Undulatory motions

Undulatory locomotion is the type of motion characterized by wave-like movement patterns that act to propel a living body forward. Examples of this type of gait include crawling in snakes, or swimming in the lamprey. Although this is typically the type of gait utilized by limbless animals, some creatures with limbs, such as the salamander, choose to forgo use of their legs in certain environments and exhibit undulatory locomotion.

Human swimmers use undulatory motions similar to fish locomotion to attain high speeds. Due to anatomical limitations, the human swimmer adjust his motion to his limited abilities.

Movements of the human body

The human body can be divided roughly; feet, legs, hips, chest, shoulders, neck, head, arms, hands. By observing this we can study how movement in one body part will affect another. We use our muscles to create movements but by using the weight of our body and gravity laws, we can create an effortless flow of movement.

Schermafbeelding 2018-11-27 om 17.14.16By learning to use gravity, the flow of movement and by separating different body parts we can create multiple kinds of movement. Some of these movements are:

  • Undulation
  • Inverse undulation
  • Eclosion






Undulation and inverse undulation

In undulation the wave of movement starts from the feet, goes through the hips, chest, neck and at last, comes to the head. We can see a small undulation for example when a person starts to walk. The power of movement starts from the ground and is dragged through the whole body. Inverse undulation is the same “wave of movement” as undulation but it starts from the head and goes trough the body until the feet.



Eclosion is a movement of opening and closing. It starts from the ground in a closed position and gradually expands towards the open. The movement starts from the center of the body and moves towards the head, hands and feet. The rhythm is important, and hands and legs should arrive in the open position at the same time. The closing movement is the reverse of the opening movement.

Examples of Undulation, Inverse Undulation or Eclosion


kyokotsu 01

conncet kyokotsu elbow



Schermafbeelding 2018-11-27 om 17.34.00Some of the text is borrowed from:

The moving body by Jacques Lecoq

About shobukaidojo

A passion for Martial Arts since 1964

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