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ChrisHein
01-24-2013, 02:22 PM
When we talk about good ways to use the body here on AikiWeb, we often hear all kinds of different ideas. Some people (like me) say that the best ideas and examples come from modern athletics. Some people say that the human body can do things that most athletic trainers had no idea about. I would like to open up a discussion, and see if we can hash some of these things out so that we can better share our ideas about what is going on inside of the body.

Here is a diagram I made that shows a simple mechanical example of "alignment".

(Click to enlarge)
1103

The "Unaligned support" diagram shows how downward force acts when someone is holding their arm out. Because the load (10kg weight) is at the end of the lever, the muscles located at the fulcrum (shoulder muscles) must work very hard to support the load. Next to this we see the "Aligned support" diagram, and what happens when we bring the load into "alignment" with our body. The lever arm gets shorter, thus making the muscles around the fulcrum, work much less. The Shorter we can make the lever length, the less force we will have at our fulcrum, if we make the lever length "0", then we will no longer have a fulcrum at all, this will give us perfect alignment. When this alignment is achieved the natural structure of the body bears the load, and no one particular group of muscles of over worked.

Because we have aligned the structure of our bodies with the load, we have less work to do at any one spot. This I believe is the basic idea of "ground path". However there is a price for this. We cannot align our bodies in every direction at once. We have to configure our bodies in the direction of the force, and line that up with the ground in order to do this. Because it requires special alignment between the load and the ground, we will naturally not have this alignment in all directions at once.

This is a simple idea of how alignment works. I know that in the "IP/IS/IT" community there are other ideas about how to solve this problem. One of the ideas is, I believe, is based on "pressure". I would like to talk about these ideas, and create different models to show how the ideas work.

Thanks!

tanthalas
01-24-2013, 02:43 PM
Unless I'm interpreting it incorrectly, Sigman's balloon man model doesn't really care about the joints... so for all intents and purposes, in the IS model there is no fulcrum... only control unit(s) which is/are the dantien(s). The absence/elimination of fulcrums in the IS models is what enables "jin everywhere all the time" (what you're calling groundpath in all directions). This is presumably also why posture and alignment ultimately don't actually matter in the forming and maintaining of groundpath, since a balloon man by definition has nothing to align.

In fact, one might argue that the purpose of relaxation is exactly this -- to eliminate the presence/effect of these "fulcrums" in the body and to create a body that is wholly connected. Local tension at any point creates a fulcrum (and thus a point of weakness/reliance as illustrated in your diagram), regardless of whether it occurs at a joint or not.

chillzATL
01-24-2013, 02:47 PM
Because we have aligned the structure of our bodies with the load, we have less work to do at any one spot. This I believe is the basic idea of "ground path". However there is a price for this. We cannot align our bodies in every direction at once. We have to configure our bodies in the direction of the force, and line that up with the ground in order to do this. Because it requires special alignment between the load and the ground, we will naturally not have this alignment in all directions at once.

This is a simple idea of how alignment works. I know that in the "IP/IS/IT" community there are other ideas about how to solve this problem. One of the ideas is, I believe, is based on "pressure". I would like to talk about these ideas, and create different models to show how the ideas work.

Thanks!

Simply aligning a load over your frame doesn't make it a ground path. It might be efficient body usage, but it's not necessarily ground path. Ground path also does not require alignment or require that the force/load be delivered in one specific direction. See Ueshiba's jo trick as an example of this. FWIW, you can also hold that weight as indicated in your unaligned support image with the ground.

ChrisHein
01-24-2013, 03:32 PM
Ground path also does not require alignment or require that the force/load be delivered in one specific direction.

Doesn't the force coming in always have to be delivered to the ground? Isn't that why it is called ground path?

HL1978
01-24-2013, 03:34 PM
Chris, your artistry is far better than mine, so I assume you don't mind that I modified your drawing.

http://armitage.crinkle.net/~hunter/weight%20shoulder.JPG

I focused on the first drawing because it follows into how I would actually use the "alignment" shown in the second one instead of passively letting the load through the body.

In the first model of my diagram, which I refer to as the normal/external model, the person uses the shoulder and maybe some bicep/forearm muscle to deal with the load. If they are more skilled, they can recruit the muscles of the back to support it as well. They are unable to access the ground through structure as the lever arm/combined with the weight would "pull" them towards the weight. This may result in some tension as they shift away or "pull away" from the weight to compensate for the load.

In the second model, which I dubbed the internal model, which is a VERY simplified model, something significantly different is going on. The red path is still there, but there is an additional blue path. This blue path is a couple of things integrated together which I shall go over, but it is important to note that the blue path becomes the red path (it would be easier to show sideways) and the red path becomes the blue path.

Also, since I annotated it quickly, I only really showed the paths in the upper portion of the body, though this simplifies things too.

Inside/front generally refers to the underside of the arms, inside of the legs, the front of the torso. Outside/back/ generally refers to the backside of the body tops of the arm with the biceps, shoulders, outside of the quads etc. This is just a general not specific reference to a hard ruleset as we are talking about a very simplified model.

The red path is much the same, where the weight is delivered down the back, though into the ground and sort of pulls away from the weight. The blue path however can be considered the red path reflecting off the ground and coming up coupled with several other things. They mix together and augment one another.

The blue path is also supporting from underneath. The easiest/initial way to think of this is extending/stretching outwards. One should be able to feel the triceps, the area under the armpit etc, stretch outwards (its easier to feel with muscles at first and switch to suit later on). This path/stretch goes out towards the load, rather than away from it. This path (though not discussing how to actually do it) is what causes the load to be held from underneath, rather than on top. It is part of what allows you to integrate the weight into you. This is some of what Phi was indirectly referring to in the other thread. If you work on this you will find you take the shoulders out of a lot of things and start recruiting more of the front side. You then learn there are only really certain ways you can move to maintain that blue/inside/front path.

When you use this blue path to support the weight, in conjunction with the red one, now you can access your structure/alignment whereas it would be far more difficult to do with the red one alone. This is not a requirement, though, you could use the suit to transmit the loads, without relying on any particular skeletal structure or alignment. You could then consider this to be part of "blue" path as well.

For most people the red path in terms of support for a load, is highly developed, but the blue path (forget about it being a ground path, I'm referring to the stretching/suit/integration components) is not thus it completely overpowers the blue, or a person is unaware of any of the blue type paths. The red and blue work in concert, one does not overpower the other.

Note: I'm not referring to the middle/hips etc as this is a very very simplified model.

ChrisHein
01-24-2013, 03:39 PM
Unless I'm interpreting it incorrectly, Sigman's balloon man model doesn't really care about the joints... so for all intents and purposes, in the IS model there is no fulcrum... only control unit(s) which is/are the dantien(s). The absence/elimination of fulcrums in the IS models is what enables "jin everywhere all the time" (what you're calling groundpath in all directions). This is presumably also why posture and alignment ultimately don't actually matter in the forming and maintaining of groundpath, since a balloon man by definition has nothing to align.

So the basic idea of the "balloon man" model is that the whole body is 'pressurized'. This means that all of the joints are equally filled with a pressure, which enables the muscles of a stressed joint to relax instead of work, because the pressure is taking the load. Is this correct?

My first question with this is, what's making the 'pressure'? Is it air pressure? Is it hydraulic type pressure?

What is inside of the body that can be 'pressurized' evenly throughout? Is it blood or some other body fluid?

What is 'pressurizing' the medium that we are adding pressure to? Is it the muscles of the core- the dantien?

ChrisHein
01-24-2013, 03:47 PM
Chris, your artistry is far better than mine, so I assume you don't mind that I modified your drawing.

Awesome, I'm glad you used it!

Thanks for the description.

My first question is, what makes up the 'blue path'? Is it other muscles firing from different angles? Is it an internal 'pressure'? What exactly makes up the 'blue path'?

HL1978
01-24-2013, 03:52 PM
What is 'pressurizing' the medium that we are adding pressure to? Is it the muscles of the core- the dantien?

Chris, that is a good question. I don't think anyone has definitive scientific proof as to what that medium actually is.

People tend to think it might be the fascia as where it is present seems to overlap which what the Chinese traditional models point too (for example absence at the throat/anus/mouth). I have a hard time believing that various breath exercises would condition muscles or skin in the limbs, yet when you work on the pressure aspect, you feel this pressurization in the limbs as well as the torso.

While I do think that there is a mental process component that interprets these sensations from breath/pressurization conditioning, something in the body is likely to be changing as well. What that physiological component actually is, I'm not terribly concerned over as it doesn't effect my actual training. It certainly would be nice to know though.

I don't believe Mike Sigman refers to the joints themselves as being pressurized, though I believe Akuzawa sensei does refer to storing into them. Perhaps Rob or someone else can clarify what that actually means as I don't want to be tossing around buzzwords I don't understand.

HL1978
01-24-2013, 04:01 PM
Awesome, I'm glad you used it!

Thanks for the description.

My first question is, what makes up the 'blue path'? Is it other muscles firing from different angles? Is it an internal 'pressure'? What exactly makes up the 'blue path'?

Initially, you can try using muscle, later on its something else entirely. For a simple exercise, at your computer try this:

With your arm resting at your side, raise it up over your head.
Which muscles do you feel activating? For most people, myself included before I was shown this sort of thing, they will feel the top of the shoulder activating. This is the "top" or "back side" I was referring to.

Now try and see if you can use the triceps, and the area underneath the armpit while relaxing and not activating the shoulder. Imagine an inflatable bag is kept in your armpit. As it expands, the triceps and the front side under the armpit pull away from one another. You will feel a stretch build in intensity. This inflatable bag should work i such a way that it doesn't raise the shoulder overhead, but instead moves the arm outwards and upwards.

Now you might not be able to raise the arm all the way overhead, but you should be able to move that arm without using the shoulder.

By the way, this is part of what you should be doing in all that horse stance training various arts have. The shoulders will get far less fatigued, while the front side of the body gets fatigued, with areas progressively lower and lower on the body getting sore as you learn to bear the load until you reach "the middle".

As I detailed in my earlier post, there are 2 other components, but you won't be able to feel/use them until you can start using the front. What I am talking about here though is much more complex than the initial ground path model.

ChrisHein
01-24-2013, 04:18 PM
With your arm resting at your side, raise it up over your head.---

Now try and see if you can use the triceps, and the area underneath the armpit while relaxing and not activating the shoulder.

I've been trying this for a few minutes only, but I can't do it. I'm usually pretty good at figuring these things out, and I'll keep trying.

But by thinking about how my muscles work, I can't figure out how I can raise my arm like this, and not activate the shoulder. Because muscles only contract, I can't figure out how the muscles below my arm can raise my arm. When holding weight, I can activate my lat for more support, but there is no doubt, when I try it, that my shoulder has to activate.

Can you (or anyone) make a video of this, so we can see the shoulder muscles? If I touch my shoulder, I keep feeling it activate when I raise my arm.

Jeremy Hulley
01-24-2013, 04:50 PM
Can you (or anyone) make a video of this, so we can see the shoulder muscles? If I touch my shoulder, I keep feeling it activate when I raise my arm.

Ark can raise his hands without any shoulder. I've had my hands on his shoulder while he has done it.

chillzATL
01-24-2013, 04:54 PM
Doesn't the force coming in always have to be delivered to the ground? Isn't that why it is called ground path?

Yes, but it doesn't require skeletal alignment to make that happen.

ChrisHein
01-24-2013, 04:55 PM
Ark can raise his hands without any shoulder. I've had my hands on his shoulder while he has done it.

That is pretty neat, I would love to see a video of this. Can only the top level guys do this, or can most entry level people do this? I guess I'm asking if this is common or high level.

ChrisHein
01-24-2013, 04:58 PM
Yes, but it doesn't require skeletal alignment to make that happen.

So the bones are not being used in this kind of training? Well, I mean yes, they are holding the body up, but getting them in to alignment is not necessary?

Wouldn't this mean that the 'internal force', whatever it is, is stronger and more powerful then the bones and skeletal alignment?

chillzATL
01-24-2013, 05:20 PM
So the bones are not being used in this kind of training? Well, I mean yes, they are holding the body up, but getting them in to alignment is not necessary?

Wouldn't this mean that the 'internal force', whatever it is, is stronger and more powerful then the bones and skeletal alignment?

No, again, see O'sensei's jo trick. That's one of the things he's demonstrating there, IMO. Heaven and earth.

I don't know that I would say that, but that's beyond my pay grade to be honest. My initial thought would be that no, it's not, but I don't think it's being stronger in a force on force sort of way. It's about how you can feel and work with forces differently compared to typical muscle usage. It has a unique feeling to it that I can't describe in words, but once you feel it I think it stands out.

HL1978
01-24-2013, 05:21 PM
That is pretty neat, I would love to see a video of this. Can only the top level guys do this, or can most entry level people do this? I guess I'm asking if this is common or high level.

How pure it is, depends on the skill level of the person demonstrating it. I would say in the grand scheme of things it is very low level.

I will try and get some video for you.

There is a second method too, and I will take some video.

Michael Varin
01-24-2013, 11:40 PM
It seems to me that quite a few people feel far too comfortable describing things that they cannot do, or at least cannot do confidently or with any real understanding.

This makes me wonder. . .

Hunter,

I'm waiting for the videos. I have always found you to be one of, if not, the most forth coming of the so-called "IP/IT/IS" guys here on AikiWeb, but, that said, I seem to remember you failing to produce videos in the past.

No one is questioning whether the skills described as "IP/IT/IS" exist. We are questioning what exactly is the nature of those skills, and why people are so reluctant to demonstrate them.

ChrisHein
01-25-2013, 12:09 AM
How pure it is, depends on the skill level of the person demonstrating it. I would say in the grand scheme of things it is very low level.

I will try and get some video for you.

There is a second method too, and I will take some video.

Great! I'm look forward to them! Honestly, I've been playing with the idea of raising my arm, without activating my shoulder all day, I find it impossible. I would be pretty impressed by this.

Thanks!

ChrisHein
01-25-2013, 12:12 AM
No, again, see O'sensei's jo trick. That's one of the things he's demonstrating there, IMO. Heaven and earth.


I think there is a lot going on in O sensei's jo trick. I have been working with it for years. This year I learned how to do an exact duplicate of what I have seen him do in one of his video's. I think he is demonstrating an awesome physical/phycological principle, but not the one assumed by many people.

This is the stuff of another thread though.

danj
01-25-2013, 01:39 AM
Hi Chris, all
A few things to cogitate
Gravity acts on every mass component in the diagram and so the gravity vector under the body is potentially misleading, you might like to consider it as a resultant force vector on the ground that can have a direction other than vertical, or separate out the load onto each of the feet, in doing so there is a kind of fulcrum effect. Where the net vector falls outside the base of support a fall starts (thing this you have talked about earlier though)

The feeding back from the ground Hunter alludes to is the ground reaction force and its direction can be varied and infinite (to the limit of the structure that propagates it) which is very cool I think!

Static loads are a good place to start and interesting but where it gets really interesting is exploiting this analysis not only in nage but also in uke to ensure maximum effect.

I wonder/suspect if the coiling/winding/reeling/spirals are part of the methods of tightening up structure to be able to propagate and direct the forces

look forward to the next versions and where your heading
dan

PS FWIW on the subject of the jo trick, I heard from one O'Sensei's deshi that he was asked to pull back on the other end of the jo. be interested to hear more on the replicating of it - have some limited success on a single outstretched arm

phitruong
01-25-2013, 06:42 AM
Hunter has provided lots of good info for the discussion. most folks when they picked up something they are thinking of pulling it up, especially something light. internal folks train to get underneath and push it up, even with a feather. and we already talked about efficiency on the other thread.

here is an exercise that Sigman got us to do. stand normally with feet parallel about shoulder width. take a small weight, less than 1 kg. hold it in between your palms and raise it with arms straight, straight up the top of your head. hold it there. now relax your body and let the weight pushes down to your feet so that you will only feel the weight pressure on your palms and the bottom of your feet. you should feel like you are now holding the weight by pushing from underneath (pushing isn't the right word to use here, but for simplicity, i am using it). hold it there for awhile and try to let go off your shoulder muscles.

now, drop your arms (still straight out) 45 degree from vertical. the weight should be infront of you and above your shoulders. don't move the rest of your body, but use your intent to adjust your body so that you still pushing it from underneath and there would still be pressure between the palms and the bottom of your feet, i.e. your body doesn't exist, only palms and feet. then drop your arms to 90 degree from vertical. do the same thing as before. allow your body to adjust. then drop to 135 degree from vertical. then 180 from vertical which at this point the weight should be around your crotch. and you are still pushing from underneath. it should feel like you are pushing the thing up with your feet. this is bringing the ground to the object or a simple model of ground path. experts will tell you that there are more it than that and they are right. because your focus is pushing from underneath, your body will microscopically adjust internally to use the blue line (don't think of line but tubes) that Hunter mentioned.

it's a simple exercise from Sigman, but it has some profound implication. so now, the question is why? why would we want to do that? ask a judo person, what would he/she/it give for the ability to get underneath the other person, without physically squatting down beneath the other person, with just a mind focus intent and the other person won't feel it or realize that you are underneath them? i am thinking first born, second born, possibly spouse, but not the dog since you can't just give up your best friend. this little exercise related to the SJT "sink the qi" or my terms "get underneath". btw, you need to use very light weight for a long period of time, months (took me over a year and still finding more interesting stuffs to it), to allow your body to reorganize itself for optimal ground path.

There is an opposite exercise which i called "getting on top", i.e. the ability to put your weight on top another person without physically changing your posture. after that then another exercise where you do "get underneath" then switch to "getting on top" which just a switch in your intention without moving your physical posture.

i can provide a video but you would only see my good looking self stand there not doing much. i might eat a donut or two with coffee. :)

phitruong
01-25-2013, 06:54 AM
It seems to me that quite a few people feel far too comfortable describing things that they cannot do, or at least cannot do confidently or with any real understanding.

This makes me wonder. . .
.

they can, to certain degree, but they are being modest. they have seen what the experts can do. think of kyu rank versus shihan (most shihan don't post online). you have some of the experts like Sigman, Dan, Ark (Rob John really did the posting), Howie, and so on posted here now and then. even they will say there are folks above them. in asia, there is a saying "there are mountains higher than mountains, trees higher than trees". so even the experts will say they don't know much, up until they kick your ass to kingdom come. i had that happen to me many times in my martial arts adventure. thus, i would only be modest to say that i am a god gift to IP. :D

chillzATL
01-25-2013, 07:30 AM
It seems to me that quite a few people feel far too comfortable describing things that they cannot do, or at least cannot do confidently or with any real understanding.

This makes me wonder. . .


Really? Like who? How do you know? Because they don't put up videos for others to pick apart?

Janet Rosen
01-25-2013, 11:03 AM
But by thinking about how my muscles work, I can't figure out how I can raise my arm like this, and not activate the shoulder. Because muscles only contract, I can't figure out how the muscles below my arm can raise my arm. When holding weight, I can activate my lat for more support, but there is no doubt, when I try it, that my shoulder has to activate..

Both the standard body use of Ki Aikido and the Pilates teaching "go down to go up" teach this body usage.
The model I learned via aikido is to simply point at something the way you would when, well, when pointing at something :) . The ki test is to have your arm seized and simply point at something. The visualization or intent is that the shoulder and arm are still and relaxed and the finger simply extends and rises. The aikido model posits the triceps as doing the work.
The Pilates model is that to learn this, you first drop your shoulders and then you simple allow your arms to raise. The Pilates perspective is you are enlisting primarily the latissimus dorsi.
Using both models, I believe it is initiating gross movement w/ the lats and secondarily maintaining extension via the triceps.

In and of itself this is not what I'd call "internal training" but it is certainly what I'd call "best use" body mechanics. And it is a very good way of beginning to understand the connection between intent and efficient body usage.

(note: when talking about dropping shoulders: the commonest model is to feel like you are pushing them down from above. If you know how to isolate the tiny muscles at the lowest part of the scapula, you engage them and literally pull the shoulders down into the core - I can teach this IRL via touch the way it was taught to me, but cannot possibly do it w/ words or pictures because I think for most of us the muscle itself must be touched for the person to go OH, that...that can move?)

HL1978
01-25-2013, 11:15 AM
It seems to me that quite a few people feel far too comfortable describing things that they cannot do, or at least cannot do confidently or with any real understanding.

This makes me wonder. . .

Hunter,

I'm waiting for the videos. I have always found you to be one of, if not, the most forth coming of the so-called "IP/IT/IS" guys here on AikiWeb, but, that said, I seem to remember you failing to produce videos in the past.

No one is questioning whether the skills described as "IP/IT/IS" exist. We are questioning what exactly is the nature of those skills, and why people are so reluctant to demonstrate them.

For much of this material, I doubt most people without direct experience are going to be able to see whats going on. Thus I don't see too much point to video.

However, for this particular mechanic, what I'm referring to can be done in an internal way, but the following video, is more done in a "precursor" way. That is to say, I am still using muscle to raise the shoulder/arm, just not relying on the shoulder. Eventually, you don't want to rely on muscle so much, but use Sigman's suit. Thus I would not call this demo an "internal" arm raise, rather one with passibly good mechanics. Even now, when demonstrating this, you will see my body moving in certain ways, but don't talk about in the video other parts of my body being tugged as that arm raises.

Of course, most of you watching this don't really know what I actually feel, or where I experience tension. That being said, with the black on white background, you should be able to see the position of my shoulder to some degree and how much the traps and delts "rise" in the various raises.

Shoulder raises (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rKTnq3bxgE&feature=youtu.be)

------

1) The first way I lift is BAD. Anyone who has some martial arts experience or done some weight lifting knows why. I'm leading with the shoulder, and you will see the shoulder raise up and the trapesius raise up as well. I feel the load in the deltoids and traps. If you ever lug your groceries around and notice your shoulders raising up, drop them.

This is not a good way to use your shoulders (unless you are doing shoulder shrugs).

2) This is the way I find most people raise their arm. They don't lead with the shoulder, but the delt and traps still rise up and you feel the load in these muscles. There is less direct load in the shoulder.

------

For the next two, you will notice that my right shoulder is markedly lower than the left. I'm not really activating and pushing the shoulder down here, but I still see stuff I am doing wrong on video (probably because I'm talking rather than focusing on what I'm doing). The fact that the right is lower than the left is a tip off that it is relaxed. I don't however really use the elbow properly (though you may notice a different orientation than in 1-2), nor do I have the shoulder attached properly to the body. I will try taking another video later without talking to give a better demo.

3) What I am doing here, is not only using the inflated bag idea, where the triceps pull away from the arm pit area. I'm doing this by trying to have the arm pull down all the time, rather than focus on raising from the top part of the arm. I really, really hesitate to call this actual internal practice as I'm still using localized muscle, just different localized muscle. You will find that by pulling that arm down, you reach a point where it will no longer pull any further straight down, but starts to extend outwards. You will also notice that unlike 1 and 2, my upper body opens out, stretching across the chest. It looks more like a scooping motion.

4) For this one, my camera ran out of memory, I probably talked for another minute. Anyways, I'm doing something similar to #3, though my shoulder is more "opened up" and I'm focusing a bit more on extending/projecting from the elbow than from the fingertips. The elbow is still going down to go up. I'm not telling myself to lean away to counterweight. It just comes as a natural consequence of the elbow extension that my legs/hips move of their own accord, as a result of maintaining that shoulder connection. I feel a lot more of a float/expansion.

#4 still needs a lot more work. Anyways, this is a pretty low level skill, and I'm not using suit in these demos at all.If someone grabbed onto my arm in 3-4, they would feel the expansion and direction outwards along a big arc instead of a force on force clash like in 1-2. 3-4 feel more "overwhelming" than clashing. I think more skilled people out there are going to see what I'm doing wrong here.

tanthalas
01-25-2013, 12:28 PM
Thanks for the video and explanation Hunter! This may be totally unrelated and off-topic, but the part where your body comes out to counterbalance the arm raise reminds me a little bit of this video --
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2aUJcsPT6Y

(Footnote: I have no idea whether the video here fits the description of internal movement, but it definitely shows some very interesting ways to move the body for sure.)

Back to slightly on topic, this discussion about arm raises makes me think about standing post, particularly of the "hug the tree" variation. I was told by one instructor that one of the goals is to be able to do it effortlessly without any stress to the body/muscles through relaxation, and various instructors have talked explicitly about starting off in a standing position with the arms down, relax, breathe, and eventually the arms will start "floating". I've felt a little bit of this myself in my standing, though usually my arms float only about a few inches upward from their resting position (and I often wonder then whether I'm even Doing It Right or not).

My current thought is that the tree-hugging standing post done properly is nothing more than a regular standing post with the arms floating all the way up to that position.

(Which makes me wonder whether it's helpful/unhelpful/incorrect/dangerous to start from the "hug the tree" position and try to relax from there, since someone without this experience/ability would necessarily be using muscle to hold the arms up instead.)

ChrisHein
01-25-2013, 01:30 PM
Hunter has provided lots of good info for the discussion. most folks when they picked up something they are thinking of pulling it up, especially something light. internal folks train to get underneath and push it up, even with a feather. and we already talked about efficiency on the other thread.


The first problem I see here is that- muscles only contract. So every motion is really a 'pulling up' because it's a contraction. The muscles can't 'push' anything, they all contract, and make the body do different things because of their orientation in the body. So triceps seem to be making the arm 'push out' but really they are pulling on the backside of the arm to make the arm extend. Muscles work in opposing sets like this so we can get action on both sides of the body. We both are fully aware of this I'm sure, but I have to say this to make my next point.

If you use one set of muscles to support or lift a load, they are pulling. you can use an opposing set of muscles to pull in the opposite direction at the same time ('dynamic tension'). But you don't get a bonus result for this, you only expend more energy. Muscles can't help each other by using a complimentary 'push and pull' or 'extend and contract', they can only contract or 'pull'. So if you activate opposing muscle groups you are only costing energy and not gaining it.

Now this is not to say that the 'imagery' of pushing with one set of muscles while pulling with another set isn't helpful. But that can't be what is actually happening. Imagery is very useful in training physical motion. I often use images of rushing water, or electricity going through the body to help my students move correctly. But of course we know there is no water or electricity rushing through the body.

here is an exercise that Sigman got us to do. stand normally with feet parallel about shoulder width. take a small weight, less than 1 kg. hold it in between your palms and raise it with arms straight, straight up the top of your head. hold it there. now relax your body and let the weight pushes down to your feet so that you will only feel the weight pressure on your palms and the bottom of your feet. you should feel like you are now holding the weight by pushing from underneath (pushing isn't the right word to use here, but for simplicity, i am using it). hold it there for awhile and try to let go off your shoulder muscles.

now, drop your arms (still straight out) 45 degree from vertical. the weight should be infront of you and above your shoulders. don't move the rest of your body, but use your intent to adjust your body so that you still pushing it from underneath and there would still be pressure between the palms and the bottom of your feet, i.e. your body doesn't exist, only palms and feet. then drop your arms to 90 degree from vertical. do the same thing as before. allow your body to adjust. then drop to 135 degree from vertical. then 180 from vertical which at this point the weight should be around your crotch. and you are still pushing from underneath. it should feel like you are pushing the thing up with your feet. this is bringing the ground to the object or a simple model of ground path. experts will tell you that there are more it than that and they are right. because your focus is pushing from underneath, your body will microscopically adjust internally to use the blue line (don't think of line but tubes) that Hunter mentioned.

This is a fun exercise, I plan to work with it today, thanks!


i can provide a video but you would only see my good looking self stand there not doing much. i might eat a donut or two with coffee. :)

I think more of us good looking people should be posting videos. We'll help Jun get more subscribers that way!:)

ChrisHein
01-25-2013, 01:48 PM
For much of this material, I doubt most people without direct experience are going to be able to see whats going on. Thus I don't see too much point to video.

However, for this particular mechanic, what I'm referring to can be done in an internal way, but the following video, is more done in a "precursor" way. That is to say, I am still using muscle to raise the shoulder/arm, just not relying on the shoulder. Eventually, you don't want to rely on muscle so much, but use Sigman's suit. Thus I would not call this demo an "internal" arm raise, rather one with passibly good mechanics. Even now, when demonstrating this, you will see my body moving in certain ways, but don't talk about in the video other parts of my body being tugged as that arm raises.

Making video's is tough. I really appreciate your efforts to do so. Last night I was standing in front of the mirror with my shirt off trying to figure out how you could show the shoulder " not activating" and it was pretty hard. But I think this is still a good avenue to try, and possibly as we all understand how to show things better, we'll be able to make better videos. Either way I appreciate your effort!


Shoulder raises (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rKTnq3bxgE&feature=youtu.be)


So, there is no doubt that it's difficult to see what is going on. But most of what I can see is that you are keeping the shoulder from 'raising'. This raising shoulder is a problem in lot's of martial arts students, and is caused by unnecessary activation of the trapezius muscle. You do a good job or relaxing that muscle on your arm raise. However, if you touch your deltoid while raising your arm, no matter how you do it, can't you feel your deltoid activate? By rotating the arm as you lift, you can change the activation between anterior, lateral and posterior deltoid, but they should still be firing to some degree.

While I was playing with this yesterday, I found several interesting things I could do. If I took a big breath in while raising my arm, I noticed that the expansion of my chest made my shoulder arms start to raise (because my arm was resting on my ribcage) and if I slowly added shoulder pressure from there, the activation of my deltoid was very subtle, and much harder to notice. However when my arm was extended out 180- I could still feel a hard deltoid holding my arm up.

Again, I'm struck by the idea of 'imagery'. Using a good image, like an expanding balloon may help me better use my muscles. But I still feel it's impossible for me to raise my arm out to the side without engaging my shoulder muscles.

ChrisHein
01-25-2013, 02:05 PM
Both the standard body use of Ki Aikido and the Pilates teaching "go down to go up" teach this body usage.

This is something I am very familiar with as well. I believe it is an image that makes the body align better, and stabilize better.


The model I learned via aikido is to simply point at something the way you would when, well, when pointing at something :) . The ki test is to have your arm seized and simply point at something. The visualization or intent is that the shoulder and arm are still and relaxed and the finger simply extends and rises. The aikido model posits the triceps as doing the work.

I am familiar with this kind of visualization/imagery work. Wendy Palmer Sensei has some very interesting exercises like this. I believe what these kinds of things do, is make you quit thinking about fighting directly against the person who is trying to move you, and instead makes you move in the most natural way possible. Going around force, or using the correct muscles to align the body naturally as opposed to fighting the force acting on you directly. I do not think the triceps can raise the shoulder like we are talking about. While I'm not 100%, and would need to look it up, I think the triceps only extend the arm at the elbow. I don't think you can do anything else with the triceps- although I'd have to look that up.


The Pilates model is that to learn this, you first drop your shoulders and then you simple allow your arms to raise. The Pilates perspective is you are enlisting primarily the latissimus dorsi.
Using both models, I believe it is initiating gross movement w/ the lats and secondarily maintaining extension via the triceps.

I think this is describing a kind of 'synergistic' use of muscle groups. They work together to produce a better result, but the lat isn't actually raising the shoulder, instead it's providing stable support for the back making it easier for the Deltoids to do their job.


In and of itself this is not what I'd call "internal training" but it is certainly what I'd call "best use" body mechanics. And it is a very good way of beginning to understand the connection between intent and efficient body usage.

I think you're correct, I also think many conventional athletic approaches use these ideas.

Robert Cowham
01-25-2013, 02:50 PM
The first problem I see here is that- muscles only contract. So every motion is really a 'pulling up' because it's a contraction. The muscles can't 'push' anything, they all contract, and make the body do different things because of their orientation in the body. So triceps seem to be making the arm 'push out' but really they are pulling on the backside of the arm to make the arm extend. Muscles work in opposing sets like this so we can get action on both sides of the body. We both are fully aware of this I'm sure, but I have to say this to make my next point.

If you use one set of muscles to support or lift a load, they are pulling. you can use an opposing set of muscles to pull in the opposite direction at the same time ('dynamic tension'). But you don't get a bonus result for this, you only expend more energy. Muscles can't help each other by using a complimentary 'push and pull' or 'extend and contract', they can only contract or 'pull'. So if you activate opposing muscle groups you are only costing energy and not gaining it.

I use the imagery of ropes and pulleys - so by pulling down on a rope with a smooth pulley at the shoulder, the arm raises. The question is: where is this initiated from? I imagine a rotating barrel/drum at the tanden which winds a rope connected through pulleys to the hand. I still think that muscles are involved, just that due to the overall integration, the muscles are involved differently to the "wrong" way of lifting hand/arm.

It's also interesting to try imagining the rope going from shoulder to hand, and not down the arm...

Janet Rosen
01-25-2013, 06:40 PM
I think this is describing a kind of 'synergistic' use of muscle groups. They work together to produce a better result, but the lat isn't actually raising the shoulder, instead it's providing stable support for the back making it easier for the Deltoids to do their job.

I was just playing a bit and yes the deltoids are involved to some degree but not the other key shoulder muscles most folks engage and the shoulder unit can remain relaxed and low, supported by the core.

phitruong
01-25-2013, 06:51 PM
The first problem I see here is that- muscles only contract. So every motion is really a 'pulling up' because it's a contraction. The muscles can't 'push' anything, they all contract, and make the body do different things because of their orientation in the body. So triceps seem to be making the arm 'push out' but really they are pulling on the backside of the arm to make the arm extend. Muscles work in opposing sets like this so we can get action on both sides of the body. We both are fully aware of this I'm sure, but I have to say this to make my next point.

If you use one set of muscles to support or lift a load, they are pulling. you can use an opposing set of muscles to pull in the opposite direction at the same time ('dynamic tension'). But you don't get a bonus result for this, you only expend more energy. Muscles can't help each other by using a complimentary 'push and pull' or 'extend and contract', they can only contract or 'pull'. So if you activate opposing muscle groups you are only costing energy and not gaining it.


sure the muscle contracted and pull. however, muscle isn't the only thing in this model. don't forget the bones and sinew and other stuffs which create various levers and pulleys. question for you, do you use the same set of muscles to pull and push? or different set of muscles? another question for you, how do you generate a push if you only have muscle pull?

i think we posted this one before on the study about muscle usage using Kuroda sensei as the subject.

http://budoshugyosha.over-blog.com/article-une-etude-du-mouvement-du-sabre-partie-1-65641305.html

Look at the graph comparing between normal folks and Kuroda sensei. you would see that Kuroda sensei used his muscle differently than regular folks. then look at the graphs again and think in term of efficiency and energy expenditure. now replace Kuroda sensei's sword with a small weight and you got the exercise from Sigman that i mentioned. essentiall, "get underneath" the sword when you lift, and "get on top" when you cut.


Now this is not to say that the 'imagery' of pushing with one set of muscles while pulling with another set isn't helpful. But that can't be what is actually happening. Imagery is very useful in training physical motion. I often use images of rushing water, or electricity going through the body to help my students move correctly. But of course we know there is no water or electricity rushing through the body.


in order to do these stuffs, we have to use imagery to mass manage the actions of our body. it's almost impossible to control the firing of so many different muscle groups throughout your body at the sametime or in multiple sequences. imagery allows our brain to do that without us interfere with the process. i don't use rushing water imagery, not when i am wearing the full aikido gear and can't get the damn gi pants off fast enough, especially after i down a whole pitcher of tea. :)

Sy Labthavikul
01-25-2013, 07:01 PM
I'm speaking from my experience studying anatomy, biomechanics, kinesiology, and physical therapy - but the simple act of lifting one's arm is anything but simple. There are a ton of muscles - some we can consciously activate in isolation, others we can't - that have to contract, in sequence, to move the complicated thing we call the shoulder - the glenohumeral joint. And its hard to use plain language to describe this stuff, but I'll try.

If you look up the role of the serratus anterior (boxer's muscle) and the lower fibers of the trapezius in upward scapula rotation and what that means for lifting arms, that might help you visualize "pushing with your triceps" or "scooping the back of your shoulders down to lift the front up." There is way more, of course, to the sequence of events that ultimately lifts the arm, but its a good start. And it gets even more involved if you want to lift the arm while keeping the humerus in a secure, stable position inside the joint (like when you are lifting a heavy load, or when you are trying to transmit force through a punch)

When my taiji partner was teaching me about peng, he kept telling me to pretend I was crushing an egg between my shoulder blades and pushing the resulting mess down into the ground, again with my shoulder blades ("scoop back and down"). My inner PT translated that as "retract and upwardly - yes, upwardly - rotate the scapula" and low and behold my arms went up, elbows first. My deltoids of course were working - but they weren't operating in isolation.

phitruong
01-25-2013, 07:13 PM
While I was playing with this yesterday, I found several interesting things I could do. If I took a big breath in while raising my arm, I noticed that the expansion of my chest made my shoulder arms start to raise (because my arm was resting on my ribcage) and if I slowly added shoulder pressure from there, the activation of my deltoid was very subtle, and much harder to notice. However when my arm was extended out 180- I could still feel a hard deltoid holding my arm up.


this is the starting point of the suit model from Sigman using reverse breathing. as i understand it, when your "suit" is well developed, it helps you manage the load on your muscles. Ikeda sensei demonstrated a bit of this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hB-knlRDZ8

you know that ki/chi means air right? that's one of the reason my diet is heavily compose of beans, cabbage (both fresh and highly toxic fermented), and with a touch of cinamon for flavor. :D

Janet Rosen
01-25-2013, 08:05 PM
you know that ki/chi means air right? that's one of the reason my diet is heavily compose of beans, cabbage (both fresh and highly toxic fermented), and with a touch of cinamon for flavor. :D

well that explains my favorite dish...ki/chi with a lot of smiling "mmmmmmmmm" in the middle :)

Rob Watson
01-25-2013, 09:12 PM
IWhen my taiji partner was teaching me about peng, he kept telling me to pretend I was crushing an egg between my shoulder blades and pushing the resulting mess down into the ground, again with my shoulder blades ("scoop back and down"). My inner PT translated that as "retract and upwardly - yes, upwardly - rotate the scapula" and low and behold my arms went up, elbows first. My deltoids of course were working - but they weren't operating in isolation.

Is this not how one begins to operate when using a slightly refined seated kokyu ho dosa? You know the 'technique' osensei said to end every class with.

Michael Varin
01-25-2013, 10:12 PM
i think we posted this one before on the study about muscle usage using Kuroda sensei as the subject.

http://budoshugyosha.over-blog.com/article-une-etude-du-mouvement-du-sabre-partie-1-65641305.html

Look at the graph comparing between normal folks and Kuroda sensei. you would see that Kuroda sensei used his muscle differently than regular folks. then look at the graphs again and think in term of efficiency and energy expenditure. now replace Kuroda sensei's sword with a small weight and you got the exercise from Sigman that i mentioned. essentiall, "get underneath" the sword when you lift, and "get on top" when you cut.


I had a feeling this would come up. And I'm glad it did.

First, take a look at what muscle groups were monitored. Trapezius (green); latissimus (blue); biceps (grey); triceps (red). Note: I think this was poorly done. No part of the deltoid is monitored. And only the right side of the body was monitored. Both of these were big flaws in my opinion.

Kuroda Tetsuzan is amazing. He far out classes me. But if you tested me, I am very confident that the muscle usage would be closer to Kuroda's than to the "amateur's."

Notice that the "total movement" is the raise and cut. The first half of the graph is the raise, the middle is the cut.

The amateur has unnecessary activity in his body, i.e. tension.

Kuroda's trapezius does activate on the raise. I would also like to point out that it is easy to see that Kurodo is contracting his deltoid (I would say a rather hard contraction) in the picture of Kuroda raising the sword.

What really is so remarkable about the results of this "study"?

Where do we see the "IP/IT/IS" tells? Do we?

Michael Varin
01-25-2013, 10:29 PM
Hunter,

Thank you for posting the video.

I wonder. . .

After taking the time to make the video and think/feel through the process, do you have anything different to add?

Have you made any new distinctions between "activate," "raise," and "use" as they relate to the shoulder, or even about what exactly someone may mean when they say "shoulder"?

If this is not "internal," how does it fit into "internal training"?

Thanks again.

ChrisHein
01-26-2013, 02:45 AM
sure the muscle contracted and pull. however, muscle isn't the only thing in this model. don't forget the bones and sinew and other stuffs which create various levers and pulleys. question for you, do you use the same set of muscles to pull and push? or different set of muscles? another question for you, how do you generate a push if you only have muscle pull?

There are many things mechanically at work in the body. However the only thing making active force is muscle. Bones, connective tissue etc. only make a passive force. That is to say, if they are put in the right alignment we can use their advantages. This is what happens when we put our body in good alignment, the skeleton takes some of the load, so the muscles don't have to work so hard to support the load.

You use different muscle sets to move joints in different directions. They are set up so one set moves the joint in one direction, and another set moves them in another direction. Different sets have different jobs.

Muscles only contract or 'pull'. They only pull in one direction. Depending on how they are attached to the frame they make the body do different things. You generate a 'push' by using a set of muscles that contract to make that kind motion. For example when the arm extends out, making a 'push' the triceps pull the the elbow straight. This 'pushes' the arm out. Inside of the body there are no muscles that extend, so muscles can not work in extending and contracting pairs, only contracting opposites.


i think we posted this one before on the study about muscle usage using Kuroda sensei as the subject.

http://budoshugyosha.over-blog.com/article-une-etude-du-mouvement-du-sabre-partie-1-65641305.html

Look at the graph comparing between normal folks and Kuroda sensei. you would see that Kuroda sensei used his muscle differently than regular folks.


There are efficient ways to use your muscles and inefficient ways to use them. I've seen studies on wrestlers and MMA competitors that talk about how they use their muscles more efficiently then others during their specific activity. That's what athletics is all about, using the body as efficiently as possible to do the job required.


in order to do these stuffs, we have to use imagery to mass manage the actions of our body. it's almost impossible to control the firing of so many different muscle groups throughout your body at the sametime or in multiple sequences. imagery allows our brain to do that without us interfere with the process. i don't use rushing water imagery, not when i am wearing the full aikido gear and can't get the damn gi pants off fast enough, especially after i down a whole pitcher of tea. :)

The idea that 'internal' training is largely a set of very useful images is something I can get behind. This idea would be something like, it's not that the body is being used in a way that traditional athletics doesn't use the body. But instead that these images help us organize the body faster, better, more fully etc.

HL1978
01-26-2013, 07:15 AM
Hunter,

Thank you for posting the video.

I wonder. . .

After taking the time to make the video and think/feel through the process, do you have anything different to add?

Have you made any new distinctions between "activate," "raise," and "use" as they relate to the shoulder, or even about what exactly someone may mean when they say "shoulder"?

If this is not "internal," how does it fit into "internal training"?

Thanks again.

When you work on this shoulder/arm raise, you start off using the muscle groups I am referring to. Over time, wether you do the arm raise, or hold it in a static position, you will find that you no longer activate (or fatigue) the area under the arm, it will move to the front of the body from the arm pit, then it will move progressively lower and lower., until you feel it in the upper abs, then the lower abs/hips to the area generally associated with the dantien (though this requires doing other things before it gets to this point). This is why I said that when you initially try to do it this way you are still using "local" muscle, just different ones.

Now when you then raise your arm, you won't feel a sequential activation of each muscle group that you previously learned to activate (and later relax). Are they actually activating? Beats me, but you tend not to feel them activate, so perceptually I think its fair to say that you don't feel it, nor do you tend to feel it if you put you hands on someone who can do it.

---

When I refer to activate or raise in reference to the shoulder, its much more like what I am showing in 1-2, you feel a tension/load there, but nothing else in the muscles associated with the inside/underside. As I stated earlier, this is because most people only really use one side of the body. You will see the same sort of thing in the legs (less of a load in the quads, as the inner thigh and the area below the buttocks take it up), as similar exercises may be performed with the hips.

Using both sides lessens the use of the shoulder. Now yes it feels like no shoulder is used because the load is not mostly taken up there. To me in the end, if it is actually used or isn't used is is not relevant, because the perception to the person raising it is that it is not.

Sy Labthavikul
01-26-2013, 11:21 AM
Is this not how one begins to operate when using a slightly refined seated kokyu ho dosa? You know the 'technique' osensei said to end every class with.

Of course! Scapula stabilization is a necessary part of kokyu dosa - but it isn't sufficient. Kokyu dosa, for me, doesn't begin or end with scapula movement; the scapulas do whatever they are gonna do as a result of what i'm currently working on, which is bowing/rippling my lower spine.

Scapula stabilization like this is also a training cue weightlifters use when doing stuff like the bench press ("squeeze your shoulder blades and drive them into the bench!"). And here, its necessary to lift safely and with maximum efficiency, but not sufficient to get that weight up there. And bench pressing is nothing like kokyu dosa.

ChrisHein
01-26-2013, 11:49 AM
When you work on this shoulder/arm raise, you start off using the muscle groups I am referring to. Over time, wether you do the arm raise, or hold it in a static position, you will find that you no longer activate (or fatigue) the area under the arm, it will move to the front of the body from the arm pit, then it will move progressively lower and lower., until you feel it in the upper abs, then the lower abs/hips to the area generally associated with the dantien (though this requires doing other things before it gets to this point). This is why I said that when you initially try to do it this way you are still using "local" muscle, just different ones.

Is the eventual idea not to use local muscle groups at all?

If so, what muscle groups are making the power? I would guess from your post, and other discussions that we've had, that the 'ideal' muscle groups to be using (in this theory of use) are those in the core of the body.

If it is the muscles in the core of your body that are the ideal muscles to use, as opposed to local muscle groups I have two very important questions.

First question- how are the muscles in the core of the body connected to the limbs of a body, in a way, that when they contract they will pull on a limb.

Second question- Even if such a connection is possible. How is it that using the muscles of the core alone make more power, and drive everything in the body, better than the localized muscle groups.

There is no doubt that the muscles of the of the core are strong muscles. However I don't see how they can do as much work as the localized muscles can do in the positions there were set up to work most ideally. It seems like this kind of motion, even if it were possible, would be significantly weaker then using localized muscles, that are in ideal positions, for the movements required.

Another important question that comes from this, when we think of the 'omni-stable" ideal that seems very present in "IP", how can the muscles of the core drive the whole body at once? Muscles only move in one direction, and while there are several different muscle groups located in the core of the body, compared to the number of muscles in the rest of the body, their number is very limited. How can they drive the motion of the entire body, with their limited number?


Now when you then raise your arm, you won't feel a sequential activation of each muscle group that you previously learned to activate (and later relax). Are they actually activating? Beats me, but you tend not to feel them activate, so perceptually I think its fair to say that you don't feel it, nor do you tend to feel it if you put you hands on someone who can do it.


If they do activate, but you are working on another 'image' that doesn't make you feel them activate, I could understand this. But muscles that do a specific function, and are the only muscles in the body to do that work (looking at a 'normal' theory of body use), not firing, sounds very strange to me. If we are talking about using muscle to do the work and it's not just an 'image' but a reality, I can't see how this would possibly work. Further.

Because I can't understand it, doesn't mean it's not so. But if I understand what you are describing, we are talking about earth shifting ideas here that go WAY beyond martial arts. If it were possible to move the body from the core muscles alone, there are many people with physical disabilities that would be able to regain much lost motion. The power of this alone, makes me very suspicious about what is really going on.


When I refer to activate or raise in reference to the shoulder, its much more like what I am showing in 1-2, you feel a tension/load there, but nothing else in the muscles associated with the inside/underside. As I stated earlier, this is because most people only really use one side of the body. You will see the same sort of thing in the legs (less of a load in the quads, as the inner thigh and the area below the buttocks take it up), as similar exercises may be performed with the hips.

Using both sides lessens the use of the shoulder. Now yes it feels like no shoulder is used because the load is not mostly taken up there.

I can't understand what is meant by "both sides of the body". Because muscles only contract, there is not extending partner group. And while you could use some other muscle groups to contract and help, that doesn't quite fit what I'm picturing in your model.


To me in the end, if it is actually used or isn't used is is not relevant, because the perception to the person raising it is that it is not.

This is a very fair statement. Here again, to me, we are talking about imagery. I like imagery, I use it in my teaching all the time. If the result we are looking for can be achieved by creating an image that is totally different from what is actually happening, when we are looking for the goal only, who cares.

However we must be careful when we start to think that our image is what is actually happening. We must keep the two things clear, or it might get in the way of our progress and serve to confuse us.

Robert Cowham
01-26-2013, 02:06 PM
Is the eventual idea not to use local muscle groups at all?

If so, what muscle groups are making the power? I would guess from your post, and other discussions that we've had, that the 'ideal' muscle groups to be using (in this theory of use) are those in the core of the body.

Chris

Going back to the exercise of lifting a spoon, or indeed lifting anything (personally I prefer something like a pint of beer - good balance between effort and reward!).

This is an exercise that I originally got from Peter Ralston ("Art of Effortless Power" IIRC).

Start to lift the object.

Observe what happens in your body (note this is DIFFICULT).

Think about the physics of what *must* happen. e.g. In order to life any object the weight must pass through your body to the ground. What does "pass through your body" mean? How does your body adapt to this? What muscles are pre-stressed to accomplish this action? What happens to adjust to any extra load occasioned by the action of "picking up" something else?

Next exercise, imagine you are *about* to pick up said object, and intend to do so, but stop before anything moves (i.e. your hand which has grasped said object). If you fully intended to move but stopped, analyze what did actually happen in your body - which muscles fired, what weight shifted etc. Your brain/body organizes all this stuff automatically, pretty much every time we move - but we are generally totally unaware of what is happening.

Apply this approach to different weights of object and see what happens.

For you to lift *anything*, even something as small as a spoon (or indeed any part of your anatomy such as a finger, a hand, any part of your arm without any further load required), then the load *must* (due to physics) pass through the load bearing structure (your body) to the point of contact with the ground (e.g. feet, or perhaps your butt if you are sitting on a chair) - assuming of course you are on the earth as opposed to being in space!

This is difficult stuff because it requires so much attention to detail. We imagine that we "just use our fingers" to pick up a spoon, because we are not aware of all the other stuff that goes on to transfer the weight through our body to the ground. When we start to become more aware of what is really going on, we can start to become more effective.

I suggest that until you become in some sense at least aware of what *really is happening* within your body right now every time you move anything, it doesn't make much sense to worry about what are the most effective muscles or muscle groups to use.

Does that make sense?

Robert

Dave de Vos
01-26-2013, 02:06 PM
Is the eventual idea not to use local muscle groups at all?

If so, what muscle groups are making the power? I would guess from your post, and other discussions that we've had, that the 'ideal' muscle groups to be using (in this theory of use) are those in the core of the body.

If it is the muscles in the core of your body that are the ideal muscles to use, as opposed to local muscle groups I have two very important questions.

First question- how are the muscles in the core of the body connected to the limbs of a body, in a way, that when they contract they will pull on a limb.



I don't know how Hunter thinks about this, but in my mind it works somewhat like a push puppet (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SdtzpaFyFk).

Little ropes connect the extremities to the control area. In the human body the little ropes might correspond with the myofascial lines aka anatomy trains, like the one below. Those lines all tend to pass through the middle of the body. That would be how (in theory) one could affect the extremities with the middle.

http://www.fitnessmash.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/spiral__line.jpg

ChrisHein
01-26-2013, 02:19 PM
Chris

Going back to the exercise of lifting a spoon, or indeed lifting anything (personally I prefer something like a pint of beer - good balance between effort and reward!).

This is an exercise that I originally got from Peter Ralston ("Art of Effortless Power" IIRC).


I'm very familiar with the work of Peter Ralston. I've done many of his exercises, many of which have helped me gain better understanding of how to use the body.

You are correct, the ground supports us always. Everything we lift, carry, push, pull, comes through a connection to the ground (when standing/sitting/laying on it).

I'm not arguing that the whole body is not in play. There are muscles that stabilize our structure, root us better to the ground, and provide support to our frame constantly. I totally agree with this, and try to get in touch with it on a daily basis.

However this is not the kind of thing I hear people talking about on AikiWeb, when they talk about 'internal'. What I described above is normal athletic activity, any good athletic coach would talk about these things with you. What is talked about here on AikiWeb, so something else. What that is suppose to be, I still can not say yet.

When I point out that good athletes and good 'internal' people are using their bodies in much the same way, I am told over and over again that I am incorrect.

So, I'm looking to find these differences. But as these discussions go on, I'm seeing less and less difference, and more and more similarities.

ChrisHein
01-26-2013, 02:27 PM
I don't know how Hunter thinks about this, but in my mind it works somewhat like a push puppet (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SdtzpaFyFk).

Little ropes connect the extremities to the control area. In the human body the little ropes might correspond with the myofascial lines aka anatomy trains, like the one below. Those lines all tend to pass through the middle of the body. That would be how (in theory) one could affect the extremities with the middle.

http://www.fitnessmash.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/spiral__line.jpg

Effect the extremities and create specific movement in the extremities are different things.

For example. Can I effect my shoulder by moving my leg- yes. Can I raise my arm without using the muscles of the deltoid- no I cannot.

The body can work together in unison, and it should. This is athletic activity. This is why football players are so powerful, they use their body in good internal rhythm. This is athletic.

Can a person walk, using only the muscles of the core- as far as I can tell they cannot. Can a person slowly raise their arm without using the localized muscles of the arm- are far as I can tell they cannot. These are the kinds of claims that I feel I'm hearing.

Robert Cowham
01-26-2013, 03:25 PM
My understanding:

1. There is no magic - there has to be local muscle involved, and yet the involvement of said local muscle is quantitatively different if other parts of the body are being used in an optimal manner.

2. In my experience there are not so many good athletes who are doing similar things really. What is perfect technique? If you are good enough to beat your competition, then what is the point of improving further? The number of people who *really* pursue this is not so large I suspect.

And of course it is really hard to perfect all phases of a particular activity. For example - see the commentary on a world championship winning throw:

http://www.coachkrall.com/Articles/Jav/Whitbread1.pdf

There are a lot of good tennis players but not many at the level of Federer. Google "roger federer slow motion".

Dave de Vos
01-26-2013, 03:27 PM
Effect the extremities and create specific movement in the extremities are different things.

For example. Can I effect my shoulder by moving my leg- yes. Can I raise my arm without using the muscles of the deltoid- no I cannot.

Neither can I (which means little). When I raise my left hand sideways and then feel my left deltoid by sqeezing it with my right hand, it feels more solid than when my left arm hangs limp at my side. I assume it's unavoidable, but perhaps there exist people who can do it while keeping their deltoids really soft. I think I read somewhere on AikiWeb that Ikeda can do it.


The body can work together in unison, and it should. This is athletic activity. This is why football players are so powerful, they use their body in good internal rhythm. This is athletic.

Can a person walk, using only the muscles of the core- as far as I can tell they cannot. Can a person slowly raise their arm without using the localized muscles of the arm- are far as I can tell they cannot. These are the kinds of claims that I feel I'm hearing.

I too think that movement requires local muscle. And in general, movement requires orchestration of different body parts working in unison. Basic coordination is already quite a complicated thing when you try to decompose it. Making robots that move like animals or humans seems to be quite a challenge.

IMO this is not what separates athletic movement from internals. I don't think that internal movement requires orchestration while athletic movement doesn't. It's just that the orchestration is different and training methods are different and I think the priorities are also different.

ChrisHein
01-26-2013, 05:13 PM
My understanding:

1. There is no magic - there has to be local muscle involved, and yet the involvement of said local muscle is quantitatively different if other parts of the body are being used in an optimal manner.

I agree with the first part of this. I don't understand part of this- "involvement of said local muscle is quantitatively different if other parts of the body are being used in an optimal matter". If by quantitatively different, you mean that local muscle groups don't have to work as hard to deal with a force if the other parts of the body are being used in an optimal manner. I agree also. I don't know why you added the "and yet". I also think you will find many athletic coaches in total agreement with this.


2. In my experience there are not so many good athletes who are doing similar things really. What is perfect technique? If you are good enough to beat your competition, then what is the point of improving further? The number of people who *really* pursue this is not so large I suspect.


Your experience is always a factor in these things. I have been around a lot of professional and serious amateur fighters. In my experience correct body use, much like you describe above is the norm.

I believe the second part of this is a philosophical statement, "if you are good enough to beat your competition, then what is the point of improving further?" From a competitors stand point, some may have this opinion. From a coaches stand point, you always drive your athletes to higher standards, nothing is ever enough. I would suspect among the best athletes you'll find this same "never good enough" attitude as well. This is why they are the best. Either way it's a philosophical point, and really doesn't have to do with the body use itself.

ChrisHein
01-26-2013, 05:27 PM
Neither can I (which means little). When I raise my left hand sideways and then feel my left deltoid by sqeezing it with my right hand, it feels more solid than when my left arm hangs limp at my side. I assume it's unavoidable, but perhaps there exist people who can do it while keeping their deltoids really soft. I think I read somewhere on AikiWeb that Ikeda can do it.


Who knows, I'm surprised all the time, but it's something I can't find a reason to believe could/would exist. Either way, even if it does exist, would it be more useful to be able to do this? Does it offer an advantage? If so, in what ways would it offer an advantage? I think the general idea behind "relax the shoulder muscles" has more to do with not using the shoulder muscles at the wrong time, than it has to do with not using the shoulder muscles at all. To me this interpretation has much more meaning and practicality then simply, you never use your shoulder muscles.


I too think that movement requires local muscle. And in general, movement requires orchestration of different body parts working in unison. Basic coordination is already quite a complicated thing when you try to decompose it. Making robots that move like animals or humans seems to be quite a challenge.

I couldn't agree more! I feel very much the same.



IMO this is not what separates athletic movement from internals. I don't think that internal movement requires orchestration while athletic movement doesn't. It's just that the orchestration is different and training methods are different and I think the priorities are also different.

I think this is a valid place to look next, how is the orchestration of 'internal' and normal-athletic different? I think as we keep peeling the layers of this problem back, we're going to find that they are not so different at all. I think it will become more and more clear that both are going for the same goal.

If someone asked me if I practice 'internal' martial arts, I would say yes. It is through studying with and reading the works of many great 'internal' teachers that I developed my understanding of how the body works. However, as time has gone on, I've realized that modern athletics echo's these same lessons/ideas/practices. I was super pleased when I realized this because it gave me more people to learn from and a better understanding of what I was trying to do.

Dave de Vos
01-27-2013, 03:33 AM
Who knows, I'm surprised all the time, but it's something I can't find a reason to believe could/would exist. Either way, even if it does exist, would it be more useful to be able to do this? Does it offer an advantage? If so, in what ways would it offer an advantage? I think the general idea behind "relax the shoulder muscles" has more to do with not using the shoulder muscles at the wrong time, than it has to do with not using the shoulder muscles at all. To me this interpretation has much more meaning and practicality then simply, you never use your shoulder muscles.

I find it hard to interpret what people mean exactly by "relaxing the shoulders". I usually interpret is as keeping the shoulders down and not stiff. I think the latter is closer to what Dan teaches, but I may be wrong.
Anyway, this is one of the things that I hear in internal classes as well as in regular aikido classes. Are these athletic tips that partially overlap with internal training, or are these internal tips that were partially preserved in regular aikido? I think instances of both exist. Which is which? I don't know.

If someone asked me if I practice 'internal' martial arts, I would say yes. It is through studying with and reading the works of many great 'internal' teachers that I developed my understanding of how the body works. However, as time has gone on, I've realized that modern athletics echo's these same lessons/ideas/practices. I was super pleased when I realized this because it gave me more people to learn from and a better understanding of what I was trying to do.

It's kind of fun discussing wether internals falls within athletics or not, but I don't think discussing it will change your conviction or mine. BTW, I don't think a martial arts teacher has to be internal to be worthwile. Far from it.

Erick Mead
01-27-2013, 09:08 AM
In the human body the little ropes might correspond with the myofascial lines aka anatomy trains, like the one below. Those lines all tend to pass through the middle of the body. That would be how (in theory) one could affect the extremities with the middle.

http://www.fitnessmash.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/spiral__line.jpg

Compare:
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=509&thumb=1&d=1215185239

And Compare:
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=508&d=1215184421

And discussed:
http://www.aikiweb.com/blogs/but-why-7854/aiki-physical-model-structure-dynamic-3259/

And for those who doubt the significance of the inherent connections between static torsion, pendulums, muscular reflexive tonics, furitama -- and the stability of the human inverted pendulum -- please view the following demonstrations:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwGAzy0noU0

http://mw.concord.org/modeler1.3/mirror/mechanics/inversependulum.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kapitza%27s_pendulum

And more to human scale:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgI1mha8z90

Arguably the most prevalent example of an inverted pendulum is a human being. A person with an upright body needs to make adjustments constantly to maintain balance whether standing, walking, or running.

Furitama taps the reflexive tonics in the body that provide this stability. People with essential tremors as they age, or suffer certain neurological injuries, have lost the natural and unconscious damping action that makes us not notice it -- but in them we can see it . Aiki exploits these tonic stability vibrations to disrupt that stability -- and the spirals are the product of the fact that the hinges in the body are free to swing in multiple axes.

FWIW

phitruong
01-28-2013, 07:11 AM
First, take a look at what muscle groups were monitored. Trapezius (green); latissimus (blue); biceps (grey); triceps (red). Note: I think this was poorly done. No part of the deltoid is monitored. And only the right side of the body was monitored. Both of these were big flaws in my opinion.

Kuroda Tetsuzan is amazing. He far out classes me. But if you tested me, I am very confident that the muscle usage would be closer to Kuroda's than to the "amateur's."

Notice that the "total movement" is the raise and cut. The first half of the graph is the raise, the middle is the cut.

The amateur has unnecessary activity in his body, i.e. tension.

Kuroda's trapezius does activate on the raise. I would also like to point out that it is easy to see that Kurodo is contracting his deltoid (I would say a rather hard contraction) in the picture of Kuroda raising the sword.

What really is so remarkable about the results of this "study"?

Where do we see the "IP/IT/IS" tells? Do we?

being meaning to respond to this, but was tied up and no, nobody practiced hojojutsu on me. it would only encourage me to be bad. :)

the significant of the study for me, besides the inefficiency of the amateur muscle usage, was that Kuroda sensei using a slight different set of muscle to do certain thing. sure, some are overlap, but not all. in the previous thread which this thread spawned from, where i gave example of picking up the spoon. before i mentioned it, did you thought of getting underneath the spoon and push it up? as mentioned many times before, that IP/IS involved lots mental aspect because it follows this principle "desire leads mind. mind lead chi/ki. chi/ki leads motions" notice the mind part. if your mind form an imagery to make your body to activate various muscle groups, it depends on the imagery, your body activates different muscle groups, wouldn't you agree? for me, when i pick up the spoon, i activate the same group of muscle as i would picking up a large sack of potato on the floor. and yes, we already talked about efficiency and my answer was referencing the thread where Vlad mentioned about different set of responds. this is really about the "do", i.e. being versus doing. as an experiment, you can ask friends and neighbors and any athletic, including olympic class, to pickup the spoon. then ask them afterward, did they thought of getting underneath and push it up?
you would think, what different would that make? it makes the whole world of different. it's how IP/IS folks use their mind to direct their body to perform a function.

the other example i mentioned was about punch in the stomach. does trained folks crunch their stomach muscles or "inflate" them? i mentioned that i used to crunch, but now inflate, i.e. the balloon man model. ask boxers if they crunch or inflate?

here is another thought to mull over. a push is a pull in the other direction, i.e. a push in the front = full from the back. and experiment to try, when someone pushes you from the front, try focusing on resisting a same pull from the back and ignore the push. ask a linebacker if he/she/it focus on the push in front or the pull from the back? and yes, they do train to pull heavy things, but did they do it when there is a push from the front?

phitruong
01-28-2013, 07:38 AM
i was going to go through various posts and answer individually, but i am lazy (my philosophy is if you can sit down, then don't stand up. if you can lay down, then don't sit) so i'll post my comments here.

simple mechanic such as lifting something isn't simple in IP/IS point of view. From IP/IS point view, we have a number of requirements that we follow

1. one moves, all move
2. dealing with force in one direction, one must also deal with forces apply in all directions: front, back, left, right, up and down, at all time.
3. 1 & 2 don't mean you sacrifice mobility
4. heart leads mind. mind leads chi/ki. chi/ki leads motions.
5. breath power is a must, not a nice to have. and i don't mean sucking winds to live or onion breath.

Those are some of the foundational things that govern IP/IS process.

Michael Varin
01-29-2013, 02:45 AM
being meaning to respond to this, but was tied up and no, nobody practiced hojojutsu on me. it would only encourage me to be bad. :)

the significant of the study for me, besides the inefficiency of the amateur muscle usage, was that Kuroda sensei using a slight different set of muscle to do certain thing. sure, some are overlap, but not all. in the previous thread which this thread spawned from, where i gave example of picking up the spoon. before i mentioned it, did you thought of getting underneath the spoon and push it up? as mentioned many times before, that IP/IS involved lots mental aspect because it follows this principle "desire leads mind. mind lead chi/ki. chi/ki leads motions" notice the mind part. if your mind form an imagery to make your body to activate various muscle groups, it depends on the imagery, your body activates different muscle groups, wouldn't you agree? for me, when i pick up the spoon, i activate the same group of muscle as i would picking up a large sack of potato on the floor. and yes, we already talked about efficiency and my answer was referencing the thread where Vlad mentioned about different set of responds. this is really about the "do", i.e. being versus doing. as an experiment, you can ask friends and neighbors and any athletic, including olympic class, to pickup the spoon. then ask them afterward, did they thought of getting underneath and push it up?
you would think, what different would that make? it makes the whole world of different. it's how IP/IS folks use their mind to direct their body to perform a function.

the other example i mentioned was about punch in the stomach. does trained folks crunch their stomach muscles or "inflate" them? i mentioned that i used to crunch, but now inflate, i.e. the balloon man model. ask boxers if they crunch or inflate?

here is another thought to mull over. a push is a pull in the other direction, i.e. a push in the front = full from the back. and experiment to try, when someone pushes you from the front, try focusing on resisting a same pull from the back and ignore the push. ask a linebacker if he/she/it focus on the push in front or the pull from the back? and yes, they do train to pull heavy things, but did they do it when there is a push from the front?

Phi,

This was an incoherent response to my post.

You are capable of better thought than that.

Why even post the Kuroda Tetsuzan link if you are unable to offer at least a rudimentary explanation of what you believe he is doing?

as mentioned many times before, that IP/IS involved lots mental aspect because it follows this principle "desire leads mind. mind lead chi/ki. chi/ki leads motions" notice the mind part. if your mind form an imagery to make your body to activate various muscle groups, it depends on the imagery, your body activates different muscle groups, wouldn't you agree?

Do you think that these things are not present in "external" movement/training? Can that even be so?

I keep hearing that there is such a gap between "internal" and "external," but there seems to be a failure to identify and describe those distinctions. Why is that so?

simple mechanic such as lifting something isn't simple in IP/IS point of view. From IP/IS point view, we have a number of requirements that we follow

1. one moves, all move
2. dealing with force in one direction, one must also deal with forces apply in all directions: front, back, left, right, up and down, at all time.
3. 1 & 2 don't mean you sacrifice mobility
4. heart leads mind. mind leads chi/ki. chi/ki leads motions.
5. breath power is a must, not a nice to have. and i don't mean sucking winds to live or onion breath.

Those are some of the foundational things that govern IP/IS process.

Making a list of conclusory statements is easy. It is also unhelpful.

Where are the explanations and analysis? How are these qualities/things absent in "external"?

If you are unable to clearly make distinctions, how do you know if they actually exist?

phitruong
01-29-2013, 07:00 AM
Phi,

This was an incoherent response to my post.

You are capable of better thought than that.

Why even post the Kuroda Tetsuzan link if you are unable to offer at least a rudimentary explanation of what you believe he is doing?


get a bit personal there aren't we? i noticed that you didn't answer any of my questions.


Making a list of conclusory statements is easy. It is also unhelpful.

Where are the explanations and analysis? How are these qualities/things absent in "external"?

If you are unable to clearly make distinctions, how do you know if they actually exist?

it depends on who those things are helpful or not. if it's not helpful to you, then please ignore them.
i have explain plenty, just that none of my explanation fit into your model so it can't be right. thus, no amount of my explanation will be enough. and since most of my stuffs are incoherent, you can safely ignore them, better yet, put me on the ignore list so you don't have to listen to my drivel.

Walter Martindale
01-29-2013, 08:35 AM
Anyone who studies biomechanics via force measurement, inverse dynamics, and computation of the internal forces acting on the joints will tell you that there's no really simple model of human movement.
I wrote a whole ruddy Master's thesis on sculling, got it published in a peer reviewed journal, and only barely scratched the surface of it - and it only took about six months' work (ok, I was fitting it in between 2/day training sessions, part time jobs, and other studies.) Point being - it's a lot of work and it's not simple. A fellow in SA did a PhD study on optimizing a "kick" and training a human to do the kick in a pattern that matched the optimization.
These drawings that show a band of whatever (forces?) winding up and down through the skeleton MAY reflect what MAY happen in a chain of muscles, connected through the tendons, skeleton, and (yes) "fascia", but there's no such structure in a human. The "fascia" gain their tension and connectivity to other structures through strain applied by muscular contraction. (strain - an engineering term for tension)

ChrisHein
01-29-2013, 11:19 AM
I guess the real problem, is most of us don't want to take the time (or quite likely have the experience/training) to hash all of this out.

I think we can all look at is the simple stuff, and think about how that might play out.

Simple things, like force is made in muscles. The skeleton can aid in taking force and moved into the direction of the force.

HL1978
01-29-2013, 01:21 PM
I guess the real problem, is most of us don't want to take the time (or quite likely have the experience/training) to hash all of this out.

I think we can all look at is the simple stuff, and think about how that might play out.

Simple things, like force is made in muscles. The skeleton can aid in taking force and moved into the direction of the force.

Structure allows for a simple model, which is easy to understand. I don't think anyone really disagrees with the structural model as presented,

When we start to get into floating, peng jin etc (related to floating), the more IS oriended effects, it gets considerly more difficult. Thats why when I drew the blue lines, I was referring to multiple possible things.

As someone else said, its like onion layers. Thats why i gave examples of different muscle groups to use in opposition, as a foot into the door of something beyond strucutre, just like using structure is a foot in the door for establishing a groundpath.

So lets take a step back from that to something simplier, but I will address it in the other thread about taking a push.

mrlizard123
01-30-2013, 07:15 AM
I guess the real problem, is most of us don't want to take the time (or quite likely have the experience/training) to hash all of this out.

I think we can all look at is the simple stuff, and think about how that might play out.

Simple things, like force is made in muscles. The skeleton can aid in taking force and moved into the direction of the force.

So you're of the opinion that it only makes sense to describe in terms of precisely what happens, because you believe that will help someone to understand and progress.

Ok for something simple to give us an idea of the type of description you're after please describe in terms of muscular usage precisely how you would reach up and pick a jar off of a shelf above your head to your right and place it on a table at waist height to your left.

Ensure that you only refer to contractions of specific muscles as I wouldn't want to stray outside of what actually happens, though if you want to include the electrical and chemical impulses that might help too.

Once we have an idea of how simple it is to describe we can use that example of your simple model to move forwards.

mrlizard123
01-30-2013, 07:17 AM
Where are the explanations and analysis? How are these qualities/things absent in "external"?

If you are unable to clearly make distinctions, how do you know if they actually exist?

Please also feel free to give us a baseline for description as per my previous post.