... to peg it on one construct seems dismissive. But here we're picking one piece of paper out of a hat, and saying, "Yep, that's what it is! Just these fascia here."
Well, as I've said, I separated the fascia out for consideration because everyone knows about the muscles. What I want to do here is go into the peculiarities and particularities of the fascial system. I just haven't had time to post on some of that. It's coming.
What if there are a dizzying confluence of factors involved in making it happen, such that if one were actually to redesign a new system of training from the ground up based on merely the premise of active fascia, it would never achieve the intent of the original?
You couldn't design a system entirely on the fascia. Without the bones and muscles, it would not stand like our "Leather Man," but would lie on the floor in a limp pile.
But I don't think there are a dizzying confluence of factors involved in martial work: the bones, fascia, muscles, blood, nerves and the organs and limbs, energized by life. That pretty much covers it. Look at Liang's Emei Baguazhang
and read how he organizes it. You would get nowhere with fascia only, but leaving fascia out you fall far short of the potential.
For instance, consider where most of the body's fascia is located: the abdomen. Do you think it's coincidence that this is "the center," the dantien so emphasized in martial arts?
What's there in the abdomen? Of course, the intestines, the stomach, liver, kidneys, spleen. Further up are the heart and lungs. Why not put the empasis there? I think it's because the vegetative nerve ganglia located behind the digestive tract are so important to involuntary action and human emotions. This is the area that activates the involuntarily violent reactions of the "fight or flight" response. These nerve ganglia are supported by the abdominal fascia and I think we'll find that the fascia are instrumental in carrying the nerve message throughout the body. And I think the fascia is important in the violent contraction of the abdomen and hunching of the body, the dropping of the weight and the changes in blood flow and pressure associated with that response. My Zero Degree
teaching has always concentrated on that response and moderating it for strategic advantage. I now believe that the fascia can do that very efficiently since it, and not the muscles, is very important to the response.
The fascia seems able not only to distribute power and dissipate incoming force: it seems able to distribute emotion away from the center, keeping one calm in the face of danger. Then the dropping of the weight can be done in time with the opponent's action. If one has enacted fight-or-flight already, he can't drop his weight again....and he is more mobile with the weight up high than with it lowered.
So for me, the main questions are "What functions does the fascial system naturally handle and how can we use those functions directly in our technique?"
The above example is just one thing. Working with the connectivity of the body is another. And further, in traditional Chinese martial arts, the fascia carries the qi throughout the body.
So there are multiple levels of the fascia alone to consider and understand before we integrate it back with the muscles and coordinate the systems. Otherwise, we might be trying to "coordinate" them in completely meaningless ways--as if we were trying to hit someone with our eyeballs.
Then, once we have understood the fascial system and its relation to the muscles and other systems and learned to coordinate them in ourselves, we can consider how to recognize the gaps in the opponent's coordinated systems and use them or, better, get him to use them against himself, as Dan has described.