Applying the Lunge Matrix to the Martial Arts
I truly believe in the benefits of the functional techniques that we use at Finish Line PT, and not only because I work here. My passion is the practice of Ba Gua Zhang Kung Fu and Ch’i Kung, and specified movement in all three planes is a very common thing in my martial arts practice.
In Ba Gua Zhang Kung Fu and Ch’i Kung one learns to use every joint in a given movement, the Ch’i Kung mimicking the faster side of Kung Fu, just at a slower pace. Think moving meditation with stances at various levels of height and arm movements, all while moving constantly and controlling the breath while doing so.
I’m struck by the similarities between a specific Ch’i Kung exercise movement pattern I use during the day to move my body after sitting a long period of time at my desk — and the lunge matrix with trunk rotation that our PTs use with patients. Try this yourself, moving linearly and laterally and anywhere in between for that matter.
Linear Lunge Matrix with Trunk Rotation
- Standing with both feet about shoulder width apart, step out to the left in a lunge position.
- Begin to rotate your upper body to the left, using your right hand/arm as a guide, until it naturally cannot continue into the rotational movement.
- Exhale and relax into the end range of motion.
- Return upper body to a neutral position, and return your left foot in position next to your right foot in your normal standing position.
- Repeat a number of times before moving to the other side.
Lateral Lunge Matrix with Trunk Rotation
I like using these movements to “shake the cobwebs” from my body because it really addresses the muscles and joints affected most by sitting long periods of time, especially the pelvic girdle (which includes the glutes, hip flexors, adductors, abdominals and spine).
In the Ba Gua Zhang movement pattern it takes it a step further by adding more body components (joints and muscles), and by making the pattern one fluid movement moving from the left side to the right side, continuously, using the Yin Yang principle of muscle engagement to muscle relaxation while the opposite side of the body simultaneously is muscle relaxation to muscle engagement. This, along with breathing exercises, is essential for getting me through the day.