B is for Backward Movement

      6 Comments on B is for Backward Movement

During April, I’m writing 26 posts for the A to Z Blog Challenge. I’m combining my skills as a writer, a life coach, and a martial artist (2nd degree black belt in ITF Taekwondo) to create a series of posts about applying aspects of TKD to life outside of martial arts. Whenever possible, I’ll include a little Taekwondoodle to illustrate what I’m talking about. I’m still learning how to draw these kind of figures but this is good practice.

A black ink drawing on white paper. The drawing is of a woman in a martial arts uniform with her left foot forward, and she is punching with her left hand. Her right hand is pulled in by her right side. There are arrows indicating that her left fist is moving forward and her right arm is moving back.

The sunglasses were an accident – I’m drawing with a brace on my right wrist and precision is tricky right now. Also, it turns out that it is really hard to create a sense of movement in a quick doodle.

One of the training principles of TKD is that, with VERY few exceptions, every movement starts with a slight backwards movement. A punch is pulled back a little before it is thrust forward, a sidekick starts by pulling the thigh toward the body before the leg is pushed outward. That backward movement adds power to your attack.*

(If you have ever been coached by me, or if you have complained to me about having to start over, then you know where I am going next.)

I apply the principle of backward motion to all kinds of non-TKD situations. It’s okay to have to take a step back, to go over something again, to go back to the start. It happens to us all on a regular basis – you aren’t the first one to retrace their steps. AND, you can definitely view it was a move to build power.

When you do have to step back and reassess or to even start over, you are getting a new perspective and incorporating your experience. There is inherent power in that.

A lot of us seem to have this idea that anything but continuous forward motion is a kind of failure.** Having that as an internal story is damaging and painful, and it leads us to be hard on ourselves.

What about if we could substitute the idea that backward movement is adding power to our next forward motion?

What about if we could see it as a necessary step in the process of progress?

How could considering backward motion as a means to build power bring some ease to your thinking?

I dare you to try it.

*Go ahead and pretend that you are about to punch hard at something in front of you. I’ll bet your elbow was stuck out behind your back for a moment. We do that some backward movements naturally, we just don’t think about why.

**I’ll address the fact that is okay to fail in another post sometime. The short version is that we all fail all the time. It’s a sign that we are trying new things and challenging ourselves and it should be encouraged not shameful.

6 thoughts on “B is for Backward Movement

  1. Christine Post author

    Thanks, Tarkabarka! I’m glad you liked it.

    I’ll be hanging out at your blog from now on – looking forward to more folktale info!

  2. Liz A.

    Good point. If everyone who’s ever had a setback realized that taking that step back helps them move forward, they might look at those setbacks differently.

  3. Christine Post author

    Thanks, Liz! I wish I could give people a reminder card about things like this. We all end up feeling bad so often for no reason.

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