Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Be a Baby, a Ninja Baby - The Feldenkrais Method

Michele had a interesting post over on Just a Thought about roll falls.  I made a brief comment that I wanted to expand upon.

Babies and toddlers know how to fall.  The know how to move, reach, roll, lift. and move around (after the hilarious awkward stage).  Their movements and their breathing are natural and relaxed.  They 'belly breathe', from their diaphragm, a much more efficient and effective manner of breathing.  When a toddler falls, they manage to relax and get real low to the ground before the impact.  They also don't shoot their hands out like adults tend to do (and break their wrists in the process).  When they lift, their spines stay aligned, back straight, eyes up, bending at the knees...perfect form.

There's a lot to learn from observing young ones and their movements.

Moshe Feldenkrais (1904-1984), who created the Feldenkrais Method was an avid martial artist who studied Judo and Jiu Jitsu. He studied movement, health, and taught an integrated method of re-learning how to move naturally and easily as an adult.  Much of his work was influenced by studying the natural effortless movement of children.  He developed an integrated approach, bringing together body, mind and overall awareness.

Here's a link with some information from wikipedia.  There is so much out there on the man and the method that you may want to plug the Feldenkrais method into your computer.

The method was not designed solely for the martial artist, but a point of interest is that several high ranking Ninjutsu practitioners have incorporated this method of awareness of movement into their training.

Taijutsu, most often associated as the martial portion of Ninjutsu, is most accurately translated to mean:

"Taijutsu - , literally meaning "body skill" or "body art", is a term for Japanese martial arts techniques that rely on a set of body movements. Historically, the word taijutsu was often used interchangeably with jujutsu (as well as many other terms) to refer to a range of grappling skills." - wikipedia.

Since the Japanese martial arts rely heavily on body movements, the Feldenkrais method fits in very well.

I encourage you to research the Feldenkrais method a bit.  And to observe the effortless way that toddlers can move.  I have only scratched the surface on the method and am in no way an authority on the topic but since it is all about movement and integration of the mind and body, it is impossible not to see the direct connection to martial arts study.

And just for fun:

Train well.  And welcome Mohammad.


  1. I have heard of the Feldenkrais method before, but never knew any of the above - his martial arts similar techniques. As a result I never looked into it. I will be checking this out in the near future. Thanks for the info and another great post, Journeyman.

  2. Informative post. Funny video. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Sounds interesting - anything that improves the way we move will improve our mastery of the martial arts. Love the video!

  4. Yamabushi,

    Thanks. I had never heard of it until I met a talented Ninjutsu Sensei. I hope you discover some useful information.


    My pleasure. Your post got me thinking...


    You are correct. Free and uninhibited movement can help in all aspects of our lives.