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Old 01-31-2013, 08:42 AM   #21
Dojo: Aunkai
Location: Fairfax, VA
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 429
Re: "resisting" a push part 2

Chris Hein wrote: View Post
I would like to talk about the concept of "floating" more. I think it may end up being very important to our discussion. However, strictly speaking, changing the force they can apply to you is out side of the way I'm thinking about the problem. I'm not saying that it's not valid, but before we understand how two seemingly different body usages are receiving a similar force, I don't believe we can move to that part. So what I'm asking, is that at first, we simply look at one force coming in, we can give it a number and say it's constant- like "10". Who knows what the "10" is, but we know it's a constant. I believe when we get into things like "floating" we are changing the incoming force. This is to say if we are "floating" someone the incoming force might drop to 6, because the person applying force can't apply as much now. Again, I'm not saying this isn't part of what we are talking about. But the first think I think we need to get a consensus on is how two seemingly different body use systems would deal with the same problem (incoming force "10") in different ways. Do you think this is fair?
In my experience, when you are first introduced to IS, you tend to use the back foot ground path or structural alignment approach such as what you are suggesting because it is the most easily accessible method. The limitations to it become readily apparent, and people move on to working various other skills such as floating.

When you get floated, you will find that your input of 10 does seem to drop, but the body of your opponent had to still deal with that 10 level of input. For me, floating someone via the front foot like I discussed, basically requires setting it up beforehand (that is to say ideally you are already under yourself all the time or if using the front foot, you have already set your body up to have a path go somewhere). Trying to get under yourself after you have a point of contact is more difficult (or even trying to establish a ground path afterwards), at least for me depending on the level of the incoming force.

I'm certainly willing to explore the discussion you propose.

Here I think we are getting into trouble. If you are 'resisting' a push there there has to be a resistance- a 'push back'. Now I believe we can make a distinction in our pushing back, kind of what I think you are getting at. We can call one pushing 'active', this kind of pushing would be like when you bench press a weight off your chest, you are using the muscles in arms a chest to 'actively push' the weight off of your chest. There is also an 'inactive' push. This is like what a table does when you set a drink on it. The table doesn't have any muscles, so it's not 'actively pushing' your drink off the ground, but because of the tables structure, it 'inactively pushes' keeping your drink from falling to the ground.
I would mostly agree, though there are other analogues to the structure of the table within the human body for conveying forces which do not require alignment. Obviously tendons and ligaments can convey force, and most of the body is wrapped in muscle which given that it is intraconnected through the body with other support systems can convey force (i.e. tensed muscles), or perhaps fascia (lets forgo any discussion of whether it contracts for now) given that is is a sort of a connective tissue

That is to say, that other things in the body can convey forces without requiring a particular structural alignment.

This distinction is going to become important as we look at what pushing means, and how we use our muscles to do it. I agree that, when resisting an incoming force, I would like to 'actively push' against the force as little as possible. I say this because 'active pushing' requires more muscular tension, and stronger muscles to resist more force. When I am resisting an incoming force I would like to use as much 'inactive pushing' as possible. This simply requires my bones to take the load, so I don't have to use much muscular force. Above, when you say that you don't want to "push against", I would say you are talking about 'inactive pushing' as I just described it, am I correct in this assumption?
If we are talking about receiving the most simple push, yes I would agree, but once we get into more complex things I would begin to differ. Obviously in aikido you aren't in a static posture or use the alignment granted from straight arms when performing waza.

Again keeping it simple, if I don't push back and I get moved, I want to be moved such that my weight is committed straight down such that I am not unbalanced when I am moved. This often results in the attacker loosing their balance. There are specific drills which can work on that, but that is more complex than what we are talking about now. Generally speaking, for most people, if they are moved, they weight gets committed in the direction they are moved, in part because their body "deforms" as a result of the inputted force which compromises their posture. I assume you agree with this as indicated by your comments about having to reset/regain that structural posture.

Active pushing can be used in different ways than "resisting". That is to say as I touched on elsewhere in other diagrams, you can push with the force rather than against it and something else happens entirely than the typical you push/I pull dynamic. I think we both agree that pushing directly in opposition to the force is not what should be done in aikido/IS.

The problem of course is what can we do when your structure is compromised, or if you are in a position in which you can't use structure at all, which for most people results in pushing against that force in some manner.

For me personally, I feel zero additional muscular effort whether I direct a force to my front foot or my rear foot, though to be honest, I am really "splitting" the forces between the two.

Here you are describing, to me, an ideal response to incoming force. I would say that you are using alignment of the bones to take force, so the muscles can relax, and I would describe that similarly. However I think you are suggesting that you don't use bone alignment to take the force. My question then is, if you're not using the bones to take the force, what are you using? The only think I would think that you can use to resist the force, if you're not aligning the bones, is muscular tension. How do you feel about this?
You could use muscular tension, but that isn't "internal" and has obvious disadvantages. I stated other portions of the anatomy which can convey forces. You could use different sets of muscle pairs, which I agree could be construed as muscular tension (although the opponent won't feel it as such). You eventually want to use the musculature of the torso to direct and pull on the limbs via some of those support structures, but that requires going through a progressive stages and conditioning. Of course the bones still convey the force, but with conditioning, other portions of the body can convey that force as well and thus don't require the limited postures of which you can utilize access good skeletal alignment. This was demonstrated in Forrest Chang's SJT video. Remember he doesn't say that structure is required for "jin", or in order to create (within yourself) a force that utilizes an opponents energy, you don't need a particular structural alignment.

I would say the same thing about ideal athletic movement, except I would add, when you're moved you must re align your body to the force from the new position.
This is where the internal approach differs. You don't need to reset to any particular alignment, as long as you are still "connected" or not off balance. Same thing shown in Forrest's video.
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