Saturday, April 28, 2012


When training QM postures, the work consists in taking all the possible postures with front, back or side toward the ground and in going from one posture to the next in the easiest and fastest way possible. This work can be done statically, or better as a progression, moving through the changes of postures.
For instance, one can start in QM squat, move into forward hold by moving the hands forward, then move the feet toward the hands, etc. Such progression can be done head or feet first, with various combinations of squatting and extended QM postures.
The straight holds are excellent flexibility exercises, and one must join smoothly the different movements between postures and avoid a mechanical or rigid execution. These exercises can be done during a march or a run: stopping with the feet together or apart, one can squat and get into various QM postures before standing up and continuing.
The groupings can be done first by walking the hands and feet in various combinations (Planche 29 and 30) from squats to straight holds and inversely. The work can be made more dynamic (and harder) by moving both hands or both feet together (Planche 31). Note that in many cases it is better to progress in two steps (it can be harder, for instance when moving the feet back from squat to front hold).
Further combinations can be built to move smoothly (but not necessarily in one jump or walk) from one hold to another (Planche 32 and 33). Finally, movements of the trunk are also important to help transition smoothly between postures, and can be trained separately lying down (Planche 34).

Saturday, April 14, 2012

QM squats

In a QM squat ("accroupetonnement"), like in a bipedal squat, the body is lowered and the legs fully flexed. The main difference is that one or both hands are touching the ground. The legs still support most of the weight of the body, the arms providing mostly increased stability and sometimes additional support. The squat has several variants as seen on the illustrations, depending on the relative location of the hands and feet. QM squats with the hands behind or sideways are not very common, but should be trained to become natural. QM squats are mostly a starting posture for other exercises such as holds and jumps, or a transition posture between them. It is also a useful posture for hiding, resting and waiting.

For most civilized people, this position is quickly painful and hard to hold. On the contrary, many primitive peoples use QM squats as a regular resting pose. [Note: Georges Hébert, as a man of the early 20th century, saw the world as divided between "civilization" and "primitive" peoples. However, he was also very impressed by the natural fitness of those primitive peoples and very critical of the civilized world's view on physical activity. Although "primitive" has a negative connotation, it is seen here as a quality, so I kept those terms.]

The huddled QM squat ("blotissement") is a full QM squat, with round back, knees to the chest, often with the arms around the legs. Like in the regular QM squat, there are different variants based on the hand and feet position. To get into any of these, one must start by getting into the corresponding QM squat and then lowering and rounding the body into the huddled form. To stand up from the back and side huddle, it is possible to use a rocking of the body, kicking one or both legs out to increase momentum.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A quick overview

Before I start moving on to the various QM exercises, I thought I'd spend some time explaining a few details about this blog (not Georges Hébert talking, here. Not Georges Hébert either in the other posts, by the way. Keep that in mind).

The way I've worked so far is to provide a condensed summary of topics from the book along with pictures of some interesting drawings of my choice. I think that's pretty efficient, i.e. I don't spend hours laboring over the text and you still get a lot of information.

About the pictures, I made high resolution photographs so that you can read the text if you wish (try right-click and "view picture" or "open in other tab" or something like that: you should get the full resolution image). Most of the text should be straightforward via google translate or some other engine, once you have the context information from the summary (or so I hope).

Of course, there's many details missing, so if you have questions on any of the topics you can put a comment and I'll do my best to answer at least before I put the next post up.

Now, so far we have covered parts of the introduction, describing general aspects of QMs. Those are basically what to keep in mind when doing any form of QM exercise. Next come the exercise chapters, describing various modes of QMs and related exercises (the book covers QM static postures first, then walking, running and jumping, then crawling, and finally falling). In these, many of the actual exercises are described more in detail in the illustrations than in the main text, so I recommend you look closely at them if you're interested in the moves.

I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I do!