Guy's Blog

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Tag: footwork

Just yesterday Louise Mann, a student on my Knee Maintenance course, sent me a review she had written. It blew me away, so I'm sharing it here, with her permission.

Part 1: A gentle warm up.

Excellent safety advice regarding not following along slavishly, but actually knowing and understanding your own physical limitations and acting appropriately.

Great explanation of where the hips are located, and thus where the movement should be localised. Memorable description of how far you should be looking to squat!

Part 2: Mindful stepping, and balance practice.

The mindful stepping exercise was most instructive. I go barefoot, or wear thin-soled shoes as much of the time as possible, but even then (as I rarely walk around blindfolded) I don’t think that much about what my feet are doing. Having to concentrate on receiving feedback from my feet whilst walking about felt quite strange to begin with, but the longer I did the exercise, the more normal this became. Definitely something to continue with and improve.

Balancing on one leg was easy to begin with – then came level 2 with eyes closed. Absolutely hopeless to begin with and was just glad that no-one was observing my efforts! As with the mindful stepping, this simple exercise showed how easy it is to lose concentration and therefore body awareness.

The ‘book reading’ exercise is probably not one I’ll be using at my local bookshop any time soon as I find squatting more comfortable. However, it certainly is a good strengthening exercise, as well as have some flexibility component as well.

Part 3: Training your knees to move correctly.

This is the best explanation I have ever seen regarding how a knee should track over the foot. The information about ankle and hip mobility is crucial.

Part 4: How to massage your knees.

Invaluable. For myself, the best part of the course. The point about checking as to whether the massaged leg feels better than the unmassaged one is so obvious, yet probably overlooked by most people.

Concluding thoughts.

Clearly shot video with excellent sound throughout. Instruction clear and to the point. Caveats used where appropriate (particularly with regard to warm up).

The quality and depth of this course has led me to the conclusion that I will have to buy some (perhaps all) of your other online offerings! Many thanks for making this course freely available to all.

Louise Mann 08-12-2016

Interested? You can find the course here. If you've already taken it, I'd be glad to hear what you thought of it.

Your free safety guidelines, in a handy pdf!

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“If you haven’t got your health, you haven’t got anything!”

Truer words were never spoken, certainly not by Count Rugen anyway.*

Way back in the dawn of time when I began training martial arts, I was enraptured by the idea of martial arts training being a balance between breaking people and fixing them, by the notion of the martial artist as a healer as well as a warrior. This is one of the reasons I was drawn to T’ai Chi; it is usually associated with healthy practice. And it’s why I was so taken by Tai Shin Mun kung fu (you can read more about that here). I literally owe my career to the not-so-tender ministrations of their instructor, Num, who fixed my wrists for me back in 2000.

This is the background behind my obsession with mechanics and correct movement. Not so much for martial efficiency, though it certainly does that, but more because I want to be able to train until I die (sometime in my early 100s). I am blessed with a crap skeleton, which creaks and breaks and sends lances of agony up my spine if I fail to keep up my practice, or if I practice just a little bit wrong. Blessed because it has forced me to learn absolutely correct movement, which has in turn allowed me to share that knowledge with my students, freeing many of them from long-term pain, and undoing, or at least halting, the damage caused by poor mechanics.

I cannot abide the idea of anyone who needs this knowledge not having free access to it, certainly not for such a poor reason as lack of funds, so I have extracted the essentials from my footwork course, shot some extra footage, and put together a short ‘keep my knees working forever’ course. The course is 100% free and without strings attached. I want you to be healthy. Go, be healthy.

http://swordschool.teachable.com/p/free-course-knee-maintenance

I am also planning a weapons-handling course, which will include forearm conditioning and maintenance. I’ll release the essential health component of that course free too, so you can keep your arms working properly despite the depredations of computers and couches.

It was my birthday yesterday, and I intended to launch this then (I approve of the Hobbit custom of giving presents on your birthday), but I was sadly too busy opening presents, drinking wine, and generally having fun, so it's an early Christmas present instead.

*if you don't know who Count Rugen is, you very badly need to drop what you're doing and watch the Princess Bride. See here:

Your free safety guidelines, in a handy pdf!

Sign up here to join Guy’s mailing list and get a free guide taken from the Recreate Historical Swordsmanship from Historical Sources Course. You can unsubscribe at any time. Please check our privacy policy for details of what we will do with your data. The short version: send you emails about interesting stuff, and nothing else.

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