Brian Kagen pick: “Natural Movement” by Steve Wildash

“In a typical Systema class this particular phrase is used again and again, so first of all what is my understanding of “Natural movement” and what do others in class mean by it. In my world, natural movement is something that I do physically without thought, something that happens at a level beyond my comprehension.. things working at a subconscious level, things like blinking, breathing, my own heart beating, a nervous twitch etc, things that happen without conscious thought. Others may refer to it as the result of the body understanding and solving problems, doing what it needs to do in a certain situations and just getting on with it..

Movement in my Martial arts training had to be learnt.. at every stage of my learning experience, what ever art I was practicing, a different way of expressing movement had to be learnt to progress within that particular fighting system. As a small child, clumsy and cack handed, totally not in control off my movements, would reacted as anyone else might.., if scared, cowering if threatened, when happy a spring in my step, conditioned responses from the earliest age.. If I was pushed in the play ground I would move in a natural way and probably find myself on the floor sitting on my arse crying, no other thought or action would have crossed my mind. So in later years when starting out in Martial Arts and learning how to coordinate and slowly getting it together, life became easier because of this coordination in movement learnt; but was this Martial movement natural? All the instructors would say of course it was, as a practiced movement carried out hundreds if not thousands of times, slowly becomes ingrained in you and then later performed without thought.. so you could argue was the learned movement now as natural as anything else you might do. Again, casting my mind back to my early childhood or even watching my own kids grow up from babies, every action they would perform from sitting, standing, eating and drinking, literally everything they or I learned as a child was a result of thousands of repetitions, driving the task into memory, to be recalled at will without thought… So when we talk about walking naturally down the street, or standing in a natural way, the truth of it is, it has taken hundreds and hundreds of hours practice to get our movement to where it is today, whether you think this or that movement is good or bad will depend on your point of view I guess..”

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  1. Natural movement, in the human context, is all learned. Haven’t seen Systema. The neat thing about aikido are the various paths of least resistance the techniques follow which make the whole thing seem effortless, at least in the ideal.

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