Old dogma, new tricks
Never ceases to amaze: How we can force ourselves into habits and stick to them for years or even decades. Sometimes routines can be handy, but in most cases we hold on to dogmas on which the opinions and recommendations have been changed ages ago. Or that no longer serve us or even hold us back in our development. I for one am not always an exception to that. Let’s take for example areas of nutrition, sports and last but not least, posture. As a kid and also as a teenager I was crazy about everything that had to do with martial arts. Watching movies, reading books and magazines (Black belt, Kung Fu inside etc). And of course practising. One of the things you were taught is not to bend your knees. Because with a kick or lock you could not evade or escape the attack. And somewhere I read that a real great martial artist, was never caught with knees straight.
Of course I wanted to be in the category real martial artists. So that single sentence became my holy grail, engraved in my every single cell. Whether I was sparring or simply waiting for the bus, those knees were bent! “Now that’s a genuine one.” How is that for a fight or flight attitude?. Always on guard, as if every moment your mortal enemy could jump out of the bushes for an epic final scene.
Well I can tell you, that tension invades your mind, your (sub)consiousness and especially your body. Already some time ago, I was faced with just that during a psoas/core awareness workshop for professionals. There are as many postures as there are opinions, but in these exercises we were exploring the posture as Katy Bowman describes it in her more than interesting book “Move your DNA”. In short: The outside lines of the feet are parallel, pointing forward. Back of the knees are pointing to the back, hips are opened with intention, ribs somewhat closed, lower your sternum and certainly not forward in a military way.
As in all ‘new’ postures, with so many directions it feels all but natural in the beginning. But as Bowman says in her book, this is the perfect moment to...relax your knee caps (read: drop). But because of the posture that I ‘built’ over decades, my quadriceps are over-developed. No, not simply trained or athletic, they hold tension 24/7. So knee caps automatically elevate. Certainly an interesting process to work on and with. The new posture and other things learned also formed the foundation for another way of walking. More as a pendulum in stead of just muscular strenght and with the right technique you almost walk automically.
And yes, I must say, I’m not owning it yet, but slowly and certainly in a lighter way I’m getting there. No not as a new dogma, but as part of exploration. So as it turns out, you can teach an old dog new tricks.
How relaxed are your knee caps today?