Giving and receiving, breaking and building...
Anatomy and physiology. Architecture and design. Religion and philosophy. People researching these and other fields have all, at some point or another, contemplated ideas surrounding the concepts of form and function; processes and cycles...
Humanity and the human body. Where within the human organism, millions of cells, diverse in form and function, play particular roles in maintaining a healthy system. The principle that governs the functioning of the body is cooperation within a cycle of renewal. The body’s various parts do not compete for resources; rather, each cell, from its inception, is linked to a continuous process of giving and receiving; breaking and building.1 Wherein each being is unique in form, and thereby function, all the while operating within the fundamental sameness of humanity’s existentialism.
Countless analogies surround this unique-yet-universal process of giving and receiving, breaking and building. As an exercises specialist, I take pleasure in relating most everything back to the body and movement. For example, the same forces affecting bridge’s efficacy can be compared to the elements influencing individual’s goal achievement.
I recently asked friends and strangers alike, “What’s the first thing you think about when you hear the word tuff?” Unable to see the word’s physical spelling, most people spoke about physical strength, or the cool kid from middle school. Others, upon seeing the spelling of the word, envisioned volcanoes. One person said the words reminded her of elephants (I’m still not sure I understand this one).
With this simple question, a thread of analogies – the word tuff, the homophone tough, and the acronym T.U.F.F. – revealed itself, along with its interconnections amongst movement, humans and their surroundings.
“Tuff” – A look at the word...
Did you know the word tuff describes a fragmental rock consisting of the smaller kinds of volcanic detritus? Neither did I until a friend directed me to do some research. Stress, including compression and tensile forces, can cause what are called joints, or fractures, within the rock. Simply put, these and other forces break down and reshape some rocks, allowing other others to form. Rocks are always changing form and are redistributed as part of the giant rock- cycle of renewal.
In a previous blog entry, I compared bridges to the human experience of connecting one’s present state to future goals, whereby the same stresses associated with bridge building apply to human experiences. Now, pretend for a second- you are a rock. Do you experience stress? When it comes to the human, rock-like cycle, stress can either break you down, or it can build you up.
“Tough” – A look at the homophone...
One might say those who embrace their tuffaceous selves – those people who allow stress to build them up rather than tear them down – are tough. This is the more obvious analogy.
To be tough, however, is more than the quality of not being easily broken. It is reliance in the face of adversity – using re-creation as a form of recreation; using life’s stress as a tool to learn and teach and rebuild.
Tuffaceousness is not simply the lack of breaking down, but also the strength to build back up.
T.U.F.F. – A Look at the acronym...
Going one step further, t.u.f.f. might stand for “the unity of form and function.”
The principle “form follows function” is associated with both physiology and design; the idea that object’s shapes are or should be formed in direct correlation to what they are meant to do.
As previously stated, the body’s various parts do not compete for resources; rather, each cell, from its inception, is linked to a continuous process of giving and receiving; breaking and building; where life and being exist as a compound of matter and form.
Through movement of substance - move-ment or purposeful acts of change – one can re-form structure aimed at optimizing wellness.
In conclusion: Embrace your t.u.f.f.aceous self!
Author: Julia Anthony
B.S. Exercise Specialist, CSCS, NASM CPT