Have any of you Japanese language enabled folks ever read anything in depth in regards to cold water misogi practices and anything related to IP? I have no interest in doing this btw, but once I started feeling some of this stuff a light bulb went off and it made me curious about whether or not there might be more there than just the spiritual aspects that tend to get attached to it via aikido.
If we suppose that the relaxed structure we're training is based around some sort of expansion/contraction of the fascia network through the body, then on the surface it would seem that anything that activates or works against either of those aspects could have physical benefits. Vasoconstriction and vasodilation are real and it appears that there is at least some level of scientific discussion of controlled usage of these things, however small it may be. We have the monks that cover themselves in ice soaked sheets and meditate to warm their bodies and dry the sheets, etc. So I've thought this could go two ways.
1. You warm the body up first, then douse it in cold water, causing everything to contract / tighten up. It would seem that if you can keep your body relaxed and not tense up/shiver, that tightening of the skin would cover the entire body. On the surface it would seem to be a skin/fascia way of flexing the entire body without actually flexing the your muscles.
2. you warm up the body and using intent you activate that relaxed structure and then douse your body in cold water. The goal being to keep your focus/intent active against the distraction of the cold water and the bodies natural desire to tense and shiver, like some sort of fascia isometrics.
Anyway, this isn't something I'm interested in doing or going off into the weeds with my own training on, but once I started feeling some of this stuff and looking back at what some of these people were doing, I found it interesting. Thoughts?
I douse everyday (initially not for IS purposes, but for health purposes--yes..I got it from those crazy Russians while I was doing Systema lol) and I found that after every douse I had a greater awareness of the "skin" under the skin.
In Systema, the focus is always on breath because it is pretty much the gateway to relaxation (at least psychological relaxation..but I'm thinking it has physical effect as well--I know for sure that if you douse properly, you will heat up your body like a mini-fever so that the heating of this body will try to kill the sick cells in your body) so when we pour very cold water on ourselves, we "resist" the inclination to tense up by breathing (albeit, not by reverse breathing or by any other form of "yogic" breathing..just a simple exhale through the mouth).
Perhaps we relax the outer layer of the body (i.e., the muscles) so that we engage the fascia which might have ...uhmm...heating properties or contains a system that increases blood flow and heat in the body (all you rolfers and myofascial release and acupuncture peeps help me out here!) to warm the body to counterbalance the cold. Kinda like the IS teacher telling you to relax your muscles against incoming force so that you can contract the fascia to let that manage the incoming forces.
Since I do this everyday, Ill explore it tonight when I take a shower. And the dynamics you are laying out here for cold water dousing is giving me ideas on how breath (and not even necessarily reverse breathing) affects the contraction of fascia and perhaps how Systema's insistence on relaxation through breath could be tapping into aspects of IS training.