Gravity is Your Friend (and Enemy)
Gravity creates vibrancy and vitality. But only when we align ourselves with it and allow our bodies to be stressed (or loaded) by it healthily. The health sciences call such stress "eustress," which is "a form of stress that has a beneficial effect on health, motivation, performance, and emotional well-being" (www.merriam-webster.com).
If we're inordinately tensed or hunched over (read, "hiding from ourselves and others"), gravity will be the death of us. When we're collapsed in on ourselves (and far from our intended alignment with gravity's vertical Z-axis), gravity will exert significant stress on our bodily structures and connective tissues as well as the "inner core" of who we are as people. This is DISTRESS, and it's NEVER good.
Through martial arts training, we align with gravity and learn to sense its subtle (and not so subtle) pulls upon us. With all my training partners, I chide them often with the following slogan: "Let gravity do the heavy lifting for you." What I mean is, allow gravity to pull your body mass through a vulnerable target on your opponent (such as his clavicle, groin, or knee). When throwing a technique in such a way, far greater power and speed is generated as gravity moves your mass through your opponent, much the way a wave is moved toward the seashore, culminating in its final crash upon the sand.
Through martial arts training, we come out of hiding and give ourselves permission to stand tall. With uplifted head and shoulders, we embrace our inborn dignity and begin to move more vibrantly—just as we were created to. Doing this brings such joy; it also magnifies the glory of God. As Irenaeus, the second century saint, once wrote, "The glory of God is man (or woman) fully alive."
Align with gravity, but know that some day (perhaps sooner than you think) gravity will get the best of you. In death, your body will dissolve and fall prey to the forces of gravity once again. Just absent the vitality it once had. As sad as this approaching condition can make us feel, we, as believers, have hope: the great hope that one day God will restore all things and that we, like Jesus, will be resurrected to life, realigned with gravity's Z-axis, and revitalized once and for all—never to be robbed of it again. I cling to this hope, my friends; it is the source of my peace.
God's blessings over your day...
IKIGAI Weekly Blog Schedule (per The Training Trinity):
Mondays: Meditative Prayer
Wednesdays: Holistic Discipline
Fridays: Martial Arts Practice