Cutting Off the Head of the Hydra

The Hydra

Some of my readers and students wonder why I'm always talking smack about some other "modality."  (Some of my dear readers, on the other hand, probably love it.)   There is a simple reason for my conduct.

The basic subject I'm trying to communicate (Daoism and Internal Arts) is actually characterized by the dropping of preconceptions.  To get someone to drop a preconception is no easy task.  One way people drop a preconception is through having an experience which does not fit into their world view.  Unfortunately, most people, most of the time, will discard the experience rather than drop the preconception.

So the task falls to me to point out just how outrageous and in appropriate a person's preconceptions are.

In a very really sense, our conversations use our preconceptions as a base from which to accumulate knowledge.  That is why Daoism and Daoist methods of cultivation seek to return to simplicity, to actually lose knowledge, to discard knowing in exchange for not-knowing.  It is not a total rejection knowledge and knowledge accumulation, it is rather a recognition that preconception is the basis for accumulating knowledge.

So if we are talking about the body, or the body mind connection or how something internal moves, we are going to have that conversation from our preconceptions.  If you've practiced Yoga, that's your door into the conversation.  It's not that I totally reject yoga (I'm actually happy people enjoy it so much), it's that in order to get you to understand what I'm saying I can't just let you think of it like a Yogi would, I have to do something to get you to drop that preconception.

I think of this like Hercules fighting the Hydra.  As he cut off one of the heads, two more would grow back in its place.  To beat the Hydra, Hercules had to smash each head between two rocks!  The heads of this Hydra are all different "modalities."  The ever growing vicious heads of this Hydra are Yoga, Pilates, weight lifting, physical therapy,  dance, the ever evil qigong jock, MMA, the Karate Kid, Mellow Zen Flow Tai Chi™, Boot Camp,  personal sports trainers,  the Olympics, and yes, your fist grade teacher who kept telling you to stand up straight!

Now that you have been prepared, dear reader, I would like to briefly repeat my injunction against Core Strength.  As far as I can tell, the idea of Core Strength came from Pilates and started spreading to other modalities from there.  The previous two posts have been about internal flexibility, and the post before that was about carpal tunnel syndrome.  As far as I can tell, Core Strength is internal tightness.  It is the systematic loss of internal flexibility.  It is the exact opposite of what we want to do.  180 Degrees.  It will increase your chances of repetitive stress injuries like carpel tunnel, tennis elbow and the like.

Was that the sound of a Hydra's head crunching?