When I first started driving at age 17, I never imagined I never stopped for a moment to consider that I might get better at driving with more experience.
I thought driving was simple enough and as long as I passed the Driver’s Test, there’s nothing else to think about..
Later I would come to think about different things, the condition of my vehicle, the position of my vehicle relative to other vehicles, potential condition of other drivers and where the empty space is….
The parallel between driving our cars and “driving” our bodies is worth exploring..
For athletes they enter their physical prime somewhere in the late 20’s to early 30’s. It is the time when the development of the body matches the development of the “Driver.”
Far before that, during the scouting process, athletes are selected from High Schools for College Athletics.
Beyond the things they are able to do on the field, the scouts are looking for a certain competency of Biomechanics.. They are looking for a good driver.
After all, a serious mistake means an injury to the athlete and a loss for the school investing in the athlete. This is true in the military as well..
Considering this, the question I ask is how can we become better drivers? To keep our body, our vehicle, in the best possible condition and drive in a way which maintains ease in the system as well as keep us safe from injuries.
Through Functional Patterns, we are learning to decode human movement and begin to pull back the curtain on good biomechanics..
For a long time Training and Sport have been very selective, the people who naturally had better movement habits would be the ones who would get involved in sport and everyone else would say something like “It’s not for me..” “I don’t like to walk, run…” “I’m not athletic..” etc.
A human being who doesn’t like to walk is a fish who doesn’t like to swim..
The gait cycle is the most fundamental human movement. It is utterly fascinating, let’s keep the water metaphor rocking and we’ll dive in!
The movement loop created by walking is the foundation for the connections occurring between muscles in the body. These conditions occur through the Fascia which permeates and connects every single muscle in the body as well as all other systems.
We learn to stand as children, then walk and it’s a celebration! Parents get their cameras out and the child is filled with a sense of pride and accomplishment.
Shortly after this, the child will be sent to school. Now there is education, but no more attention given to walking, in fact sitting is encouraged for hours at a time.
Just as we developed this most important skill, we stopped building on it shortly after. Education is a powerful tool, but does it need to come at the cost of movement?
The answer is no in my opinion, in fact the human brain developed primarily to manage the complex physical movements of standing upright, walking, running, throwing etc..
This is why it is fairly easy to build a computer which can beat the average human in chess, but not yet possible to build a computer which moves as dynamically as a human.
By embracing movement and prioritizing the Gait Cycle above everything else, it is possible that we could make education even more effective by training the brain to coordinate movement.
Let’s do an Elementary level lesson…
We are drivers, the body is our vehicle..
Our ribcage is the steering wheel, it will be turning left and right in Thoracic Rotation as we walk.
Each time we rotate to one side, we step that leg forward and load it. When we rotate left, we swing the right arm and left leg forward. Now the left leg is loaded for an extension..
As we rotate to the right, the right leg swings forward with the left arm. The left leg is pushing into the ground, pushing us forward. The right leg plants and is loaded, to push us forward when we rotate left again.
This cycle involves stretching and contracting of muscle groups in sequence. If there are breaks in the connections between muscles, they will reveal themselves somewhere in the Gait Cycle..
Correcting dysfunctions in the gait cycle is the most surefire way to improve physical well being. Having a structure which is well connected Fascially, brings benefits beyond physique.
Our structure dictates our psychology.. The body knows a bad position, even if we don’t.
The result of this is unease, anxiety, restriction.. Of thought and movement.
A good driver knows the condition of the vehicle, read these feelings as signs it’s time for some maintenance.
Opening up our tissues through quality movement is the way to truly move forward. The body is the base of everything we do, let’s build up a strong base, ninjas!