Chinese spine tail
There is an old Chinese proverb ‘‘you are as old as your spine.’’
Meaning your actual chronological age is less important than your health and the way that body can and should move. I call this ‘‘body movement potential.’’ (BMP)
It’s no surprise that the spine is in the centre of the body it is there for a few reasons, to support our weight, to serve as a connecting base to our ligaments, tendons, muscles and to allow everything else to move and function well as it is our spine that determines our full range of motion.
Look at someone who moves really well they always look younger, fitter and full of vigour.
Most people resign themselves in later life to being stiff with rounded sunken shoulders or looking depressed borne out by bad posture, injuries to the knee, hips, back and so on.
My life has been dedicated to the study of martial arts and now, being on the wrong side of 50 I reflect on the changes that I have made in the way I train and use my body today.
When I was younger it was always too much aggression, ego, winning, trying to be the best and way too much testosterone for someone that small. Some of you who knew me back then will know what I mean.
The catalogue of injuries sustained are too numerous to mention but ranging from a broken nose, toes, fingers, knuckles, torn hamstrings, jaw dislocations, internal bleeding in my arm and much more but I don’t need to go into too much detail but you get the idea but that is just the physical stuff and what it does to you mentally and emotionally is another story I will save for another time.
So nowadays my training consists of as well as the martial arts, the focus is about keeping myself healthy and well with Yoga and meditation and keeping in the best shape I possibly can so I can use the teachings and wisdoms that I have gratefully received and in turn pass them on to help as many people I can to fulfil their own potential in life and the martial arts that we love and hold dear.
Today in my training I want to be the most efficient I can using the least power possible but still having the maximum effect on my opponent. Sounds easy and it is in theory.
This will be achieved by this using the principles of body mechanics, physiology, displacement theory and the laws of nature that govern them. When you don’t use the principles you will often use too much effort, force and aggression etc. But this is the hard part because if you don’t understand the principles and use them, your body will naturally replace them with too much effort, force and aggression.
In classes or seminars I say to the students stop using strength when doing a technique, they then say to me but what shall we use instead and here is the key, if it is not in your subconscious and you have to think about doing it, then you don’t know it or understand it, but then this is our lifetime study and why we all love the challenge of the martial arts.
The good news is if you study the principles early enough in your training instead of just doing techniques or systems you won’t need to wait 40 years before you become proficient in your chosen art or field.
Move with efficient full range of motion and move often to build up your ‘‘body movement potential.’’ (BMP)
By GM Angelo