As a collective group, the spectrum of human movement we have access to has become limited and more restricted. This trend began when the tasks we took on, forcing us to become stagnant, stiff, and lacking exploration through the multiple planes of movement. Then, as the attention to health and fitness took off, there was some mystery, a mixed understanding in;
What was effective to gain strength, mobility, stamina
What movement was safe to execute (and for whom)
What was culturally valued to represent ‘good health and wellness’
Luckily, there are hundreds of qualified health and wellness experts today, spreading the information that is true, and methods that are fundamentally and ethically sound. What we used to think and know as ‘good’ training methods have either been debunked or refined, letting the crap be sifted out. This leaves behind quality, clear-cut methods to expand your human movement potential beyond current or perceived expectations.
Steel Mace Training is a perfect representation of this advancement. Soaked in practical and intellectual research, the Steel Mace can add value to any type of training program. Why? Because there are 4 components that define the premise of Steel Mace Training that make it versatile to aid goals ranging from boosting longevity to increased strength/performance to improved conditioning; they are:
Articulated Range of Motion
Regardless of what movement is being performed, it will be tied to this pillar of integrity. By consistently sharpening the skills of Structural Alignment, Stability, Controlled Rotation, and Articulated Range of Motion, which is, in fact, measurable, the translation and result are beautifully coordinated movement that not only looks great but feels more empowering and liberating than meets the eye.
When technique and the beauty of movement are compromised, causing injury, lack of enjoyment, pain, or decreased performance, there is usually a dysfunction of a certain joint or muscle system inhibiting your body mechanics from taking the path it was intended to. It is a little signal that must not be overlooked by a coach and is a clear indicator to take a step back in order to identify where the root of the issue is.
Addressing movement dysfunction should not be avoided, there is nothing nobler than to take one step back in the short term to then leap bounds forward in the near future. It opens the door to the next level of your untapped potential so you can surpass your current level of ability. In training for Special Forces, an Elite branch of the military, often use a popular saying when training combat and reconnaissance skills;
“Slow is Smooth. Smooth is Fast”
The most elite in the world recognize that first and foremost, grooming technical skills and proper technique, slowly engraining proper efficient mechanics will enhance their nervous system to adapt, causing smoother performance while maintaining awareness of their present situation. The more smoothly they can execute each landmark, in time, the faster they will then be able to do it when in combat and every second does matter.
The founder and course director of the Steel Mace Specialist curriculum, Esik Melland ties this message from the Special Forces and connects it to how it applies to the realm of health and fitness.
“There is a very direct correlation to that concept for us in our training. Through our training, we are looking to enhance our performance, yes, but also our quality of life… for the rest of our lives. If we sacrifice our form and technique now in an attempt to force bigger, faster, stronger; not only are we actually limiting our performance potential, we are setting up the deterioration and essentially “death” of our longevity. In a very real way, it’s a matter of life! So in relation to the concept expressed in the above quote, we put our own twist on it:
“Slow is Smooth. Smooth is Beautiful.”
- Move slow enough, in the beginning, to ensure you are addressing the elements of technique, or lack thereof, that are so easily hidden by speed.
- As you do so, you will engrain the efficient mechanics into your nervous system, making the integration of movement components smooth, without the fight, your body often has to go into in order to compensate for dysfunction that is present.
- The smoother you can perform the movement, the more beautiful it will look, which is a direct indicator or holding the optimal form that leads to bigger, faster, stronger, longer; not only in training but in life.
These principles outline by Master Coach Esik, in combination with my own philosophy of Mindful Movement, have emerged to deliver a training experience that the positive effects will last a lifetime. We apply them here with the Steel Mace, but the concept can be carried over to any other style of training and exercise that resonates with you most often. This is about the long haul, not a short-term fix or band-aid. Sometimes, it may feel slow, boring, and repetitive, but I urge you to stay committed and focused on the process; there is always an opportunity to learn more about your own self when faced with a challenge.
So now, I welcome you to the launching point of Mindful Mace Training and can’t wait for our journey to get started…