Even the smallest movement involves the entire body

Extract adapted from
The brain’s way of healing: Stories of remarkable recoveries and discoveries
By Norman Doidge MD Scribe Books

In a person who is capable of effective, graceful, efficient movement, the entire body organizes itself, as a whole, to do the movement, no matter how small. Consider the following paradox. We can lift a finger with ease; we can reach out to shake a friend’s hand or lift a glass with equal ease. When we unconsciously shrug our shoulders, as we speak, we do so with the same ease.

Yet how can these movements all be of equal ease? A finger is much lighter than a hand and forearm, and a hand and forearm are lighter than the entire arm. They are of equal ease because, in practice, when done with grace, we use the entire body for each action. When the body is well organized, muscle tension is limited throughout, and the load for all the actions is shared across the muscles, skeleton, and connective tissue.

Feldenkrais had learned from Kano that the great Judo masters are always relaxed and that

in the correct act there is no muscle of the body which is contracted with greater intensity than the rest. … The sensation is of effortless action.”

The practitioner need not be stronger than his opponent as long as his body as a whole is more coordinated or, as he would later say, better “organized”.

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