rss

The Internal Power Training Blog

Check out the latest info and research from Coach Chris' explorations in the Subject of Internal Power.

Softness from Extension Bookmark

The internal arts are often referred to as the ‘Soft’ Martial Arts. It is an interesting term because anyone who has been on the receiving end of a high level internal adepts power would certainly not describe it as soft, so what is it about these arts that gained them this distinction?

 

Many of the mechanics of the internal arts are predicated on our ability to release or address tension. As we have discussed in previous articles on speed, connection, and heaviness, without the correct levels of relaxation, much of what makes these efficient will not be there. The tense practitioner will constantly be ‘breaking’ their expression of power as it travels through sports of tension or tight tissue.

The Side Lines Bookmark

In this article we will look at one of the less considered lines of the body, the side lines, and their purpose in the Internal Arts. In the internal martial arts we often see the discussion focused around the ‘centre’, the axis, the root and the arm bridges, but rarely do we look at the sides of the body specifically and how they are important in motion, stability and power generation.

 

The Side lines can be thought of as the support pillars of the body, they are like the towers of a suspension bridge providing a stable side to the body in the Coronal plane, but they actually have several active functions that are vital to the unified body.

The anatomy of Connection Bookmark

One of the initial focuses of Internal Arts training is to create a body that is connected and structured with healthy tissue. If you look at virtually any physical training methodology you will see the initial sections of their training devoted to alignment, strength, endurance and connection.  Internal Power Training is no different, but the strength and endurance we are looking to build has a alternative quality.


As we have discussed in previous posts, the development of the tissues is required to create the unified body, but this can now be broken down a little further into major directions of expression and the related tissue development that is required to achieve action along them. In this post we will look at how muscle chains linked via fascia form ‘lines’ in the body that are responsible for the major motions our body can create. The body lines are the major chains of tissue that we use as humans, often without realizing.

Moving Slowly to be Fast Bookmark

When we think of the Internal Arts we often think of the slow motion practice or people standing in static postures but there is an interesting phenomena related to these practices. One which we see in combative exchange but is not immediately apparent in these fundamental training methods. This is the ability for some internal artists to move at blindingly fast speeds even though much of their training can be focused moving slowly.


How does static posture training or slow movement practice actually increase the speed of the practitioner? The two ideas seem to be at odds!

There are several factors at play here but first we can say that moving slowly or holding a static position makes us better able to recognize precisely how much effort is needed to perform a given action.


There is a physical law known as the Weber Fenscher Law which states:


’The higher the speed of a given movement, the less able we become to recognise the power required to perform it.’

Using the Ming Men Bookmark

In Traditional Chinese theory there is a point in the middle of the lumbar region of back that is believed to be the centre of ‘Vitality’ and where the original life essence of the individual is based, this point is called the ‘Ming Men’.


Located at between the L2 & L3 vertebra, a couple of inches above the line of the Iliac crest in most people, this point is of foundational importance to Chinese Medicine and their associated practices. It is thought to be responsible for ‘warmth’ in the body, for fuelling correct metabolic action and organ function in these traditional systems. 

The role of Fascia in Health Bookmark

As we have discussed previously the body is a web of connective tissues. The symmetry and health of these tissues can dictate our postural balance, our skeletal alignment, our movement capacity and the health of our organs.

 

If we imagine a pristine spiders web, the structure is usually uniform, equal and perfectly balanced between its anchor points. This is how our fascia network should naturally be, in balance and without defect.

Winding and Fascia Changes Bookmark

"A recognized characteristic of connective tissue is its impressive adaptability: when regularly put under increasing yet physiological strain, the inherent fibroblasts adjust their matrix remodelling activity such that the tissue architecture better meets demand."

(El-Labban et al.,1993)

 

Winding is a method by which we put a pressure on the body tissues via specialised stretching and rotation that will result in quantifiable change. Placing the right demand on the tissue is extremely important as our body begins to adapt.

Connective tissue of the legs Bookmark

"Kangaroos can jump much farther than can be explained by the force of the contraction of their leg muscles. Under closer scrutiny, scientists discovered that a spring-like action is behind the unique ability: the so-called ‘catapult mechanism’ ( Kram and Dawson, 1998 ). Here, the tendons and the fascia of the legs are tensioned like elastic rubber bands. The release of this stored energy is what makes the amazing jumps possible.

.....
Surprisingly, it has been found that the fasciae of humans have a similar kinetic storage capacity to that of kangaroos and gazelles ( Sawicki et al., 2009 ). This is not only made use of when we jump or run but also with simple walking, as a significant part of the energy of the movement comes from the same springiness described above. This new discovery has led to an active revision of long-accepted principles in the field of movement science.”

HeavyBody
Foundations course
is now LIVE!


  Click here for more info

Featured

  • Something exciting is Launching today in the IPT Academy!  Articled last year
     
  • Addressing lower crossed Syndrome Articled last year
    The lower crossed syndrome is something that we see to a lesser or greater degree in new students. The lower cross is a term used to describe a specific pattern of muscular imbalance in the lower body which results in pelvic tilting and curvature of the lower back. If left unchecked, internal strength training where we are specifically working on the connective tissues and muscles in this area can actually compound postural problems, as well as increase the likelihood of injury under load. The lower Cross is characterized by a combination of both weakness and tightness in the lower torso. Specifically, tightness in the Thoraco lumbar extensors which is reflected in the hip flexors and weakness in the abdominals reflected in the Gluteals. This specific pattern of imbalance creates joint dysfunction at specific points along the lower spine and will cause the pelvis to tilt forward. Internal arts have specific training methodologies to address this issue. The corrections are achieved through 'releasing' the tightness in the thoracolumbar and hip flexors. We are aiming to bring the lower cross into a relaxed ...