Friday, March 11, 2005


One can tell a lot about a person by their posture. Posture is an outward expression of personality and mood. For many of us, myself included, many elements of posture are unconcious. I often catch myself with tension in my shoulders, or in some hunched over position, as if I am expecting the sky to fall upon me. Likewise, we adopt a "verbal posture" with the tone and volume of our voice, and our facial expression has its own posture of sorts. Of course, we are all familiar with being threatened by some badass walking down the street, walking "the walk".

In martial arts training, over time people develop characteristics through habitual training that can be seen in the way they walk. I was noticing this last night as I watched a guy walk into a local dojo. He has a posture that is a result of his training.

As martial arts students we need to become aware of subtle postural details of our opponents. A master can actually influence another person's posture with their own and defeat an opponent without even touching them. This sort of thing happens to us all the time in everyday life, but we don't usually recognize it. When we see a certain person, we immediately feel and react to their posture. We may become tense, or we may be put at ease. So the master senses the intent of an attack before it occurs and is able to interact with this energy to dissipate or redirect it before the attack has even taken place physically.


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