Because movement is life! The body evolved to move, the brain to control movement, and all communication or expression depends on movement.
The question is not how to be fitter, to be thinner, even to be stronger. The question is how to increase capacity for movement.
Freedom through movement
When you make movement the paradigm it frees you in many ways.
Importantly it frees from subservience to a system. Let’s face it, the world is full of people selling systems – and it ends up mostly marketing. People get attached to and defend their little corner of movement turf. Taiji people often dislike weight training, Crossfitters poo poo Taiji, MMA consider kata/form a waste of time, and so on… Embrace movement and you can explore, link, cross- fertilize through many disciplines.
A lot of tunnel vision comes down to metrics – what do you measure? Measure one thing often leads to ignoring others.
Lots of people measure their weight on scales (that is a shitty measure). Bodybuilders measure size. Sport martial artists measure points/wins. Yogis (yes not all) measure ability to get into postures. Crossfitters measure weights, reps and times. Gymnasts measure their progress on charts of difficulty. Climbers measure the hardness of the route. Freedivers measure depth and time. Taiji people measure what they think their teacher’s teacher’s teacher could do. Followers measure how far up their guru’s arse they can crawl.
Everyone measures – or tries to ignore their aches and pains!
To be able to measure is great. To be a slave to your metrics, not so much… well isn’t that what we claim as the downside of money? Move from a single discipline to movement and it becomes clearer how arbitrary many measurements are.
When you substitute movement for fitness there is no end, there can be goals, there can be markers, there can be measurements, but there is no end. Metrics become a tool again.
How far can you take movement?
As far as you like! Skills (including strength) require consistent practice for nervous, musculoskeletal, physiological etc adaptation – but you do not know where your limits are until you meet them, and you will probably never meet them. You will probably never jump, lift or throw your true maximum – that in itself would take amazing dedication.
Every skill you learn, quality you develop can enrich the others. Both in terms of movement ability and how you understand what it is is to be human.
Where to focus and how to organize the vastness of movement? A note on vaguely evolutionary approaches to movement
The evolutionary approach in a nutshell is: we are primates whose bodies and consequent physical/emotional need have not changed for since we strolled, or jogged off the plains of Africa. However our environment has changed considerably.
One missing piece in our environment these days is the sensory-corporal. Not enough movement variety, not enough sensory stimulation, and integration of the senses with movement – homogeneous temperatures and textures, flat homogeneous surfaces to walk on, lots of comfort, sitting, lack of fine manual tasks, carrying, skin contact with more than clothes
What are some good first steps?
In this infinite tree of movement what branch to explore now? Gooood question!!! and no simple answer.
One way is to cut the cake of movement (and yes I will mix metaphors – no single metaphor is enough) into the following slices, influenced by evolutionary and mechanical perspectives:
Develop a balance of strength and mobility – a balance between the ability to push and pull, and work at different speeds/intensities, upper and lower body, basic human patterns (walking running, jumping, crawling, brachiation, throwing, carrying, swimming)
If we adopt this approach – for now – then next step is to check what we are doing already…
Yoga – some pushing, some balancing, some inversion
limited strength, zero pulling, no development of patterns like walking, running, jumping, throwing, object manipulation, metabolic conditioning
Chen Taiji/Wing Chun – some pushing, some balancing, some adapting movement to others within limits, some object manipulation – again little running, crawling, pulling, metcon (though I think you already do some bodyweight metcon) overall strength
Both favour ‘alignment’ which is fine until shit happens – which it inevitably does.
Based on this, what is missing and what will open most more movement doors I recommend:
- object manipulation
- crawling/quadropedia and locomotion
- a correct dose of misalignment
- movement creativity
and my next question is what aspects of these can you get the most from – as a single session, as a foot in the door, and as something that you could choose to do regularly..
That is what you will find out when you come to the session – including more on why certain practices are more useful, how to perform the correctly, and progressions ans integration into regular life.