So, this week we have been working a lot in class about engaging our glutes and core to maintain form and to generate power, regardless of what your opponent is doing. This trains us to never break our structure and to trust you have a better style than they do as opposed to relying on being faster or stronger.
The idea of engaging the core and glutes actually supplements another article we released a little while earlier about engaging the hips into our techniques (article HERE ). That entire body area can be seen as the engine behind the fighters. The arms and legs and head all do their thing, but all of it is being driven by the trio that is the core, the hips and the glutes.
And it is not just in martial arts this is useful! Fi went on a pottery course recently and documented her journey…
About My Pots
At the end of last year, I made the decision to find another hobby to get to grips with. I tried wood whittling which turned out to be painful, bloody and dangerous to do. The most recent attempt was beginner’s pottery.
You’re probably wondering what’s this got to do with martial arts, but there’s a point (I promise).
In a small class of beginners, we were instructed on the steps to make bowls and importantly the posture over the pottery wheel.
As it turns out, pottery is hard work as you need to keep control of the clay to form it into something with even sides and just not a mess. So you’re told to hunch over the wheel and maintain control by keeping your elbows tucked in and applying your body weight on the elbows. If you try to use arm strength, your back and shoulders start to tense and hurt. My first attempt resulted in something twisted with lopsided sides because I momentarily stretched my back when it got painful and tense. I’m not even sure what I can use that bowl/jug/what’sit for…
Second attempt was better as I consciously reminded myself to relax the shoulders etc. I started to think how similar it was to the basic defence position in most martial arts e.g. hasso gamai (in Shorinji Kempo) and fence in Bushin. And why nuances in posture are important:
– Relax. You can react quicker and be enhance your sensitivity to movement.
– Use the body weight and engage the core muscles. You don’t have to rely on arm strength or maybe you can’t against a stronger opponent.
– Focus the direction of force and body weight by tucking in the elbows.
I can’t claim that I’m now great at pottery through using anything I’ve learnt from martial arts, but I think there was a definite improvement between my first and second attempts. What do you think?
While I’m waiting for more pottery classes open up, I’m looking for that next thing where I might just be “not terrible at”.