The Formation of Technique - Natural Movement Self-Improvement
In this foundational training approach of the MovNat system, we learn to focus on key elements that can apply broadly to any skill and allow us to systematically refine the efficiency of our performance. In MovNat we look at training from the perspective of reintegrating and refining human movements, and these focal points are how we go about this.
There are numerous aspects to training and development, but when it comes to training skills, it all begins with forming your technique. Think of forming your technique like you would mold a piece of malleable clay. You shape it with the type of force you apply to it and the patterns that you use to develop your creation, you smooth out imperfections until what was in your mind has been created with your own hands.
In the same way, when you train to develop movement skills, you are using gravity, your environment, and the imposed adaptations you have to make in each movement as the hands that mold the clay. The pattern of movement like a jump, a crawl, running, climbing a tree, throwing is the clay that is being shaped.
MovNat is not just a list of skills you should be able to do as a human and a directive to go do it. One of the main things that makes MovNat special is the approach to forming your technique. These are progressive concepts for you to focus on at different stages of your development. They are universally applicable to every movement skill.
What we call a technique is a movement pattern that is effective in performance (i.e; jumping over a gap), while maintaining awareness, ensuring safety, and efficiently conserving energy to avoid wasteful inefficiencies in its execution.
The development of good technique requires proper position, breathing, sequence & timing, As well as appropriate tension & relaxation. In the MovNat system, we start by emphasizing position & breathing.
Position & Breathing
Position is concerned with the proper form of each skill, including the beginning position, the end position and any major checkpoints in between. This begins to eliminate unnecessary movements and compensations.
Breathing is about making sure that your breathing is properly synchronized with your movement. Proper breathing can stabilize your core when lifting, help reduce the impact when rolling, and better coordinate the force of a jump, for example. The general rule with non-rhythmic movements is the exhale when generating sudden force. Breathing correctly is an important element of injury prevention.
Once a practitioner has spent some time developing position & breathing in a certain technique, they can start bringing their awareness to sequence & timing.
Sequence & Timing
The cue for sequence is to ensure that your body parts are moving in concert with one another, and that the whole body is moving together as one to assist each movement. This involves shifting the awareness away from the main positions of each technique and toward the transitions between them. This is where you notice if some part of your body is being left behind in a movement and trying to catch up, or other asynchronicities.
Timing is how you take advantage of the natural forces that assist each movement, in order to create flow and grace in movement. It’s very obvious when you get into movements like swinging from an overhead hang, or trying movements that depend on generating power.
Once we have developed an understanding of sequence & timing and have spent time integrating that focus in our practice, we can start thinking about tension & relaxation.
Tension & Relaxation
The appropriate use of tension and relaxation is about engaging the right muscles at the right time, and allowing muscles that are not part of the movement to relax. To tense up the whole body during a movement creates stiffness, rigidity and countless compensatory mechanisms. This is something we cannot focus on until we have developed a level of unconscious competence with the technique in question.
Tension & Relaxation are the last focal points to introduce, but that doesn’t mean we stop spending time refining the other focal points. Once we have reach a level of high proficiency with a skill, we can continue to examine these 6 points of focus to keep refining and perfecting our technique.
These are principles that we teach in-depth in our MovNat Natural Movement Certification Courses taught around the globe, but there’s no reason that you can’t apply these principles to other endeavours such as sports, or recreational activities when you want to improve your application of certain techniques and self-correct inefficiencies in movement.