To make ourselves more resilient and mobile at the same time, we can choose to take a simple breath in between to make things last longer.
Start doing pushups. Pause for one breath on the top position between each push up and gain more awareness and time in the plank. Pause in the middle or bottom (without touching the body to the ground) and you will gain more lasting power and stability within movement.
Start standing and transition between standing and laying down with your arms not touching the ground at all. Pause for one breath and relax what does not need tension first in the up and down moments (when you are standing and when you are laying down) and then pause twice in between these two positions and again take a full breath to relax what does need tension and you will be teaching yourself the delta of need and exists in a very wide arch of positions. It is also fun to transition between muscle and structure power. It saves energy and gives us more ability at the same time.
Start climbing a rope or doing pull ups. First pause in the low and high positions and allow the body to maintain only the needed tension to preserve the position and then twice in between. The learning will be more intense as if is a power movement but you will be able with time to transition some of the tension from the active parts of the arms back and shoulders to the body and maintain a lower level of activation with the same work done.
There is a buffer between real violence and training and there has to be one to allow progress both mental and physical.
Many martial arts today rely on padded surfaces and body padding. This allows for higher throws in practice and greater force exerted in contact in striking and impact.
There is however also negative in this sport application. It is we do not know how to move our bodies on hard surfaces and most do not know how to strike and get struck with no padding. Bone and flesh.
Give yourself the gift of the hard floor and the wall.
Learn to place your body from standing up to laying down on hard ground first slowly and then with awareness and smoothness it will become faster naturally and you will gain a real world ability.
Stand in front of a wall ( A good one. Many crumble) and place your hand and then fist on it. Learn to push first and to sink second and allow the entire body to become one.
There is no limit except what we place on ourselves and hard contact allow us to open new awareness and ability inside us.
All the power in our bodies come out once punctured well. It is well illustrated in a crowd where we cannot pay attention to all individuals and must swim in streams of perceptions and assumptions.
We can grow as people from accepting and moving from this feeling of a small fish in the ocean. Step by step, we can open ourselves to our senses and clean our mind to work better in the great ocean of mankind.
Walk in a crowd and notice anyone carrying a bag or parcel. Once you are overwhelmed with quantity, create a sphere around you and try to see what is the size of sphere you can manage work this within. Change the rule of attention from time to time to clear your head from stiffness.
Walk in a crowd and notice anyone lacking a hat or any other item. Once you are overwhelmed with quantity, create a wide beam in front of you and try to see what is the size of beam you can manage to work this within.
Walk in a crowd and notice people headed for each other. Estimate where they meet and where they will go from their meeting place. Airports are both good and bad for this play J
Walk in a crowd and notice who is positive and who is negative in the crowd. Notice the general temperature of the crowd according to the composition and the direction it is going. Listen to your senses that tell you to stay or go in the location. They rely on airborne hormones, sight, smell and much more.
Walk in a crowd and notice the pattern of the moving people. See who is going somewhere and who is pacing or walking around waiting or lurking. Note where you line up in that perspective and who gives you more than a glance.
Walk in a crowd and do nothing special. Walk aimlessly and listen to your pulse and breath. switch from self attention to outer attention and notice how you accept and acclimate to the change. The change itself is a gate you can recognize outside of yourself as well.
Walk in a crowd and notice who is looking or listening to you. Mind reflective surfaces to look without creating line of sight and listen to the tempo of people walking. Do they change as you change ?
Step by step, we climb the stairs. Enjoy the road. There is no end to the climb.
Solo and partner work complement each other. Here is a coupling of those drills that come to bring the rolling thunder of freedom of movement.
Have two partners hold onto your wrists (or keep your arms in the air…) and roll you forward and backwards from standing to the ground and back.
Repeat the work but keep your knees straight so you learn to better use your hips and ankles and most of all, choose your horizon – look and see at the same time. Do not aimlessly go with the current.
Have two partners or one capable one 🙂 hold onto one wrist and one ankle as you lay on the ground. Breath and turn facing up and down in both directions using just the body motion. Feel and find the freedom under hold in your body. Ride the tension and stay free.
Start at a standing position and relax one shoulder forward and the other backwards as you do the same with your hips and knees. Gently lower yourself to sitting on the sides of your legs and continue the movement to a squat and back to standing. Maintain the turn throughout the movement.
Repeat the work but use your arms from your shoulders to further integrate how the upper and lower body contribute to the path you are moving on.
Have a partner strike your face. Welcome the contact and relax your lower body on contact. Work from all directions.
Have a partner strike your face. Welcome the contact with relaxation and as you move the body, glide with an arm on the incoming contact and continue to glide to place your limb on their head.
Have a partner strike your face and move toward and into your space continuously. Glide on the contact and enter without getting face contact yourself.
Have a partner stand at your left and right. Have them decide amongst themselves who goes in first and as one engages you, the second comes in too. Move without entangling with either so you maintain freedom of location and angle. Repeat and enjoy the movement.
Here are three drills for better striking. Remember it is better to avoid getting struck than developing a thick hide. There is always a blade somewhere.
Lean with your fists on the wall or the ground depending on your current energy level. Start moving your head from side to side with the tempo of your breath, Continue to moving your shoulders with the movement and then increase the movement to your center and allow the movements of your body to lift and rest your fists on the surface. The drill lets you move your arms and make contact without increasing your level of tension and through that create movement that is more efficient. Efficient is Affective.
(Repeat the drill with your back to the surface. It helps a lot to grow your awareness throughout the range of natural movement)
Rest your fists or hands on a hard surface. Breathe and tense each finger at a time. Note how tension bleeds from area to area and continue to breathe calmly. Tense the palm and the back of the hand and then the wrist in turn. Now tense the entire hand and release tension in one part at a time. This drill gives you awareness to levels and areas of tension so you use what is needed and no more. Here, less is more.
Place an object suspended in the air. It can be a rolled up piece of paper rolled into a ball with a shoe string to hang it or any other high tech device. Place yourself a few paces away from it and start walking toward it. Time it so you strike through it on the go and with your eyes relaxed from following and fixating. Repeat from other angles and speeds and laugh and learn when your timing is off. A broken key does not open the door. Keep the key loose from bending.
Enjoy the work so you keep doing it. That is a great “cheat” for life and keep your loved ones safe.
Drawing the blade can be a martial art like Japanese 居合 or a simple task we perform while preparing a meal for the family. Lets play with drawing in particular so we can better integrate it into the work.
Place the knife in front of you and close your eyes. Take it in one hand and place it in the sheath and then draw it back out. Repeat for each hand while facing the blade and with your sides and back to the blade. If you reach with your eyes, you engage a lot of yourself. When you reach with your awareness, you are less committed and more free.
Place the blade in its sheath and on your body (belt, underarm, vest or other carry method) and roll on the ground forward and backward and side to side. Notice how you shift your movement with the blade on you and notice others moving in a compensation patterns as well.
Lie on the ground with your blade on you and with your breath leading, draw and return the blade with each hand and then repeat the movement slower with a breath hold and with your eyes closed.
Repeat the previous drill while gently rolling on the ground. Note that your eyes can either go to the knife operation or work with your body movement. Choose wisely.
Tie a rope to a limb and walk around. Have a partner tug on the rope as you draw and resheath the blade. Note your breathing and tension in your body. Use your body to spread the pull and ride the wave of it.
Repeat the previous drill while rolling on the ground. Relax your eye horizon fixation. It may save your life one day.
Hold wrists with your partner and look straight ahead. Have them walk around you as you release your frame tension to stay untangled and at the ame time, draw and reshath your blade. Repeat with all variations and don’t forget to laugh.
Repeat the previous drill while sitting on your behind and your partner walking around you.
Stand a step away from the wall and draw and sheath your blade continously. Have a partner throw tennis balls at you and you avoid contact of the innitial throw or the rebound while doing the work.
Hold a partners hand as they try to move away from you and repeat the draw and sheathing movements both standing and on the ground.
Have a partner hold onto you in some way (eyelash hold, arm around neck, pants belt grab, bear hug) and drag you somewhere as you repeat the draw and sheathing movements both standing and on the ground.
Wear gloves you use throuout the year from snow gloves to nomex and repeat any drill in the progression.
Tape a few fingers together and repeat any drill in the progression.
Hold another object in one hand ( a rifle, a hammer, a medical kit) and repeat any drill in the progression.
Enjoy what you do. It smooths the rolling of the wheels.
It is evident that as we use our muscles and nervous system well, they get better and we move and work in better efficiency and effectiveness.
Let us use the same simple but not easy mechanism to improve our awareness to making choices (lead the chariot instead of being one of the horses) and making better choices.
We will use the methodology of constraint to improve our sight inward to the choices we make weather willingly or not and to improve our sight outwardly to understand that all choices are made up of several parameters and mini choices so we can adjust everything from the way we say Yes and No to our action under tension.
1. Stand with your back to your partner. Have them push you lightly from behind and breathe and move to avoid giving resistance to the contact. Cover the entire backside and then work with two contacts at once. This allows all involved to witness themselves going within to release excess tension and movement and opens the door to further understanding.
2. Lie down and have a partner push you with a foot. Repeat the contact five times and at each time, start to move along the contact from a different limb or neck movement. This opens the awareness to movement from the center and to awareness to more than the contact point.
3. Stand a step away from each other and send a limb to push or pull the other one at a time. Act to enfold the coming limb using each limb and head in turn and maintain that you always have choices.
4. Stand a step away from each other and facing away from each other. Reach out with a limb to repeat the previous game and maintain that you do not need sight to always have choices.
5. Stand side by side a step away from each other and repeat the previous game with now having the direction decided for you. Your partner gives you a direction of forward, backwards, left and right and as they move in, you must move in the prescribed direction as you maintain your freedom. This gives you directional compulsory directions in game and in life. Choices are always made. Make them yourself.
There are countless holds levers and ways to manipulate the joints. There are however a few ways to play with the body to bring our innate knowledge into awareness. That way we are able to create those on the move and without trying to force one way over the other.
Principles for the play:
Our bodies and movement are not perfect – there are always openings and vectors unnoticed and unmanaged in any given moment. Use what is there instead of trying to force a method you envision in your mind.
Keep the far away goal in mind instead of the pathway you see in your mind. Your thoughts are possibilities. Let them go if they do not serve the moment.
Placing a focus on the contact dissolves the connection to self. Move yourself from the center outward and each part freely and avoid using the contact as support. Each time we push and pull, we lean and remove our freedom of movement.
See yourself and see your contact as one. We have the same body with little changes here and there. We work the same way and what is comfortable or uncomfortable to you is mostly the same to others. Know yourself and you know the other.
Keep in mind that we do not know everything. Is there a knife ? Are there others in the engagement ? When is it over ? Ask yourself questions and know the value beyond looking for the answer.
Games to bring the natural awareness to the surface:
Hold each others wrist and transition continuously from the ground to standing and back. Change who leads the movement and after a while have one move to get up as the other moves to go down. This game with changing holding locations on the body or with the use of rope or stick will teach a lot of fluidity in getting somewhere without fighting over position.
Hold a hand or fist on your partner and have them tense a part of their bodies away from the contact. Push or pull and have them relax that pat and keep moving. Place with your hand placement and body part tensed to bring to the forefront the awareness to tension release freedom and continuous motion. You must play your own game within the whole.
Hold your partners wrist and start turning your own body. let your movement transfer to your partner without relying on twisting the contact point to allow whole movement to manifest. Repeat the game for the ankle and move up the limbs with care to keep learning and avoid trying to succeed.
Hold your partners wrist and move your body up and down and turning to use it as the second point of contact to change the angles and press/twist of the joints. Make sure you are seeing the complete person and move with them instead of trying to control them. Go up and down all limbs with this game and see how you fare both on the ground and off.
Have your partner hold you tight. Breathe and release the natural resistance to the hold and move your entire frame to use the others hold on you to play on your terms.
Avoid fast movement when not needed. Learning is about understanding and knowing, not about posturing as something we are not. Let the speed come to you.