September 2021 Fort Worth Intensive

In September 2021 Dr. John Stewart hosted 4 sessions for IntentionFist members in Fort Worth, Texas. We had a great day putting different 'hands on the elephant' as I like to say

with a diverse program that included group energy work, developing vertical linkages, ground & bag work.

This article is a brief summary of the event with links to clips that were captured during the session. Ideally this will serve as a refresh for attendees and allow folks who were not able to attend to benefit from the teachings as well. Feedback from all participants, in person, virtual or otherwise is very much appreciated as I work to maximize the benefits all of the participants realize from these seminars/intensives.

I would also like to give a special shout out to my friend and teacher, Dr. Michael Tran who was kind enough to make the long drive down with his wife. It was great to catch up over some spicy Cajun food and its great to be training together again!

Jammin Jong

We began the day at Dr. John's Saginaw office to focus on energy work for the first session.

In my experience, doing energy work as a group can be very beneficial. Each person generates an energy field. When in close proximity those fields will influence each other. When done with the right vibe the participant's can experience a magnified energetic feelings that would likely be more difficult to induce on one's own.

After circling up I introduced Yi Chuan as a martial art, providing

some basic demonstrations of how Integrated Strength changes self-defense then spoke to the purpose of the session, energy work.

While they don't necessarily jump out at you, the Yin aspects of Yi Chuan training are equally as fascinating and useful as the Yang. The ability to use the oneness state to 'listen' to the environment, to your your opponent and to yourself at the same time allows us to be present in the situation rather than plotting. Listening is not a passive act, it requires presence and focus like try to understand a faint conversation through a closed door.

My approach with the whole day was to put 'hands on different parts of elephant'. I think it is important to recognize that Integrated Strength can be approached from many angles. Health restoration, exercise & self-defense are huge categories in and of themselves. Diving into the various modalities and specialties within those categories exposes more than a few ways to skin the proverbial cat.

During the session we created an imaginary ball in our circle, and, through our intent, feelized lifting, propping, pushing, pulling, pressing in between grounding & clearing.

With each participant, even the virtual ones, I took a moment to stimulate their fields leading to some interesting energetic reactions and experiences.

Earth & Sky

For session two we moved to Dr. John's Fort Worth office for a bit of a leg burner. Our focus was the Earth & Sky exercise that I have modified to highlight a number of over-looked aspects of moving with Integrated Strength.

Unfortunately the session did not record, so I have no clips to share from it. However, the Earth & Sky will give you a good refresh of the content while Hump Day Hump & Morning Coffee incorporate the exercise in each session. Next week I will be conducting a live session deep dive into Earth & Sky so please RSVP if you would like to join in real time, ask questions and get some feedback.

For Discover Yi Chuan members Earth & Sky is a critical exercises that should be focused on, at least for a period. There are several reasons for this:

First, the exercise is a microcosm of the entire method. Its all there. Each element of the new movement habit is laid bare, with a focus on activating the 'mother' or vertical linkage. Consummating the connection between sky & earth or up & down if you prefer is what allows for Integrated Strength to appear and is a precursor to being able to vector IS non-vertically.

Second, the exercise serves as a reference point for future work....not sure how there is stepping in standing? This exercise will show you. Not sure how you could get leverage from that angle? Lets go back to Earth & Sky to find out. Want to analyze explosives strength? Earth & Sky.

Third, it opens the kwa and wakes up your legs. As some of you have now learned our relationship with gravity needs attention. The way I used to stand now seems like I was standing on stilts my awareness and energetic penetration of the ground was so poor. Changing our polarity so we plug into the Earth rather than stand on it changes everything.

During the session we reviewed the body mechanics in (excruciating?) detail and then used two contrasting Feelizations to create very different experiences with the same exercise. Specifically we used 'the hay bale' to get one experience of the route and 'the wet suit' to experience the other.

When tossing a hay bale the need to project the weight of the bale beyond ones person requires an acceleration of its mass with our internal orbit while clinginess of the wetsuit has us using the same body mechanic to 'choke-up' on the strength, overlapping with each undulation.

We also looked at how the entire exercise performed in either direction is an expression of strength at any point. I used the 'thousand pound drop' as an example allowing each participant feel how the pulling down of the sky incorporated by entire body even thought the strength was expressed from my elbow.

Perhaps one of the participants will volunteer a description of their experience with the 1,000 lb. drop?

RSVP for the LIVE Earth & Sky Deep Dive Here

Pounding Ground

Session 3 brought us back to Dr. John's house where we had a soft floor and reflex bags set up.

Pounding Ground is an introduction to groundwork that I am excited to put out there. While I have obviously been influenced by my background in Aikijutsu, I personally find groundwork a very useful and rewarding way to spend my practice time. Most evenings these days you will find me on the thick carpet rolling, twisting and stretching my frame, experiencing new shapes and orientations while confronting limits, adhesions, pain and numbness. My hope is that many more of you discover the value of developing Integrated Strength through groundwork.

One of the top reasons is that groundwork is a great contrast to standing training and serves as an excellent second hand on the elephant. There are a lot of differences. When standing the legs are under load, not so when doing ground work where its more likely the arms will take the load. The root is no longer below the feet, gravity compresses the body differently and bits that were used to engage the opponents are now tied up with locomotion.

Consider how much emphasis groundwork puts on the core. You know, that thing we used to call the dantien, that special place in the middle that acts like a skyscraper counterweight, where we tie our belts. The demands put on our core during groundwork are FANTASTIC for discovering more torque in locomotion that can be applied to the opponent instead, standing, sitting or lying down.