The Body Natural, The Body Free

- Staff

Nature vs. nurture. Which contributes more to our being, our personalities, our way of life ? Nurture of course represents all the acquired influences of society and family. Nature represents our inherited "genetic" characteristics. The problem is not a simple one because it is given one more twist by a very pernicious influence that blinds us to the division of these two forces.

Nature and Nurture. What mom taught and what she gave naturally. The hard thing is to know which is which. When people study T'ai Chi or Shaolin they often come across this problem. "That doesn't feel natural," they say. And what do they mean ? We must assume that no one over the age of 3 really remembers what "natural" is. The moment we are born we begin a process of change away from the natural. Show a student Cloud Hands, for instance, and they complain about how unnatural it feels. "O.K. what is natural ?" you ask, wondering. They make the motion of driving a car. They've been driving so long they don't even remember a time when that wasn't "natural" to them. But when we examine human movement we see that we have conformed to the machines and the structures that have surrounded us for so long that we no longer remember the twists, turns and spirals of truly natural motion.

Our study is based on the central concept, that there is an "original self" in each of us, a face behind convention's mask that we might see had we the proper mirror.

The story goes that a woman once approached Picasso and criticized his painting. "My three year old son could do that." Picasso nodded and added, "It takes a long time to become young."