Monday, April 23, 2007

Stiff separators and contractile connectors

So, what is all this hoopla about posture? ‘Good’ posture is not an aesthetic judgment but a functional thing. We worry over posture in minute detail because it has been made evident to us by the masters of the art that minute variations in posture change our movement and the results of our efforts in rather large ways.
Consider this. Bones and muscles are vastly different in structure and behavior. Bones are stiff separators while muscles are contractile connectors. Therefore, they must be different in function – they are designed to be used for different things. In proper posture, bones are used as separators (i.e. to keep our center of mass off the ground) and muscles are used to move us around. In improper posture, muscles are used to keep us off the ground, and are therefore less free to move us around. Thus, broken posture renders us less mobile. I noticed this phenomenon recently when my butt rocks back out from under me during a tension moment. Because of the break in my posture, it takes longer to get back in order and change directions.
So, how to fix this? Being more rigidly upright is apparently not the answer, and trying to get the shoulders back over hips is not the answer because the shoulders are constrained by being hooked to uke, ao placement of the feet must be part of it. My two tacks that I’m going to be working on are :
  • Put the weightbearing foot behind the butt in roughly a straight line from foot through center to shoulders. So, the posture will have an element of ‘straightness’ and bones will act properly as separators, even though the line will not be vertical.
  • Take smaller steps so that hips rock less. This will make the line in the previous exercise more vertical.

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