The last two weekends, I’ve been building flower beds with a group for a leadership community service project. When I showed up the first day, they were unloading wood and carrying it up a hill. I jumped in line right away and, after they dropped two large pieces of wood in my arms, I began carrying them to their final destination. It wasn’t until then that one of the guys pointed out that I was carrying just as much wood as the men. My intention wasn’t to be competitive and do so, but after he said it, I looked around and he was right. So, how was I able to do so?
Sanchin. Sanchin is the first kata you learn in Uechi-Ryu karate. So far, I’ve been working on mine for over 10 years! Anyway, one of the first movements is drop your weight and hold both of your arms in front of you with your elbows dropped so that you form a modified “v” with the rest of your body (see the 18 second mark on the video above). I remember someone once telling me this was the appropriate way to carry wood, but I never had wood-hauling duties, so it never came up until this project.
What I realized looking around is that the men were carrying them under their arms or on one shoulder, so they were struggling with not only the weight, but also the length (8 feet each) of the wood. By using my karate stance, I was able to balance and haul the wood with little effort. And, I subconsciously knew this was the best way to do it.
And, before you ask, no I didn’t tell them how I was able to do it. I just let them continue to think I was just really that strong :-).