First of Nine: Tensegrity Blog

Portland, Oregon's Cancer Survivorship and Bodywork Zine by Compassion Arts PDX, LLC

Running is like a video game

Ninja, Ninja Revolution!

The breath rebels. The step muddies. The grade steepens. The pace slows. Step on a man hole cover! Power boost up the hill! Booyah!

Every step becomes a concerted effort to keep one’s gait in the zone of maximum efficiency. Every breath is deliberate, filling the lungs in the direction of where ya feel no breath. Cuz, that’s where our breath doesn’t reach. That’s the direction of increased capacity.

The opening of the gait begins with a journey of stepping on rocks. On purpose. Feeling the earth beneath the feet. Noticing every step.

The bones need to do their job. The bones, these compressive elements in a sea of tensional connective tissue collagen, transfer and articulate energy, sending up huge amounts of pulsing wavelength from contact with the earth. This wavelength continues up the body, transferring to other bones and we end up with forward momentum through the elaborate and ever adaptable possibilities provided by the many types of joint articulation available to us. This is kinetic linking, in a filbert shell.

Next time you rack up a game of billiards, notice how the energy transfers from point of contact. The tip of the cue makes contact with the funny white ball and it gets hurtled forward, striking the other multi-hued balls, sending them out in all sorts of directions. If our joint articulations were round, we might move like that. But, our bones are shaped far more curiously than a sphere. We are able to harness this same kinetic energy and turn it into a near limitless range of creative, expressive movement, either powerful or subtle in it’s gesture.

We harness this energy through our fascial tensegrity system, like rigging and sails on an old wooden ship, harnessing the power of the wind.

“Exterminate all rational thought; that is the conclusion I have come to.” -Naked Lunch

It’s a Kafka-esque world inside.

There are twenty-six bones in the foot (if ya exclude the two sesamoids) and twenty six bones in the spine. Coincidence? When looking at a lateral view, the arches of the feet provide a lovely scale replica of the curves of the spinal column. These are load-bearing structures. But, not in a mountain, dump truck, solid kinda way. More like an adaptability to varying load changes kinda way, like bamboo or spider webs or bicycle wheels. We have ability to find fluidity and harmony in our motion. Yeah, that’s in us.

More than half the proprioceptors in the body are in the ankle. Along with our inner ear and our eyesight, foot and ankle mobility is an important information gathering tool that informs our sense of equilibrium.

So, opening up the footsies. Maybe it’s important. Maybe it’s essential.

What strange things lay wait in these woods? Photography by Hamid Shibata Bennett

Some days, I go out to the delta with the pups. A run turns into a choose your own adventure book, changing directions on a whim. Toward that clump of trees that look like an oasis in the distance. Take in the country side at a handful of miles per hour. Oh, a great blue heron! Cool!

Get closer to the clump of trees and the reality of the place changes. Then, it’s a murky wood, long forgotten. Find a big stick leaning against a gnarled root. A staff with old powers, once wielded by a gray Mage. Now, time to find some mud!

Don’t lose your neoteny. Don’t lose your sense of play. Just sayin’…

Cuz that might be essential too.

Hamid : )

2 comments on “Running is like a video game

  1. Aaron Gustafson
    February 4, 2012

    Great piece Hamid!

    • Thanks Aaron! This is one of my favorite projects of yours!

      Any time ya can work Bruce Lee into the discussion of bodywork, I so dig it!

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Compassion Arts PDX, LLC

Hamid Shibata Bennett, LMT, CAMT (OBMT #301)
Advanced massage therapy and bodywork
3810 SE Belmont ST
Portland, Oregon 97214

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