Proper Posture and Footwork?
Yes, posture and footwork. Eventually.
I mentioned yesterday that I’ve back to working on an old, long term goal. A goal that, although I never set it down, I did set it aside. It has to do with my Kung Fu training, which began 20 years ago and continues to this day, although the intensity of my training varies from time to time.
My teacher lives an inconvenient distance away, so I can’t get together for lessons very often. In turn, this means there are periods where the intensity of my training is, well, let’s be honest, it’s non-existent. Fortunately, I have a pretty good memory, and a first rate teacher.
That first is important because I can set aside my training for months, then pick it up again without having forgotten the patterns. It is also important because, whenever I’m struggling with a particular move, I can remember the lessons. The words, the moves, even the position and direction of the room we were in.
That is where having a first rate instructor comes in. Damon has the ability to boil a concept into a simple phrase, so packed with meaning that 20 years later that simple phrase still has something to teach me.
One particular sequence of one particular pattern has always given me difficulties. When I began training again in earnest these last few weeks, I simply couldn’t get the sequence right. Until I remembered, “Learn the footwork,” and thought back to that evening 20 years ago when he showed me the footwork.
Boom, problem solved, and oddly enough, that particular, troublesome sequence in that particular, troublesome pattern, is no trouble at all now. Oddly enough, it’s one of the smoothest bits of the entire system that I’ve learned so far.
What does this have to do with posture? Is footwork really critical to proper posture?
Yes and no.
It is possible to have foot problems that affect your posture. My family has a serious congenital problem with bunions, hammertoes and flat feet. All of these can mess with your posture, and having healthy feet in the correct alignment are important. Duck feet or pigeon toed? Same.
But that’s really not what I mean when I say, “Learn the footwork.”
Really Andrew, all that buildup and you don’t actually mean “Learn the footwork?”
What I mean is, learn the basics. No amount of high kicks or spin kicks or flipping and flying around like Jackie Chan could even be possible without first learning the basics.
- Crawl before you walk
- Walk before you run
- Run before you play soccer
As it goes with Kung Fu, as it goes with sports, so it goes with posture correction. Learn the basics and build from there.
- Proper alignment
- Core strength
- Gluteal activation and strength
- Back and neck strength
- Shoulder positioning
- Shoulder strength
And within each category, learn the fundamentals, and build from there. There is no easy, fast, one step solution to fixing your bad posture and back pain. No phone app, no special shirt, no nifty little device can take the place of putting in the time and effort.
And it all starts with learning the footwork. Or, to borrow a truly great line from Lewis Carrol:
Begin at the beginning…and go on till you come to the end: then stop.