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lhonda
Jun 24, 2023
In General Discussions
by Mark Weingarden Gravity is a valuable force for the martial artist to respect. It is pervasive, unavoidable, and we don't wish to disregard or fight with it but, most of us do.This topic is the next installment of my intention to actively involve the beginning karate student by priming their minds to become capable of engraining deeper physical understandings and an associated much quicker pace to accomplishing. This is what a coach does, teaches fundamentals. The concept of benefiting from and not fighting gravity, like any principle, should not simply be left to an unlikely eventual epiphany that bubbles from the depths to the surface of awareness only after decades of blind repetition. If we relax and sit into our stance with a vertical posture, we can be in harmony, not combative with gravity. When standing, our body is stacked, meaning our hips and shoulders are vertically in line and directly above our heels. When moving or in a martial posture, our feet may be wider than our hips, but our shoulders should be directly above the hips with the head held straight. Think of a pyramid. It has a strong and stable broad base. All the weight of the pyramid settles onto the base but the pyramid does not collapse. I commonly suggest imagining our karate posture as a pyramid shaped burning candle with wax melting from the top and flowing down all sides, then returning from the base to the peak of the pyramid by flowing vertically thru the center. A circular flow while the base gets increasingly heavy.If instead, we fight the settling or melting into our stance by actively but unconsciously holding ourselves up, we will waste considerable energy while also greatly diminishing the effectiveness of all techniques. Unfortunately, those that resist settling are unaware that they are. We strike harder and block with increased effect when our base is stable while become becoming posturally accurate dead weight. In addition to the feeling of sitting heavily into our stances as if we have a third leg or a tripod feeling, there is a general feeling of relaxation or heaviness or of giving oneself up to gravity for our knees, bum, hips, underarms, elbows, hands. Don't mistake this as a total wet rag feeling as the body is actually working significantly hard to not compromise our stature or balance. There is a conscious or intended core activity as opposed to the unnecessary peripheral muscle misuse. The work is a firmness for the core/center of the body, as opposed to having peripheral tension. Priming the beginning student to give in to and accept the effects of gravity has great merit. We need to actively introduce this concept first, then physically train the core. Since the student is generally unaware of their resisting gravity, a coach needs to be consistent during each practice by actively and regularly redirecting the student to encompass this foreign feeling and essential martial arts understanding. Focus corrections by coaching to correct their posture, increase Hara activity, and a settled stance as opposed to harping on the need to relax the shoulders. I want to repeat, don't focus corrections on the tight shoulders. This will place the student's mind into their shoulders, the opposite of what we wish them to do. The tight shoulders are only a manifestation of a weak Hara. We really wish to get the student to be thinking from their body center so our centers need to be regularly worked, become active, and strong for this to happen. They need to be told this is even a possibility. Be sensitive, creative and non-judgmental in your efforts, and don't miss opportunities each practice to teach any student willing to learn.Mark
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lhonda
Jun 24, 2023
In General Discussions
This Forum is intended to present topic of interest and discussion specifically related to Karate and Martial Arts. In this Forum opinions may differ, please keep from attacking any person, thoughts or ideas, or you will be removed from the Forum. Let us grow our understanding of these Arts we practice, and contribute to its evolution so that it may be passed to the next generation. Thank you.
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lhonda

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