The autumn leaves are falling like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are always two cups at my table.

T’ang Dynasty poem

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~


Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Way to Put Power Into Your Movements


Put your back into it!


Over at Weakness with a Twist, Scott Phillips has a very good article about the large and efficient muscles in our backs that our "normal" way of moving doesn't make much use of, but internal martial arts uses to a high degree.


Below is an excerpt. Click here to read the full article.

As someone whose job it is to translate ideas from one culture to another, the pressure to use more familiar language is always floating around in the background.


Many people would like me to describe the fine details of Chinese Internal Martial Arts using vocabulary from sports or physical therapy.  This is always problematic for two reasons.  First, one can only go so far describing kinesthetic experiences before one starts  sacrificing subtlety–language is an imperfect tool. 

Second, by discarding Chinese concepts, one loses the primary organizing metaphors of Chinese culture, and what might be simple suddenly becomes complex.

Still, sometimes we give in to the pressure.  Today is one of those days.

There are three big muscles on our backs which are extremely powerful and efficient. Unfortunately, the problem with humans is; we don’t use these big muscles very well.  Our arms are just too smart. We habitually use our many smaller arm muscles to do complex and repetitive tasks.  This is the cause of a lot of stress and tends to shorten our lives.  For this reason advanced internal martial artists have developed ways to make use of the three big muscles.

1 comment:

S.Smith said...

Yeah, that's a good one. I like those muscles too.

They have such subtle ways of being accessed in martial arts.