It occurred to me that when reflecting on the mechanics of movement… specifically the methods we are studying… words can get in the way. Here’s what I mean. Considering the huge disconnect we here in the West have with body parts partly because we use Latin name like “sternum”, “clavicle” “femur” “trochanter” “flange” etc etc. it seems unless one speaks Latin one would have no idea real what those parts are or their function. So I’m thinking… early descriptions and images relied on a completely different system. The Taoist approach was symbols and comparisons to the natural world. If you knew what a tree was the concept of “root” made sense. No language barrier there. In fact one could simply point and convey the concept. Consider this description of the human body as used in the traditional practice of Reeling Silk:
“In the practice of Silk Reeling, the human body is seen as a tree with three sections: branch, trunk and roots. In reference to the entire body: the arm is the branch, the torso is the trunk and the legs are the root. The entire body may be further subdivided. For the torso, the head is the branch, the waist is the trunk and the abdomen is the root. For the arm, the hand is the branch, the elbow is the trunk, and the shoulder is the root. For the lower body, the ankle is the branch, the knee is the trunk and the groin is the root. In this system there are “9 sections” of the human body. The body core is the center from which strength and energy are propagated to each branch like a wave.”
Kinda cool. In my mind the idea of a complex system of movement based on the observable natural world just makes so much common sense. Just sayin’.