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Coordination: A training for detente

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Coordination is a process of monitoring and regulating the movement with an adaptation to the situation . This is a very clear way to see the union between body and mind . Training coordination requires a specific training , but it is also an easy way to evolve in one’s practice.

The gestures that we understand and that are in the spectrum of our physical abilities, we should be able to perform them. Oftentimes, we need a lot of time to copy or “master” a gesture , yet we understand intellectually : it is the manifestation of our internal “noises”, our physical and mental tensions.

Analyzing too much, putting too much attention or just “trying” , are safe ways to waste time on learning a movement. The action , linking perception and physical capacities, should be sufficient .

To access a finer listening  of our body and mind levels, without going into complex practices, we have a whole arsenal of very subtle coordination exercises.

Our school uses coordination in the basic education and throughout the practice, this quality will allow a deeper understanding of oneself and one’s evolution.

The development of coordination requires a precise progression in the exercises according to the student , and no one will develop its capacity for coordination in an identical manner , but everyone will achieve the same result.

To do this, the teaching must be accurate.

Let’s look at the characteristics of coordination.

The coordination capacity allows to control actions in predictable situations ( stereotypes ) or unpredictable ones (adaptation).

Foreseeable situations will consolidate actions in connection with our usual activities, our everyday actions, our daily physical activities. Stereotypes are also our regular activities for which we have developed some mastery: sports, summer activities…

Unpredictable situations is our ability to adapt to a new situation, sometimes stressful, and our ability to respond in a global  way (body and mind) depends on our coordination. This is where we will understand best what is our real level of detente. The adaptation will be seen in a teaching ( Qigong, fighting arts ) and will evolve as the calming of our mind.

In all cases, coordination enables us to perform our actions with an economy of movement. We will realize, almost unconsciously, how to do more with less effort. Coordination allows us to conserve our body/mind by establishing reaction habits that are adaptable according to the capabilities of our body.

With the proper development of coordination, we can learn faster and deeper. We quickly learn new gestures and we integrate them early in a way that is “controlled” . It is possible to recall a gesture, but it takes time to know how to realize it without tension, without effort, without “mental commentary”. A good level of coordination allows us to integrate the new movement in its most perfect form, with little work that remains to be done over time.

We can therefore speak of two coordination skills: one specific and one general .

The specific capacity is linked to a practice, to habits of the body. It is a good way to work the basics of the neuromuscular connection. But often , the specific capacity will be limited to a specific area that will spill very little on daily life.

The overall capacity is useful for all facets of life. This is the one that will feed the adaptability of our body/mind to life’s stresses. Stress being the body of work that must be done consciously or not, to adapt to the movements of life, pleasants or not.

The specific coordination capacity is faster to acquire. It may affect the overall capacity of coordination , but it is rarely the case. When it relates to business activities which are too far from our everyday life (screw bolts, operate in surgery, stamp papers … ) , we see almost no overflow in everyday life.

This is even more true if our profession is not really the result of own choice and if we do not really like it. In this case, the qualities that will be developed in it will often be obscured in life “outside of work “.

A balanced practice, the purpose of which is a transformation of self, is obviously going to specialize in specific coordination exercises that will quickly expand, in a soft and concealed way to our entire life .

Coordination will therefore allow us to acquire five important qualities :

· This is primarily a training capacity, an ability to learn. It is necessary to develop coordination to then be able to learn …. hummm, paradox, right?

· Coordination saves motion, which will allow us to achieve the same things with less effort and having removed all unwanted movements. This is a potentiation of the physical abilities through economy and not development. It is doing more with less … very Taoist …

· Well developed, coordination  is an ability to evolve all one’s life towards a progression. In the elimination of physical and mental tensions, we see the subtle changes in the world and we adapt globally, without effort (stress).

· It is also the ability to understand every gesture and movement, a deep reconciliation of our perceptions and our physical abilities. The  “Xinyi” step, form and intellect, which allows us to combine what we see and what we can do.

· We also have in coordinating a relentless test of our deep state: the body / mind liaison which will tell us about our internal state of real relaxation. This manifestation of detente is workable and changes rapidly: we learn through a capacity of relaxed and attentive stability.

We can identify three aspects of the coordination capacity :

  • Listening to the body ,
  • Adaptability of the body,
  • Learning of the body.

The learning includes listening and adaptability, it requires a development of the other two aspects to evolve in synergy.

Listening to the body requires a certain mental silence and muscle relaxation which themselves require a developed coordination capacity. It is really hard to deal with relaxation or mental frontally . These are qualities that are difficult to access. However, coordination is easy to work on, if you are in a smart practice. Listening to the body includes four capabilities :

  •  Listening to the body is above all the ability to unite the body in action. The united body allows this economy of movement, this relaxation and this mental silence. The basic exercises that we work on within our school work a lot on the union of the body.
  •  The ability of perception is an important quality, it’s pacing yourself according to your need . This is using just the right strength for the movement , learning the economy of energy expenditure.
  •  The ability of mobility, as its name does not suggest, includes stability and mobility. It is linked to proprioception (locating oneself in space by the kinesthetic) . It is an expression of our qualities of equilibrium, whether static or traveling. This is  what we call rooting, in place and moving. We also work on this very much.
  •  Proprioception and the vestibular system will allow the development of the ability of space management. These are qualities that are too often dormant and little covered with conscience. We will often work the rapport of ourselves  in space and of objects in space (weapons, others … ) . Knowing where you are in space consciously is very important in the Taoist teachings.

Learning groups four abilities, two of which are common with listening to the body. Learning a gesture requires a regular exposure to the exercises, you need to repeat “once a hundred minutes rather than one hundred times one minute” to learn properly.

  • We find again mobility and space management .
  • The “timing” ability is not easy to grasp. It prompts to grasp an external rhythm or imposing one that is internal. In the first case, it is about a rhythm to perceive in action, in the other case you must give to external objects a pace of our own. Linking two parts of oneself as a function of a perceived action is in the ability of timing.
  •  We then  have the reaction ability which allows us to initiate movement on a given signal ( internal or external) . This allows us to act quickly on the basis of a perceived stimulus. In the acquisition of a gesture or the development of coordination, we need to grasp quickly and act accordingly.
  •  The ability to change allows us, when executing a gesture, to change it according to new requirements. In action, in a different understanding of the action, we have the opportunity to change the gesture. This is the changing force, a valuable by-product of coordination.

The practice of our school emphasizes coordination. We know that we want to work on the health of the body, the flow of energy and calming the mind. These three areas of self-development are concepts that are difficult to access, but all three require good coordination to flourish. The coordination ability is something easy to work on if you have the right exercises and a qualified teacher, so this is our first choice of training. This training  is on the way towards detente.