Stacking the Joints

by Jean-Philippe Ranger on 2012/01/11

Being able to “stack the joints” is an important skill in Practical Method. It means not only that all joints have to be aligned to be able to receive the oncoming force, it also means that they have to react in sequence.

Instinctively, the untrained person will react to a push with the upper body, especially with the shoulder joint. In Practical Method, the reaction has to first come from the ankle up through to the other joints. Another common mistake in improper joint alignment is to react to a push with the waist area without readjusting the rest of the body. What happens is that the push is absorbed by the body and instead of being sent down to the ankle, it “leaks out” towards the back. One image I use in class is the spring (I’m not sure if I came up with it or if I picked it up from one of my teachers). When a spring is compressed correctly, it bounces back, expressing energy through the extremities. When it is folded in the middle, it does not have any power in it’s extremities because the joints are not stacked properly.

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