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Old 01-25-2013, 02:31 PM   #3
ChrisHein's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido of Fresno
Location: Fresno , CA
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,646
Re: Int. Vs. Ext - resisting a push

Jason Casteel wrote: View Post
This is spawned from the "Internal Vs External" thread. I feel it would be more productive to take a simple, basic task and discuss how that same task is accomplished by someone with an internal focus vs. someone with a traditional, athletic, external focus.

Setup: The receiver stands with their feet roughly shoulder width apart, arm raised to the side and extended, palm facing out. Their goal is to receive/resist a push to the palm of that hand while maintaining their upright structural integrity.

External method: The typical way that everyone I've ever experienced, including myself, responds to this is by tensing the muscles of the arm and shoulder first. For a low force push, this is usually enough to resist it and remain stable and upright, but as the force of the push increases, so does the amount of muscle tension that's introduced to hold the frame together and keep it rigid. Once fatigue sets in or the amount of force surpasses what the persons muscles can handle, the integrity of the frame starts to break down and they will be bent, pushed over, or often times will start leaning into the push to counter the force acting against their frame, making them susceptible to being off balanced by removing that force. Someone with more muscle (aka, strength) can resist more force for longer periods of time before that frame breaks down.
This is correct, but a little misleading. If someone is pushing on me, and I have good alignment, they will always wear out before I do. Often when I'm showing this, I will talk effortlessly with the class, explaining the alignments, and forget about the person pushing on me. I have had Uke's fall down because they over exerted themselves. Once good alignment is achieved you can take a huge amount of force for a VERY long time.

In this set up, you need enough muscle tension to align the body. Once good alignment is achieved not much more tension is added to the muscles, because there is a clear channel to the ground.

Basically it's a matter of levers. The smaller you can make your levers, in relation to their fulcrums the less muscular tension you need. If you make very good alignment the amount of tension needed, as the incoming force goes up, doesn't increase Significantly.

Internal Method: On the surface and at its most basic level, the goal is to maintain the structure of the frame. Where the two methods differ is that normally a person will flex muscle to hold the frame rigid against a force. Someone with an internal focus will instead relax those muscles,
I start to see trouble when we say "relax the muscles". If we are talking about a relative relaxation, good athletics teach us the same thing. If we are talking about a total relaxation, what is holding the "frame" up?

which in essence allows the joints of the body to compress upon themselves to maintain the structure of the frame. There is a significant amount of conditioning that goes into allowing this happen,
What is being conditioned? Is it the muscles? If so, why/how? Is it the mind? If it's the mind, then what is the mind doing the work with?

so initially you can't do this against a high level of force. The muscles of the body will instinctively kick in to hold the frame, but with consistent, low force repetition the joints of the body and those 'inner muscles" become conditioned to support those forces without the major muscles of the body kicking in to support the frame. Initially you might find that while you're able to keep the shoulder relaxed against a light force, you'll notice that other muscles, your lower back muscles for instance, are firing up to hold the frame. In my experience, there is a progression of relaxing the muscles, conditioning the joints and then noticing where the muscular tension has moved and then focusing on relaxing/conditioning those areas. The end result, regardless of the amount force one can handle, is that the solidity of the ground is presented through the person's body. So that when a force acts against that body, it is in effect pushing on the ground. This is the earth in heaven and earth. It also has a side-effect of naturally keeping a persons weight down.
This is basically how I would hold this position. It's also how I believe most athletes who practice sports involving this kind of resistance would do it.

One of the things I think most 'internal' proponents don't understand, is that modern athletics is using all of the same good body mechanics that 'internal' people are.

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