Monster Motor

I've been thinking about the difference between three types of movement:

Fine motor movements like typing, making a cup of coffee, or cleaning a gun.

Gross motor movements like throwing a baseball, carrying a bag of laundry, or swimming.

Monster motor movements are a third category that I have invented.

Last Thanksgiving I watched a two and a half year old defeat a three and a half year old in a no-holds-barred wrestling match.  She did it, not by superior weight or strength, but I believe by the use of superior access to monster motor movement.  The young man she defeated, when not wrestling, was particularly concerned with improving his fine motor skills.  He spent a lot of time playing with small Lego men and would get frustrated when he ran up against the limits of his dexterity.  Hopefully we will get to see a re-match this Thanksgiving and all future Thanksgivings so that I can continue my research.

Monster motor movement begins in the womb, with whole body shrinking, expanding and spiraling.  In Chinese medical terms-- open, close, pivot, in cosmological terms, heaven, earth and center.

dog_v_catLately I have been teaching new Taijiquan students two basic daoyin animals, the cat and the dog.  They are somewhat opposite ways of moving, but in my current way of thinking they both embody monster motor movement.  They each begin from a pre-locomotor physicality and progress to two very different sorts of four legged walking.  I'm avoiding the word crawling because everyone already thinks they know what that means, and what I'm talking about is animal specific movement.    I then try to get students to use this information to animalize their Tai Chi.

More on all this later but it ties into something else I've been thinking about.

At the rock climbing gym I noticed that climbing routes with bigger hand holds are more tiring.  This is deeply counter-intuitive, particularly because the climbs which are ranked easier always have bigger hand holds.  But the fact is, climbing with my finger tips is more efficient than climbing with my whole hand.  Each joint is an additional source of leaverage.  I'm not sure exactly what is going on here but I think that engaging the finger tips for balance and locomotion improves access to monster motor movement.