Movement training in Martial Arts and its benefits

MMA fighters have been adapting movement training the last couple of years a lot more, most notably Conor Mcgregor from the UFC who has been implementing movement training into his workouts.

 “I’ve always been fascinated by movement, and I’ve always looked at people who can move in unusual ways. I don’t just see them as people who have control of their bodies and control of their frame, but control of their mind,”

Conor Mcgregor

Many MMA fighters believe it’s a faze, but movement training has been in the Martial Arts for thousands of years which incorporates awareness,fluidity,mobility, range of motion, precision and so much more. By training movement it free’s the body to move more effectively.

Movement is natural, we all move, as Children we all crawled, twisted, jumped, climbed, squatted etc which helped us develop body awareness, balance, strength , coordination and so many other benefits. Our body is made to function like this but as we get older we are told to sit down at our chairs at School which makes people move less and less. With School plus TV,computers and cell phones to distract at home, we then end up sitting even more and because of this it is making our joints stiff,muscles weak and our coordination diminishes greatly. People worry more about how well their car is functioning than their own body. Movement training in my opinion helps us live life fully.

When you develop a close relationship with your body you actually become more calm in your mind as well. The mind and body are more connected than we realise. We are so stuck in our minds that we forget about our meat vehicle. I’m sure you’ll find that if you’re sore and have aches and pains it greatly affects your mood, they way you react to people, your sleep and so much more. Movement training also helps us connect to nature again. This might sound strange at first but it brings us back to a primal kind of state and lets us rediscover how our ancestors would have moved back in hunter-gather societies.

We see and hear of a lot about movement training with Shaolin Monks, Spartans etc but not so much in other Traditional Arts anymore. Bodhidharma laid the foundations for Shaolin Kung Fu by developing a set of exercises for the Monks as they were weak from sitting and meditating for long hours everyday.

I have cross trained in a lot of Traditional Martial Arts for nearly 20 years and i’m amazed at how immobile a lot of the Teachers and Students are. They don’t tend to branch out and adapt new training routines that aren’t part of the curriculum. I’ve noticed that when I am talking to Traditional Martial Artists,  so many tend to think it’s stupid and won’t train movement exercises, as if it would benefit them greatly! A huge majority of Traditional Martial Artists can barely touch their toes and go into a comfortable squat position and can’t even move without pain. It seems there is some form of toughness in Traditional Martial Arts that you must go through, to push through the pain as it will make your mind tough, but all this does is lead to destroyed bodies that have limited range of motion and flexibility. I have thought in this way as well for far too long and realised it was not benefiting me at all, which lead me to Movement Culture and Stretch Therapy so I could heal my body and become more aware of my own body and mind.

By Julian Burns-Brenssell

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