Thursday, May 22, 2008

Rudolf Laban on the wrist releases


Laban’s principles of human motion:

  • side-to-side motion implies (or facilitates or is accompanied by) forward-backward motion, creating motion in a horizontal plane.
  • forward-backward motion implies up-and-down motion, creating motion in a saggital plane.
  • up-and-down motion implies side-to-side motion, creating motion in a frontal plane
So, pure planar motion does not exist in the context of the human body. Any time someone is moving or exerting force along any plane there are also interesting interactions going on in the other 2 orthogonal planes. Essentially all human motion is a form of spiral.
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Where this has popped up lately in the release followups. The chains are about synchonizing tori's wave-like motions with those of uke. Release#1 is, on the surface, mostly about synchronizing with uke’s left-right motion whereas Release#2 is mostly about synchronizing with uke’s up-down motion.

But Laban’s principles suggest that, for instance, in release#1, in order for uke to have a left-right motion in his body he has to also have a forward-backward motion, which in turn, implies an up-down motion. So in any of the releases we’re learning this 3-dimensional, wave-like, spiral synchronization even though one waveform might be more prominent or obvious.

As an exercise it might be interesting to extend Laban’s principles to other dimensions of waveform motion in the human body – to dimensions like otoshi-guruma or hineri-gaeshi or toward-away. I’ll have to think on that one for a bit…

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