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Old 09-03-2006, 11:45 AM   #5
Location: Indiana
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,311
Re: Internal & External strength discussion

Robert John wrote:
Good advice Don, but what's funny is that you don't see many that follow that advice, even in the pro circuits. You forgot to add speed to that list of position and leverage.
Everyone is "competing" on this same field.

What happens when you get a wrestler who knows how to use his position and weight, but STILL gets flipped over with ease by the guy on the bottom.
I'd say in that instance, he didn't have proper position and weight disturbution. We can't be perfect 100% of the time. And of course sometimes the person you are holding down is strong enough it doesnt' matter. I mean I have a 14 year old kid that trains with us. It doesn't matter how he is positioned, I'm strong enough to pick him up with one arm from my back. In this instance all the internal of external strenght in the world will do him no good. However, when I roll with him I use no strenght. I work all technique and I make sure to reward him when he works good technique. In a few years I"m sure he is going to be awesome at BJJ. Providing he keeps at it that is. Some of it will be the fact he will be physically bigger. Some of it will be the fact he will get adult muscles. Some of it will be that he will make less mistakes, and some of it will be that he will know how to use his body properly. I have no doubt if he stays with it he will be better than I am by the time he is my age.

Robert John wrote:
So as far as your quote about internal strength, I'd say that I'd disagree. I work out with wrestlers as well, none of them have ever felt the kind of stuff I can do, or what some of my classmates can do.
Whether you can "fight" with those skills is a seperate issue of course.
Here you have to then define what you are doing that they are not. I never said everyone will develop these skills. But I have met a lot of guys that have. I've met guys who know how to make themselves heavy, can do unbendable arms, lock out the person with the arm while moving the body, etc. All the standard ki stuff, but they have never heard of ki. They learned it though sports training. These are simply skills any excelent athelete will develop. I bet michael jordan can do a lot of ki feats from simply playing years of basketball. The fact you can do something they can't is not really evidence. It simply shows they have not learned it yet.

This leads of course to the question of how important the skill is to learn. As you said, using a internal strenght skill and using it to fight are two different things. So the question would be if learning the skill, but being unable to employ it at will in a conflict is really all that useful outside of party tricks. I can do a lot of neat things if I set them up properly. I can sit and not be pushed over, I can hold back multiple people on one leg with one arm. I can hold 2 fingers in a ring shape while 2 or more people pull on my fingers trying to pry them appart. I dont concider any of these things internal strength. I concider them party tricks that use proper person positioning and physics to make me look really cool. None of these tricks required the mental focus I was once told they required. They simply required proper understanding of the mechanical forces used and how to manipulate them in my favor. I really think every single internal strenght skill can be broken down into physical components of proper position, leverage, or other physical properties. The mental aspect simply allows us to do something we are already able to do. Like breaking a board. You have to punch though the board. A lot of people can do that without visualizing the punch going though the board. But a lot of people can't. So you tell them to visualize a beam of engergy shooting though the board from their hand ending a few inches behind the board. They punch and break it. We did not create a mystic power they never had, we simply aligned their body up properly and had them strike to the proper place. The coordination of mind and body is how I was told to create ki. I think that eventually you learn how to move properly and the mind aspect is no longer that important.

Robert John wrote:
I was just discussing this the other day though with the wrestlers/shoot fighters I work out with, and we all agreed that if you want to get ahead, especially in today's increasingly competitive ring environments, the need to bring something "new" to the table is going to increase. You'll need something that's more than just basic leverage, positioning, timing and power. The funny thing is that these body skills take care of leverage and positioning automatically really (And I have my own theories on how it automatically gives you a boost in timing, by default)
It's going to be an interesting day when you see a wrestler/shoot fighter/mmaer whatever that integrates this stuff seamleslly into his game.
I agree that as the skill level rises, we are going to see new and exciting things. But I think that it will evolve out even if no one in MMA ever studies internal arts. Because proper body mechanics will evolve simply though trial and error. Because everyone is always looking for the easiest way to do something with minimum effort. In fact ask any martial art what it's biggest strenght is, usually you get this line "Our art excels where others fail because it can be used to defeat bigger stronger faster opponents because we do not need strenght" Or they will say "We believe in maximum effect for minimum effort", or something along those lines. Everyone is after the same goal. A way to use your body the most efficently possible. Some just get stuck in their ways and take longer to change. Fortuantly for us, sports training is not locked as much by tradition, so it can change to meet better methods of training and get rid of counter productive methods. The downside of course is that sports training is usually very hard on the body, which means it is not for everyone. To excel at sports, you have to be willing to sacrifice a lot.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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