Throwing Hands: Martial Arts Training Involution #175

This month’s internal focus is the Hand of Mysteries — check out his very “handy” training involuion…



Of Hounds and Hands

The words hound and hand likely have the same origin in the Proto-Germanic word handuz.  What does handuz mean?  Well, as with most of these proto-lingual words, which are mostly interpolations and guesses, linguists aren't exactly sure.  The best guess is “to reach for" or possibly "to obtain.”  I'd add "to grasp" to that list. 

Think about it.  That's what hands and dogs do, right?  Grab and hold?  I don't believe it's a coincidence that both seem awfully close to the word "hunt" which means to grab a-hold of something to eat.  Makes sense, doesn't it, when you consider that hunting dogs are very important whenever and wherever you have to hunt in order to get fed?

Now let's look at it another way.  One of the oldest symbols known to mankind is the hand outline.  It is very common, found across the globe in cave art created by prehistoric hunters.

hh87169.jpg

Look at the example on the right from the Cave of Hands in Argentina.  These hands were made using a form of prehistoric air-brushing.  The painters placed their hands on the cave walls and used hollow bones to blow colored liquids onto the surface so that a negative would be left when the hand was removed.   

The Latin aspiro means "a puff of air."  An aspiration is an expulsion of air following a choke.  But an aspiration is also a hope, dream or goal which one seeks to obtain, grasp or take hold of -- something you hope a favorable wind will blow upon.  Is there a connection here?

So you see, the cave painting above literally screams aspiration.   There is even a target on the far left toward which everything in the entire painting is headed, as if toward some grand intersection.

The artists could have held an animal carcass or bone against the wall and created a negative in the same way the hands were created.  Or the hands could have been sketched to match the style of the animals.  But neither is the case.  The animals and geometric shapes are sketched and the hands are traced with realism.  So why is one sketched and the other rendered using the prehistoric equivalent of a photocopy?

Because the animals are symbolic.  They are the dream, the aspiration, the hope.  But the hands are real.

The animals in the painting are virtually identical.   Because you see, it doesn't matter what the specific animal is.   Each animal in the picture is at once any animal and every animal.

The painting proclaims that if the human mind can conceive it and believe it, the human hand can achieve it.


Throwing Hands: Martial Arts Training Involution #175

  • No talking, groaning, grunting or complaining for the duration of the training session. Let your hands do the talking.

  • Put your hands on the enemy. Complete 100 Duck-Unders with the best form you can manage. If you don't have a partner, just do them shadow-style. This is not a lunge. Keep your spine perpendicular to the ground, head up, and pull hard on the rear hand. Check your form here.

  • Throw some hands. Heavy bag form drill. Set a round timer for 3 rounds of 3:00/1:00. Get after that bag with perfect form -- practice your falling step, make sure your hips are fully involved, strike using the "right" part of your hands (based on your personal thoughts and/or martial style) and so on. Count the strikes that you think are are not up to your usual snuff. When all three rounds are over, do that number of Push-ups and write it down in your training journal. Come back in a few days and beat your number.

  • Speak to the hand. Not literally, figuratively. Are you at least as evolved as a cave painter was 15,000 years ago? Set a timer for 15 minutes and think about it. What are your goals and aspirations? What do you feel about so strongly that would brave a dark cave with only a torch just to paint it on a wall? Have you put in place an organizational method that insures you are setting goals and aiming at them? Do you keep a journal?

  • Journal. And, as always, record your performance, thoughts and realizations in your training journal when you're done.