Connected Movement and Martial Arts
The relationship between Connected Movement and traditional martial arts is very tight. Many of the ideas and practices I aggregated towards forming this class come from my lifelong experience as a martial artist, and many of the skills developed by practicing connected movement can be applied directly into improving martial arts skills.
There are three distinct questions that come into mind when it comes to the relationship between connected movement and martial arts:
What are the martial arts routes of the Connected Movement methods?
How can martial artists benefit from their Connected Movement lessons to improve their martial arts skills?
How can martial artists take the skills they acquired and apply them outside the realm of martial arts?
Of these 3 questions, the first, though interesting by itself will get a more elaborate answer in a future post. At the moment I would like to focus on the other two.
How Does Connected Movement Make Me a Better Martial Artist?
Unlike martial arts, Connected Movement is technique agnostic: We do not learn specific techniques and practices, but rather concentrate on acquiring tools that will allow us to improve the way we learn new techniques and make them applicable given our body structure, state of mind and the situation.
The type of movement we are seeking when we practice Connected Movement is effortless and healthy. Incidentally, these are the same criteria for a good martial arts movement, since as martial artists we are seeking to economize our movements.
The effortless and slow movement allows us to explore our functionality in the field of gravity, and to attune ourselves to the minute reaction our actions have on our partner.
Martial artists who tend to study their craft only through imitating their teachers often end up getting hurt, or their learning process ends up being bogged down by trying to imitate movements that do not fit their own body structure.
By acquiring the skill to listen to their body and sharpening their sensitivity to the minute elements of movement that contribute to the desired functionality they are seeking.
The pair work in Connected Movement further enhances our martial arts skills: since as we said, CM is technique agnostic, practicing the raw qualities of movement and interaction without being preoccupied with the technique allows the student to tap into qualities a martial artist can usually experience only at a very advanced stage, once their technique is so advanced they no longer need to focus on it.
How Does Connected Movement help martial artists take advantage of their skills outside the dojo?
Martial artists acquire amazing skills through their years of practice. Some of these skills do not require any further training to apply outside the dojo, yet some hidden benefits that need to be further learned before they can be unleashed in our everyday life.
Training in martial arts teaches us to be tuned to another person's movement and responses. However this skill is focused on conflict management. Once we engage the same skill set in a semi therapeutic context we find that with very little modification we can turn these tools into a powerful way to positively affect the people around us.
Another way in which martial artists learn to harness their skill set in everyday life is by learning how to transform skills that were acquired through very specific drills into an open ended capability that can be adapted to new applications through learning the process of developing new skills based on existing ones, which is one of the major concerns of the Connected Movement method.