Moving into the attack with softness means you do not meet force with force but force with movement. Trying to take the attack on our frame exposes ups to cuts, stabs and control. Adding to the movement keeps us free.
Do not limit the application to physical contact 🙂
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.
Blunt impact comes in many forms. Preparing to give and receive impact can greatly clear the fog of imaginary outcome and grow your awareness to your thoughts, feelings and your physical body.
Practice these methods of movement with consistency and attention and you will feel progress in your impact.
Rest your arms on the ground and roll your shoulders and body to turn your arms palm up and down. Slowly close your fingers together to form a relaxed fist that has room to compress if met with a wall or hard opposition. Now place your arms to your sides and roll your body and shoulders to shake tension from your arms until they move like chains on the ground. In this you can relearn to move with no excess and unleash if you will, the power a demolition ball.
Stand in an open space and with an exhale, relax your spine from the top downward until your upper body is resting on your legs with your legs unlocked. Inhale and straighten up fully and send the momentum to your entire body so your body motion sends you jumping forward. Repeat with awareness to keeping your body relaxed as possible but maintain the needed framework for moving tension around at will. Watch for small children before making the leap. J
Stand with your legs under your hips. Breathe and relax your knees to a semi squat with each exhale. Focus on moving one hip forward and one back in each release of tension and continue to move with your breath. Focus on your hips-spine-shoulder connection and direct the semi squat to your shoulders to swing your shoulders forward and back, Once this is done, direct the movement to travel to the elbow and then to the wrist and hand. Play with speed and slowly become comfortable with changing speed instead of keeping a consistent pace. This will allow you to release the stored energy from your structure without excess tension or changing your posture unnecessarily.
Place yourself on your fists and feet facing downward. Place your mass on your muscles by keeping angles in all your joints. Breathe and sway forward and back and shift your mass from fists to feet and back. Once this is comfortable, lift one limb up and continue to play shift side to side and forward and back. Continue to place one limb on a wall at a time and then two limbs on the wall and play with the mass shift from angle to angle. Repeat the process on your knees and on your forearms and remember to always allow the joints to move on the impact to avoid fixation and damage to yourself. (Some joints such as the wrist if you are hitting with your fist should remain at a comfortable angle but not move too much to avoid hyper tension in the joint)
Stand with your arms to your sides. Inhale and raise your arms slowly. Feel the blood moving in your arms and repeat with attention to moving the blood inside in sync with the movement of your arms. Awareness to your movement inside will allow you to better impact without bouncing back and with greater affect. This connects with the first point of letting the body move as one instead of fixating and pushing in the moment of impact.
Place your fist on your partner and place your awareness in your hips-spine-shoulders. Allow the elbow to move in all direction and relax to allow the fist to sink in the partner without increasing the tension of your movement. It will be wise to separate the idea of movement and tension. You can move from release and you can move from tension and everywhere in between. Repeat the work with your foot on the partner. Working standing and sitting on your behind will add a lot of awareness to the work.
Have your partner walk randomly and work to place your fist, foot or body on them and sink your contact to turn them and change their alignment on the move. Focus on staying relaxed and playing with the contact instead of trying to land the strike. Stay comfortable and work to see existing openings instead of forcing them.
Close your eyes and have your partner push and pull on you. Relax your body toward them and sink your contact on the go. Let your entire body be the instrument.
Have your partner strike you continuously. Relax your body to avoid absorbing the strikes and move up and down as you are being struck. Maintaining freedom within the contact is a key to freedom from being led and true freedom.
Smile and have a good conversation as you strike your partners and move. Mind to keep breathing freely instead of trying to ride the breathe in and out and find how this releases you from being controlled by outside stimulation and inner pressure. This is a combination of your mind, body and feelings together as you maintain your calm mind active while getting struck and striking. Without this, you must shift each time you strike and that is a misfortune.
Thunder rolls over the landscape. It goes into every opening and shakes and affects what is in its wake. Thunder is of course the outcome of lightening so we must approach our striking movement in the same manner. One of the other qualities of thunder that goes without saying is that it is not affected as a whole. You can engage a part of the wave while the rest goes on undisturbed. Let us play with that quality to become the source of lightening.
Ideas to consider:
The body is the lightening, the force. Allow the body to move the arms and legs.
A tense limb both gives and receives pressure and tension. A relaxed limb can choose.
Two moving parts can create a greater level of freedom than one. Do not focus on one body part. Be a whole human.
Waiting means you are always late, always in someone’s control. You breathe, let your breath be the wave you ride to freedom.
A dancer can dance, a fencer can fence. Be a human being first. Just move. Walk and climb and roll. Do not give names and categories that define and jail your thoughts.
MOVEMENT WITHOUT PRESSURE
Place one fist on the other and breathe. Move both fists together in the air in arches and lines. Move them in your front and overhead and at your back. Roll the surface of one fist over another and use your elbows, shoulders and body to move the grid without creating a crest in the tension lines.
Place one fist on the fist of a partner. Have them attempt to tense you up and move your body through that contact. Move your feet, your hips and spine to keep the contact of the partner fist while you move your body and tension on your own without letting the contact affect how you carry yourself.
MOVEMENT WITHOUT ANCHOR
Place one fist on your partners body. Have them breathe and let the fist slide on them instead of press in by moving just the hips side to side. Continue to doing the same by moving just the shoulders in rolling motion. Continue to doing the same by moving the spine in continuous arches. Move from your breath and most of all, Move by your own volition. Never wait for the drum to be hit.
Place one fist on the partners body. Start to push and turn in order to bend and wedge the partner into a tense and static position. The partner who is getting the fist contact moves with breath and relaxed eye horizon (seeing what is in front of us instead of fixating to the horizon) and most of all: relax both hips and shoulders and the connecting spine so you move everywhere without letting the partner contact pressure you.
Place two fists on the partner body. Move both from the area of the spine between the shoulder blades to create lines of tension in the contact body. Have the partner release the contact movement downward and sideways by allowing the body to move as before and letting the pressure go back to the partner by moving your own body and no attempt to control anything besides yourself.
An automatic clock is a work of art. Each wheel connects smoothly with another and the movement seems seamless. It still depends on the start and stop of the movement as we are not any different.
We breathe in and out with pauses and the spring drive of our entire body works to keep us ticking. Becoming more aware to this mechanism will enable us to move more seamlessly and gracefully.
Lie on your stomach and lift your head and limbs in the air. Breather and turn to your back without touching limbs to the ground and back while letting your breathing create the tempo.
Repeat the movement while letting the pauses between in and out to create the tempo. What we ignore will rule us. Remember that.
Find your pulse with your fingers to your neck or otherwise and start tensing one knuckle at a time in your hands with each pulse beat. Repeat this while you walk or any other action.
Place your fist or foot on the wall. Press the fist/foot to the wall from the other side of the body (Your right fist is on the wall. You feel the pulse and move your left shoulder to press the fist to the wall)
Lean on the wall and start rolling right and left from shoulder to shoulder. Raise your arms and create arching fists from your body movement.
Lean on the wall and start rolling from shoulders to hips. Raise your arms and create arching fists from your body movement.
Lie on your back and start rolling right and left from shoulder to shoulder. Raise your legs in the air and bicycle kick with the movement of the body.
Stand up and work with a partner on pushing and pulling. Allow your body to move with the contact so each contact to your body translates to a hit on their body or limbs. Repeat the drill standing from all directions and them while laying down.
Repeat the previous work but focus on wrapping your limbs and body on the contact naturally with your body movement. Maintain your freedom of movement as you go.
Here are three drills for better striking. Remember it is better to avoid getting struck than developing a thick hide. There is always a blade somewhere.
Lean with your fists on the wall or the ground depending on your current energy level. Start moving your head from side to side with the tempo of your breath, Continue to moving your shoulders with the movement and then increase the movement to your center and allow the movements of your body to lift and rest your fists on the surface. The drill lets you move your arms and make contact without increasing your level of tension and through that create movement that is more efficient. Efficient is Affective.
(Repeat the drill with your back to the surface. It helps a lot to grow your awareness throughout the range of natural movement)
Rest your fists or hands on a hard surface. Breathe and tense each finger at a time. Note how tension bleeds from area to area and continue to breathe calmly. Tense the palm and the back of the hand and then the wrist in turn. Now tense the entire hand and release tension in one part at a time. This drill gives you awareness to levels and areas of tension so you use what is needed and no more. Here, less is more.
Place an object suspended in the air. It can be a rolled up piece of paper rolled into a ball with a shoe string to hang it or any other high tech device. Place yourself a few paces away from it and start walking toward it. Time it so you strike through it on the go and with your eyes relaxed from following and fixating. Repeat from other angles and speeds and laugh and learn when your timing is off. A broken key does not open the door. Keep the key loose from bending.
Enjoy the work so you keep doing it. That is a great “cheat” for life and keep your loved ones safe.
Let’s have some practical fun while gaining deeper awareness health and ability.
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.
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)
Stand with your side to your partner and repeat the drill.
Have your partner lie down and repeat the drill starting on all four limbs facing down and then facing up.
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.