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By Charlie Velez, GCFP
Today’s martial artists are concerned about what can they do to be more flexible, and injury free. As a martial artist I can appreciate this first hand. After my training in 2001, I started to incorporate Feldenkrais® Awareness Through Movement® lessons in my classes. Many students were hesitant because of the strategy of moving slower, as opposed to moving fast.
After starting with actual lessons addressing functional martial arts moves many students were amazed at how much more coordinated they were. In addition, their injury rates dropped considerably.
One of my strategies is to break down a movement into component parts, and have the student do each part separately. This is an effective idea I learned from my martial arts teacher and is also a key element to the way Moshe Feldenkrais designed his Awareness Through Movement lessons. As a result of my incorporating the Feldenkrais Method® into my classes, students now only spend a quarter of the time warming up, so they have more time for practice.
Joe was a student complaining of chronic back and hip pain. He was unsure if he could return to top form in competition. After a series of Functional Integration® lessons and using mini-Awareness Through Movement sequences before and after training, he recovered completely. By making the connection that kicking is not just about using only the leg, but involves the ribs and pelvis, and where his head is in space, his balance improved and he no longer experienced major pain.
As Bruce Lee said in his epic movie Enter The Dragon, “Don’t think, feel; that is where the secret lies.” As a Feldenkrais practitioner and martial artist, there is no end to the process of learning to use the self in many different ways.
You can incorporate the following Awareness Through Movement sequence into your martial arts workout.
Hip and Torso Integration:
Try an infamous “round kick” on each side. How does it feel for you today?