roller derby

this was written after my fresh meat introductory session in July 2013

Somatic Body-awareness in Roller-Derby

So here is a hunch from a newbieee.

You love Roller-Derby! You do it because it is exhilarating and it makes you be able to forget everything else that may be going on. You train hard, you play hard. You feel like you belong. Even when there is interpersonal, all too familiar human conflict, it somehow is easier to deal with, because you can get on the track, bump, block, escape and glide your way to new ways of relating.

You take risks with your body. Injuries are part of the field. It’s is all worth it: because the sense of joy and relief you get after hours of training, shouting, mumbling encouragement to yourself, putting your circulation through the up down of activity and rest, lungs expanding, burning tissue, diaphragm rising, falling; your hormone household helter- skeltering  itself into expressed balance, feeling  your heart pump the blood and coursing to extremities ,shadowed by lymph flow returning;  muscle, joint and connective tissue move, become spacious and when finally rest kicks in, together with the ache of lactic acid and the permission to be thoroughly sweatysmelly there is a glow on your skin and a bright sparkle in your eyes, and all of it connects you to a being alive!…is this newbie on the right track?

Well, this newbie is also a Somatic Movement Educator! What?….someone who works with Bodies, not just how we see them and use them every day, but someone who is able to show you how awareness of how your body feels, functions and is structured is something you already have knowledge of… you could just do with remembering….Why? so that all the above can increase in the joy factor by about another 25%…which you might think is impossible because you already get all you can out of your sport….so you think!

To contemplate from a perspective off somatics…some of it is glorious science…for truly, it is based in the scientific, anatomical, medical and ancient indigenous human realm of Body-knowledge.  Some of it is observation. Your sport is a movement activity! Generally we tend to think of muscles doing the moving…but where do they get their power from? What starts and stops a movement? What is the deep unconscious connection between voluntary initiated movement and involuntary movement responses? Have you ever considered the amount of organisational activity that happens pre-movement? How well integrated are your reflexes and righting reactions? We may talk about posture? But what is that, how does it look for each individual and where does it come from?  You utilise skeletal structure, but in the story of how you built your body, what is the difference between your fish body and your ape body…where is the amoeba, the jellyfish, the lancet, the amphibian, lizard, frog, rabbit and elephant in you? And do you bring them onto the track? You shift levels, from crouched tightly formed containment to the splatter of a fall, you get up, you change directions and how you perceive the world changes at millisecond speed; but do you know the developmental movement patterns you once had to inhabit to be able to do this, do you know they are with you still?…You are a team member; you work dynamically with your own changes in speed and the pack. From where do you harvest your awareness of location, transitions and from where comes the hunch of shifts in direction?  How is your sense of self built through proprioceptive feedback, what is the role of vestibular organisation and the filtering of the senses? What are Vectors, fields of attention and the group mind?…

You already have your own experiences and answers for all of the above, for they are present in every practice, bout and match.  My reason for drawing attention to thinking about what you love in this way, is to offer a widening of understanding and share with you what goes on inside me when I am re-learning how to move and be on wheels again.  Along with movement, my passion in life is to expand awareness. My medium here on earth for having awareness is my body. All I know, think and am is because I have a body. The more I know about my body, the more I can, together with everything else, forget  thinking about it, and simply be it, on the track.  Deconstructing in order to integrate, so that your being may function with ease and with less effort. Building a deep trust that your body, given permission, and with habits- imposed by the nervous system – lessened, always organises itself to optimum function and expression.  Being aware, sensitive and knowing how to witness your movement, sensations, feelings and the stories of our imagination is not just the realm of quietly rolling on a floor somewhere in spiritual solitude. They belong right there on the loud, expressive, dynamic, speed induced collective gathering of Roller Derby Dames. Or so I discovered last Saturday.

Next Saturday I am at a conference when you bout …instead of writing academic introductions to presentations I am here writing about why I connected to Roller-Derby. Guess it’s got me then!

It also had me thinking about what I can offer the league…I do enough organising, taking care of others, doing the washing and running diaries…but I can share, as part of training and injury prevention / rehabilitation, my knowledge and teaching about somatic embodiment.  I could do this in a group or with individuals and can find a regular dedicated hour to do so. In the integrity of my profession, I will only do this if you ask me to, so maybe Blitz-Dames, we could have some conversations and help me find not only my name, but also my contributing place within this community.

I am coming tomorrow to practice!