Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Greatest Misconception

The biggest flaw in most people's understanding (especially among exercise instructors), is the notion that movement begins at the core of the body (musculature), and then proceeds to move on out to the extremities -- rather than the accurate understanding that movement must begin at the extremities (insertions), and then move towards the origins of the body musculature, in every meaningful, integrative and productive movement. Nothing else is possible, no matter how much one tries to override the intelligence of millions of years and species in evolution.

About forty years ago, martial arts icon Bruce Lee, used to demonstrate the effectiveness of his "one inch punch," which amazed people who were used to seeing a very flamboyant and dramatic roundhouse punch or kick in telegraphing the power and damage that such a movement would do, which he still felt obligated to do for the sake of movies, but as a student and teacher of the art of movement, he recognized that it was not the very observable movement that mattered, so much as what was happening internally -- of all the muscles of the body contracting simultaneously -- but only expressed at a single point of contact.

That is like the force produced by a women walking in high heels -- exerting an immense force in a tiny area -- that can be quite damaging to floors. The obverse of that, is to absorb a great force over as wide an area as possible to mitigate its impact, and so one of the first things many of these martial arts teach, is simply to fall, or take a blow -- and dissipate it harmlessly throughout the body.

The important lesson here, is that it is the movement that is happening within the body, and not the movement external to the body, that is important and essential to the health. That's why a lot of the time honored health regimens, frequently have this kind of mystical and metaphysical quality about them -- of the movement of energy, spirit and life force, way before "scientists" documented the processes of circulation and respiration. Something was moving within the body -- though they didn't have the instruments to observe it yet. When they did, they called it "muscles," because it seemed to be a mouse running under the skin. Yet few today who "exercise," are so observant.

Instead, they have been instructed, that the explanation and the theory of what is important, supersedes their own experience and mastery of what they are doing -- which is a giant step backwards, and no wonder why contemporary health has declined so greatly, despite all the attention and emphasis given to these things -- especially to do more, of what never made a whole lot of sense in the first place, the first time they were instructed (forced) to do so. Unfortunately, that is still how much of "physical education" is still done -- trying to force one to get with the program, glorifying the many who were reluctant to do so initially -- while ignoring the many others, who didn't do as prescribed yet never had a problem with their conditioning and struggles to be "in shape."

It's like the many people who are never ill or injured, despite the warnings that they should be -- just like everybody else, because "bad stuff" happens equally to everyone, no matter what one does to avoid them. Thus one can be convinced that wearing a helmet makes no difference -- whether one is racing cars, motorcycles and bicycles, and that only sissies, would play football, baseball, hockey, with a helmet and other protective gear.

So it is not surprising, that many think the virtue of any conditioning program, is one's risk of injury motivating them to do their best -- because their life depends on it, and eliminating those dangers and risks, would take all the fun and value out of them -- until incapacitated and disabled permanently. That was the lifespan of an athlete or warrior, in previous times -- that was their badge of honor and former glory. So it behooves those of this gentler times, to know if one can avoid all that -- and merely obtain the health benefits, without having to do all those things one has been "conditioned" to think one has to do to have all those benefits -- without all the pain, sacrifice, penance, torment and torture, one has been convinced is absolutely necessary and essential to it.

At which point, many decide they cannot afford the price -- and that price is to somebody else, acting as the toll keeper, to get to the promised land because that was how life was meant to be -- before a few decided they owned the turf exclusively, for their own benefit.
And so that which was easy and natural, became difficult and arduous -- because it was much more profitable to do so -- for a self-selected few.

It doesn't have to be that way.


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