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Martial Arts IS Integrated Movement

By by Eric James

Jack Hoban is an executive in the health industry, holds a 10º Dan in Ninpo Taijutsu, and teaches this ancient Japanese martial art at the YMCA in Red Bank, New Jersey.

Jack was first introduced to the Feldenkrais Method® by Doron Navon (of Israel), a practitioner of the Feldenkrais Method and fellow instructor of Ninpo Taijutsu. Jack says, “It took less than five minutes for me to realize that this method would be a real help to martial artists.”

Jack has continued improving his martial arts abilities by doing periodic Awareness Through Movement® lessons with me and also by using a tape series by Moshe Feldenkrais. He says, “I feel that I have better body integration, that my spine and hips are freer, that I throw, kick and punch better. But mostly, I can ‘watch’ my movement better, I can feel what my entire body is doing. I am more aware of how everything is moving and how to make my movement more efficient. Also how to move in unexpected ways… ways that the opponent can’t anticipate.”

Jack even finds that his work with the Feldenkrais Method helps him teach his martial arts students more effectively. He also occasionally brings in a Feldenkrais® practitioner to teach an Awareness Through Movement lesson at one of his Ninpo Taijutsu seminars or regular classes. For example, he recently taught a seminar with Moti Nativ (from Israel) who ended the seminar with an Awareness Through Movement lesson.

On the relation of the integrated movement that one learns in the Feldenkrais Method with the martial arts, Jack finishes by saying “Martial arts IS integrated movement.”

The Feldenkrais Method represents a revolutionary way of improving martial arts ability. Rather than focusing on improving power and speed through muscular strength, the Feldenkrais Method improves these through efficient body organization and movement. One very important part of how to produce this efficient, effortless power and speed is utilizing the body’s natural power source… the pelvis. While many martial arts deal with the saika-tanden in terms of energy, the Feldenkrais Method provides concrete, simple and very effective movement lessons on how to utilize this source of power and speed.

As Jack and many other martial artists have found out, the results are the ability to improve power, speed, and ability continuously, without the very narrow limits of muscular strength. Also, one is able to continue improving ability throughout life, while a focus on muscular strength is destined to diminishing returns as one ages.

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