Wednesday, August 2, 2017


A few days ago I posted a link in the Ancestral Movement Facebook group to a very well-written, deep and interesting article by Jon Yuen:

This article inspired an important discussion in the group and was a catalyst for some great ideas. It raised some interesting points to consider.

There is one aspect, which Jon mentioned, that I would like to discuss separately – the generalism of movement.

The search after this quality does not belong exclusively to the world of Movement Culture. This tendency appears in Monotheism, it is THE SUBJECT of the General Systems Theory of Bertalanffi and it is an important ingredient in many other methods, systems and theories.

There are a many different cultures in the world, each one unique.  All cultures were created by unique personalities and differ in many ways, although there are always many common features.

The value of every culture, including every system or art of Movement Culture is its uniqueness, but still we instinctively look for generalism, we feel that there is something deeper than culture, more natural for us and more profound.

As to Movement Culture this "something" is the true archetype of all our movements. This archetype consists of three parts –our inborn statokinetic reflexes, our inborn behavioral reflexes and our natural human biomechanics. This is our Movement Nature.

A few words about human biomechanics. Our bodies move in joints. This means that all of our movements consist of a great variety of rotations of different body parts and their combinations. The human body differs greatly from all other living beings. Although humans have a lot in common with other living creatures we are unique in our body, movement, mind and spirit. It's like culture – every culture is unique, but there are a lot of things in common. Let's say evolution created unique human Movement Nature. If we would be non-human animals our motion would be harmoniously evolved from inborn reflexes according to natural biomechanics, but we are humans. For good or for bad we create things. In that respect we are like nature, but without its ultimate holistic harmony. We create things such as tools, theories and habitual movement patterns. These movement patterns have social and cultural roots. Due to our restrictions, including a lack of harmony, these automatic movement patterns very often clash with our Movement Nature.

Many of us realize that and try to address this issue.

Simon Thakur wrote a very nice piece about it in his site :

 " …by exploring and rediscovering patterns of movement and awareness that are part of our species’ history, both recent and ancient. Through the practice we aim to recover the strength, agility, balance, grace, joy and ease of movement, profound relaxation and quiet mind that are our birthright as human beings. To rehabilitate old injuries and prevent new ones, to make ourselves and our families and friends happy and peaceful, to come back home to our senses, our bodies, our communities and our place in relationship with the rest of the living world".

I believe that things are even more profound. Our evolutionary ancestors are still alive and acting within our bodies and minds. Many years ago I was enormously excited by Carl Sagan' book "Dragons of Eden". Years later it was "Your Inner Fish" by Neil Shubin. In the interim I discovered the wonderful books of Russian scientists Eskov and Chaikovski with their brilliant understanding of the evolutionary development of living creatures, their anatomy and physiology. I also discovered the revolutionary works of Profs. Bernstein, Feigenberg and Berg. I was lucky to be in close connection with Prof Feigenberg, who was a prominent student of Prof. Bernstein, the founder of Soviet biomechanics. In the context of this article I especially appreciate the Motor Control Recapitulation theory by Bernstein. According to him, all our movements have a number of ancestral layers. Carl Sagan wrote about "dragons within us" or ancient ancestral structures within our brains. Bernstein revealed that these dragons are not only still alive within us, in fact act through our bodies!

In order to allow our movements to flow naturally and unrestrictedly we need not only to explore and rediscover the ancient patterns of movement, but to let them act freely in harmony with their descendants (Let my dragons go!). We have to stop our "superior" automatic human oppression.

Science already discovered that our bodies are actually ecosystems. Now I suggest the same idea about our movement. It is an ecosystem exactly like our body.

Every human movement is actually a collective movement of all our ancestors. When we look at something they stare along with us. When we think about something they think together with us. When we do something it's our collective action. Our ancestors did not disappear, they won eternal life through our lives, they live and continue to think and move through our minds and bodies. This is our Movement Nature. The only way to achieve complete harmony of our mind and body is to learn our Movement Nature and to live and move accordingly. When we act this way our movements become effortless and light as feather, as if they happen of their own accord, and our body and mind experience natural lightness, happiness and harmony.

Back to the Movement Culture.

For hundreds of years Western civilization tried to conquer nature, to subdue it to its "superior" culture. It was wrong and now we realized it.

I believe the time has come to realize the same in relation to Movement Culture and the movement community in general. Let us stop our attempts to subdue our Movement Nature to the "superior" cultural achievements and methods.

 My students and I already made first steps in the practical implementation of this innovative and most promising approach. We are only in the beginning of the road and collective effort is needed in order to achieve more progress.

We all can benefit greatly if we study Movement Nature first and then, taking it as a basis, harmoniously develop our own unique skills, systems and methods of physical and mental training.  

This article is a call for cooperation and mutual action. There is a way to take our movement arts toward a much higher level. Together we can do it.

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