On the wall in our martial arts centre in Basingstoke facing the students when they train is a list of 8 words, these 8 words represent the 8 principles that we need to fully understand to make our Martial Arts work.
The first of these words is ‘Feet’. Our feet is our contact to the ground that we stand on and the pressure of our feet to the floor is what gives us the power and energy to stand upright and move around. Most people usually do this mindlessly not realising that the skill as a Martial Artist starts at this point. Each part of the foot can engage a myofascial chain up the leg, which in turn engages the body core to power the torso and arms through to the hands.
To engage the feet properly we must first stop balancing the body on the skeleton and suspend most of the body weight into the ‘body suit’ of myofascia. To do this we have to soften and connect the body core from the head down to the feet and enhance this by disengaging the joints upwards. As we then gently spiral in the feet we can feel the myofascial chains connecting upwards.
The balls of the feet engage up through the front of the thighs, the outer edges the sides of the legs, the heels the backs of the legs and the insides of the feet up the insides of the legs. All of these connect into the large muscles of the deep waist and around the spine Which can be manipulated in a highly complex and variable manner to add power up into the chest, upper back and shoulders and out through the arms to the hands.
On contact with the opponent the hands work in exactly the same manner back down to the feet. The thumb side of the hands connect through the chest, the little finger side through the back, the heel of the hand through the underside and the upper or ‘ball’ of the hand through the forearm, the disengaging and opening of the shoulder, elbow and wrist joints and spiralling motion out through the hands whether balled or open, connects to the spiralling in the feet through the body core and legs.
The arches of the feet will pump energy as you soften, loosen and pulse from the feet, the spiralling action of the feet will bow the legs, opening the hip joints, lengthening and opening the spine, sending energy to the joining of the bowing of the lower and upper back and neck to enhance this flow out through the bowing of the chest, back and arms to the cupping in the palms of the hands.
In this way we are connecting, rooting, stabilising and empowering the entire body from extremity to extremity. The harmony and manipulation of upper and lower body feed each other to multiply power and animation.