The Internal Power Training Blog

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

The role of proprioception Bookmark

Proprioception is the ability to sense position, motion, and equilibrium. It is how, if blindfolded, we are still able to touch our finger to our nose and know where our limbs are in relation to our body.

The better our proprioception, the more accurate, responsive and fluid we will be when undertaking complex movement patterns.

Patterns like Chen Tai Chi's Silk Reeling, Yang Cloud hands or Ba Gua's Dragon serve teacups are demanding movements and our ability to perform them can rest on our Kinesthetic and proprioceptive capacity.

This sense is widely believed (although still an ongoing area of study) to arise from a network of receptor nerves (proprioceptors) located in the muscle, fascia and joints. Some would say that it is entirely rooted in the 'Neuromyofascial web (Ingber, Myers 1998). 

Largely an unconscious or subconscious process unlike the very closely related Kinesthetic Awareness, Proprioception is something we all do without trying. With that said some have a greater capability than others. So the essential question is, how do we train this subconscious ability?

Well, firstly we have to move, and move in deliberately complex ways! This is where arts like Chinese Ba gua and its circle walking will produce dramatic results. But any movement from any art that requires the exponent to change directions, jump, walk or move in complex ways will yield results.

Secondly, we need to directly train our Neuromyofascial web. Methods like winding, pulling, reeling etc will enhance fascial elasticity and this can have a direct knock on effect on our sensory capability.

From an internal power point of view, this is certainly not studied in depth, but it is fair to say that internal arts adepts, yogi's and body workers will often have a very high level of awareness, movement capacity and equilibrium. The hallmarks of strong proprioception.

This area is worth some research, especially for those who struggle to pick up new movements or methods quickly.

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