Monday, 5 October 2009

Basic movement patterns


It's just occurred to me that I may have a way of expressing my view that there are basic movement patterns to each sport and activity. Consequently by learning these basic patterns we'd find all sports and activities easier and achieve higher skill levels sooner.

That's obviously a big ask but I got inspired whilst watching a bruce lee dvd boxset and subsequently playing tennis today and last week. I've been able to combine some of the basic movement patterns from martial arts that work the core of the body into my tennis strokes. By doing this I have much more power and accuracy yet feel far less tired.

Over time I want to explain how this was possible and how using the concepts of jeet kune do in tennis can improve your game. It reflects how I learn and improve so it complements my passion for learning.

The main focus in this is that by finding basic patterns I can then ensure I train myself and those I coach in these areas in the knowledge that we're getting maximum benefit for the work we're putting in. The idea really started taking shape when watching the extras on the bruce lee dvd set. Dan Inosanto explained that each martial art movement can generally be understood by considering the implement or weapon it was designed for. It surprised me to see that the bobbing and weaving we've come to expect in boxing actually came from copying asian fighters trained to use knives rather than fists. This style encourages more movement.

I then thought it might be fun to see what this philosophy could achieve when focused on tennis. Could I use the philosophies of Jeet kune do and martial arts as a whole, as a philosophy of movement and incorporate tennis into this philosophy.

My first experiments on this have worked really well. I've found my power is now coming from my core and my legs instead of my shoulders. Specifically I've moved to planting my back foot and pushing through it. At first consciously but now it's just reflex. The arms and shoulders are left to provide control and spin. Much like a high performance car gets its power from the rear wheels and control from its front.

I've also found that I have much more time to focus on maintaining balance. Good balance is always the key to good technique so it's really starting to help my whole game.

Another aspect I really want to look into is my mental approach. Bruce lee explains how he centres his chi to bring his powers under control. I understand this as focusing his mind to be relax yet alrert. Right now I have a tendency to get excited and rush a shot when I try for power. I know timing and relaxation are fundamental to power and speed so I want to learn what martial arts has to offer in this regard.
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