KNOWING YOUR SPACE

We all practice the knowledge of space when walking, driving, dancing and fighting.

Getting to know your own space while in combat gives us the ability to welcome a contact, move away and time the alignment, tension and movement to maintain freedom in a fight or a contact.

From the first step each of us took, our eyes began to study space and timing. We continue the practice and learning with static work and then move to the dynamic.

  1. Stand up in front of a wall. Place a hand on a wall extended but not locked and repeat for the front, the sides and the back. Play with the starting distance so you start a foot away from the wall and move to place a hand or fist on the wall by knowing the distance. Move from different angles, heights and side. Move another foot away from the wall and again, play with movement to place your fists, hands, elbows, shoulders and more. Continue playing with starting location and use your breath to add speed without adding tension and let the breath lead each movement starting from the body.
  2. Once the eyes and body are aligned with static work, we continue to moving with a partner. Start with the partner walking around you in a circle. Breath continuously to remain relaxed and time placing hands, fist and feet on the partner as they walk without adding any pressure. Keep the contact light and move with the contact to avoid becoming fixed with your eyes.
  3. Have your partner walk toward you and move the least amount so they just miss you by a hair. Do this from different angles and add speed with breath awareness and also pay attention with your body angle. Play with the angles and keep your legs under your hips to avoid becoming a position while maneuvering.
  4. Add placing hands and feet on your partner or partners to the play as you go. Never sacrifice mobility for position.
  5. Close one eye at a time and repeat the play. Play with your head angle and position and continue to look as you move instead of tracking what is moving. Your eyes and mind are capable of encompassing much more than most allow. Let them see for you and take in the entire picture. This is one of the keys to remain free in a melee or with resistance.
  6. Sit down and repeat the play. Find freedom with your eyes and motion by focusing on different heights in the walking partners and alternating constantly. Move with your breath and as you are down, view the horizon but do not let it confine you. Let the head move with the movements of the body.

This is a first step. Once force is introduced to the work, be diligent to breath continuously and to be aware of the tension building in the body and pose. With each breath, rebuild yourself. Simple but not easy.

Stick ups Rope rolls Sideways squats

There is a terrible way of linear training and strength training which hampers how we progress and maintain our health throughout a very nonlinear life.

Here are three examples of nonlinear strength and movement which will enhance your health, strength and ability to handle life’s rungs.

The Stick ups

Take a sturdy stick which can bear your mass without snapping. Sit down on your behind and place the end of the stick on the ground. Use one hand to press it downward in order to raise your body to a standing position and then ease downward to sitting. Repeat playing with angles, holds and remember to always breathe.

Rope rolls

Loop a sturdy rope overhead on a strong enough hold. Hold the rope ends in each hand and bring yourself upwards by looping the rope on your arms and thus shortening the distance. Relax yourself back down by releasing the loops under your control. Remember to always breathe.

Sideways squats

Stand with your feet under you. Relax the angle of one hip and relax the leg coming from it. Let it continue naturally until you are either squatting down or laying down. Raise yourself in the same manner. Let your eyes see what the body movement present before them and always breathe.

A balance of strength

Strength gives way to capability. We aim for strength but we usually forget to aim for a balance of strength.

Our bodies are made for forward motion mostly, for climbing, running, swimming and working with tools for building and war.

Balance in strength allows our bodies to manifest our will in movement over time instead of attempting to maintain a balance with tension and posture adjustments.

Drills to manifest balance:

  1. Stand on one leg. Swing the other leg forward and back as you clap your hand in the opposite side to create a balance. Breathe and let your arms find the same reach in front of you and at the back.
  2. Place yourself on your fists and feet. move side to side, move forward and back, and turn in circles. Turn from facing down to facing up or vice versa and repeat the movement patterns. Enjoy moving and move with your breath and from the center outward.
  3. Stand a step away from a wall or a tree. Place your hands of fists on it and start walking it side to side. Turn away from the wall and repeat.
  4. Pick someone or something up in your arms. It can be your kid or mate or a log you aim to use for heating. Start walking and pay attention to the mass distribution in your feet. Walk forward and backwards side to side and turn right and left. Walk tall and in a partial squat. Let your feet relearn how to walk by shifting instead of pressing.
  5. Take a broomstick or any other rolling pin that can bear your mass. Stand on it with both feet using the center of each foot. Breathe and slowly look up and down side to side and turn your head. Breathe and release excess tension and slowly let the body align on the rolling pin to gain greater balance in each direction.

Enjoy and join our classes.

Art by Natalia Friedman

The four horsemen to counter commercial medicine

Ask yourself who you are. Are you a consumer who follows or a man who chooses his path ?

The four horsemen to counter commercial medicine

  1. Doctor FAST Fasting has been a successful prescription to countless ailments and promotes health and mental and emotional clarity. It is the definition of cheap and can be applied in moderation from not eating for a fixed number of hours each day to fasting for a day or two weekly. Keeping things simple will ease your entry into this highly beneficial practice and the joy of finding that we are not reliant on constant feeding may bring more freedom in other areas to your life.
  2. Doctor MOVEMENT Movement is a key ingredient in staying and building both ability and health. Physical labor from building a fence to digging a ditch helps in strengthen and harnessing the physical body and creating a more aware, healthy and happy individual. We can practice many arts from dancing to martial art when we have the time and we become more vibrant and effective in our lives in both the physical and mental plane. Breath, dance, move and be happy.
  3. Doctor TEMPERATURE heat and cold are primal catalyst for body and mind integration and health. Our bodies and minds clear the mist and release the breaks when it feels the need to stay alive and heat from a sauna or a hot shower and cold from an ice bath or taking a cold shower will clear the head, bring about great hormonal changes in the body for the better and help build a better working and better feeling machine for us to use.
  4. Doctor SILENCE Silence is often misunderstood. Any person can be happy for a little bit with the aid of drugs (sugar, spirits and worse) but long lasting happiness comes from having a purpose and being in alignment with your true self instead of following a trend or trying to fit in. When I speak of silence, I speak of the clear content of following your purpose, the silence of not listening to the screaming voices of media and fashion trying to push and prod you to fit in a mold which benefits them. Be your own man or woman. Be truly happy. I wish you all the best in this challenge and hope to learn together on the way.

Balance between give and take

In confrontations there is no balance between the streams. There will only be a balance within the theater the confrontation takes place in.

In physical confrontations, we will gain balance once we are mindful to the internal streams of tension and movement within. Knowing the internal theater of war lets the one in conflict see with less distortion both inward and outward.

Our hips are a marvel of engineering. Crafted over eons for the perfect balance between stability mobility, efficiency and effectiveness.

I give you two drills to balance your hip nervous system activation patterns. They are simple on the outside but the multitude of possibilities make them a rich research ground.

Place yourself on both feet and hands. Make your body into an X with your feet and arms slightly parted. Use your breath to time each movement and lift each limb in turn minding to keep the body centered. There may be a slight shift before each lift that with attention will clean out as awareness grows.

Repeat the same standing up. Lift each leg in turn. Think of peeling the sole off the ground instead of lifting it like a robot. Move as if all limbs act in union and enjoy the new found balance and health this releases.

In a confrontation or when walking on a slippery surface, this will aid in maintaining and regaining your level and allow for less telegraphing motion when in maneuver.

Running

Running a one of the movements humans excel in. Most people do not know we can outrun almost any animal on earth in long distance running and we can carry quite a bit of mass as well.

Getting there from a modern sedentary life is less of a straight line. Several factors require treatment and vigilance to fulfill the genetic gift our predecessors created in a life of hard work, hunting and war.

Let us begin from the bottom and move up.

Feet – Most stomp their feet flatly on the ground due to lack of nature time and footwear. Aim to walk barefoot when possible and to allow the foot to hug the ground. Mobilize the toes and especially the big toe to be a part of the step and to make contact with the ground without force.

The first contact is one of three keys to effortless running. A person has to move all limbs from the center and avoid pushing against the contact as much as possible. This is very simple but not easy. Moving the limbs and legs in particular from the hips and body and only moving the mass to the leg on the ground after the contact has been established and confirmed as safe.

A side note is that once of the earliest signs of a culture is a healed leg bone. Before culture, once you broke your leg, you were dead. a sure step is more vital to our survival than we know.

Stand and slowly peel one foot off the ground by moving your body and hips. Place the foot back on the ground using the same frame of mind and movement and only then, place your mass on it.

Legs and hips – The best way to learn to move your feet on the ground is off the ground. water walking as water polo players practice or hanging on a tree branch we can swing our legs and move our hips easily and without unyielding contact. Practice air or water walking as often as you can and it will translate to a full body movement that goes past pushing and pulling.

Body and head – leaning forward and twisting creates tension and disrupts the movement of the entire body as one when they don’t happen out of purpose. keep the body upright and the sight forward and open to avoid excess tension and to allow the body what it is good at.

Breath – Letting the breath lead action takes both listening and letting go. Allow the breath to be the first movement of each step, the exhale to be the channel where the ground contact ends toward the skies (nothing supernatural here, just continuous movement) and keep the breath incoming and outgoing through the nose.

If you run for fun, run. If you run because you must, look behind you from time to time and see where it brings you.

Staying Hip

The hips are the center of the body.

Moving them well contributes to all other movements and connects them in an enhancing chain of small and greater movements.

Begin:

  1. Place yourself in the pushup position and rotate your hips while in this in one side and then the next. Note your preference and always start the movement with the breath.
  2. Place yourself on one fist/hand and turn your body sideways to the ground. Repeat the hip rotation and release your eyes as well as you breathe and move. Do this for both sides.
  3. Place yourself on both fists/hands with your chest to the stars and repeat the rotation both ways. Consider how movement under slight pressure helps us learn to move all things as one.

Continue:

  1. Place yourself on one fist/hand and opposing side foot – repeat the hip rotation and work to let the movement balance you, rather than tension and bracing the movement chain. Water does not break, ice does.
  2. Place yourself on fist/hand and the same side side foot – repeat the hip rotation and focus on breathing excess tension out.

Further on:

  1. Do a handstand with a partner or with your legs on a tree trunk and rotate your hips. Focus on the reversed blood flow and let the mass sync itself in balancing out movement and activation.
  2. Hold yourself on a tree branch or a pull up bar and rotate your hips. Let the body unwind and let it smile.

Enjoy.

Stiff Mobility

One of the best ways to find your way around the mountain is to walk around it. This time, we will use the stick to release stiffness in the body and in the mind.

For these ten movements you will need a sturdy shaft that reaches from the ground to your chest at least. I have used a hoe shaft for years and it serves me and my students well.

video and further instruction is at my online classes and online free videos.

  1. Hold the stick in both ends in front of you. Sit down and pass both feet past the stick and roll over the shoulder to lie on your stomach and back to a standing position.
  2. Sit on your knees with the stick held in both ends. Roll forward while keeping the stick to your side.
  3. Sit on your knees with the stick held in both ends. Roll forward while keeping the stick ahead of you at the front.
  4. Sit on your knees and roll to each side at a time with the stick held in both ends and keep the stick from touching the ground.
  5. Hold the stick in one hand aimed at the skies. Transition from standing to laying down and switch hands during the transition as you switch from inhale to exhale.
  6. Hold the stick in the crooks of your bent elbows. Roll forward and backwards. Breathe and use the shoulders and hips alignment to move freely.
  7. Hold the stick in the crooks of your bend elbows. Lie on your back and transition from laying face up to face down, without letting the stick touch the ground.
  8. Hold the stick in the bend of your neck and chest. Transition between laying on your back and standing up and aim to keep the shoulder blades and shoulders as relaxed as possible.
  9. Hold the stick in the bend of your bent knees. Transition between laying face up and face down without lifting the torso off the ground. Find which angles work for you between the hips and spine.
  10. Hold the stick in one hand and against the top of the opposite foot. Transition between Standing and sitting down. without lifting both legs off the ground.

Smile and enjoy the work.

ransuru@yahoo.com