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March 01, 2005

Leonardo da Vinci's thought about "all our knowledge coming to us through our perception" was ahead of its time and reflected his genius vision. However it never became widely spread and never guided us in our discovery of the world. With some exceptions in some schools of art, music, and painting, perception was basically never the subject of our attention for teaching or learning. The absence of this important aspect in teaching and learning of movement brought along deep negative consequences, such as too long and difficult process of learning, wrong focus in teaching, etc. The importance of developing one's perception as the main factor in teaching and learning was never understood.

According to the great American scientist, Gregory Bateson, perception is the ability to feel the difference, which is the cornerstone of teaching and learning in any area of our life. Whatever we are learning - music, dance, painting, it is all based on our ability to feel the difference deeper. Feeling the difference between the tones of sound, colors, and movement is what allows us to perfect our performance. Therefore, a better developed perception allows us to learn more efficiently.

Running is no exception. What kind of perception plays an essential role in learning running technique? In the Pose Method we distinguish several factors requiring the development of specific perception. First of all, it is the perception of support, or the body weight applied to the ground and the location of the body weight on the support foot. It is in the area called the ball of the foot, located under the sesamoid joint. Why is this perception important? Because it is exactly the place the body starts falling from and lets gravity to pull it forward. And it is the place on which we perform the running action - pulling foot from the ground. That's why the perception of support becomes so important in learning the Pose Method.

How to learn and perfect the perception of support? The simplest exercises are the ones where we keep the body balance: on two legs, one leg, in the running Pose in place and in running. Performing light hops with and without the rope and runs on a soft surface like carpet, wooden floor, grass, sand in light shoes with thin soles or barefoot will also help a lot. Keep your focus on this perception during these exercises and in running, no matter what the length and speed of your running are.

We'll return to different aspects of perception in the following articles and discuss the ways to develop it further.


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