Neural Density

“It is not the repetition. It is the quality of the movement within it”

Sharon Friedman

If there is something I l abhor, be it the repetition for repetition sake. Choosing to invest instead in each moment and hone the blade with each repetition is neurologically tasking but beneficial for a lifetime well spent.

Here are examples of honing the blade by changing each repetition in an explorations of what can be done.

  1. Place your foot on a predetermined X point and move up and down and all around to find what can be done while still maintaining contact between the foot and the X. Add a partner to push and pull on you as you maintain both moving and the constant contact with the X. Repeat the drill with your hand on an X point on the wall and then on the ground.
  2. Place your foot on the ground and touching a partner’s foot. Keep the contact as your partner walks around and keep the contact as your partner transitions from standing to the ground and back. Repeat the drill using arm on arm and focus on a continuously moving contact where you roll and turn and adjust the contact to keep both comfortable and in a transition to your choice. Repeat the drill with body to body contact and then simply moving together with constant touch but no constant point of contact or position. Repeat this with one working to break contact as the other maintains it with no holds or grabs, just body and limb movement.
  3. Place the palms together and have a partner attack you with the upper body, from fists to elbows and body motion. Move so you accept the contact with one side of the body and through movement, the accepted movement is moved from one side to the other. Continue to do so from all angles and then, close your eyes and repeat the drill slowly and with increasing speed. Continue to place your heels together and touching and repeating the drill with contact with the lower half of the body, where each contact is rolled from side to side, while maintaining contact between the heels. Progress to a floating point of contact, where you can move both legs as long as they touch at some point, for example, the toe can rest on the knee, while it rolls left and right in a circle.
  4. Take a ball around the size of a tennis ball and as heavy as you can source. Hold it in one hand and let it roll on the arm to the shoulder and all the way down to the other hand. Start standing or sitting and progress to rolling the ball from side to side while walking and shifting between ground and standup. Hold the ball in one hand and throw it up and catch it with the same hand with syncing the movement with the breath and with the spinal hip tension. This means, we both deliver and receive the force of the movement with the spine and hips and not just with the body part the contact is made with. Throw the ball higher and higher and once you reach the top of the height, shift hands and repeat. Slow down and start throwing and catching the ball in one hand, only now use just the contact and audible cues by closing both eyes and throwing and catching by paying attention deeper to the body and atmospheric cues. Progress to throwing the ball from hand to hand and higher and higher as you refrain from splitting your head open. Use a soft enough ball to avoid injury.
  5. Take a soft ball like a baseball or soccer ball. Place it between you and the wall or a tree and close your hands. Start moving from the body and roll the ball from one point of the body to another using just the body movements and limbs with no grabbing and pressing. Progress to repeating the movement but facing away from the wall or tree and using just movement and no pressure against the ball to move both it and the contact point. Breathe and move. Progress to Standing on one leg and turning on it with no jumping as the ball is lead from front to back and all over the body.
  6. Use a wall join with a partner and start throwing a ball or a stick between you. Start facing each other and standing and slowly advance the distance between you until you reach your current limit. Come closer and closer until you can touch each other with your limbs and turn to one side. Repeat the drill while facing sideways to each other and then using the other side. The first side you chose was most likely your dominant side and an attacker will be wise to address the other. Be aware. Next switch sides with each throw and never be in the path of the ball as you receive and deliver it. Next catch and throw the ball using the arms and the body with your hands closed into fists so the body and limbs learn to contour and form dynamically to the shape required. Next look down and use the shadow and other senses to register the ball and address it as you move constantly. The key is to keep breathing and relax the eyes so the mind can use what is given without fixating on just part of the spectrum.
  7. Have a partner hold a rolled up paper or or tennis ball in front of you at nose height. Reach to grab it gently as it is released and aim to keep both eyes on the ball and the breath continuous. Slightly move to one side each time until you are out of the width of the current eyesight and repeat the work with just one eye open at a time to further connect and understand each eye and their coordination. Continue to alter the height of the ball up and down to avoid getting into a rote way of operation. Continue to two balls in different colors. Give the catching partner the color to pursue right before or as you drop them and alter the angle and direction freely. Continue to throw and grab one ball and having the partner grab it from the air on prompt. Add one or two more balls and juggle them and again have the partner grab one color from the flying balls. Keep the face relaxed and the breath continuous to best benefit from this work.