Notes from class: partner power lines

Relaxation is but a direction of activation. Try saying that really fast 🙂

In these series of drills, I present you with learning to balance and tense in the best alignment for the particular movement. Aim to move yourself and the rest will follow or not. Freedom stands beyond.

  1. Squat down a step away from your partner and place the flat of your fist on his or hers. Push each other’s arms back and forth and check your alignment in the squat. This teachers the right tension dynamic for movement without excess.
  2. Place yourself in the push up position and repeat the previous drill. This will add a new angle to the work and also the balance of tension in holding the torso in place J You want abs, eat right and do my drills.
  3. Repeat drills 1 and 2 only now you hold each other’s wrists and pull instead of push.
  4. Repeat drills 1 and 2 only now you aim to move each other’s arm in a circle as they aim to give you some resistance and guide you otherwise.
  5. Stand back to back and hold each other in the bend of your elbows. Arch your spine to bring your partner airborne as they offer some resistance and repeat. This aids in learning to use the curvature of the body to your advantage and also to ease back pain when done right. Breath leads motion and aim to do good.
  6. Stand shoulder to shoulder while facing to opposite sides. Place your arms over each other’s shoulder and put the leg close to your partner around your partners one also in the air. Now press the partner leg back and forth as they resist and balance together or fall and adjust.
  7. Stand a step away from each other and place your hands on each other’s shoulders. Keep them with enough tension to stay straight but without locking them or getting stiff. Push each other back and forth using the entire body to spread the tension to the needed but without exceeding it.
  8. Stand back to back and push each other back and forth. Focus on the movement and don’t cling to the ground or to any contact. Breathe and move and if it does not work, align yourself with whatever is happening.
  9. Stand shoulder to opposite shoulder and push each other side to side. Enjoy but hold your spine with control. Never push yourself out of alignment.

Play with your body and have a purpose.

Enjoy and preserve your health.

 

 

Ten push ups variations you want to do

The push up is a time tested movement to gain power and health. Let us explore variations of it to further explore its benefits.

 

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Four corners push ups – Do push ups with your thumbs facing: Up, Down, outside, inside and play with it.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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)
  10. Walking push ups – start walking on your hands/fists and add push ups to the movement.
  11. 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.

 

Have fun

Keep moving

Repeat

Strong hands

Here are proven methods of increasing the ability of hands and fingers. They come to make us more capable and less fragile in a world of impact and shearing.

Make yourself strong so you can do the work you want done.

  1. Hanging on rough surfaces – We all hanged on rounded bars on gym classes. Some even use gloves. Hang on tree branches and on square beams. Take it a step further and hang on different parts of the palm to learn to relax further and allow the body adept and grow stronger in all angles.
  2. Walking on your fists – Start walking on your fists on a wall. Walk sideways and up and down. Let your breath create the tempo and move from the body. Keep your wrist relaxed to move while under pressure and continue to do so on the ground. Make sure you move silently and without excess tension. Allow the fingers to move while under pressure and not fight the contact. Take it a step further and walk on the sides of the fist and on the back of the fist. Close your hand around a fragile object such as an origami bird and walk on your fists without breaking the object.
  3. Walking on your finger palms – Walk on the flats of last joint of each finger (Distals) while maintaining an arch on each finger. Maintain the least amount of tension to keep the arch and walk on the wall side to side and up and down. Mind to breathe out the excess tension instead of letting it sink in the body.
  4. Pulling rope – Tie a strong rope to a strong anchor. Sit on your behind and pull yourself up by pulling on the rope and easing yourself down under control. Stand a step away from the rope and fall forward. Grab the rope on the way down and swing with it.
  5. Hammer throw – Take a light hammer (1 kg or a bit more) throw and catch it by a predetermined part. This goes beyond throw and catch into hand eye coordination and body mind relaxation. The uneven mass creates the greater learning experience and fun here. ( do not do this on tiles….)

Breath awareness for health and survival

Breathing is such a basic function that it becomes invisible to us. Paying attention to our breath leads to a greater awareness and thus ability to do what is needed.

Do the work.

 

  1. Exhale slowly as you walk on your feet or on your fists and feet later on and pay attention to the tightening of the abdomen and the emotions that run through you. Continue to the edge of discomfort and let the breath come back in naturally without pressing it back in. Let the negative tension teach you deeper relaxation.
  2. Inhale slowly as you walk on your feet or on your fists and feet later on and pay attention to the growing pressure in the abdomen and the emotions that run through you. Continue to the edge of discomfort and let the breath release without pressing it out. Let the breath teach you to release inner tension as needed and hold yourself from within rather than from the shell.
  3. Make a constant sound as you inhale (it can be a rasping noise too) and either roll or let someone push you. Mind the changes in the sound and work with movement, tension and pressure to lower the changes made by contact. Let the changes in pressure teach you to manage your inner pressure and alignment dynamically and adjust according to what happens in the moment.
  4. Make a constant sound as you exhale and either roll or let someone bend and twist you. Mind the changes in the sound and work with movement, tension and pressure to lower the changes made by contact. Let the changes in pressure teach you to manage your inner pressure and alignment dynamically and adjust according to what happens in the moment.
  5. Hold your breath and count your heart beats. Listen to the tempo as well and continue until you feel a second increase in tempo according to your current ability. Let your pulse teach you of the limits of your true ability.

There is no secret. Just continue to pay attention.

Notes from Class: Continuity

Here is a progression of games to play. They come to bring to light the virtue of continuity and as a quality to change your encounters from collisions to freedom within the meelee.

 

  1. Have a partner place a fist or foot on you. Tense and then relax your frame to achieve two goals. First to let go of the vector the contact is leaning toward and second to drape yourself withing the contact movement. This means you allow your shape to move without stopping withing the shape your contact has at the moment.
  2. Have a partner place a fist or foot on you. Relax toward them without moving them and drape your body over them with this in mind. Start each try with either shoulder or hip so you create an array of momentary solutions to each contact and build your inner constelation of awareness. From awareness you can make a key for the door instead of trying to break down the door.
  3. Have a partner push you continously as you move with them and maintain as much contact as you can with them. Make sure your eyes are relaxed from fixating on the horizon and allow your spine to move without forcing it to keep a line.
  4. Have a partner engage and push and pull on you as you walk from A to B. Relax on the move so your partner cannot distract you from your heading. Increase the contact to body pushes and holds as you move and relax your spine to keep moving without bracing against the push pull contact.
  5. Have your partner hold you by some way (neck, arm, eyelashes or belt ). Avoid getting out of the hold and instead use it to relax your body so you bring both of you to the ground. Do not go limp. Do not stop looking and play dead. Move continously and sink instead of using your wight as an excuse to not do the work.

 

Relaxing means : moving without excess tension. It does not mean you get to expect going limp will do the work for you.  Try it out.

Notes from Class: The inner constelation

The inner constelation.

Draw an imaginary line from one toe to each hip. Draw an imaginary life from each hip to each shoulder. Divide the body by half side to side and front and back. Repeat the drawing of the lines to the front and back and side and side of each hip and shoulder. Now divide each foot to front and back and side and side and center (I know, Its so easy…) and repeat the entire process.

Now, Tense and relax each line in turn and play the inner harp, moving the tension from line to line and feel the interwoven (pun intended) resonance between the lines.

Extra credit. Start from that place in your abdomen where you push and move from and draw lines to every location we mentioned so far. Add the spine coulum and notice while walking how the lines shift and arch.

Have a partner place a a knife or a fist on your body. Tense a line and release a strike from the arms to that contact from each side and then from above and below. Repeat the play all around the body and at different heights and angles. Enjoy the process.

Have a partner push a fist or blade gently to your body. Repeat the previous work, starting with releasing your frame tension and creating with that release, one continous movement sequence.

Have a partner push a fist or blade to your body. Repeat the previous work and relax your hips to step toward your pusher.

Have your partner push you continously as they try to move through you. Repeat the previous work and allow your body to shift angles to be able to move in any direction you choose, while maintaining the freedom of choice.

Have a partner grab you and pull. Repeat the previous work and work to avoid being dragged. Choose your direction by both relaxing and initiating. Don’t just surf the wave.

Move toward a standing partner and innitiate contact  as you enter and exit their static engagement zone. Notice how this changes your eye focus and body tension. Keep yourself in your breath and maintain your freedom to move, pivot and angle while in contact.

Move toward a parten that is pushing always toward you.  Repeat the previous work as you engage and disengege. Notice where you are and how you choose your angle in the movement and where your eyes are drawn.

Extra credit. Draw lines from each toe to the center of the foot and to the heel. Bring one leg up by releasing the hips to move and avoid freezing one leg in a fixed position. Move on these lines with the grounded foot and from there, continoue to move the airborne leg from the hip. Draw shapes in the air and repeat.

Havea partner stab you with a rounded stick at any level. Move on one leg to avoid getting impaled as you engage with the airborne leg. Change legs often and move around to avoid getting fixed on a pattern.

Enjoy.

 

Notes from class: Spinal Freedom

It is as easy to forget ourselves as it is easy to wake up.

Here are a progression of work to wake up our shoulders hips and spine and bring about greater freedom and health in movement and in thought.

Let your breath lead the movement in both tempo and depth.

  1. Start standing with your legs under your hips. Ease your knees and ankles and move one hip forward and one back and reverse it. Move one hip up and the other down and reverse it. Now combine the movements so the center of your hips where the spine rests, stays in place and your hips form following circles in place. Make sure you are moving your hips instead of pushing the ground with your feet.
  2. Stand and raise one shoulder up as you relax the other one down and reverse it. Move one shoulder forward and the other back and reverse it. Now combine the two into two circles moving one after the other and note the change in tension in the muscles that wrap the spine and in the neck.
  3. Have a partner press their hands or fists at the sides of your spine where your ribs meet. Release tension in your spinal muscles to move with the pressure and once arched, arch back and push the contact back with the rounding of your back. Repeat at various location on your spine and have fun with direction and location.
  4. Turn to face your partner and repeat the work with the fists on the bottom ribs center and then at free play.
  5. Walk freely and have your partner try to wrap their arms around your neck. Move from the shoulder, then hip, then spine to avoid being entangles but maintain the contact and return the favor. Make sure you see all around you instead of focusing outside of yourself.
  6. Stand a step away from each other and push each others legs with yours. Move to maintain contact but avoid increasing tension by relaxing the opposing hip to the contacted leg and ease the movement into a few steps to avoid getting stuck into a pinball state of mind.
  7. Walk with your partner behind you. Turn to them at will and have them push you continuously with all limbs while moving toward you and through where you are. Allow their every move by relaxing your frame as we have done so far but stay in contact and blend into their movement.

 

Three methods of hand/wrist work

In this piece we will explore three methods of hand work for a more capable and healthy hand and wrist.

Wall work

  1. Stand a step away from a wall and place the flats of your fingers on the wall. Press your body gradually to the wall with increasing activation in the hand and wrist to maintain the shape and gradually release the tension. Work this in different angles and distances from the wall.
  2. Stand a step or two away from the wall and place your hands on it. Lean slightly on the wall and with combined body and wrist work, rotate your hands around the forearms.  Vary the work in the same manner.
  3. Stand an arm length away from the wall and place both hands on it. Walk side to side with a slight lean forward and then the same while facing away from the wall with arms both over and under head. Progress to walking down and up the wall in the same way with varying in the regular method.
  4. Stand or sit a step away from the wall and place your hand on it. Lean on it and under this pressure, close and open your hand in various angles. Make sure your eyes and breath are free to move and continue to function.
  5. Stand a step away from the wall and place the back of your palms on the wall. Walk on the wall on the back of your palms and then on your fists and lastly using your fingers acting as spiders. Remember to breathe and keep your spine free to shape itself to the needs of the movement.

Rope work

  1. Take a long towel and place a  light soft wight in the middle ( a sack with some sand or a water sack). Fold the towel over the wight and secure it with strand. Now hold the ends in one or two hands and start rotating it around you in the air. You will learn to vary the resistance by angle and speed and learn to coordinate better while creating healthy tissue.
  2. Hang a rope from a sturdy tree or beam and stand while holding onto the rope at various heights. gradually move the wight to the rope by using your arms and body and return to the ground in the same graduation.
  3. Hang a rope from a sturdy tree or beam (a rope can be made of 550 cord and a towel with a bit of thought) sit under it and with some help from your lower body, climb up and down the rope in sync with your breath.
  4. Stand by your hanging rope and climb up and down the rope once facing the ground and once facing away from the ground. Remember to release tension from your back and hips by letting them move freely.
  5. stand a step away from the rope and fall forward. Catch the rope on the way down and swing your way back into a standing position. Breathe continuously.

Stick work

  1. Take a stick ( a shovel handle works well) and hold it in the middle. Rotate it in your hand so both ends swing in circles and hold it in various angles to the body and at various heights. The more you are acquainted with working dynamic angles, the better your inner map of self will be.
  2. hold a stick in one hand at its end with your hand relaxed at your side and slowly move it up and down. Breathe continuously and slowly draw circles in the air and work to use the least amount of tension and your best form to move the changing resistance. Your can load the end of the stick with a hammer head or heavy rope. Stay light and work on control before tension.
  3. Hold the stick at both ends. Tense arm against arm in different directions and twists through the stick and make sure you are tension only the parts you want to use. Move the stick overhead and place it on the flat of your back and vary the drill further by placing your hands on various locations on  the stick.
  4. lie on the ground and hold the stick at one end and further on the length. Place the free end on the ground and drag your body in various directions while maintaining a relaxed face and body.
  5. Take a heavy object suck as a rucksack or rock and hold the stick with both hands. Breathe and work to move the heavy object around using just the free tip of the stick and with the least amount of tension in your body. You can also do this with a partner laying down and relaxing and learn further about tension and appearance.

Footless and handless

This drill helps in getting past the push/pull movement and into moving ourselves as one unit. Continuous attention to this practice will give you more fluidity in motion and thought.

Solo version:

Sit and start moving from one side of the area to the other with no contact with the ground with either your feet or hands. Keep your breathing continuous and and your eyes relaxed from focusing on one direction or object.

Partner version:

Repeat the previous drill but have a partner walk through where you are and avoid impact. Continue to work as your partner or partners try to push you and pull you with their arms and hands as you move about and then add the lower limbs in the fun.

The more you pay attention the more it pays forward afterwards.

From the edges to the center

Start by standing with your hands aiming forward. Have your partner walk around you and from time to time  push your arms as you keep breathing and work to avoid letting the push progress to the body. Keep walking and learn to keep moving freely while in contact and With your eyes and contact learn to sink the contact where there is no resistance from the standing partner.

Change roles from time to time and continue this drill while the once standing partner walks around the place and progress to standing and moving your arms drawing shapes as your stalking partner pushes them with the intention of sinking and creating movement in the body.

Progress to walking toward your standing partner first with arms at the sides and then with arms pointing forward as your partner uses all limbs to guide you from making body to body contact. Again work to see and feel once contact is made where you can work without using force on force which may end well or may not whereas working from freedom does not constrict you from the rest of the world ( for example your partner aids, nature ,the way things seem to others)

The work here is two fold. You work from one side to add movement where there is no awareness (density) in your partner or partners and from the other hand you work to stay free from resisting contact while doing your work freely. The focus is not on gaining the upper hand but on staying free. Be weary of work which lets you drift away in thought. It is not honest work which encompasses your whole. Any other practice is dishonest both to you and to your partners.