The eye of the storm – calm under pressure

Breathe and continue to breathe. That is harder than it seems. 🙂

Lets go through three experiences and work on our capacity to maintian calm under pressure and to choose how to use the energy that comes from this pressure.

  1. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Have one or more partners push you with the flat or end of a stick a hundred times with no stopping for composure or realignment. Work on different areas, speeds and depth. Work on becoming comfortable in in eye of the storm within. The way you process and ACT instead of react will be the large size of the outcome. Move and release tension to avoid contact become impact. Have fun with it.
  2. Breathe and start laying down and getting up without stoppage. Have one or more partners push you with the flat or end of a stick a hundred times with no stopping for composure or realignment. work on moving in the free space instead of letting the contact find you and allow two directions of movement in your body at the same time and letting your eyes see what is in front of them instead of following the contact.
  3. Breathe and start walking in a set route ( a circle or any other path you choose). Have one or more partners push you with the flat or end of a stick a hundred times with no stopping for composure or realignment. Work on relaxing your eyes to see where you are instead of where you want to be and choose where you want to move even under such constraints. Add placing your limbs and body on the partners working to move you without letting them affect you.

These three stages of:

  1. Permission to touch
  2. Avoiding touch
  3. Choosing a path

are integral in finding your own natural movement and it will allow you to progress deeper into your ability without gaps of distance, contact or angle.

A little challange 🙂

Repeat this process thirty times. Report to yourself and to me if you wish how it went. Together we learn more and deeper.

Strikes 101

Blunt impact comes in many forms. Preparing to give and receive impact can greatly clear the fog of imaginary outcome and grow your awareness to your thoughts, feelings and your physical body.

Practice these methods of movement with consistency and attention and you will feel progress in your impact.

Solo work:

  1. Rest your arms on the ground and roll your shoulders and body to turn your arms palm up and down. Slowly close your fingers together to form a relaxed fist that has room to compress if met with a wall or hard opposition. Now place your arms to your sides and roll your body and shoulders to shake tension from your arms until they move like chains on the ground. In this you can relearn to move with no excess and unleash if you will, the power a demolition ball.
  2. Stand in an open space and with an exhale, relax your spine from the top downward until your upper body is resting on your legs with your legs unlocked. Inhale and straighten up fully and send the momentum to your entire body so your body motion sends you jumping forward. Repeat with awareness to keeping your body relaxed as possible but maintain the needed framework for moving tension around at will. Watch for small children before making the leap. J
  3. Stand with your legs under your hips. Breathe and relax your knees to a semi squat with each exhale. Focus on moving one hip forward and one back in each release of tension and continue to move with your breath. Focus on your hips-spine-shoulder connection and direct the semi squat to your shoulders to swing your shoulders forward and back, Once this is done, direct the movement to travel to the elbow and then to the wrist and hand. Play with speed and slowly become comfortable with changing speed instead of keeping a consistent pace. This will allow you to release the stored energy from your structure without excess tension or changing your posture unnecessarily.
  4. Place yourself on your fists and feet facing downward. Place your mass on your muscles by keeping angles in all your joints. Breathe and sway forward and back and shift your mass from fists to feet and back. Once this is comfortable, lift one limb up and continue to play shift side to side and forward and back. Continue to place one limb on a wall at a time and then two limbs on the wall and play with the mass shift from angle to angle. Repeat the process on your knees and on your forearms and remember to always allow the joints to move on the impact to avoid fixation and damage to yourself. (Some joints such as the wrist if you are hitting with your fist should remain at a comfortable angle but not move too much to avoid hyper tension in the joint)
  5. Stand with your arms to your sides. Inhale and raise your arms slowly. Feel the blood moving in your arms and repeat with attention to moving the blood inside in sync with the movement of your arms. Awareness to your movement inside will allow you to better impact without bouncing back and with greater affect. This connects with the first point of letting the body move as one instead of fixating and pushing in the moment of impact.

Partner work:

  1. Place your fist on your partner and place your awareness in your hips-spine-shoulders. Allow the elbow to move in all direction and relax to allow the fist to sink in the partner without increasing the tension of your movement. It will be wise to separate the idea of movement and tension. You can move from release and you can move from tension and everywhere in between. Repeat the work with your foot on the partner. Working standing and sitting on your behind will add a lot of awareness to the work.
  2. Have your partner walk randomly and work to place your fist, foot or body on them and sink your contact to turn them and change their alignment on the move. Focus on staying relaxed and playing with the contact instead of trying to land the strike. Stay comfortable and work to see existing openings instead of forcing them.
  3. Close your eyes and have your partner push and pull on you. Relax your body toward them and sink your contact on the go. Let your entire body be the instrument.
  4. Have your partner strike you continuously. Relax your body to avoid absorbing the strikes and move up and down as you are being struck. Maintaining freedom within the contact is a key to freedom from being led and true freedom.
  5. Smile and have a good conversation as you strike your partners and move. Mind to keep breathing freely instead of trying to ride the breathe in and out and find how this releases you from being controlled by outside stimulation and inner pressure. This is a combination of your mind, body and feelings together as you maintain your calm mind active while getting struck and striking. Without this, you must shift each time you strike and that is a misfortune.

Enjoy the path as it has no end.

ROLLING THUNDER

Thunder rolls over the landscape. It goes into every opening and shakes and affects what is in its wake. Thunder is of course the outcome of lightening so we must approach our striking movement in the same manner. One of the other qualities of thunder that goes without saying is that it is not affected as a whole. You can engage a part of the wave while the rest goes on undisturbed. Let us play with that quality to become the source of lightening.

 

Ideas to consider:

  1. The body is the lightening, the force. Allow the body to move the arms and legs.
  2. A tense limb both gives and receives pressure and tension. A relaxed limb can choose.
  3. Two moving parts can create a greater level of freedom than one. Do not focus on one body part. Be a whole human.
  4. Waiting means you are always late, always in someone’s control. You breathe, let your breath be the wave you ride to freedom.
  5. A dancer can dance, a fencer can fence. Be a human being first. Just move. Walk and climb and roll. Do not give names and categories that define and jail your thoughts.

 

MOVEMENT WITHOUT PRESSURE

Place one fist on the other and breathe. Move both fists together in the air in arches and lines. Move them in your front and overhead and at your back. Roll the surface of one fist over another and use your elbows, shoulders and body to move the grid without creating a crest in the tension lines.

Place one fist on the fist of a partner. Have them attempt to tense you up and move your body through that contact. Move your feet, your hips and spine to keep the contact of the partner fist while you move your body and tension on your own without letting the contact affect how you carry yourself.

 

MOVEMENT WITHOUT ANCHOR

Place one fist on your partners body. Have them breathe and let the fist slide on them instead of press in by moving just the hips side to side. Continue to doing the same by moving just the shoulders in rolling motion. Continue to doing the same by moving the spine in continuous arches. Move from your breath and most of all, Move by your own volition. Never wait for the drum to be hit.

Place one fist on the partners body. Start to push and turn in order to bend and wedge the partner into a tense and static position. The partner who is getting the fist contact moves with breath and relaxed eye horizon (seeing what is in front of us instead of fixating to the horizon) and most of all: relax both hips and shoulders and the connecting spine so you move everywhere without letting the partner contact pressure you.

Place two fists on the partner body. Move both from the area of the spine between the shoulder blades to create lines of tension in the contact body. Have the partner release the contact movement downward and sideways by allowing the body to move as before and letting the pressure go back to the partner by moving your own body and no attempt to control anything besides yourself.

Notes from Class: Contact continuity

An automatic clock is a work of art. Each wheel connects smoothly with another and the movement seems seamless. It still depends on the start and stop of the movement as we are not any different.

We breathe in and out with pauses and the spring drive of our entire body works to keep us ticking. Becoming more aware to this mechanism will enable us to move more seamlessly and gracefully.

 

Breath awareness:

  1. Lie on your stomach and lift your head and limbs in the air. Breather and turn to your back without touching limbs to the ground and back while letting your breathing create the tempo.
  2. Repeat the movement while letting the pauses between in and out to create the tempo. What we ignore will rule us. Remember that.

 

Pulse awareness:

  1. Find your pulse with your fingers to your neck or otherwise and start tensing one knuckle at a time in your hands with each pulse beat. Repeat this while you walk or any other action.
  2. Place your fist or foot on the wall. Press the fist/foot to the wall from the other side of the body (Your right fist is on the wall. You feel the pulse and move your left shoulder to press the fist to the wall)

 

Movement awareness:

  1. Lean on the wall and start rolling right and left from shoulder to shoulder. Raise your arms and create arching fists from your body movement.
  2. Lean on the wall and start rolling from shoulders to hips. Raise your arms and create arching fists from your body movement.
  3. Lie on your back and start rolling right and left from shoulder to shoulder. Raise your legs in the air and bicycle kick with the movement of the body.
  4. Stand up and work with a partner on pushing and pulling. Allow your body to move with the contact so each contact to your body translates to a hit on their body or limbs. Repeat the drill standing from all directions and them while laying down.
  5. Repeat the previous work but focus on wrapping your limbs and body on the contact naturally with your body movement. Maintain your freedom of movement as you go.

Three drills for better striking

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.

 

  1. 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.
  2. (Repeat the drill with your back to the surface. It helps a lot to grow your awareness throughout the range of natural movement)
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Fists on the wall

Our health is paramount in delivering and receiving impact. Our awareness is paramount in using our structure as it was developed to use just what is needed for the continuity of our lives.

Start by standing a full step away from the wall. Relax your ankles and lean with both fists on the wall. Maintain a straight line from the end of the fist to the elbow and slowly relax your shoulder blades and then your shoulders and elbows until you reach the wall with your body. Inhale and return to the beginning but without pushing against the wall. Work on your inner tension and avoid leaking tension outwards.

Continue by repeating the drill facing away from the wall as you bridge overhead toward the wall.

Do only 60 wall push ups a day but do them with:
1. letting the breath start each movement.
2. Starting the movement from the body and not from the point of contact with the wall.
3. Maintain a free line of site with your eyes so you avoid becoming fixed with your horizon awareness.

And smile.

For Niklas.

Heavy hands

Learning to use your full potential in hitting may be easier than you think. Be mindful you are hitting real people when you do and never give more than it is necessary to get the job done.

Drills to bring out the heavy hands the easy way:

  1. Stand straight and take 60 calm breaths to raise your hands overhead from your sides while keeping them loose and another 60 to let go of the tension that you used to bring them up.

(Be mindful to let the forearms move freely and rotate according to the mass shifting while the angles of the arm changes. Feel the flux of the blood in your arms as the angle changes and returns to the original. Within this comes great inner awareness.)

  1. Stand a step and a half from the wall and lean on it with your hands or fists. Raise one fist at a time by moving your body and let them rest softly back on the wall. Continue to lean your elbows on the wall and moving the same way. Continue to lean your shoulders on the wall and move them the same way and combine the three attention points to allow your smooth motion to come forth.
  2. Lie down on your back and raise both fists in the air. Move them in small circles and ellipses and let the feeling of torque and added mass from the small motions and allow yourself to move just as much as needed and no more.
  3. Stand next to a wall or a partner and place your focus on the elbow or shoulder. Start to move the fist from the focal point and make contact with the partner with the elbow or shoulder still in motion so you avoid pressing and learn to sink in where there is no resistance.
  4. Tense up your face and focus your eyes on a fixed point and then let the tension go and remember the change from tense and focused to relaxed and free.