while you repeat the interaction and once this is done progress to dual tension. The final stage of this game is to tense and release in intervals where you tense for a few breaths and release for the same. This gives you the ridge between brace and flow to travel and become friends with.
  4. Tension with horizons – Stand and have your partner place their palm on the top of your head. Turn in place in both direction letting your eyes see what your movement places in front of you. Repeat the movement with your partner pushing down from time to time and you keep turning while managing the pressure from above with your entire body. Repeat the movement with your partner Using their other hand to push and pull on your body and you manage the direction and pressure as you continue to turn in place. This movement allows for release of event horizon fixation and keeping your mind and body within the movement you want instead of being reactive.
  5. Walking tension off – Stand an arm away from your partner who is facing you. Place your hands on their shoulders and push forward. Have your partner give ground under control focusing on framing the tension dynamically throughout the body. This means to move the shoulders from the toes and keep yourself in both your legs during each step. Continue to moving with this resistance back and forth and facing forward and back and sideways. Awareness from head to toe will remove any weak links in your chain of thought and movement.

Please share your thoughts and requests with me. Together we grow.

Grace made simple

Here is a path for graceful movement. No tools required.

Stand on one leg and close your eyes.
Breathe and tense to your limit the muscles of the foot and leg one at a time.
Let the tension manifest without trying to balance yourself and let the movement manifest and move you.
Continue until you can do this with no excess tension coming out and switch legs.
Repeat from time to time.
Eternal vigilance is required for a state of grace.

playing/growing with the staff

Here are ten movement drills to enhance and deepen your understanding of space, tension and natural movement. The tool in use is the staff but the lessons apply much further.

Look at the drills as child games so your learning will be fresh and honest. Do not rely on technique. Feel what is right for the moment and swing away 🙂

  1. Hold the staff parallel to the ground at waist height. Work to keep the staff between you and your partner by moving both the stick and your body first with one pursuer and then with more than one. Check how you can remain free in your movement by shifting your point of reference from the staff to the body and in between.
  2. Place one staff end on the ground and the other in your hand. Work to keep the staff between you and your partner by moving both stick and your body. Remember you can move under and over the staff and that you can control the height and angle of the staff at a very low energy expenditure.
  3. Hold one end of the staff in one hand and have a partner mirror your holds. work together to maneuver the stick out of your partner hands with your body position and stepping.  For example place the staff low using your hand and step behind it to push with your body in one direction or place the middle of the staff on your midsection and away from yourself with your arm and turn to dislodge the staff from your partner. Learn to use all of your abilities and options of movement.
  4. Hold one end of the Staff in one hand as you stand facing one direction. work to deter your partners from coming close to you by moving the staff around and up and down. Work first facing just one direction and add the ability to turn as you progress. This is a great drill for eyesight and coordination for any age.
  5. Sit and hold the staff in its middle. Have your partners come at you to step on you and use the movement of your body and staff to move the partners past you. Add to their movement instead of pushing and pulling and let your breath and body lead the way. Sitting will help in learning this as you roll if you try to plant yourself in the ground for support without legs 🙂
  6. Hold the staff in one end and at the center. Work to push your partner in one direction as they relax their legs and center to let the staff slide on their bodies. Once you feel comfortable with the tip, use the rest of the staff and your partner will contend with a two dimensional constraint with their body awareness.
  7. Stand a step away from your partner and swing the staff slowly from side to side through their frame. Have your partner relax with continuous breath and roll or collapse the frame to avoid getting hit by the staff. Once one step away from each other is comfortable, advance half a step and repeat to grow awareness instead of fright.
  8. Have your partner stand touching the wall. Push and pull on them with the staff and have them move toward you all the time. This will release the shifting point of reference in the body and mind. Start by letting your eyes see what is if front of you without fixating on the target. Your target is movement.
  9. Have your partner swing the staff at you and with your own staff add to the movement without tension in your arms and shoulders to avoid contact. Work so you breathe and let the staffs find their own combined paths without governing too strictly over them. Letting your movement blend in is the way to keep swimming in the whirlpool.
  10. Tense your entire body or halt your breathing and repeat any of the drills listed above. This will let you become aware of your excess tension and fear and release that which is superfluous.

And smile. If the tide brings new understanding your way.

Man VS Woman

I am asked from time to time wether man are better than woman at fighting. Are men not designed to fight while women are to nurture ?

I answer with a few questions so the person in front of me will form their own opinion instead of harboring my own.

Here are four questions based on facts. Make up your own mind.

  1. Would you rather revice a blow to the head from a 50 KG hammer or a 80 KG hammer ? Man are bigger on avarage than woman but both can be trained to hit well and once that is down, the size is not as relevant.
  2. Would you rather be stabbed in the back through the kidney or through the lung first ? Man are taller on avarage than woman but we have by nature our systems stretched all over our lengh.
  3. Would you rather be shot by 5 rounds or 3 ? Since woman or people from the far east such as the “timid and docile” Gurkha are smaller, yet can still carry a rifle… You can feed 5 mouths or rifles instead of 3 for the same cost. Sometimes, less is more.
  4. Does the way you get from A to B matter?  Man and woman preceive space in a different way in most cases. Still both can learn to navigate succesfully.

A few added ideas:

It is the one who hits first who gains the advantage. Not the one who shoots first. Self control, timing and distance matter more than speed and power.

Most people who learn or teach martial art have never taken a life or were in real dire straights. Statistics show a part of the whole but not everything. Be free from dogma.

We all have one life and one set of eyes and heart (unless you are a ginger as I am) . The way we use what we are born with matter a lot more than the innitial starting point. Yes, it helps to be bigger and stronger sometimes. No, it is not a key to all doors. Sometimes it is the lighter person who can walk the ice or the medicine  man or woman to save the tribe.  Think , feel and be free no matter what you are told.