Alignment

Discussion in 'Dog Brothers Martial Arts' started by Crafty Dog, Nov 6, 2009.

  1. Crafty Dog

    Crafty Dog Active Member

    Alignment
    by Crafty Dog
    (c) Marc Denny

    DBMA has as its mission statement "Walk as a Warrior for all your days". To this
    end, we have "The Three Fs": Fun, Fit, and Functional. By this we mean that a)
    the Art should be fun to train b) it should promote Fitness, and Health c) It should
    be Functional-- it should work.

    This point about Fitness and Health is also made by one of my teachers, GM Myung
    Gyi, who speaks of The Three Hs": Hurting, Healing, and Harmonizing". By this
    he means that we come to the Art seeking to learn how to Hurt. By so doing, we
    accumulate injuries, and must learn to Heal them lest we and our comrades be reduced
    in our capabilities, and by learning to Heal we learn Empathy and thus learn to
    live a more harmonious life.

    In DBMA we integrate the concept of The Three Hs into our curriculum. In other
    words, there are portions of our curriculum which are not directly about Fighting,
    but are about Fitness, Health and Healing-- as well as Harmonizing.

    As some of you may know, in 1992 I had a terrible knee injury wherein my ACL, PCL
    and Lateral Collateral Ligaments were all snapped in half due to a horribly misapplied
    throw by a training partner. It took three surgeries over the course of many months
    to replace these ligaments and during this time many muscles atrophied dramatically
    which resulted in tremendous misalignment of my posture. Thus, as I returned to
    training and fighting, many other injuries both small and large occurred.

    Of necessity, I became extremely interested in matters having to due with postural
    alignment and over time through research, investigation and experimentation, I developed
    a body of principles which I call "The Self Help Principles". Although in their
    development I ran them by experts in many fields to favorable reviews, please understand
    that I have absolutely no credentials in these matters and offer them only as what
    works for me. As always in anything having to do with my teaching, for reasons of
    legal liability I am Dog Brothers Inc and only you are responsible for you-- no
    suing no one for no reason for nothing no how no way.

    The first principle is the importance of postural alignment. When our posture is
    bad, certain parts of our body become overloaded. As such they wear out more quickly
    and are more susceptible to injury.

    So the first question becomes "How can we tell if we are in alignment?"

    It will be helpful if you have a training partner to observe you from the side.

    Stand in front of a full length mirror with your eyes closed. Open them and move
    nothing.

    The first thing to notice is your feet. They should be directly under your hip
    socket and evenly weighted. They should be parallel. Many/most people will have
    one or both feet pointed outwards to some degree. This is a sign of imbalance between
    the external rotators (e.g. the piriformis) and the internal rotators (e.g. the
    adductor complex) of the femur. Typically this correlates with pressure at the
    sacrum (where the spine and the pelvis meet)

    The second thing is to notice whether your hips are level or tilt forward. If your
    training partner lacks the eye to discern this, a simple indicator is whether your
    belly has a tendency to protrude (no matter how much ab work you may do) This is
    a sign of tight hip flexors (psoas, ilio, and quads) and typically it correlates
    with a tight/achy lower back

    The third thing to notice is whether your thumbs point straight forward (parallel)
    or inwards. They should be parallel. If they are inwards, there is an issue with
    the shoulder being internally rotated/collapsed. This correlates with shortened
    pec minor and overextended external rotators of shoulder (e.g. teres minor). This
    often correlates with an irritated bicep tendon under the front deltoid muscle of
    the shoulder.

    The fourth thing to notice is the position of the ears in relation to the shoulders.
    Your partner should see that your ears are directly above your shoulders-- the
    seam of your t-shirt is a good indicator of exactly where. With many people the
    ears are forward of the shoulders. This correlates with a tight neck and trapezius
    muscles-- and the solution is not to be found in the neck.

    To put things right requires a synergistic series of exercises. The muscular skeletal
    system is a magnificent creation in tensegrity and to put things right requires
    an understanding of how to restore function to a state of complementary opposites.

    But that is another subject for another time and place.

    The Adventure continues!
    Guro Crafty
     
  2. gagimilo

    gagimilo Member

    Good point you're bringing across here. The whole fit/health/therapeutic segment is nowadays the main reason I train in Russian systema. I mean when I first started it 9 years ago, I was more into the combative aspect, but very quickly I found out that its training methods actually helped me fix many of my previous injuries and developed my proprioception to a level where I am constantly aware of whether my body is in the optimal positin for the task at hand, or not.
    Hence, I use some of those priniciples in my FMA training as well... Btw, I really like your 3F approach and try to make mine follow the same guidelines.
     
  3. Crafty Dog

    Crafty Dog Active Member

    The last few weeks my right hip has been giving me trouble and I am having to return to this material with a vengeance.
     
  4. Crafty Dog

    Crafty Dog Active Member

    I've been focusing on strength work the last couple of months. I tend to organize my work in this regard by the joint in question e.g. the muscles that move the humerus i.e. the shoulder joint.

    Defined thusly, many movements which are considered back movements (e.g. pulldowns) are part of the workout.

    This week I stumbled on a pairing which I liked a lot. Certainly under this concept it is obvious to pair overhead presses (I prefer dumbbells to bar) with pull down motions. What I did differently this time was to apply a concept I learned from Chris Gizzi for activating/aligning the scapula.

    Instead of doing a seated regular press I set the backrest of the seat bench at a slight angle from perpendicular and faced so that my front was resting on the backrest and did my set of dumbbell presses with a distinctly light weight. Each set I increased the intensity not by increasing the weight, but by lowering the back rest a click or two towards horizontal. Very subtle! Very effective!
     
  5. Crafty Dog

    Crafty Dog Active Member

    Before and after I travel I have some particular routines that I do to minimize the consequences for my hip and lower back of spending many hours in an airplane seat (Europe is usually 12-14 hours each way from Los Angeles, but even a day of domestic travel is challenging as we get older)

    My routine usually has some variation of the following:
    *Romanian dead lifts
    *ham string curls
    *adducter machines and/or silat sweeps for reps
    *dolphins
    *core/ab work
    *thoracic activations (e.g. see last paragraph of my previous post) and related motions to seat the scapula
    *external rotation of the shoulder joint
     

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