My friend and I were talking last night and he told me about these Japanese researchers who were working on a body suit with micro motors in the fabric with sensors that read the electrical activity in the area of intended body movement. The goal was to help people with impaired movement, move normally with the assistance of the body suit. One of the findings was that the movements from the suit preceded the muscles firing in the person’s body. My friend, who is a skilled, Chinese martial artist, raised this topic because we were discussing the issue of engaging in intended movement without conscious intention. This research finding confirmed my belief that conscious, intended movement can be perceived by someone else, even without physical contact. The concept of intended movement without conscious intent corresponds to the saying that when you are in a fight, if you have to think about what you do, it is too late.
When we practice, I often speak of the importance of once you have made a connection with the attacker, concentrate only on the nature of your own movements. If you have made a good connection, as you move, so to shall that person. If you have in your mind what you are going to do to the other person, then you frequently find that the technique does not work cleanly, smoothly, or even at all. We practice techniques countless times in order to train our bodies to go through a sequence of correct movements without having to think about what we are doing with our bodies. In essence, we are training our bodies to engage in a pattern of intended movements without conscious intent.
We artificially separate “the mind” from “the body”. From our scalp to our toes, our body is connected by a circuit of neurons. These neurons are most concentrated in our brains, an area that we believe to be the “seat” of the mind. Many of the movements that our body makes, occur at a pre-conscious level. What is really interesting, is that our neurons receive information about our conscious movements before we are actually aware of our conscious intent. This information can be perceived by others. This is information that we simply to not want to provide to somebody with whom we have to fight. The more successful we become at training our bodies to engage in movements without having to think about it, the more successful we become at gaining a real tactical advantage in a fight.
This week we will explore how we can actually feel the conscious intention of movement before movement occurs. We will then explore how to train in a manner so as not to provide this information to someone else. The interesting thing that we can discover from this topic is that when we can actually engage in intended movement without conscious intent, we function in a different time paradigm than the other person. This will obviously be another topic to explore in a future blog!
Marc Abrams Sensei
(Original blog post may be found here