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

Death in the mirror

 

Humans live in families, tribes and now in societies. We evolved our neural conduct and mental awareness to adept and sync with others for survival and acceptance.

The same behavior that saves and nourishes us in peacetime can get us killed and hurt during a struggle. Pushing requires you to tense the route of support to the pressure but pushing against the knife has obvious deterrents to it unless you live in a comic book.

Here are a few examples of mirrors in struggle. Do the work and see what conclusions you reach naturally. Trust your entire system. Your mind, your feelings and your body.

  1. Take a short stick and try to touch the end of it to your partner. Move continuously and smoothly and then just stop and relax your arm to become limp. As you see your partner mirror your relaxation, move toward them and repeat until they naturally come to a new realization.
  2. Take the same stick from the previous play and start advancing on your partner but with a repeating pattern of movement or a repeating target area. As you see your partner relax into the pattern/area, release the fixation and repeat until they naturally come to a new realization.
  3. Take a longer stick (walking stick or longer) and aim to touch the flat of it to your partner as they evade. Use your gaze to suggest one target to the partner and follow through with the stick. As you see your partner trust the eye contact, release the fixation and repeat until they naturally come to a new realization.
  4. Take two short sticks and give one to your partner. Aim to touch your partner with the flat of the stick and have them use their stick to deflect yours. Move so you apply tension to the vector of approach so the contact of the partner stick halts. As you see your partner trust the contact response, release the tension and follow through with a relaxed hold. Repeat until they naturally come to a new realization.
  5. Grab a partner limb and aim to guide them to the ground and up continuously by pulling, pushing and twisting. Have them resist and as they go comfortable in the direction, reverse it and go full circle from one end to another. Repeat until they naturally come to a new realization.
  6. Walk with a partner and change your walking and posture as you walk and talk. You know what to do.

 

Stay within yourself so you can swim in the waves instead of being channeled.

Fist ups

Let’s have some practical fun while gaining deeper awareness health and ability.

 

  1. Stand and have a partner place a fist on your stomach. Exhale and relax your frame to drape over the fist and rise up with your inhale. Repeat while reversing your breath and for different angles and locations on your front.
  2. Stand and turn your back to your partner. Repeat the drill you worked on your front and release your horizon perception so your body does not go into a tension isolation over a fixed plane (don’t try to imitate an ostrich or a European politician)
  3. Stand with your side to your partner and repeat the drill.
  4. Have your partner lie down and repeat the drill starting on all four limbs facing down and then facing up.
  5. Have your partner walk around you and push their fists into you. Use the breath phase you are in to release your frame and bounce back to push the fist out and away. Focus on moving from your hips and shoulders and directing the fist out in different directions. This will develop the inner awareness to movement generation and manifest in every movement you make.

 

Note. You can do most of the work by yourself with a sturdy stick and a corner to anchor one side of the stick. Make sure you work gradually and avoid  harming yourself.

Notes from class: Horizons

We walk and look in lines as we are taught. We naturally walk and see in arches and the hold the horizon and gravity has on us amounts to a great lever on our movement.

Here are a series of plays to release the hold we manifest from our perception of the horizon and gravity. Let yourself move. Movement is the cure.

1. Stand a comfortable distance from each other and throw a short stick between yourselves. You can receive and send the stick only by moving from the trajectory and pressing the stick to your body with a limb or two. You cannot use your hands and thus you are freed to bend twist and move continuously. Less is more in many cases.
2. Lie down and have a partner stand over you.  Have them stomp on you or press the end of a stick to your body as you repeat the movement from the previous play.
3. Have your partner strike you twice with his upper limbs. Move along the arches of their movement and use your initial movement to press their limb to your body and keep moving.
4. Add a lower limb strike to the previous play and now pay attention to your feet. Allow your mass to move from the front to the back of the foot and from side to side. Let the contact slide on you by the quality of your body awareness. All technique is, is a key to one door. Be the key maker.
5. Add a hold to the beginning of the previous play. Moving from a hold is many times a matter of inner levers.  If a rope is held in one point and twisted, It will move in the air and stay untwisted.  We must release the hold of the earth and move with our spine and heart free from resistance. Acceptance is freedom.

Acceptance is not giving up though. It is participating in the great game instead of trying to cheat in the moment.

 

The stick crawl

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.

Guidelines:

  1. Keep breathing.
  2. Let the breath make the pace of movement
  3. Relax your eyes. Let yourself see what your body is showing you.
  4. Avoid making noise. Noise is garbage movement when not intended.

Variations of crawling:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Lie on your stomach and hold the stick between your elbows and pressed against your back. Crawl back and forth.
  6. 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.

playing/growing with the staff

Here are ten movement drills to enhance and deepen your understanding of space, tension and natural movement. The tool in use is the staff but the lessons apply much further.

Look at the drills as child games so your learning will be fresh and honest. Do not rely on technique. Feel what is right for the moment and swing away 🙂

  1. Hold the staff parallel to the ground at waist height. Work to keep the staff between you and your partner by moving both the stick and your body first with one pursuer and then with more than one. Check how you can remain free in your movement by shifting your point of reference from the staff to the body and in between.
  2. Place one staff end on the ground and the other in your hand. Work to keep the staff between you and your partner by moving both stick and your body. Remember you can move under and over the staff and that you can control the height and angle of the staff at a very low energy expenditure.
  3. Hold one end of the staff in one hand and have a partner mirror your holds. work together to maneuver the stick out of your partner hands with your body position and stepping.  For example place the staff low using your hand and step behind it to push with your body in one direction or place the middle of the staff on your midsection and away from yourself with your arm and turn to dislodge the staff from your partner. Learn to use all of your abilities and options of movement.
  4. Hold one end of the Staff in one hand as you stand facing one direction. work to deter your partners from coming close to you by moving the staff around and up and down. Work first facing just one direction and add the ability to turn as you progress. This is a great drill for eyesight and coordination for any age.
  5. Sit and hold the staff in its middle. Have your partners come at you to step on you and use the movement of your body and staff to move the partners past you. Add to their movement instead of pushing and pulling and let your breath and body lead the way. Sitting will help in learning this as you roll if you try to plant yourself in the ground for support without legs 🙂
  6. Hold the staff in one end and at the center. Work to push your partner in one direction as they relax their legs and center to let the staff slide on their bodies. Once you feel comfortable with the tip, use the rest of the staff and your partner will contend with a two dimensional constraint with their body awareness.
  7. Stand a step away from your partner and swing the staff slowly from side to side through their frame. Have your partner relax with continuous breath and roll or collapse the frame to avoid getting hit by the staff. Once one step away from each other is comfortable, advance half a step and repeat to grow awareness instead of fright.
  8. Have your partner stand touching the wall. Push and pull on them with the staff and have them move toward you all the time. This will release the shifting point of reference in the body and mind. Start by letting your eyes see what is if front of you without fixating on the target. Your target is movement.
  9. Have your partner swing the staff at you and with your own staff add to the movement without tension in your arms and shoulders to avoid contact. Work so you breathe and let the staffs find their own combined paths without governing too strictly over them. Letting your movement blend in is the way to keep swimming in the whirlpool.
  10. Tense your entire body or halt your breathing and repeat any of the drills listed above. This will let you become aware of your excess tension and fear and release that which is superfluous.

And smile. If the tide brings new understanding your way.

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.

How to teach your kid to act and resist abduction and live a full life

How to teach your kid to act and resist abduction and live a full life

 

  1. TRUST

You must place trust in your kid and work in a way that there is communication between you. Trust allows your kid to tell you he feels something is wrong and the family gains the synergy or working together. Many times the danger comes from something that lies dormant near us like a person in a uniform we are used to ignore or someone we already danger scanned once. Trust your own senses and place trust in your child.

 

  1. IMPROVISE

We all walk around in full kit, with our battle buddies and in the best shape of our lives, except when we don’t. Teach your kid to see things with open eyes. A school bag is a deflecting shield from stabs and a throwing weapon. A pen or pencil is a stabbing weapon and you can use one body to move another with the right mechanics.

  1. Once in a while, take your kit and look at it from another point of view. See it from the point of view of an abductor (name tags give the other person information you may not want for example) and see things from other choices of use. A pair of glasses and some aluminum foil can be a signal device, a mobile phone and a needle can be an incendiary device in the right hands…

 

  1. COUNTER CONDITION

From birth, we condition our children to obey and nature too has cues to freeze, fight or flee running in our veins. We must work we our kids to let them choose freely when to obey their conditioning and nature and when to over right the program. Teaching your kids to move when shouted at or when a loud sound is heard releases the freeze affect from dominance and teaching your kids to move freely with no breathing or sight and perform complicated tasks through games and competition will open a whole new world of confidence through knowledge.

 

  1. Finding your way in darkness through a maze or through one part of a car to another.
  2. Holding your breath and competing for a distance moved with twists and turns and having to think and make choices on the run literally.
  3. Teaching your children to run when told to stop, move when told to hold and so on.
  4. Teach your children to work as a group when one is singled out by an adult.
  5. Showing your children through action (trust) and words that they are always welcome and thus negating the effect of threats and bullying into compliance from outside the family cell.

 

  1. KNOW TENSION AND DIRECTION

Most martial art and self-defense classes teach tricks (technique) and attempted efficiency (levers and coordination of some sort). Teach your kids to adept to what is in front of them and at their sides and back. Teach your children different paradigms and let them play. Allow your children to become creators instead of followers.

 

  1. Play with your child with stiff limbs so they can climb and push and pull your body through the stiffness so they learn when to be stiff and when to let go dynamically according to the situation. For example: make a ladder with your arms and have your child climb it and play with it.
  2. Take a light stick and have your child pull the stick toward himself as you stab and swing the stick at him. Allow him to see something coming at him as an opportunity as well as danger.
  3. Have your child tense and relax his body parts and play different games while doing so. Let them choose what level of tension they use and learn they can move even when tense.

 

  1. OPEN YOUR EYES

We see a lot more than we know we see. Our minds filter and give hierarchy to all things. Sit with your child in nature and simply absorb and open yourself to everything around you. Talk without judging on what you notice and how your senses from smell to touch to resonate and let your child learn to see instead of watch and be whole instead of the sum of some parts.

 

  1. HONESTY

Even Disney movies are filled with pain and tragedy. Let your child see the dead bird and discuss what will happen further. Let them know injustice is a part of things and they can and will loose and get hurt and that it is their choice to cower or continue to do something and think for themselves under pressure. Do not toughen up, just be honest.

 

  1. KNOW FEAR FOR WHAT IT IS

Speak and play with your kids so they are unaware of this productive and energetic part of their qualities. Let them explore their emotions and logical processes with the appearance of fear and let them feel how their bodies dissipate and reform fear into other energies and movement.

  1. Immobilization – Hold your child in a tight hug and let them breathe and feel your heartbeat and warmth (unless like me you are of Polish decent J) Have them move within this hug and graduate with care to playing with getting away from different holds and tickles as the confidence in movement under pressure is created from knowledge. Another game would be to walk in a pack where you have to change your direction without disturbing the pack movement. This of course can be done in variation and in different group sizes from a mother father and son crew to a whole pack.
  2. Suffocation – Breath is taken for granted by those who do not move much. Play with your kid by completing tasks under a given number of breaths and later on with one inhale or exhale to do the same and lastly do the task with no breath at all (the task can be to get the keys from the house or locate a black bird on a branch)
  3. Noise – Nature teaches us that one wrong step can mean death so we sometimes play possum or our bodies give up to avoid the expected pain of death (being mauled by a social justice warrior ) Speak and demonstrate to your kids that you can move after the initial shock and that it is part of the normal bandwidth to be afraid as it is just one of the thriving mechanisms we have. Curiosity did not kill the cat.
  4. Falling – Falling is a fear we have back from the days swinging did not mean dancing. Show and play with your kids how to jump and roll, how to find their way in the air (throw them in the air and let them land in the water and so on in growing amounts of spin and twist) and let them move on the monkey bars upside down and all about.
  5. Separation from the pack – Many threats of excommunication are made throughout childhood by peers and adults. We must show and talk with our kids about this and about being true to themselves. The family is god to a young child. Be a good one and keep your child from swaying in the treacherous seas of growing up.
  6. Sudden loss of senses – Disorienting and overwhelming experiences create a reset in our systems which can be used to affect change and influence. Teach your children to develop the situation without haste and to not rely on one faculty to guide them to their destination. Teach your kids to find their way when they enter a dark room from the sunlight and in reverse, Teach your kids to read a map and find their way in the day and at night and teach them that it is ok to be lost and not know what to do. Just keep seeking your destination.

 

To sum up, Children have great potential. We mold them and they mold us. Place your family above all else and grow together with honesty and attentiveness for the present and the future.

In the long run, it is just as important to know why we do things as it is to do the right thing. Lead and follow with a clear mind and heart and show the same to your family, both born and chosen.

a movement pairing approach to mobility

Stretching is considered a staple of many movement arts yet no animal practice it. Cats do limber themselves but do not confuse that with stretching.

I present an opposing approach to this paradigm. Movement needs an opposing movement to create both the physical ability and the nerve activation to allow the body to move on its tracks.

Let us take three examples to illustrate this idea.

First let us tackle the arms and shoulders. Many cannot touch a part of their back with their hands or cannot bring their arms up overhead without bending the spine.

  1. Take a stick and hold it with both hands behind you and perpendicular to the ground. Start with the hands together and move them slowly up and down in line with your spine as one arm pushes down and the other up. This creates a closed circuit of tension and mobility in the body both giving fullness to the movement and allows the nervous system to open up to new ranges of motion. As you progress, add distance between the hands on the stick and then you can add speed.
  2. Hold a stick parallel to the ground with both hands at it’s ends. Start moving it across the back with one hand resisting the other pushing and pulling according to the direction. With diligence you will open new ranges of motion and here closing the gap between the hands will increase the range of motion in different parts of the back and shoulder belt.

Now let us tackle the legs and hips. Many cannot spread their legs or squat to the ground without bending or twisting the spine.

  1. Stand with your spine and hips relaxed and place one foot slightly ahead of the hips and the other slightly behind. Keep both pairs of toes forward and slowly squat as you pull both legs toward each other from the hips. This demands you hug the ground with your feet. A quality that needs practice in starting and stopping at will as well. As you progress, you will be able to bring the legs further apart as you keep your hips and spine relaxed and naturally upright.
  2. Stand with your spine and hips relaxed and place both feet to the sides but start the turn at the hips and do not twist your legs at all. Place both legs under your hips and slowly squat and you pull both legs away from the hips. As you progress, you will be able to bring the legs further apart as you keep your hips and spine relaxed and naturally upright.

Last we will tackle the spine. Moving the spine as one unit and in all directions will benefit everyone and open new ways of moving and seeing.

  1. Sit or squat and hold one end of a rope as the other end is secured to a solid anchor. Rise and twist against the rope in one direction and then in the other direction. Your arms are moving in one direction as the body resists slightly.  This with time and a shorter length of rope as you progress, will allow for the spine to move on the twist easier and with no excess brace tension.
  2. Place a stout stick between two stout sticks parallel to the ground or make friends. Relax the middle of your spine where your ribs end on the stick, slowly letting gravity open your vertebrae and use your breathing to slowly go back and arch against the stick.  Repeat the drill facing toward the stick and with your sides to it. Keep your breath continuous and light and once this stage is comfortable, start traveling up and down the spine while on the stick. It is important to do all four sides in any one point along the spine so as to reveal through movement new comfort and ability and health.

Smile. It is sometimes all that is left.