June 18, 2011 Paul Hawkes

3 Tips to Help You Move Well

We all move “naturally” obviously – it’s how you and I move… However just because it’s natural to you, doesn’t mean it’s correct or the best way.
Having taught martial arts since 1991, I have seen thousands of people and other than the rare exception (someone that has already trained in martial arts, gymnastics or a sport to a descent standard) most people are pretty poorly coordinated and have no idea how to generate power with their body, move correctly or perhaps even worse.. breath properly.
This may seem a bold statement, however it is not just my observation, but also that of all of the professional coaches and instructors that I associate with.
As a stepping stone for anyone that hasn’t or isn’t training and as a useful reminder to those who are… here are 3 tips that have helped me enormously and continue to do so:

1. Think  – Be Conscious

Martial arts encourages thinking about your movement

Think about how you move


Instead of just moving, become aware of how you move and how others move.  watch the people around you.  Who makes the simplest of movements look awkward and cumbersome.  Who moves smoothly and effortlessly.
Don’t make judgements on the person, you are just watching almost like a scientist.  We usually just look at what someone is wearing, how they appear, weight etc.  Look more closely to see how they move.
Are they balanced, can they bend down, can they stand up without pushing themselves up, can they reach up, forward, are their movements jagged or smooth.
When you pay attention to others, it makes you more aware of yourself.
Do you move like the person you think looks awkward or like the person who looks smoothly.
Of course physical injuries or disabilities, genetics  effect it, however do you move to the best your body will allow.
The goal is to move instinctively, without thought, however the path there is a thoughtful one.

2. Listen – To Your Body

Martial Arts training will teach you how to Listen to Your Body

Listen to Your Body

Feel what your body is saying to you… it will let you know, however it takes some time, thought, observation and learning to listen properly.
When you start moving differently or do different exercises and movements they are foreign to your body so you don’t have a clear comparison to how it usually feels.
You should not feel pain, however “it feels natural or right” doesn’t cut it… a lifetime of moving strangely will pollute what “natural” is..  unfortunately it’s usually bad posture, incomplete movements and a lack of knowledge.  After all… most of us only had our parents tell us how to move and that was not much more than “stand up straight and pull your shoulders back”
So how do you find out… number 3

3. Learn – How To Move
It’s pretty common to speak to someone that’s studying for a qualification or vocation… attending college, night school… how many people spend any time

Studying martial arts encourages you to keep on learning & improving

This could be me getting carried away in my studies

studying movement?
A tiny number… and please don’t expect to get much help at your local gym unless you’re very, very lucky.. you may get some advice on how to perform a bench press but on how to move… (subject for another post on how people that hit the weights a lot are often the worst for moving their body correctly – probably too much carpet carrying)
There are loads of avenues you can take to look at improving your movement and understanding of it… my main route has been through martial arts, but along the way I’ve looked at various other methods and love continuing to look, research, learn and APPLY.
Here are a few that you could look at.. it’s by no means every one and no doubt I have forgotten some that I like:


  • Martial arts
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Feldenkrais
  • Alexander Technique

It’s never been easier than now – just google it… last word of warning… watch out for youtube… anyone can put up anything regardless of ability and knowledge.  If your research leads you to an authoritative, respected individual or organisation then check them out on youtube.. rather than go into youtube and type in Yoga… I have a mixture of horror and amusement when I look at some of the toot that you can find when searching Wing Chun.

Please let me know how you found this post.. just leave a comment..


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Comment (1)

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