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View Full Version : Ideomotor Resonse: Can it happen in Aikido?


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Buck
06-08-2008, 12:14 AM
I have been mulling that around for some time now, and I am not sure, can the Ideomotor Response take place in Aikido? If this is true what role does it play (the lead role).

The ideomotor Response (IR)isn't looked upon in a favorable light because of its mis-use by those who like to fool people. It is best known as being the mysterious power behind the Ouiji Board, table turning, dowsing rods, and healing for example.

IR as defined by an expert. " It is about how the body involuntary reacts as a result of unconscious body motor movement/behavior. According to an expert who said of IR, it is muscular movement that can be initiated by the mind independently of volition or emotions. We may not be aware of it, but suggestions can be made to the mind by others or by observations. Those suggestions can influence the mind and affect motor behavior."

The Ideomotor Response might be taking place in Aikido and it isn't about fooling people. I suspect that IR is taking place when Shi is being attacked by Uke more then once. In practicing waza repeatedly what might happen durring practice is both Shi and Uke behave in a matter allows for IR. Thesuggestion with regard to IR is started from the onset of training when Shi is grabbed by Uke, and after several times of this the Shi and Uke in the spirit of cooperation both experience the effects of IR. If so is the practice real? Or does IR have little if any affect on practice?

Is this bad or good, gee I don't know. For me, it is it is a possibility and opportunity to look closer at Aikido training and what is going on when two or more people train together doing a waza repeatedly many times overtime. If IR does happen to play a role in Aikido training, then how is it we work with it to benefit waza and how do we make our way around it- if it is a hinderance to developing good waza?

Erick Mead
06-08-2008, 12:34 AM
I have been mulling that around for some time now, and I am not sure, can the Ideomotor Response take place in Aikido? If this is true what role does it play (the lead role). ...If IR does happen to play a role in Aikido training, then how is it we work with it to benefit waza and how do we make our way around it- if it is a hinderance to developing good waza.Ideomotor is subconcsious but still volitional action. Conversely, stretch reflexes are not volitional at all. They can be manipulated by certain physical inputs, are spinal, not cerebral, many are monosynaptic, and very, very fast, neuromuscularly speaking and some are interconnected with one another. (Look up studies on the Jendrassik maneuver reflex test provoking involuntary stepping action, and you'll see what I mean).

Short answer -- no, I don't think ideomotor response is involved. Stretch reflexes, on the other hand -- very likely.

nekobaka
06-08-2008, 07:55 AM
I agree that ideomotor response is not what is happening in aikido.
Whether you believe in ki or not, movement is movement, when you turn and rotate, you create momentum, and this can be used to manipulate uke. nothing defying physics here. ki can be a kind of metaphor if you like, or you can think of it as something that really exists. I don't think it really has anything to do with your practice.
when uke reads what is going to happen, if you have done the technique again and again, of course you are one step ahead and may not move in a realistic way, like someone who doesn't do aikido. It's uke's responsibility to give an honest attack, and try to give realistic energy to the technique. People are often told, myself included, that their attack is off, you should be coming straight and aiming for the neck if you are doing yokomen, however we know that tori is going to move to the side and then aim there.
also uke moves ahead of the movement to protect one's self, to be a step behind could mean a broken arm in a realistic situation.
anyone who's been thrown by my sensei doesn't doubt the reality of aikido.

Bill Danosky
06-08-2008, 08:13 AM
I'm not sure if this qualifies as ideomotor response, but for instance, something mysterious makes you fall when receiving kote gaeshi. Your body seems to have an automatic defense to getting your wrist broken.

SeiserL
06-08-2008, 08:19 AM
IMHO, IR is not what usually happens in Aikido training.

OTOH, it could and maybe it should.

rob_liberti
06-08-2008, 09:15 AM
I'm not sure if this qualifies as ideomotor response, but for instance, something mysterious makes you fall when receiving kote gaeshi. Your body seems to have an automatic defense to getting your wrist broken.

I just assume that there is someone in the back room with a voodoo doll of me, watching class, and making me fall down when I'm working with the sensei.

Just be cautious if when you sign up for aikido they make you give up a little hair and some small item that means something to you. :)

Rob

DH
06-08-2008, 09:18 AM
I think the observation of some things caused by the effects of Aiki, is very hard to understand and can be attributed to IR. I have had any number of people grab me and then be moved or thrown while not being able to let go. They don’t know why that is, and Aiki done on a high level has some pretty extraordinary affects associated with it. While I can see observers attributing it to IR. they are, none-the-less, rational, very hard to work and train body attributes in the person. What they are not is an "agreement" between two people to make IR. One is grabbing or attacking, one is exhibting Aiki. The former is then doing things involuntarily, the later is causing it to happen. I did this with a judoka, where everytime he tried to throw me-he was thrown. He couldn't figure it out. But since I knww what I was doing- IR had nothing to do with it.

Erick Mead
06-08-2008, 10:51 AM
I'm not sure if this qualifies as ideomotor response, but for instance, something mysterious makes you fall when receiving kote gaeshi. Your body seems to have an automatic defense to getting your wrist broken.THAT is a stretch reflex -- and it is made stronger by the suddenness of tension along the length of the arm and into the shoulder girdle attached to the spine. (That's what the Jendrassik maneuver reflex test does, and it thereby strengthens the knee-jerk reflex): http://www.springerlink.com/content/n44822007475w64q/

The "internal" guys would say that the upper cross and lower cross are connected, and may be accessed and coordinated by their forms of training. I don't take issue with that, See -- http://jn.physiology.org/cgi/content/abstract/00020.2008v2, but the same sorts of things are present in aikido kokyu undo, tai-jutsu and weapons work, properly done.

From my perspective it is more a question of applying the right form of cyclic tension reaching into the center spinal column in the right way -- that helps trigger certain involuntary actions. Some stretch reflexes trigger the extensor arc and some trigger the flexor arc. In the lower limbs this is called aiki age (extensor) vice aiki sage (flexor), and in the upper limbs cutting action (extensor) vice gathering or snatching action (flexor).

Even if the strength of the reflex action in the opponent (and people vary widely in their sensitivity) does not result in actual movement, it nevertheless creates an involuntary neuromuscular potential in one direction. While the reflex is engaged, movement in that direction cannot be resisted physiologically.

Buck
06-08-2008, 11:03 AM
[Erick I see you beat me to the posting punch by answering Bill before I posted-good stuff! ]

Erick,
Fascinating. I didn't read too much about the reflex test. I skimmed over it. What I read was pretty fascinating. I do have a question you might help me with. How is the reflex be used in Aikido?


Lynn,

Can you go into detail, of how IR could and maybe it should be happening in Aikido?

Bill,

Maybe we do over think what is happening. But maybe being aware of IR so to stop IR or enhance training with IR could improve results. Like for example, we stop providing IR suggestions during training, or using IR suggestions at the right time. All could help effectiveness of our technique. It also could be an alternative explanation that is more comprehensible then other explanations. It's a ball I am throwing around, and so far it has been rewarding and educational. I have the comfired belief that knoweldge is power. Yet, I do appreciate the view of not over-thinking it.

Erick Mead
06-08-2008, 03:28 PM
[Erick I see you beat me to the posting punch by answering Bill before I posted-good stuff! ]

Erick,
Fascinating. I didn't read too much about the reflex test. I skimmed over it. What I read was pretty fascinating. I do have a question you might help me with. How is the reflex be used in Aikido?Understanding that I can only report what is known of how the body functions and then reasonably relate that to what I know happens in practice. I have two mainlines of thought that relate to one another -- One is impulse and angular momentum forming 3D (spiral) waves in the body (or standing waves, equivalent t o a moment (potential for angular momentum) which while still and don't look like moving, is. The other is the way in which these spinal reflexes are biomechanically triggered or manipulated by that action.

If the patellar tendon is sharply stretched by a very small amount (the typical knee-jerk reflex tap), its attached muscle bundle ("quads") contracts (and while this is not often mentioned, its antagonist bundle (hamstring) relaxes and lengthens). The suddenness and perceived speed of the reflex are in part because the normal tone of the antagonist no longer retsrains the movement at all. The reflex is equal parts muscle contraction as it is antagonist relaxation.

Stretch reflexes occur on all skeletal muscle tendons. Depending on whether the extensor or the flexor of the antagonist pairs is the one stretched, the reflex will extend or flex the limb concerned. These can also be triggered by other pathways, such as the pain-snatch reflex (nociceptive), but those are multisynaptic (involving more than one neuron) whereas the true spinal reflexes occur on one neuron from the spine to the muscle it activates.

The Jendrassik maneuver test sensitizes or potentiates the lower body reflex from upper body applied tension, making reflex action more pronounced. The shape of the arms in that test is hooked together in front pulling against one another, (the same shape, basically and tension set up across the shoulder girdle as proper tegatana in tai-jutsu, BTW).

If the hamstring instead of the quad is stretched at the knee, then the reverse happens and the hamstring contracts (the quads and gasrtrocnemius/soleus relax, the legs sharply flex (knees buckle). The hamstring has a reflex arc to the ACL, so that if the ACL (restraining lateral knee position) is sharply stretched, the hamstring buckles the leg to protect the joint.

In BIll's example of kotegaeshi, the buckling happens because the spiral momentum propagating to his feet, passes through the already loaded leg, and triggers the sensitive ACL hamstring reflex arc, which has in turn been oversensitized or potentiated (as in the Jendrassik test) to the stretch by the prior tension (kotegaeshi) applied to the upper limb. These upper/lower limb potentiating interactions are multisynaptic, but the triggering mechanism is not.

The angular momentum travels in a wave through the body, alternately stretching and compressing the elements in turn. When the wave phases passes through a limb segment, the agonist and antagonist sides are stretched and compressed in opposite phases (in-yo ho, for Dan). Depending on how you shape and modulate the wave in applying it, you can begin to isolate ways in which the opposed pairs can be trigger with a sharp stretch.

In Bill's example, kotegaeshi typically results in aiki sage (flexors triggered) whereas applying the opposite spiral of the arm (seen most readily in sankyo, results in aiki age (triggering extensors). These two opposite spirals are found in striking and blocking/trapping -- and are traditionalyl described with a floral image -- asagao -- morning glory blossom, which spirals open and closed.

You can also use this to shape your own body and the momentum moving through it to move more reflexively, in direct response to connected inputs, to your advantage. This aspect is most readily trained in weapons, learning to sensitize your upper body (perhaps by refining the Jendrassik potentiation or sensitivity) to respond to ever more slight changes in connection of the weapons, entirely though feel at the level of the skeletal muscles.

The last bit that I am still pondering is the question of resonance. My blog sort of describes where I am at on that score at the moment, approaching it from the atemi side. But things like funetori, furitama, tekubi furi all have this rhythmic pulsing to them and when performed, in the case of furitama and tekubi furi, find the resonance frequency of the body -- just about 10 Hz. Since the body's balance sway (using the lower extremity extensors and flexors in a complex modal rhythm) is necessarily keyed to a harmonic of that resonance frequency, anything that matches it can progressively disrupt the balance cycle, adding a third aspect to the discussion. That must remain somewhat more speculative, however, as balance and gait are still only very poorly understood, although very interesting work is being done on the relationship between vibration and balance.

Dan Rubin
06-08-2008, 05:11 PM
The instructor tells me to stand relaxed, inhale gently, and "let your arms float up away from your body," and, sure enough, my arms float up, seemingly without muscular intent. Is this an ideomotor response?

Is the ideomotor response different from the power of suggestion?