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July 02, 2007

Does running in combat boots make our run different, and if yes, what is this difference?

On the one hand, it seems, it should be different, but on the other, knowing the fundamentals of the Pose Method philosophy, you feel, it shouldn’t. Where is the truth?

What is the point of discussing this problem? What relevance does it have for us?

Obviously, running in combat boots is not your every day exercise and it is not for every one. It is restricted to people of specific professions working under specific conditions and in specific circumstances. Nevertheless, the task of running itself, no matter the specificity of goals, is the same – to cover a given distance within a certain time limits. So the essence of running, no matter the goal, ammunition and surrounding circumstances is the same.

The design of these boots is not really supportive to execute efficient running. It is meant to protect our feet from the rough surface, we are moving on, and give support. But we still have to run in them and are supposed to do it efficiently. How do we put these two opposite tasks together and make it work?

Our quest to resolve this problem could potentially help thousands of young recruits to make their service less painful and thus more efficient. Official statistics shows that 30-40% of young people going through camps suffer tremendously from this painful experience, with the major contribution to it coming from running.

Please, do not rush to blame running itself. It is a good and necessary exercise helping to develop surviving skills. The problem is how to make it efficient and useful, but not scary and painful, when you are executing this in combat boots? If this running is different, then we have to find out how to teach it in a very specific way. If it’s not, then how do we adapt ourselves to the specifics of boots running?

From the Pose Method of view, the essence of running, no matter the shoes, is the same. It is only about our adaptation of it to combat shoes. The difficulties here are the following. These shoes are bulky, heavy, with thick soles and dense, rigid frame. They are, obviously, not conducive to running sprints or showing world-class speed in middle and long distances. Their design hinders our perception of support and makes the pulling action quite a challenge.

Nevertheless, we can still manage to run efficiently in them by adjusting our perception and action to their design. First of all, we still need to keep our body weight on the ball of the foot, and do not land on the heel in order to be able to use gravity as our leading force in running. Second, we need to keep a relatively small range of motion of the legs, by taking short steps. This kind of technique with a specific rhythmical pattern of steps (one, two, three, four…one, two, three, four…) was used in ancient Roman infantry divisions for quick relocations of military. It was one of the fastest and most successful armies in the world.

But it was not only about being fast. The infantry having arrived to the place of combat was able to enter and continue the battle very efficiently. It was possible because of their way of moving inside their specific group formations, with the soldiers placed tight to each other, in the front and behind, so that they were all forced to move their feet only up and down, but not forward and back. This “technique” allowed them to save their forces and get into the battlefield relatively fresh. I would call it a very good execution of the Pose Method, if it were not more than two thousand years ago.

The tasks of modern military may be a little different, but the technique could still be very useful. It could be “reinstalled” using modern understanding of gravity and the ways to use it, offered to us by the Pose Method. Then, no doubt, many of the problems of the young military men would be resolved and their ability to provide excellent service will be greatly enhanced.


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