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.
- 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.
- Sit on your knees with the stick held in both ends. Roll forward while keeping the stick to your side.
- Sit on your knees with the stick held in both ends. Roll forward while keeping the stick ahead of you at the front.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
It was yesterday evening, during a blade class, that a student asked me a very deep question. I enjoy these very much as they free me from what I am doing into something new, weather in thought, movement or both.
The questions was, “Is this movement for attack or defense?” and here is my answer.
Attack and defense are mental distinctions. A movement, a pose and a word can be either or both or even none. The level of movement our bodies ad minds can achieve is restricted by our emotional awareness.
The blade moves forward in a seemingly obvious attack but then spirals into a dynamic shield and causes the opposing attack to dissipate. A stick is swung at your your head and you step forward to intercept the wielding arm in a combined attack and defense. An angry teenager spits at your direction in a dirty underground railway and start moving your way, you smile at them and tell them you too have some nasty infection and they scurry away.
Attack and defense and what lies in between are all emotional stamps we place on our actions and choices. Each movement can serve both and none and it is our privilege to go inside and remove those emotional and mental blocks from our head so we are free to maneuver and operate instead of react and plow onward.
Many ideas work.
Many ideas do not work at the same time. 🙂
Our job is to find and make up what works for us right now and see what does not. But further, We must understand why things do not work so we can learn from them. Only then, we can move past them.
If you feel your movement does not continue, if you feel tense when confronted with resistance, You need to make friends with your tension.
Begin with a solo practice of shadow fighting. Imagine being attacked and move to handle the situation but with your body slightly tensed on purpose. This allows us to further understand the tension and as you repeat this practice, you can increase the tension until you are fully tensed up but still moving. Keep breathing calmly though to keep the practice healthy and then you can move on to add partner work.
Have a partner attack you lightly and move with them using light tension. Do so with care and listen to your breath at all times. Make the drill about being tense in the body and relaxed in the mind and thus you can progress to the next level of tension and more until you can move fully tensed.
Next tense just a part of yourself and move in solo movement and then with a partner while maintaining the tension. Change body parts from time to time and enjoy the imbalance as it will bring you within yourself faster than a balanced practice. It is poison fighting poison to a degree.
Making friends with fear and tension is not an easy or short task to undertake. It is however, a very beneficial practice and it will give you many gifts over time.
There is a buffer between real violence and training and there has to be one to allow progress both mental and physical.
Many martial arts today rely on padded surfaces and body padding. This allows for higher throws in practice and greater force exerted in contact in striking and impact.
There is however also negative in this sport application. It is we do not know how to move our bodies on hard surfaces and most do not know how to strike and get struck with no padding. Bone and flesh.
Give yourself the gift of the hard floor and the wall.
Learn to place your body from standing up to laying down on hard ground first slowly and then with awareness and smoothness it will become faster naturally and you will gain a real world ability.
Stand in front of a wall ( A good one. Many crumble) and place your hand and then fist on it. Learn to push first and to sink second and allow the entire body to become one.
There is no limit except what we place on ourselves and hard contact allow us to open new awareness and ability inside us.
Start slow and start now.
Five ways to find your purpose.
1. Small steps – If you do not know where you want to end up, choose small term goals and changes such as learning a skill, gaining social skills and getting better at moving yourself.
2. Necessities – What can you not live without – Start by elimination and end up with what is truly necessary in your life besides bacon 🙂 .
3. Fixing cracks – There are small things that irk us. A mistake we repeat, a pattern we often miss and so on. Many times, getting past those with a bit of work we reveal a new panorama that was hidden behind that obstacle that now elevates you.
4. shift your point of view – Some cliffs are assailable from one angle and completely out of the question from another. Aim to approach a task from different directions and you will find new freedoms and perhaps a new goal.
5. Do nothing – Sometime the best way to get there is to not get there. Avoid all tasks you can and see which thoughts and feeling surface when the drums of daily chores are muffled. Often a change in scenery and a broken telecommunication device will open the wellspring of ingenuity that is the gift of man.
“What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how
infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and
admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like
a god! the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals—and yet,
to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me—
nor woman neither, though by your smiling you seem to say so.”
An English dude who did what he was meant for 🙂
Many fights and endeavors in life are determined before the actual visible contact begins.
- Our awareness and focus
- Our knowledge of self
- Our ability to know what is important
These can put us in a place where we already won or in a place where we need to dig dip to simply survive.
Here are a few simple attention and focus drills. See how they relate to you and be safe about it. Chosen discomfort is a good teacher, injury is not.
Take two or three friends and stand as a triangle about three steps from each other. (Put on eye protection)
- How to throw a knife – Hold the knife using the handle and have the pointing finger rest on the flat of the blade. Move the elbow and shoulder so the arm ends up pointing straight at the target and let the knife slip from your grasp and fly tip first toward the student of chance.
1. Take one practice knife and throw it from one to another in a set manner, tip first. Have your partner move out of the path of the blade and catch it at the handle.
2. Close one eye and repeat the drill.
3. Repeat the drill but now aim to pass the knife not in a set pattern but aim to surprise the receiver by not showing any tells to the throw. This teacher understanding of body language and eye focus.
4. Walk together in a circle and continue to pass the practice knife between you first in a set manner from A to B to C and then randomly and with the least amount of tells you manage. Avoid using speed as the key ingredient. The learning will diminish if you consider it a game. See all the facets of the diamond.
5. Repeat but with one setting the direction of the walking circle. All must pay attention to the randomly changing direction and the flying practice knife.
6. Take three practice knives and pass them in a set pattern first in one direction and then in the other. Mind to avoid throwing the practice knife while a partner is retrieving a knife that was not caught 🙂 It will happen.
7. Repeat the drill but throw the knives aiming to show the least amount of tells and remember to avoid throwing the knives while some are retrieved as now one can get two knives thrown at them at the same time.
Aim to focus on what matters. First avoid being in the path of the flying knife and let the body movement assist you in catching the knife in the handle. Avoid catching the blade unless you are acting out of necessity and remember to not be where you are attacked.
Some things are simple but run deep.
Consistent practice of basics is the key.
- Instead of clenching your fists in preparation, keep your body moving and your arms loose like chains. Close the fist fully only on contact and look up Kime and use this as a principle instead of a specific tip.
- People have intentions. Bad people have bad intentions. Listen to what people are saying but also look as their facial expression changes and body language. The body and facial expression changes reveal what is behind the curtains.
- Mind the space. Pay attention to where you are and where you can go. People do not want to play a fair game if they have two working brain cells and will want to corner and gang up on you. Notice changes in groups and in how people place themselves as blocks and guides and how crowds act as one animal in subtle ways.
- A small force over a tiny surface is sometime better than a great force over a large surface. It is hard to overpower people under the influence of drugs or simply bigger people. You can though, concentrate your force on one finger of a soft spots in the body and head to create enough affect to avoid being controlled by the sheer force of the opposition.
- Balance matters. Balance allows for grace in movement and the opposite of it. Play with balance by dancing, playing games and the like so that when you have to traverse ice, maintain your movement freedom when shoved and grabbed, your body and your intentions will be one. A simple game of walking and pushing and pulling on a sliding surface will be enough to begin this jurney.
- We are tool users instead of tools and everything is a multitude when pressed. Breaking bones in the hands and body are much worse than smashing a laptop over a rapists head and you can use your water bottle in a plastic bag to great affect instead of your body mass.
- Strong people are harder to kill and get better movie deals. Invest a few minutes every day (That reads EVERY DAY) in doing something that requires effort from your body and do it so it affects your cardio ability as well. A good indicator that you are on the right path are, looking back at what you used to do and laughing at what used to be hard.
- Healthy people are harder to kill. All the strength in the world will not help you with even a mild case of loose bowels. Simple things as washing your hands and not picking your nose will put you in the running to surviving the zombie apocalypse and eating healthy food and fasting will really give a push to the top in that race.
- Water does not break. Having goals will get you somewhere but having fixed plans will get you killed and controlled in a conflict situation. Think of getting to where you need to go more than how you get there. A dynamic mind will look at problems as opportunities instead of obstacles and that will keep you in the top of the wave instead of sinking in the rush.
- Friends and family are a great power multiplier. Even two people going together will get attacked a lot less than two people walking in the same street but not as a group. Family can be a great resource of ability and support in hard times and even the young and old can fill roles that allow people to keep and grow their strength. An old person can guard over you when you are sleeping and a young person can go in places an adult cannot enter physically. Children pay attention to things adults take for granted and even in daily life, our friends and family are support and allow us to give back which is a basic need of the less sociopathically inclined J
Knowledge and people are worth more than the best gear and books on the self. Study, be a good person and be consistent.
And good luck 🙂
A GUIDE TO HELP THE BODY TO RID ITSELF OF SICKNESS
- BREATHE – Inhale and exhale through the nose for better control and filtration. Let each next breath come to you by listening to the body needs and you will breathe more calmly and be more connected to what your body is telling you.
- THE MIND IS THE CONTROL – Fill your day with laughter and positive actions. Avoid negative places (who keep the smell of those emotions) and people and find the good in any situation you can. Follow your bliss.
- NATURE IS A HEALER – Find a few minutes or more every day to spend silently observing nature. Our nerve systems release excess excitation and the body releases unwanted hormones.
- LET YOUR DIGESTION REST – Finish eating every day at sunset or before it and eat breakfast two to three hours after waking up. This way you allow the body to work on healing while you sleep and allow the growth hormone we release before waking to take positive affect in the body.
- CHANGE YOUR POINT OF VIEW – Your body is fighting gravity all day. Spend 15-20 minutes upside down or at least in an angle over 45 with your head down to allow the blood vessel system to rest and balance.
- PLAY – The mind charges the body to release positive hormones to the system when engaged in joyful play. Find something you enjoy from dance to scrabble and pursue it.
- LEARN – The brain builds new connections and structures through study. Find a new language or skill to learn and tell your body to keep you young.
- SWING – hang on a tree branch or bar and just breathe. Let your body elongate and release the stress of compression and with the breath to lead, let the body swing naturally on the bar. That is one of the primal moving patterns of man and thus we communicate to the body to keep us in the game.
- ROLL – Lie on the ground and let the breath lead you in rolling front to back by using just the movement of the body itself. Go slowly and let the body shed excess tension and unneeded movement. Rolling is too a primal moving pattern of man and will keep you moving like a young self.
- SHAKE – Everyone shakes from fear or cold sometimes but we can use this innate mechanism to heal and release unwanted tension and emotion. Breathe and shake one body part or the body itself and release what is in excess. Shake the bleak off.
Boom Boom Boom is what we expect from a fight scene in a movie or even a knife fight. There is a reason historical swords and harness (plate and shield) are lighter than what we use today. In a fight it is about letting yourself in without letting yourself get hammered.
Begin with giving permission to be touched. We must be aware of the fear and flinch in order to ride this wave and use it to our advantage.
- Place a finger on your partners head and push. Have them collapse their structure from their knees and pay attention to how they do it. Make sure to have them collapse in different direction and from both legs and not just one preferred modus operandi. Make sure they allow their bodies to move instead of falling like a log.
- Place the blade of the hand on the neck of your partner and push down and up and side to side. Have them collapse while keeping their horizon (eye focus and internal horizon) free to move while in contact. Maintain as before the focus to help your partner be free from being a follower. Make choices on the go.
- Hold onto your partner using two points of contact. Have them tense the entire body against the hold to feel the coil of tension and on the second breath release the coil and move the body in semi collapse toward the partner. Move within the movement of the hold and bring the partner down using just movement. Consider you have 76 more people attacking you so do not waste your energy.
Continue with giving yourself permission to keep moving.
- Breathe and move your hips in a pattern. Have your partner engage you and focus on letting each movement come from this preexisting movement. You are always in continuous if you are aware that you are alive, breathing and moving.
- Repeat the work, only now move your shoulders in a pattern.
- Repeat the work, only now move your head in a pattern.
Enjoy the melee. Join in combat with a clean mind and an open heart. You will not always win but you may learn.
Take a sturdy stick and ten paces of clear ground.
Crawl back and forth using these variations to clear tension and build good movement all over.
- Keep breathing.
- Let the breath make the pace of movement
- Relax your eyes. Let yourself see what your body is showing you.
- Avoid making noise. Noise is garbage movement when not intended.
Variations of crawling:
- Lie on your back and hold the ends of the stick in both hands overhead. Raise your legs in the air and crawl back and forth.
- Lie on your back and hold the ends of the stick in both hands while placing your feet on the middle of the stick. Crawl back and forth.
- Lie on your back and hold the stick between your elbows and pressed against the back of your neck. Raise your feet in the air and crawl back and forth.
- Lie on your stomach and hold the ends of the stick in both hands in front of you. Keep the stick and arms in the air and crawl back and forth.
- Lie on your stomach and hold the stick between your elbows and pressed against your back. Crawl back and forth.
- Lie on your back with the stick held in the bend of your knees and sideways to the direction of movement. Roll face down and up back and forth.
Enjoy the work.