This is probably more relevant to those of my readers who live in Melbourne.
As probably comes as no surprise, I’m running body-postive classes. You often see martial arts advertised with some sort of weight-loss propaganda thrown in for good measure. It is important to me – in a culture that ‘encourages’ us to be thinner all the damn time – that we have safe spaces for training, where we are not constantly pressured to look different. And of course, the point of martial arts training is not to lose weight. The point depends on you, really – but commonly people train for skills and sporting excellence, for confidence, and to learn practical methods of self-defence.
Hence, martial arts is all about not expending energy – whereas so much modern gym training is all about expending energy and exhausting yourself. The way to get better at effortless movement, is to practice effortless movement.
But it’s a mixed bag. Of course there’s a place for strength training and cardiovascular conditioning, because if you’re strong, and if you have the capacity to endure, you maximise your potential for competitive success and sporting excellence. Also, you maximise your potential to overcome a powerful adversary.
So most traditional martial arts will include a range of practices to teach sensitivity and efficiency, and also to get you strong, supple and well conditioned.
The thing is, we’re used to – these days – going to the gym and training inefficient movement patterns because we’ve prioritised exhausting ourselves over the development of skills, self-knowledge, efficiency, strength, flexibility, and patience.
Anyway. Rant over!
So I have a martial arts school now. Some of you might remember that Silverback Physical Culture was something I was trying to start up a while ago, but the whole thing was laboured, and it didn’t seem to actually be the right direction for me. I’m not making online training programs any time soon – how do you make personalised programs that way? How do you help people start to train intuitively, for satisfaction? Maybe through some slightly different format or avenue, Silverback can become something else, at some other time. The cookie-cutter approach doesn’t work for me so well, I prefer working with people, and so proper martial arts classes – they’ve been in the pipeline for some time, and I’m happy for it all to be coming together now.
Please feel free to check it out: Song Mountain Wushu.