Re: "Conventional Muscles" and Internal Power
Benjamin, I don't think it is psuedoscience at all.
1. Either quads or hamstrings can be used to primarily initiate jumping (Because hamstrings act as both flexors and extensors (effecting knees one way and hips the other). Most guys who play basketball tend to rely more on hamstring activation than on quads activation. Nobody thought to study this until the epidemic of ACL blow outs in women's basketball. A lot of factors were suggested including hormones and wider pelvis but the best studies found that the gals playing basketball were more often primarily engaging their quads, increasing stresses that led to ACL ruptures. When they were retrained to primarily engage their hamstrings as part of routine basketball training the rates of ACL damage at those schools dropped.
2. I thought I had learned to keep my shoulders down when raising my arms, after years of listening to the usual aikido dojo advice and all the metaphors from different styles. Then working with a Pilates rehab person I learned the idea of "go down to go up" AND had a bodyworker teach me to isolate, recognize and activate small muscles at the bottom of the scapula. By activating those and letting my shoulders feel like they were passively dropping (I know it isn't passive but by comparison to how most of us "drop our shoulders" it feels very passive), my arms feel like they effortlessly raise up. I know from a biomechanical point of view those little back muscles and the lats are doing a lot of the work and support work. This is very different in feeling and efficiency from other forms of activating the arms to rise. It isn't woowoo at all. And, no, I don't think most aikido folks would see the difference - my Rolfer sure does.