I want to change the name of this blog. Nine years ago I chose "Weakness With A Twist" specifically because I wanted to provoke. "Cultivate weakness" is a Daoist precept from the first century C.E. and I thought that I could bring attention to what was probably originally a provocative idea rooted in the Daodejing. That was eight years ago, and today I still teach that aggression can blind us to what is happening and profoundly limit our options and development. That is not an argument against strength or even against "natural" aggression; it is just a fact, something to be aware of. Limits are part of life, they are part of having a body. I liked "Weakness With A Twist" because it pointed away from the limited development of methodologies, and towards the true limitlessness of possible experiences.
But I think not too many people got that from the title.
Instead, people got my second purpose which was challenging dominant ideas about the value of strength. I have been so successful in challenging those dominant ideas that the meaning of my title has now been subsumed by hundreds of serious creative people who are thinking about strength in new ways! Wonderful.
Simply put, strength no longer automatically conjures aggressive smiling muscle men with glowing robot-like movements. It can mean resilience, or vibrancy, or being able to hold it together during a tour en l'air. Ballet dancers are now recognized as strong. People are thinking about strength as an innate human quality, rather than a form of vanity. Subtle power, agility, balance, turning the body inside out, playing in mud, swimming in cold water and swinging from trees--it is all strength now. It's all part of the growing awareness of our evolutionary, predator, perception-action, performative, improvisational social self. Cool.
I should add that I have been enjoying the Boulder Colorado scene too. There are a lot of unconventionally strong people here. And I want to attract more strong students. I have come to realize that I was so incredibly (if unconventionally) strong in my 20s and 30s and I just took it for granted. I could do tuck, pike, straddle jumps combos across a dance floor in rhythm without stopping, I could just keep going, and jump high. I could hold a handstand in the center of the floor for a full minute. I didn't even think of that stuff as strength. But it is. And it requires a lot more work to maintain at age 48. So I've been going to strength'n stretch and handstand classes taught by people in their 20s-30s. It's great.
I want to bring readers attention to a blog by Edward Hines about this new strength movement. It is about a scene called Monkey-Dance-Fight, but actually it's more about teaching. So often teaching can be improved by the knowledge, insight, experience and sensitivity of students in the room. It can be challenging to pull off, but it is worth looking at a wide range of strategies to get students teaching each other. And letting students make us better teachers.
Okay, so what should I call my blog? Here are some ideas. "Waking From A Dream," "Empty Strength," "Butterfly Strong", "Hollow Out," "Empty, Empty, Lively, Through," "Empty Fighting," "Dark, Hollow, Empty, Alive" "Golden Armor Mysterious Gate," "Dragonfly Light", "Bats and Butterflies," "Golden Bats and Black Butterflies," "Returning to the Infant," "Evolving Emptiness" "Whole-Mind Empty-Heart" "Cold Dead Ashes," "Unknowing," "Martial Dancer", Fighting With Flowers," "Breaking Bones, Seeding Ideas," Maximum Explosive Power!" Okay, you see the problem. I have lots of names that invoke some cool martial arts movement ideas, but need a name that will bring people in. Help.