S3NSE: Head's Up
“We must become aware of what’s going on around us.
So ultimately, we can be aware of what’s going on inside us.
Head’s Up! You’ll hear it on the golf course, in the parks and on the street. Something is coming your way and it’s not good. The most common reaction is to do the opposite: duck, cover and hope for the best. Unfortunately, there are not always warnings of impending danger. In this age of perpetual distractions (yes that’s your cell phone), being unaware may cost you dearly. Ultimately, we are all personally responsible for our own environmental preparedness or heads up.
Moshe Feldenkrais was always prepared for anything. As a teenager, he walked across war torn Europe during World War I to Palestine. Once in Palestine, there was conflict between the Jews and Arabs. Feldenkrais taught himself Judo and joined a self defense group to protect his community. Later in France, Feldenkrais learned Judo properly and helped create the first Judo club in France. These skills came in handy as he later smuggled Madame and Fredrick Curie’s papers and heavy water out of a German occupied France into England. In dangerous times, awareness is absolutely necessary for survival.
In England, Feldenkrais continued teaching Judo and also started to develop his own philosophy and methods. He focused on using movement as a means to develop mature behavior (or what we would now call self-improvement). An important Feldenkrais concept inspired by Judo is acture.
Acture is the ability to move in any direction at any time depending on environmental conditions and your intention. It is being aware of what is happening around you so you may take fast decisive action. In Judo, it is the ability to sense how your opponent is moving and sensing when they are off balance. Then you effortlessly throw them. On the golf course, it is knowing where you are in relation to the other players and holes, when someone is swinging the club and where the ball is going. And most importantly, if necessary, how to get out of the way.
The human tendency is to focus either inwardly or outwardly. We may get lost in our thoughts or be in awe of what surrounds us. There is another choice, like the Judo master, we could blend inner and outer awareness to meet the needs or intention of the moment.
There is a tendency to just focus on inner sensations during Feldenkrais lessons. It is, however, crucial to relate them to your surroundings. How do you feel your contact with the floor? How far away are you from walls or furniture? What do you hear? Smell? Where can you look to make the movement more efficient? Let head’s up be your mantra for living fully in the present. Join S3NSE to develop and cultivate your acture skills here at S3NSE.org. Your life depends on it.