Power allows for grace

There is a strong trend in martial art and in life where we claim technique is greater than brute force. In many cases, it is true yet there is no place for us to neglect our force production when we consider the full human or any system we are upholding and wishing to thrive, from computer networks needing bandwidth as well as proper routing tables and rules to humans needing healthy strong joints and muscles to facilitate what the nervous systems wishes it to accomplish.

Here is a snapshot from our Friday focus on power before we worked on grace/technique

600 push ups in variations

600 inverted push ups or ropes

50 rope dips (similar to ring dips but on held rope)

50 rope pull ups (similar to ring pull ups but on held rope)

100 rolls from standing to ground to standing on one leg

50 Leg raises on dip bars

300 breaths in the neck bridge

300 breaths in the upside down bars hold ( see picture) It is a favorite of mine and very healthy when worked in progression into a routine.

Force and health allow us to be graceful. Without force, we are nothing, Without grace, we are nothing. We have to balance it out constantly and never neglect either of them.

CHAIR POISON

Our bodies are a wonderful evolution. Generations of gathering, hunting, building and fighting with each other and ourselves.

Sitting is a common poison we administer to our bodies. It shortens our tendons, creates tension and blocks the flow of blood and other systems in the bodies. It is a part of almost any day so daily undoing is required.

Drills to undo sitting:

First – Don’t sit when possible or sit using a position that undoes some of the position damage. For example, a kneeling chair.

  1. Lie on your stomach. Inhale and raise all limbs and head in the air and arch the spine off the ground. Exhale and release. Repeat sixty times.
  2. Lie on your back and bring your heels to your behind. Inhale and extend your feet downward to bring your hips forward. Exhale and release. Repeat sixty times.
  3. Lean against a wall with your arms straight to the sides. Inhale and press the shoulders and then arms against the wall to bring the body off the wall. Exhale and release. Repeat thirty times.
  4. Stand a step away from the wall and place both hands on the top of your head. Place them on the wall and walk in a circle in place so the body rotates on two axis, the ground and the wall. Repeat ten times to each direction.

Enjoy the freedom and never forget to appreciate your health and freedom.

TENDON STRENGTH MONTH

A car is powered by its engine and fuel but the transmission carries the power to where it is manifested.

Let’s focus also on our transmission which is our joints and connective tissue.

Here is a three month plan to build up the the tendon mind health and connection. Tendons take longer than muscle to grow and change so take care to listen to your body and never play the music out of tune. Practice the holds and movements below in an alternating manner where you spread them. Do each one three times a week to let the body build itself and come together in a new way of locomotion.

Three times a week:

  1. LOWER BODY – Bend at the ankles, knees and hips till you reach a ninety degree angle at the knees and the feet are under the hips. Walk 120 breaths forward and the same backwards, sideways and turning. Keep your back upright at all times and allow yourself to relax your face and neck.
  2. LOWER BODY – Place your feet on a sliding surface ( a sock on a stone floor or smooth plastic on a rug) as you lie face up on the ground. Inhale and lift the hips up by pressing one foot backwards and repeat 60 times per side and alternate with each step.
  3. SPINE – Lie on your back and arch to for a full body arch with all limbs joining the arch. Breath and rock forward and back for 120 breaths. Repeat while on your stomach and on each side. Allow one arm on the ground when you are doing the sides to ease into the movement. Keep the arch alive instead of stiff and move from your breath.
  4. UPPER BODY – Hang on the bar and sway forward and back for 120 breaths. Avoid straining yourself in the beginning and build to a full 120 breath of swinging forward and back. Once you can do it in one go, advance to playing and swaying in different directions and heights. Swaying is much more taxing than static holds so progress with care.
  5. UPPER BODY – Hang on the parallel bars for a 120 breaths. Sway the body forward and back and again, take your time in getting to doing this in one set. Make sure your shoulders do not sag and on the other hand are not tense and your entire body moves as one.

Enjoy the movement.

Loose joints

Some people are stiff. Some are on the other end of that spectrum and require work to reach higher joint stability.

The work is easy but consistency is required to achieve success.

Here is an example for loose shoulders:

Place yourself in a push up position, you can begin against a wall and work your way to the ground.

Now, with your breathing as rhythm, Tense and relax one shoulder and then the next for sixty breaths.

Continue, by pulling the arms together and pulling them apart to the sides. Inward with the inhale and outward with the exhale. Repeat for sixty breaths.

Continue, by pulling the arms up and down and switching the direction between the sides. Inhale one way and exhale with the exhale. Repeat for sixty breaths.

Continue, by bending the arms at the elbows to half the height of the push up and repeating the process and then hovering a feather width above the surface.

For added, dynamic stability, follow the same process while facing away from the wall or by holding a stick in different angles. More on that, in my online mobility classes.

Do this twice to three times a week and you will see the results soon.

Ten minutes of movement

Repetition is important but so is intensity.

Here is a ten minute well spent:

It is not the repetition that creates the change, it is the focus that each one brings. Moving slowly increases awareness to positions within the movement and helps build better tendon and joint strength.

  1. One push up – moving one minute down and one up
  2. One sit up while keeping the spine straight moving one minute down and one up
  3. One leg raise overhead so the feet touch the ground behind you – moving one minute down and one up
  4. One squat while keeping the knees and toes pointing in the same direction and the spine upright -moving one minute down and one up
  5. Hang on the pull up bar in the top position for one minute, descend as slowly as you can and spend the rest of the minute if there is time in the bottom position.

The bridge defense

The human body is an amazing mechanism when treated with care.

Balance is overlooked these days. We try to become strong but mirror strong or strong toward just a few tasks and not for life.

Here is an imbalanced plan to help balance the spine activation and power arches. To stand tall, we must build two arches. One to pull forward and one to pull backwards. In the middle we find our balance.

  1. Lie on your stomach and on the inhale, raise your head upward and to one side. Exhale and relax downward. Repeat this right and left ten times.
  2. Lie on your stomach and on the inhale raise one arm straight up till the body rests on the opposing shoulder. Relax down on the exhale.
  3. Lie on your stomach and raise one arm and opposite side leg to form a straight line on the inhale and slowly relax downward on the exhale.
  4. Lie on your stomach and raise all limbs together in the air to form an X on the inhale and slowly relax downward on the exhale.
  5. lie on your back with all limbs in the air. Breathe and move to balance on one side (balancing on the side of the body) with all limbs in the air and then the other with no bounce or sway.
  6. lie on your stomach with all limbs in the air. Breathe and turn to balance on one side and then the other with no sway or bounce.
  7. Lie on your back with your knees together and your heels touching your behind. Inhale and arch up to a shoulder stand and release on the exhale.
  8. Lie on your back with your knees touching the ground and your heels touching your behind. Raise your hips upwards on the inhale and release on the exhale.
  9. Lie on your back with your legs straight together upwards and parallel and touching a wall or a tree. Inhale and arch your hips up and backwards to form an arch with the heels on the wall and one shoulder blade on the ground. Exhale and release.
  10. Stand a step and a half facing away from the wall or tree. Arch back and do push ups with both hands touching on the support. Move from almost touching the wall with your behind to fully extended away.
  11. Stand two steps away from a wall or tree and walk your hands down into a hand bridge and back. Focus on starting each step with a breath and shift the weight from one leg to another. Walking is a full body motion.
  12. Stand a step away from the wall and place both hands on it. Step aside and turn to face the in the other direction in a slight arch and repeat this movement until fully comfortable. Repeat with increasing distance from the wall and no small children passing underneath 🙂

Movement is the new constant.

The half way hold – Strength Mobility

The tip of the wave can be sharp and as such we tend to avoid it.

Fighting can be a clash if we ignore the tip of the wave in our training.

Here is a hold which is not fun in the beginning but builds a lot of staying power and connective tissue strength and that allows us grace and power in conflict application and in life.

Place yourself in the push up position and on your fists.

Lower yourself so your elbow joints are at ninety degrees and your wrists are straight as your back.

Breathe and count your breaths until your reach 300.

That is it.

Repeat this a few times a week and modify for your needs as you wish.

One modification I enjoy is using one hand at a time so the body learns to balance more and spread the needed tension throughout.

The work is a reward.

Stand straight and smile

There are many ways to correct things. One of the best is to show that there is an alternative to an imbalance.

We hurt in the shoulders neck and back due to posture and movement and more. To heal it, we begin in alignment and how to heal movement patterns from the base.

Begin in sitting on your behind and placing your hands at the sides of the body. Raise the knees up and keep the body from the knees to the shoulders parallel to the ground for 30 breaths and relax down. This is a start in reclaiming your balance of muscle activation back.

Continue to the same hold only with body straight from the ankles all the way to the shoulders with just the hands and heels touching the ground.

Continue to the same hold only with palms facing away from the body for the same amount of breaths.

Continue to placing a sliding surface under your heels ( a plastic box on a rug or an expensive exercise device, you decide and with each inhale, push up to the straight hold and relax down on the exhale. Repeat 60 times.

There is very little our bodies cannot do with the right guidance and care. Care for your body and 🙂 Come to my class.

The 4 pull up challenge

There is no perfect plan. Each fits the bill for a situation.

This plan aims to build stamina and healthy connective tissue and joints.

Do this once each morning and don’t confine yourself to pull ups.

We begin with doing 4 pull ups where we inhale on the upwards motion and exhale on the downward motion.

Next we progress to talking a full relaxed inhale and an exhale on both the upward and downward parts of each motion.

Now we add an inhale and an exhale to each part of the motion once we feel comfortable with the current pace and add a few breaths in between if need be. Mind to count the rest breaths if needed and keep them consistent or lowering in numbers.

Once you can do 4 consecutive pull ups with 10 relaxed breaths going up and the same going down, you will have a better foundation of connective tissue and lasting strength in your upper body and again, do this in the appropriate numbers for other movements such as the squat, pushup and the bridge.