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.
Walking on your fists is great. Walking on your first with a friend is even better.
Enjoy both rolls in this movement and note how the body learns to move as one, once tension is healthily distributed throughout the body. Let the breath lead the motion and relax your arms on contacting the ground to avoid excess tension.
Please resist the urge to push your friend too fast 🙂
Place your fists on the ground and let a friend hold onto your ankles.
Walk forward and back on your fists for 40 breaths
Walk sideways left and right on your fists for 40 breaths
Walk forward and back on your forearms for 40 breaths
Walk sideways left and right on your forearms for 40 breaths
Walk toward your feet and back by moving on your fists and bending the hips for 40 breaths
Jump with both fists forward and back for 40 breaths and mind to let the breath distribute and continue the motion instead of holding onto the impact
Reverse rolls and enjoy the work and how funny we look when we work honestly.
The push up is a time tested movement to gain power and health. Let us explore variations of it to further explore its benefits.
Elevated push ups – If you are starting now with push ups, do them against a wall, then a table, a chair and then on the ground. If you are already familiar with push ups, raise one leg in the air and then place them on a ball, a chair and finally on a wall to explore different angles and further add power and fun to your movement.
Slow push ups – Do push ups that take, one breath to do, do them over ten breaths, extend the time you spend moving and create healthy connective tissue and joints. Form a greater awareness to every passage of the movement.
Less limbs push ups – Do push ups with one leg over the other, do them with one leg in the air, do push ups with one arm in the air, do push ups with one arm and one leg in the air.
Four corners push ups – Do push ups with your thumbs facing: Up, Down, outside, inside and play with it.
Bendy push ups – Do push ups that end up with your behind spiked to the heavens, do push ups where you end up with your bald head facing the sunset on a romantic beach and play with it.
Twisty push ups – Do push ups where you start one side before the other so you go right side first and wrong side later (slight pun, bear with me J) do push ups where you take one side of the hips forward and the other skyward and play with them.
Location push ups – Place your hands or fists together or far apart, place them one up and one down. Move them for each push up and remember to have fun.
Contact push ups – Do push ups on your palms, do them on your fists, Do them on the back of the hand and do them on the fingers with care.
Jumpy push ups – Do push ups where you push yourself off the wall, Do them in various angles and remember to ease into contact with breath and tension attention TM (Pay attention to tense only what you want instead of in reaction)
Walking push ups – start walking on your hands/fists and add push ups to the movement.
One more … object push ups – Do push ups holding onto hammers or sticks or ropes in a hanging position or not if you can do magic. Do push ups holding onto one stick rolling on another stick. Be free and add to the game as you play.
Watching strength is inspiring. After all, most of the time we have the same parts as the strong man or acrobat 🙂 Here is a simple method to become stronger in degrees. Something that requires almost no tools and can be used for many people in many conditions and levels of movement.
Let’s take the simple push up for example. Some people can do many and some can do only a few. With a simple switch of angle you can hone your movement awareness, joint health and power.
Stand a step away from the wall and place your hand or hands (hint, hint) on the wall. Relax your body but keep it straight and do push ups at this tiny angle and subsequently little pressure. To most this will be a warm up or a joint movement but to some this can be a stage to greater strength from wherever they are. Even a strong athlete can be weak as a baby after an injury or disease and having steps to climb, allows you to progress instead of finding yourself at a dead end.
Now you slowly increase the angle you do pushups or one handed pushups at and in time reach the ground where you perform the classic pushup.
Then you can move a step or angle further and start lifting your legs up on a stool and then the wall or chair at growing angles until you perform handstand push ups 🙂
Sometimes giving yourself small steps to climb instead of looking at a mountain from afar will allow you to progress instead of getting stuck. The same goes for being stuck in a hold by a stronger opponent or another problem in life. Playing with small moves will lead to less injury and more ability to develop the situation and above all: When you do something, you cannot be overwhelmed or crushed by it.
Be strong at an angle. Teach your children to take steps toward their freedom without letting fear command a jump and loss of control.
We walk, we talk and we move about each day without notice of our breath. We can release inner stores of ability with a tiny elevation and a bit of consistancy.
Do this once a day, every day and your life and practice will elevate exponentially:
Walking is now a breath practice – once a day as you walk perform a breathe piramid. This means you inhale for one step and exhale for one and then inhale for two steps and exhale for two steps extending your breath longer and once you reach that days top, you lower the count down in the same way.
Excercise is now a breath practice – As you do push ups for example – let the inhale or exhale start the movement and guide the pace naturally. Play with the count per breath. (Example: ihnale and do one push up, exhale and do one push up and hold your breath and do one more. Now, do tow push ups for each breath phase and so on)
Speaking in now breath practice – once a day as you speak, pay attention to your body inhaling and exhaling as you speak and pay attention to the tension in your chest, shoulders and abdomen as you speak to better connect with your breath. This may be subtle at first but will be extremely valuable in gaining self awareness to emotion and thoughts that run through us.
Diving is now breath practice – Even holding your breath can be a great breath awareness practice (drinking, diving, going through a corridor with smokers or a public bathroom :)). Mind how your prepare your body breathing before the hold and recover afterwards. Note your pressure and pulse change as you extend your breath hold and many things will release inside.
A few minutes each day will sink into your natural base of awareness and release more natural abilities without taking anything away from your consious mind.
GIVE YOURSELF SOME TIME TO RELAX
UNDER TENSION AND THEN SEE DEEPER
BREATHE 60 BREATHS IN THE PUSH UP POSITION
THEN DO ONE PUSH UP.
BREATHE 60 BREATHS HOLDING ONTO THE BAR
THEN DO ONE PULL UP
BREATHE 60 BREATHS IN THE BOTTOM OF THE SQUAT
THEN DO ONE HIGH JUMP
BREATHE 60 BREATHS BALANCING ON YOUR HEELS
THEN DO ONE BROAD JUMP
This is a partner drill for learning attentive mes and tension awareness.
1. You place yourself in the push up position.
2. Your friend puts himself in the push up position only with his hands/fists on your body
3. You do a push up together.
4. Your friend moves on your body to another location and you repeat
From this simple drill you learn a few things:
1. Friends can be heavy
2. you must adjust your tension according to the situation and not according to what you thought before
3. pushing someone is harder than just moving yourself. The tension pattern is very different.
Do a few push ups on the fists and jump with your entire body off the ground and land with soft limbs so there is no impact. Move your entire body with the breath and relax so there is no impact of hard on hard.
Do a few sit ups and when you are seated jump with all of your body in the air (you can swing a rope underneath to make sure all of you is off the ground) and again relax.
Do a few leg raises and when the legs are coming back from the overhead jump and remember to move as one and relax the parts which are in contact so there is less impact and shock.
Do a few squats and jump in the lower position using the spring of the joints and tendons to avoid tensing up. Smile and move as one it is easier.
Do a few push ups on a hard pillow, a sleeping bag or a partner and align yourself as it or he moves underneath.
Do a few sit ups with a partner behind you so you have to bring up your hips to align yourself when your head and shoulders are resting on him on the down position.
Do a few leg raises so than you have to again raise your middle when your feet are resting on the partner.
Do a few squats where you sit down for each squat and rise again to the squat without using the hands.
This is so you learn to move using all your parts to align yourself in any position.
Strike drill in two parts:
1 place your fist on your partner and relax so you feel him better. Feel where he is tense and work to unbalance him with the least amount of movement (remember to stand in a comfortable distance and to move yourself so you know your hips and shoulders are relaxed. If you are tense than you can control nothing)
2 Close your eyes and walk toward your partner and as your fist makes contact with him, let it align itself and than move if inward in the same way you did during drill 1.
when in doubt, do some push ups and come up with variations on your own.