Thursday, September 4, 2008

Medicine Ball

Last night at martial arts practice, I and some of the other upper
rank students were playing around with a nine pound medicine ball. We
were tossing it around casually, like we would a basketball; I was
catching and throwing it with only one hand.

One of the new white belts wanted to join in. He was a big, beefy
guy, so we thought it would be no problem. I tossed the ball to him.

He caught it with two hands, but it still slammed into his chest. He
grunted and staggered back several steps.

At that point, I realized just how much technique and training I was
using. I was in a balanced, rooted stance that allowed my legs to
help absorb the momentum of the ball. I would reach out to the ball
as it came to me and then control its motion with gentle, steady
force, guiding it to a stop. The white belt could have easily beaten
me in arm wrestling, or any other feat of strength, but he did not
know how to deal with the momentum of the medicine ball coming at him.

He learned quickly, though. I showed him the basics, and eventually
he was able to handle it pretty well. He still seemed to be a little
afraid of the thing. If I threw it directly at him, he would insist
on using both hands. But when I threw it off to the side, he was able
to catch it one-handed, almost without realizing it.

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