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 UTF  FUNDAMENTALS OF MOVEMENT AND ALIGNMENT

the “what” and “why” list   (7-17-07)

 

Whenever possible:

1. Use your center to begin and receive all force.

     a)  reduces the possibility of straining your muscles, joints and back,

     b)  provides the most acceleration and fastest finishes,

     c)  reduces “telegraphing” your techniques to your opponent,

     d)  keeps your upper body relaxed,

     e)  increases your stability against shoves and pulls,

     f)  keeps your own movements and techniques from actively unbalancing you,

     g)  permits your techniques to be delivered successfully from any position.

 

2.  Train your awareness skills along with your body skills.

     a)  speeds up learning and raises your performance level when your conscious mind, nonconscious mind, and body are trained as a single unit,

     b)  improves seeing the bigger picture and thereby helps you make better decisions,

     c)  decreases your response time,

     d)  speeds your learning when the conscious mind is kept in a state of quiet, non-judgmental observation,

     e)  decreases the likelihood that unawareness will become a habit.

 

3.  Keep your upper body in a relaxed upright posture, rather than leaning, tilting or bending.

     a)  makes it easier to keep your center focus to maintain equilibrium and begin movements,

     b)  provides the most freedom of motion,

     c)  exposes the fewest target areas,

     d)  increases your available power due to better muscle alignment,

     e)  maximizes available tools,

     f)  allows more acceleration since there is less tension when your muscles don’t have to hold your body at an angle.

 

4.  Maintain your weight centered on the balls of your feet.

     a)  increases your balance and stability when changing position compared to heel/toe shifting,

     b)  prevents backward imbalance and decreases the time it takes your to recover,

     c)  increases adaptability since the ankle joint adds more degrees of motion and impact absorption,

     d)  increases your joint safety since the smaller pivot area reduces the amount of torque going to your ankles, knees and hips when you move and turn.

 

5.  Relax your knees.

     a)  keeps your travel motion horizontal, making motions quicker and less work than going up and down over an unflexing knee.

     b)  improves your stability when moving over an uneven or shifting surface.

 

6.  Place your foot and shift your weight to it, to maintain foot/knee/hip alignment.

     a)  reduces strain on your knee ligaments,

     b)  allows maximum safe power transfer for moving, pushing and jumping,

     c)  reduces muscle work since supporting your weight is transferred to your tendons.

 

7.  Use low stances, for training.

     a)  increases your stability (lower center of mass),

     b)  increases your range of reach (longer steps possible),

     c)  encourages the use of your center to move yourself (rather than leaning),

     d)  improves your flexibility (from dynamic stretching),

     e)  develops your leg strength simultaneously with other training,

     f)  protects your knees (safer bent than straight when hit),

     g)  makes possible “telegraph-free” jumping  (no need to dip down first).

 

8.  Spiral your body turns around your center, instead of block turning around one foot.

     a)  speeds up starting motion since less of your mass needs to be moved at one time,

     b)  reduces effort needed to stop since there is less of your mass moving at any one instant,

     c)  improves stability since your body’s center is the axis of your turning body rather than your body pivoting around your off-center foot,

     d)  reduces tendency to turn too far, since your body is turning on itself and not being pulled around by your tool’s motion,

     e)  increases joint safety since spiraling flows power rather than the jerk of a one-piece start,

     f)  reduces body tension since your body is not trying to hold itself rigid as one piece,

     g)  allows you to see what is going on sooner since the head turns first.

 

9.  Relax and align from your center when performing hand techniques.

     a)  increases your acceleration and power since larger, central muscles start the motion,

     b)  reduces exposure of your body targets since relaxed arms stay closer to your body,

     c)  provides more counter-mass resulting in increased, and more stable, force generation,

     d)  provides better support to your shoulder and elbow joints thereby reducing injuries.

 

10.  Protect (and move within) your vertical center-line.

     a) develops self-protection habit first rather than solely focusing on the incoming technique,

     b)  increases your awareness and control of boundaries,

     c)  reduces exposure of body targets compared to reaching out to stop opponent’s technique,

     d)  provides less opportunity for you to be grabbed and/or pulled off balance,

     e)  increases your power since your techniques are projected from your center rather than from your side.

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