Natural movement within the Martial Arts

Written by Pete. Posted in Black Belt Research Project 2013

Basingstoke gym club, gymnastics, team gym, martial arts, flexibility, strength, kung fu, basingstoke, martial arts for adultsGrading project 2013 by Peter Syckelmoore

My project involves 5 topics which involves

1 – What is Natural movement and how can it be developed

2 – Many systems of martial arts base their movements on animals (preying mantis, monkey, crane, snake etc) Why do they do this

3 – What can we learn from studying animals hunting/being hunted

4 – For many people learning a martial art, involves someone teaching them to learn unnatural movements is this a contradiction.

5 – During 2013 write training diary identifying strengths and weaknesses in training along with plans and actions to develop and improve upon weak areas.



I am very enthusiastic about this project and feel there is many ways this project could be looked at, in short I would say that one of the crucial points of this project is efficiency.

By this I mean to generate the maximum necessary force while using the minimum amount of energy for a given situation, which is what we strive to learn in martial arts.

In nature all living things have evolved to adapt to their dangerous environments to survive and have naturally developed efficient ways to defend themselves, feed and reproduce (each animal has weird and wonderful successful methods which have helped their species to survive millions/billions of years.)

As humans I feel many have lost this natural ability to be able to survive or defend are self’s effectively in harsh wild conditions because of the cushioned boxed in lifestyle that we now live in, untrained humans are often clumsy scared and unable to defend themselves effectively because they have not had to deal with this in their everyday life’s (if at all), so it has become unnatural to them meaning that they are not ready to act or know what to do when a situation arises.

By doing martial arts we train are body and mind to be ready for possible threats we may be subject to in the outside world so that we can avoid injury/humiliation or death in the worst circumstances.

Topic 1

I will use the following 7 natural movements some being natural reactions others untrained responses to threats upon us sometimes seen by children and adults alike.

  1. Pulling back of hand when pain is felt from a burning stove,
  2. Curling up in featal position if on ground getting pummelled by thugs (protecting major organs)
  3. Sprinting for your life
  4. Gripping onto stationery objects and not letting go, many parents have probably had problems trying to move their children when the child doesn’t want to.
  5. Tensing muscles, making oneself feel heavy especially for others to lift up
  6. Relaxing muscles, going limp like a rag doll
  7. Scratching and poking vital spots on the face
  8. I will be practicing the following in the dojo and anylse how I use them to help develop the effectiveness of my martial art skills

Topic 2+3

of this project is all about getting ideas from successful wild animals and adapting them to provide effective attacks and defences we can use, this I feel could be difficult as we cannot copy exactly what a lot of animals do as we lack the same body structure (muscles/skeleton) to mirror their movements not to mention the advantages they have from venom and dagger like claws and teeth.

Luckily we have you tube where I will be able to pick up the basics from martial arts using these styles which have been adapted to suit movements which work for us, ill also be able to study animal hunting strategies for myself to put into practice and use successful ways to avoid being victim to hunters attacks.

Topic 4

I currently think that its not a contradiction that we get taught unnatural movements when we do martial arts because in self defence we have to learn different ways to defend ourselves under the law so we can’t always do the natural thing of strangling or clawing out peoples eyes unless we want to get ourselves in a lot of trouble (unless of course the threat before us is life threatening).

I’ll begin this project by trying to prove why its not a contradiction that we learn unnatural movements in martial arts and also look at how I could argue (in less detail) the other way as well.

I feel I will have to give myself a strict timetable and set of rules so I do not go too far off the subjects I have been given.


My research will be done by

Giving a written explanation on each topic using my own feeling on the matter

State opinions on reference’s from an article/video on the internet or other sources (including you tube clips)

Writing down finding after training sessions,

Practice the topics I have been given in the dojo, seeing if they work for me under different circumstances (kumite/self defence)


To prove my research I will be

Using video evidence to showing the practical changes I am making throughout the year kata/ kumite/ self defence.

Compare my theory work to proved in depth research on the matter.

Practice the topics I have been given in the dojo, making them work for me under different circumstances (kumite/self defence) Analyse the following saying why they worked for me or not.


I’ll present my finding by

Printing off word documents of my work when they are due in

Talking to my sensei and training buddies about the topics what I have found, do they agree.

Download cam recorder videos of my training onto laptop to show on big screen.

For each topic I’ll decide what I’ll include in my 60 minute seminar at the end of the year


Project timetable

Take two months researching each section of my project 1-4

Section 5 will be done through out the year involving a training diary where I will give reviews of my progress and findings alongside topics 1-4


Prepare initial briefing + (5)












Preparing Short summary of findings and 60 minute session plan


Topic 5:

During 2013 write training diary identifying strengths and weaknesses in training along with plans and actions to develop and improve upon weak areas.

The following shows a Brief explanation on my strengths and weaknesses, as my project progresses I will go into detail on my specific strengths and weaknesses in martial art topics/movements involving changes made to different katas, kumite and self defence using the Feet, Posture, Mind, Breath, Power, Wedge, Spiral principles

Identifying weaknesses of the body:

Stiffness in shoulders

stretch upper body every day and be tested every 2 months on different upper body stretching exercises to discover any improvements

Get sports massages

sink chest lower and relax upper body make this a regular occurrence in training

Identifying strengths of the body:

Flexibility in legs

I don’t really need to improve my leg flexibility but I will keep a record to make sure I maintain it to make sure that I don’t loose this as one of my strengths

Maintain Core strength and balance

Identifying weaknesses of the Mind:

Slow at processing information:

it takes a lot of concentration for me to grasp new things and to make changes to habits.

Identifying strengths of the Mind

I have learned to be hardworking and dedicated to the things I want to learn to help not let my weakness hold me back in this area, I make sure I practice new movements a high number of times and always perform and practice techniques towards perfection


Training diary statement 2013:

For my training throughout this year I will strive to

Learn something new or change something for the better every session

Listen to my sensei and keep working towards the changes he asks of me, keep reminding myself of what they are, and not wait to keep being told as this will just slow down progress lead to bad habits and slow progress.

Not allowing myself to practise badly (minimise bad habits)

Always strive to perform and practice techniques towards perfection

Work hard never give up no matter what.


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