The Ground

The ground is where we live, work and play. It is always there, like gravity, so a goal of training is to learn to use it to our best advantage. The role of the ground in movement is something martial arts practitioners have understood for thousands of years. A Tai Chi instructor summed it up best:
Rooted in the feet
Powered by the core
Reflected by the arms
Manifested in the hands
Movement begins at the ground. Everything is expressed from the ground upward; consequently all movement is a reflection of the quality of being rooted. The natural analogy of the tree is particularly appropriate. The size and strength of the trunk are not ultimately what determines the strength of the tree; it is the root structure. As we proceed down the functional path to build our complete athlete keep this analogy in mind. The athlete is built from the ground up. How force is imparted into the ground and the subsequent ground reaction go a long way to determine the quality of the athlete’s performance. The ability to use the ground effectively plays a significant role in injury prevention and rehabilitation.


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At 9/14/05, 1:54 PM, Blogger IssaquahDan said...

Vern, As one of your students and one who teaches and preaches functional training I whole heartedly agree. I like the analogy with the tree. Another analogy to emphasize the importance of our contact with the ground and it's affect on our ability to perform is " you can't fire a cannon from a canoe" When speaking to parents, coaches athletes I use that one and also have them think about how hard could they throw standing on ice? Love your stuff keep it coming.

At 9/14/05, 2:46 PM, Blogger Joe P. said...

We can't forget that what goes on in the upper extermity can enhance or detract what happens on the ground.
Detract: A hypertonic thoracic spine causing gastroc/soleus strains.
Enhance: As she fatigued, Deena Kastor's tremendous upper body power pulling her to a medal in the Olympic marathon.


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