Weak hips sink ships
Mind your flank, often and always
Forgive the gimmicky title, please, the sentiment is authentic. We develop focus on our fronts and forget about our flanks. That's a real problem.
For me especially. I'm a runner and like many runners I want to get faster. So my primary concern is driving my legs straight forward, repeatedly, over miles and miles at a faster and faster pace.
Twice this past year I've had significant pain in the sides of my legs. The first was an IT band (the "band" of tissue on the outside of the leg that runs from hip to knee). The second was at the very top of the groin (where the tendon meets the pubic bone). As you can imagine, these have been painful.
And, again, they're from the sides. Maybe you'd imagine pain would come from the North-South as opposed to the East-West on a runner's body.
But that's not the case. The pinch points and pain and pressure is coming in from the sides.
Basil H. Liddell Hart spotted the same with success. He fought in World War I and ever after became an unabashed advocate for the indirect approach. Getting at your opponent in such a way, usually via a side or envelopment, so as to dislocate or throw off that opponent. In an era of frontal assaults, this idea had merit.
Where he went wrong, to my mind, is to suggest that's the way for everything, every strategy, every attack, every maneuver.
But Hart was right to say that we all have weaknesses at our sides.
I like to think of it this way. I have two eyes, oriented forward. I also have two ears, one allocated to each side. While sight and sound are different senses, based on quantity alone, I should be twice as sensitive to side-threats. Twice as jumpy from the side. Twice as worried about smoke that signals fire.
That doesn't necessarily mean I should over-focus on three o'clock or nine o'clock. It means I have to be deliberate about awareness out where I know my limitations lie.
With running, it's my hips. With Hart, it's the indirect. With my head, it's my sides.
How about you?