Setting up Formal Practice, Part 3, 'Elongation & Invigoration'
In the first two installments of this sub-series of IS4U we looked at opening our formal practice sessions by getting into the Nowspace and then 'Activating the Frame' as practical steps in cultivating an effective practice session. In this installment, we are going to look at two closely related qualities to develop once we are at the heart of our training session, Elongation & Invigoration. Elongation is the process of gradually increasing the ranges of motion and shapes in which we can maintain our Integrated State. Invigoration of pushing ourselves physically while maintaining the Integrated Stated, challenging ourselves to maintain it whilst under cardiovascular stress.
There are a number of purposes for including Elongation and/or Invigoration-focused portions of your Formal training routines. Below are some of them.
Articulation of the Joints
The old saying 'When one thing moves, everything moves' must be experientially discovered by each practitioner. Typically many of our habitual movement patterns are based on isolated strength, meaning one part of the body is usually braced our bound in some way isolating the bits that are doing 'the work'. Our Fundamental Routes of Strength are intended to involve our entire frame simultaneously, freeing the joints to adjust to all changes in the frame is the name of the game.
Inducement of Interpolation within Muscle Chains
Joint articulation allows our frame to dynamically adjust to our intent and outside forces. Muscles are in turn freed up from their braced or bound state to tense or loosen with greater coordination from their muscle chain counterparts. Interpolation within our muscle chain allows us to discover and release the unnecessary tension that interferes with Integrated Strength development (see below for more).
Development of the Tissues
Elongation & Invigoration-focused exercises put a different kind of strain on our frame. Muscles are lengthened and strengthened, ligaments & tendons become thicker and stronger while even bones can become increasingly dense from the increasing amounts of load they are being asked to carry. This is the slow & steady part of the race, forcing your body to change too quickly can result in injury that delays your progress.
The idea is to develop 'Old Tendon Strength' which is strength coming more from the connective tissues than the muscles. My Teacher's advice on this comes to mind, he would often say the most important thing to remember about old tendon strength is not to #@!% with someone who has it:)
Getting the ole Evinrude pumping away is an essential part of training in my opinion. Too often vigorous exercise is overlooked in Internal Martial arts lines. Maintaining the Integrated State while under cardiovascular stress is also necessary for basic self-defense, can't let getting a little winded break your training.
In my experience, our hips and legs can really use a bit of extra intention. Low stance work pushes enough muscle for full body benefits and really helps to open up our hips & kua. If you see a real gung fu guy doing stuff that does not seem very applicable to fighting, it is likely because the work is focused on developing something that is underneath the technique.
Memory Banking Feeling States
A key, but easy-to-overlook aspect of Elongation is the role it plays in helping us induce feeling states based on whole body or 'Hunyuan' movement. Gradually pushing your elongation limits to the point of seeming 'Ridiculous' imprints the sensation of the coordinated movement of the whole frame into memory. It is from this banked memory that we will draw to induce the same whole-body movement on a smaller and smaller scale until the route of strength is no longer apparent to the untrained eye.
Furthermore, the expansive and vigorous feeling that comes from challenging our limits in elongation-focused practices can also be 'memory banked' into the internalized version of the route to bring a whole different flavor to the practice.
Elongation & Invigoration Guided Practice
Click the link below and follow along with my approximately 6-minute session focusing on Elongation & Invigoration with some Fundamental Routes of Strength. Don't forget to precede by taking a few moments to get into the Nowspace and activate your frame.
More on Muscle Interpolation
Human muscles play a crucial role in providing structural integrity and strength to the human body through a process known as muscle interpolation. Muscles work together in a coordinated manner, allowing the body to perform a wide range of movements and activities.
Muscle interpolation within the human body occurs through the recruitment and activation of muscle fibers. Each muscle is composed of numerous individual muscle fibers that are organized into bundles called fascicles. These muscle fibers are capable of contracting and relaxing, generating force and producing movement.
When the body needs to exert force or perform a movement, the nervous system sends signals to specific muscles, initiating the contraction of the corresponding muscle fibers. The number of muscle fibers that are activated and the intensity of their contraction depend on the force requirements and the desired movement. This process is known as motor unit recruitment.
Muscle interpolation also involves the coordination of muscles and muscle groups. Different muscles within a particular region of the body often work in synergy to achieve a specific movement. For example, during a bicep curl exercise, the biceps muscles in the upper arm contract to flex the elbow joint, while the opposing triceps muscles relax.
Additionally, muscles can adapt and adjust their strength and structural integrity over time in response to physical training and demands. Through regular exercise and progressive overload, muscles undergo hypertrophy, which is an increase in muscle fiber size and overall muscle mass. This adaptation allows muscles to become stronger and better equipped to handle increased loads and stresses.
In summary, muscle interpolation in the human body involves the recruitment and activation of specific muscle fibers to generate force and produce movement. It also entails the coordination of different muscles to achieve desired actions. Through training and adaptation, muscles can enhance their structural integrity and strength, providing the necessary support for the body's various activities.
Share your experiences!
Use the comment section below to share how you make this practice work for you!
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