This year we are discussing the Book of Martial Power (BOMP) on Saturdays.
Some years back, one of my teachers was showing us some grip-switching drills to show us how to give up a grip that was going bad, allowing us to replace it with a better grip as we kept flowing. He was explaining that these ways of moving were more "natural" than the way I had been moving.
I did the exercises, and I got better at flowing and grip-switching during randori, but I never really figured out how the new motions were more natural than the old ones. Sure, it was better motion (for our purposes) but more natural?
Pearlman gives two definitions of Natural Motion in the beginning of this chapter. I finally realized that I had been working off of definition #1 (instinctive, untrained) and the instructor was working off of definition #2 (conforming to a large degree to the body's way of moving.). Neither definition is wrong, but this is a classic example of teacher-student misunderstanding.
Pearlman makes use of a great example of what I call The Cowcatcher. But he also makes a point that just floored me when I read it. "We ultimately do not train for hours upon hours so that we can fight as if untrained."
Wow! Why does such simple, self-obvious truth take me by such surprise?
We don't train for years to move more naturally (per def'n #1), but rather, to move more naturally (per def'n #2).
I don't think that I can state it any better than the last paragraph or so of the chapter...
As martial artists, we must concern ourselves with exercising the intrinsic power of the body, mind, and spirit - the "natural." Yet, intrinsic power does not refer to what is common; it refers to the ways in which a human being is anatomically , mentally, and spiritually powerful. In short, we must seek the "natural action" of the human being, not in terms of the most common action or the initial action, but the deepest inherent connection to power.
[photo courtesy of Giarose]