The Leather Man
Okay. I think I see what's what.
All this talk about the fascia has become clear, but it's so simple I don't know why no one has stated it quite clearly here yet.
Mike did come close when he described the fascia as a "suit" under the skin, but it was also a misdirecting comment, so I didn't connect with it.
The importance of the fascia is this: it is a semi-independent system that permeates almost the entire human body. It wraps the outside of our internal organs and wraps the inside of the abdomen. It also wraps every muscle of the body and every joint.
But the ingenious thing about the fascia is that it is all all alive and all connected. That makes it the only real whole-body system we have--other than the skin.
Up until now, I have not realized that the entire fascia system is a single unity. I have been looking at it more muscle-by-muscle, as in an anatomical illustration. But realizing that it is a unified system makes a big difference.
AND: the fascia system has "whole-body knowledge" that is shared instantly throughout the entire fascia system. What is known in one part of the fascia is known throughout the entire fascia system.
So the fascia is not like the muscles, not like the bones and not like the skin. It is so completely a "different animal" than any other part of our body that it becomes almost a "person within a person" in a whole-being sense. The fascia is a whole being within our being. It's not entirely separate, but it is unique and has its own nature, which I will explore further in a moment.
Suffice it to say that the discussions from Dan, Mike and Rob all seem to resolve around the idea of using the entire fascia system at once in a unified system to increase one's power. And because this increase of power is carried out through this invisible system of connective tissue, it is called "internal power."
Dan seems to be working largely with that and "winding" exercises.
Mike seems to be using the fascia in a similar way but he may miss some elements of the true nature of the fascia. He seems to be working largely from self-taught bases instead of from a real baseline--otherwise, I think he could have explained this central concept more clearly.
Rob/Aunkai seem to be oriented to preparing the frame to support such fascial work. Since it is a subtle effect, the fascial manipulation could gradually break down a body that is not correctly aligned to support those stresses--subtle as they are.
So here it is: picture Morihei Ueshiba standing before you. Imagine him completely nude, standing as he feels comfortable.
Now imagine him with his skin gone, so that we can see the muscles. Now imagine that all the muscles disappear, but the bones and internal organs remain in place, as if the muscles were still there. The blood and vessels remain, the nerves remain and the fascia remain.
Now imagine that the bones are gone and the fascia, blood vessels, internal organs, etc. all remain where they would be as Morihei stands as he feels comfortable.
Now imagine that everything is gone but the fascia, itself, remaining exactly where it was when Morihei stood in whole body.
So now you're looking at only the fascia of Morihei Ueshiba, standing like a man. You will notice that this is not really a "suit" but more something like a sponge, with empty places held inside convolutions of the tissue. This is where the internal organs were held. There are spaces where every muscle would be, so that Morihei's fascia forms something like a hollow man--not a full-body empty suit, but an entire layer of the body's tissues. The internal organs, the muscles and bones and every other part of the human body are embedded in the fascial layer of the body.
So see Morihei's full fascia body, standing before us like a man made of leather, and realize that that tissue is alive in its own right. It has feeling and it is full of ki. And when one part of the fascia feels something, the entire system of the fascia feels it because it is purely connective.
The entire discussion of "this stuff" or "internal mechanics" really involves using that entire fascial being to augment the efforts of the muscles and bones. Most people think of using their muscles to move their bones to execute techniques and this can be enhanced by various exercises to strengthen both muscle and bone.
But since the fascia is not like muscle and cannot be made to contract or expand by sheer will, like a muscle, it will take a lot of deep thought to see just how the fascia system could augment power and just how it could be exercised to do that.
Isn't that the essence of the discussion?
Last edited by David Orange : 07-26-2007 at 03:12 PM.