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Thread: things that you struggle with...

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    Default things that you struggle with...

    Being new to the Art of Kenpo, I have come across many things that blow my mind. But the one thing I've had the most problem with is my Posture. I know it's very very very basic, but even a year into training I still have to correct it everytime I hit the mat.

    So I was wondering if anyone else out there has things like this that they've REALLY had to work with, especially basics such as posture? Feel free to elaborate and offer advice. I know my ears are open!
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    Default Re: things that you struggle with...

    Posture is a bg thing in Kenpo. I have heard so many instructors say bend your knees. But if you think about it if you bend your knees you back is bent forward also, which means you are off balance and anything you do will not work correctly. But if you "drop oyur weight", sit back like you are sitting on a chair, you will have the best balance and stability. You will event become quicker.

    When ever I say "you" I mean it generally, so I hope nobody takes the things that I say personally.
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    Default Re: things that you struggle with...

    "Drop your weight" may be more appropriate than "Bend your knees." But, you still have to bend your knees in order to drop your weight if you want to maintain mobility with stability. The only other option would be to widen your base, and you sacrifice mobility by doing that. So, you have to bend you knees (preferably at about 45 degrees.)

    IMHO =)
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    Default Re: things that you struggle with...

    Quote Originally Posted by Celtic_Crippler
    "Drop your weight" may be more appropriate than "Bend your knees." But, you still have to bend your knees in order to drop your weight if you want to maintain mobility with stability. The only other option would be to widen your base, and you sacrifice mobility by doing that. So, you have to bend you knees (preferably at about 45 degrees.)

    IMHO =)
    You are still bending your knees of course but you are sitting back instead of forward which makes you more stable.
    "To hear is to doubt. To see is to be deceived. But to feel is to believe." -- SGM Ed Parker

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    Default Re: things that you struggle with...

    I tell my students all the time to keep their backs straight.

    Kenpo people are proud. We don't bend at the waist. We make others bend.

    I used to have a terrible problem with shrugging my shoulders when I did techniques. My shoulders were tight all the time. That took a long time to resolve.

    I have a student who pulls back before doing her strikes because she's small and she thinks (unconsciously) that she has to muscle her way through things.

    We're still working on that.

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    Default Re: things that you struggle with...

    Quote Originally Posted by gimpat01
    ...the one thing I've had the most problem with is my Posture. I know it's very very very basic, but even a year into training I still have to correct it everytime I hit the mat. ...anyone else out there has things like this that they've REALLY had to work with, especially basics such as posture?
    I just worked with someone on this very type of issue, and after one session his posture and movement improved a thousand percent (no brag, someone else showed this to me and I just passed it on). The problem is often our "focus". We are thinking about our posture and trying to think about what we are doing at the same time. Can't and doesn't work. Instead, focus on your tantien, and let it carry the posture and movement of both upper and lower body.

    First, you need to know where and what your tantien is. What- just think of it as your core or center and that is enough for this application. Where- with your thumb tips together, bring your index finger tips together to form a triangle. Put your thumb tips on your belly button (disgusting, but the first thing a lot of people mostake for their tantien- my core is not composed of lint!). The tips of your fingers should rest on your abdomen, just above the pelvis. The tantien lies in the center of this triangle, but NOT on the surface (the second, and most common, geographical mistake concerning the location). It lies within, more towards but in front of, the spine. This is where you should focus both your posture and movement. It should become the center of your awareness.

    Now, bend your knees. That's right, flex the hinges! Step your feet comfortably to about shoulder width, toes pointing straight forward. The knees should bend but not past the plane of the toes (don't bend 'em too much, basically). Now, tuck your tail bone- NOT TOO MUCH- just a little to help allign your spine. The spine should maintain its natural curves, but should feel stacked, as though it is supporting itself with no muscular help. This is accomplished by allowing the spine to support itself, with no muscular help. Pretty simple. Just relax, and let your structure do the work.

    Next, tuck your chin slightly and look straight ahead. Now, let your weight sink into yur feet. You should feel rooted to the center of the earth, anchored, solid. Now, immagine a string at the center of the top of your head (in that depression) and it is pulling up. This should stretch your spine and your body. You are now neutrally weighted, still solidly grounded but able to move quickly and efficiently at will. Basically, effectively, you are like a double end bag (strung by both ends).

    OK, refocus on the tantien, without loosing any of this posture. You are about to move, but possibly like you've never done before (ok, so I'm being a little melo-dramitic- it's for effect, ok?). With your focus on the tantien, the first thing to move, what initiates ALL movement, is the small muscles in the small of your back. I know, there is a mental disconnect here. Just focus on the tantien and move just those muscles- the ones at the bottom of the curve of the spine. Wow! What a rush- I mean, it really feels good, sensual, like dancing to ballroom dance music! In fact, about as low as he puts his hand without grabbing.. never mind, you get it. These muscles act on the pelvic girdle both at the back and laterally to turn the hips and upper torso- SIMULTANEOSLY!

    Here's the trick- you absolutely MUST allow this to carry ALL action- hands, feet, arms, legs, trunk, butt- EVERYTHING! If you lead with, or think about, steping the foot, then the lower body leads the upper. If you try to work on the hands transition, the upper will lead the lower. You are out of synch and not in ballance. Focus on the tantien and just let what you want to happen, happen!

    Back to that melodramatic movement; while focusing on your tantien, step your right foot forward into a neutral bow. Let it happen, just relax and let the small muscles in the back cary both your upper and lower body, your feet and hands, into a good right neutral bow. Let it carry your posture as well- you can't move like this without good posture, so it will come naturally if you had the posture described earlier.

    One more thing, I want you to hit your opponent with your left, trailing, hand. Let the tantien carry the stance change to a forward bow, and carry the punch. Don't think about the punch, let it happen with the stance change, which happens because the small muscles of the back and the tantien made it so.

    I wish I could show you this, it isn't as hard as it sounds. There is a lot of detail, which is important. But it all happens so naturally once you experience it. And, I hope this makes some sense. To be honest, I got into the wine (which I'm not supposed to do, but it makes my tantien feel better), and my mind is a little out of ballance. I'll get ahold of the guy I was working with and see if he wants to contact you and give his ideas on what he learned. But, to tell the truth, he's more of a whacker/thumper than a conversationist. And, you may already know this stuff and it may not be your problem at all. Still good info- the vino never lies!
    Last edited by thedan; 04-09-2006 at 09:48 PM.

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    Default Re: things that you struggle with...

    I used to have a bad habit of being tense and wasting motion with strikes, after i saw a black belt move i knew how i should be movining. Moving from the don tien or however you spell it basically it's where all movement should come from and when you move from there from my experience its effortless and natural to throw strike or kicks and be in balance when moving from that region. I would assume that when you do your foot maneavers that you should be in balance at all times and be able to draw back if you need too. It is also a new experience fighting from there instead of muscling through everything. I have to unlearn what i do with my muscles and let finess and technique be me guide.

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    Default Re: things that you struggle with...

    Thanks, Greener! (That was the guy I mentioned, by the way. Also, I wasn't the black belt he saw, since I'm not a bb anyhow). I will tell you what he's talking about with moving correctly and not muscling through. We were sparing, and I was landing strikes pretty much at will, right after we went through this movement learning curve. Then I told him to loosen up and move like we'd just practiced. Within thirty seconds, he was asking me if he should call an ambulance! I'm not kidding- I was in a bad way! It works, you just have to work it!

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