Staying Hip

The hips are the center of the body.

Moving them well contributes to all other movements and connects them in an enhancing chain of small and greater movements.

Begin:

  1. Place yourself in the pushup position and rotate your hips while in this in one side and then the next. Note your preference and always start the movement with the breath.
  2. Place yourself on one fist/hand and turn your body sideways to the ground. Repeat the hip rotation and release your eyes as well as you breathe and move. Do this for both sides.
  3. Place yourself on both fists/hands with your chest to the stars and repeat the rotation both ways. Consider how movement under slight pressure helps us learn to move all things as one.

Continue:

  1. Place yourself on one fist/hand and opposing side foot – repeat the hip rotation and work to let the movement balance you, rather than tension and bracing the movement chain. Water does not break, ice does.
  2. Place yourself on fist/hand and the same side side foot – repeat the hip rotation and focus on breathing excess tension out.

Further on:

  1. Do a handstand with a partner or with your legs on a tree trunk and rotate your hips. Focus on the reversed blood flow and let the mass sync itself in balancing out movement and activation.
  2. Hold yourself on a tree branch or a pull up bar and rotate your hips. Let the body unwind and let it smile.

Enjoy.

Embracing fear

There are many questions martial arts aim to answer. One of the deeper ones is, how we face fear. Only someone who passed through the masks of technique and strategy can face the real questions that in turn, unmask the fog of the battlefield.

Fear is a terrible master and a powerful servant. It is how we face it that sets its place in our own theatre. I will present a few methods to connect with the fear so it may be one of the horses in our chariot instead of the driver.

  1. First comes the breath. The breath is the main bridge between the autonomic and automatic nervous systems. One can hold breath but not forever.  We can use breath holds to mimic danger and to note to ourselves and with partners how the fear or realization of mortality ebbs and rises inside us and how both the body and the mind seek to rationalize the process and stir us away from finding the connection between the systems of the body. Once we cross that bridge once and meet our fear, it is easier and easier to feel the first embers of that flame when it rises and through continuous breath, let that fear turn into focus and assertiveness to solve an issue without letting it take us out of our center. Another method of breathing is to exhale more than we inhale. The exhale is a release and when the breath delta allows us to naturally release any building excess, we avoid the rise of it from the base level of operation. The last breath method to mention here is to let the breath come to you. Over breathing and mouth breathing is a very wide gate for fear to drive through and keeping the mouth closed and relaxed and letting the breath happen on its own from the body instead of pulling it in is a great step toward calm under pressure. Once this is achieved than also the body will manifest a waterfall. Always moving but never changing. The torso will not be burdened by excess breathing and will not alter shape and pressure beyond what is necessary for the moment.
  2. Second comes the tension. We leave fear in the body in the form of tension and acid in the muscles. This displays in our posture and body tension and how our eyes perceive the world in front of us or under us. To face our tension, we connect it with the breath. We inhale and tense a part of the body, exhale and release. Never aim to relax the body from the natural state because that will just add activation to the area and treat the current tension level as normal and it is never so. Always use a wave to tense and relax and also move the tension from one part of the body to the other with the different phases of the breath (inhale and tense the left side of the body, exhale and move the tension to the rights side) and so we learn with our bodies and our conscious mind together that freezing does not actually exist but the speed with which we deal with rising tension does. Animals in nature do not waste. Nature does not waste. The freeze comes as a way for pray to avoid detection and for predator to attune to the sign of the pray. Connecting ourselves with our breath, daily and understanding how tension forms and serves us, lets us ride the wave instead of being succumbed by it.

This is an response to a wonderful question asked by Sensai Jordan Augusto I learn a lot from my friends questions and I am thankful for them. One might say questions evolves us better than answers.

I wish to include a song by Robert W. Service that depicts the attrition of war better than anything else I read.

A Song of Winter Weather

It isn’t the foe that we fear;
It isn’t the bullets that whine;
It isn’t the business career
Of a shell, or the bust of a mine;
It isn’t the snipers who seek
To nip our young hopes in the bud:
No, it isn’t the guns,
And it isn’t the Huns —
It’s the MUD,
      MUD,
        MUD.

It isn’t the melee we mind.
That often is rather good fun.
It isn’t the shrapnel we find
Obtrusive when rained by the ton;
It isn’t the bounce of the bombs
That gives us a positive pain:
It’s the strafing we get
When the weather is wet —
It’s the RAIN,
      RAIN,
        RAIN.

It isn’t because we lack grit
We shrink from the horrors of war.
We don’t mind the battle a bit;
In fact that is what we are for;
It isn’t the rum-jars and things
Make us wish we were back in the fold:
It’s the fingers that freeze
In the boreal breeze —
It’s the COLD,
      COLD,
        COLD.

Oh, the rain, the mud, and the cold,
The cold, the mud, and the rain;
With weather at zero it’s hard for a hero
From language that’s rude to refrain.
With porridgy muck to the knees,
With sky that’s a-pouring a flood,
Sure the worst of our foes
Are the pains and the woes
Of the RAIN,
      the COLD,
        and the MUD.

Thank you

Sharon Friedman

A breath in between

Time is going by us all the time 🙂

To make ourselves more resilient and mobile at the same time, we can choose to take a simple breath in between to make things last longer.

Examples:

Start doing pushups. Pause for one breath on the top position between each push up and gain more awareness and time in the plank. Pause in the middle or bottom (without touching the body to the ground) and you will gain more lasting power and stability within movement.

Start standing and transition between standing and laying down with your arms not touching the ground at all. Pause for one breath and relax what does not need tension first in the up and down moments (when you are standing and when you are laying down) and then pause twice in between these two positions and again take a full breath to relax what does need tension and you will be teaching yourself the delta of need and exists in a very wide arch of positions. It is also fun to transition between muscle and structure power. It saves energy and gives us more ability at the same time.

Start climbing a rope or doing pull ups. First pause in the low and high positions and allow the body to maintain only the needed tension to preserve the position and then twice in between. The learning will be more intense as if is a power movement but you will be able with time to transition some of the tension from the active parts of the arms back and shoulders to the body and maintain a lower level of activation with the same work done.

Keep breathing and see you in class 🙂



Tense to relax!

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.

Hard contact

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.

An inclusive take on everyday training

Time is the true commodity. Here are eight drills that hide within daily actions to sharpen and hone the movement ability of us all.

1.Slowly increase the distance you take to throw the trash into the trash bin (Be extra careful with weird shaped objects, they fly differently)

2. Walk up the stairs at night without turning on the lights and use the soles of your feet and your skin sense of air movement to measure where you are.

3. Write your notes on paper without looking at it while you are moving the pen on the paper. Give yourself time and if you are a doctor, practice this first on something that is not a prescription.

4. Once a day, Guess the number of steps it will take you to go from A to B and see how close you were to the mark. Improvement comes from conscious experience.

5. Look up every night and note the state of the moon, stars and clouds. Guess what will present itself the following night and with time your senses will hone themselves to the weather.

6. Teach yourself to write with the other hand (apologizes if you come from combat engineering and it does not apply) Wiring your brain to be ambidextrous is a great gift in the long run.

7. Find actions you perform with a brace and a breath hold. For example: opening the bottle of Coca Cola after the weight lifter of the office closed it and find a way to do it with minimal muscle tension and continuous breathing.

8. Use your nose to smell your food before you start eating and your car before you turn it on. Using your sense of smell can help your stomach prepare the right activation for a healthier digestion and also avoid some car bombs and driving with a leaky car.


Podcast 2 – Learning from other branches of movement

Topics –using the theme of healing from an injury or encounter shock

Learning from other fields of study:

Gymnastics, coordination and force, understanding leverage

Climbing – strength and structure awareness in hanging and moving,economy of motion

Dance – balance, lightness on feet, coordination, reading people and tempo

Circus – juggling, rope walking, riding on animals and moving objects

Notes from class -Partner resistance

Drills for elevations of spirit and body must not be dry…

  1. Fist– Two people start at the push up position facing each other. Both lift opposite arms and they push each others fist back and forth.
  2. Double fist– Two people lie on their backs with their heads facing each other. Place both fists against each other and push and pull in at the same time while relaxing the muscles of the torso as possible so as to use the least amount of tension.
  3. Scissors – Lie one your behind with body and legs in the air facing a partner in the same position. Aim to move the other to their back by using no tension and just movement and breath in the legs.
  4. Three as one– Three people facing to the outside while crossing arms together. Sit and get up and site and roll together and get up again. Aim to spread the load and communicate with body movement where the group must go.
  5. Up and down the shaft – place a sturdy shaft perpendicular to the ground and climb up and down on it using dynamic body tension and shifting your mass from side to side.
  6. Open close– One lies on the back and presses the knees together as the partner pull them apart. Aim to use your breath to distribute the work and activate just the parts of the body that are needed to the task. Do the same in reverse and up and down.
  7. light pressure awareness– We know the pressure of a finger is enough to cut flesh when focus to the tip of a blade. Press one or two fingers lightly as your partner breathes and relaxes to avoid contact becoming impact. Start standing as the relaxation will take you to the ground and back.
  8. Bound – Place both hands behind your back and keep them there. Have a partner hold the top of your head and strike you with arms and legs as you move to have the incoming limbs slide over you instead of sinking in.
  9. Inner pressure– Place a target about ten body lengths away and have one partner push the other to that target as the partner resists by moving and never by tension. Have them hold their breath for as long as they can and laugh as their face releases the mask it holds in everyday life.

And smile when time comes

Undoing the damage of sitting

Our bodies were not meant for the position they are in during many working and resting hours. We are built to walk, run, squat and lie down but sitting for prolonged periods harms the dynamic structure of tension and strength throughout.

Here are four static holds that require no gear to undo this damage and help us naturally align the body upright.

  1. The wall triangle – Stand a step or a bit more away from a wall and form a triangle with the ground and the wall. Keep your body straight with the contact points with the ground are your heels and the contact point with the wall are your hands on the back of the head.
  2. The parallel – Place your elbows on your rib cage and place your fists or hands on the ground. Keep the body parallel to the ground and look forward and a bit up.
  3. The hip opener – Stand on one leg and open both hips so the toes point away from each other on the same line or aiming toward that. Raise your knee and place your palm on the outside of it and as you inhale, press further out to open the hip and alignment further.
  4. The crucifix press – Lean lightly on the wall or between two tree/columns and place your legs together and your arms to the sides as the name suggests. Inhale as it is a contraction and press your arms straight back to rise from the parallel and create a healthy tension alignment in the back and shoulders

Do these daily and they will help relieve the causes of your back pain and remember to avoid moving vehicles 🙂