Intentions create signaling molecules that release an assortment of hormones to prepare our body for action.


This post is intended as a conversation starter, it is deliberately loose so that we have the freedom to mentally wander around and hopefully go off on some interesting tangents.

All my life I have held a certain fascination with the workings of the Human Body, and to that extent I am always reading something to do with Human Movement.

My most recent book is ‘Exercised: The Science of Physical Activity, Rest and Health written by professor Daniel Liberman.

Daniel E. Lieberman is a paleoanthropologist at Harvard University, where he is the Edwin M Lerner II Professor of Biological Sciences, and Professor in the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology. 

In short, he knows his stuff.

I will not go into the book here but I do recommend reading it, the takeaway is that all exercise was unnatural, in fact, unknown in a pre-industrial world, and from an evolutionary perspective, it still is to a very large extent.

It made me think about how we blindly accept so much information about health, movement and exercise when there is now proof that not only is much of this widely accepted information misleading but that it is incorrect.

As always my thinking drifted towards Kung Fu, and especially our Wing Chun.

We are all well aware that we face an uphill battle because of the difficulty that lies in accurate translations of established IDEAS, this is stretched even further once we accept that what laymen thought was the “Gold Standard” in 1950, 1970 even 2000 is now universally accepted as being well off the mark.

Something scientists have been aware of for a very long time is the importance of the role of intention in any action.

Intentions create signaling molecules that release an assortment of hormones to prepare our body for action.

This signaling happens at a level beneath cognition, despite what we may think, intention happens before thinking, not afterward as a result of thinking.

The concept of the often-mentioned Mind-Body Connection is based on our intentions more than our thinking.

If we misunderstand functions, protocols, and methods, if we apply importance to the wrong IDEAS then we create the wrong intention and send our body the wrong signals.

This of course leads us full circle and back to translation, comprehension, and implication.

Hands up, I am not a scientist so I could well be wrong, but where I feel this could cause problems is when we give credit to methods and protocols that are not actually responsible for the benefits we claim they deliver.

This is usually done as an attempt to retrofit our actions to what we believe we were thinking.

Once such method or protocol is relaxing {SONG}, I am in no way trying to say that relaxing is not important, it is very important and central to our training.

I am not trying to claim that we do not develop a “Net Benefit” to everything we do by relaxing.

But that benefit does not come from relaxing.

It comes from not being tense.

We must be weary not to ignore this difference just because it sounds like semantics.

When we are talking about something as nuanced as “Intention” and the subtle effects that “Intention” delivers, working on being relaxed sends a completely different signal than trying to not hold tension.

These conversations can create comprehension challenges if students choose to hold an either-or mind-set, some students totally refuse to accept that being relaxed is a different state than being in tension.

Separate, not a self-contained opposite, not the other side of the same coin.

It is lazy thinking to look at these two different states as being different ends of a sliding scale.

But even if we choose to hold this IDEA, what happens if someone falls in the middle, which is more likely than being at either end, are they relaxed or tense?

It should be obvious that we cannot, would not, hold the intention to be both relaxed and tense at the same time.

“Intention” is the precursor to function,

function is the realisation of intention,

neither requires thinking or decision-making.

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