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Old 07-30-2007, 07:08 AM   #26
Timothy WK
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Re: The Leather Man

I spoke with my doctor friend briefly the other night. They conceded that yes, it's possible for the fascia to contract, but it doesn't normally. They said it was one of those situations where doctors don't understand why it would ever need to contract.

I explained the martial art rational, and it's advantages for martial movement, and they said said it made intuitive sense, though they couldn't confirm or deny it.

Mike (or anybody), I'm curious about when and how the theory about the fascia developed. Can you shed any light on it?

--Timothy Kleinert

Aikido & Wujifa qigongs
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Old 07-30-2007, 08:01 AM   #27
Mike Sigman
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Re: The Leather Man

Quote:
Timothy Walters Kleinert wrote: View Post
I spoke with my doctor friend briefly the other night. They conceded that yes, it's possible for the fascia to contract, but it doesn't normally. They said it was one of those situations where doctors don't understand why it would ever need to contract.

I explained the martial art rational, and it's advantages for martial movement, and they said said it made intuitive sense, though they couldn't confirm or deny it.

Mike (or anybody), I'm curious about when and how the theory about the fascia developed. Can you shed any light on it?
The oldest available writings on developing ki-strength in China refer to the usaged of connective-tissue/fascia/tendons, etc. So the fascia part of the discussion probably went back 2-6 thousand years, at least. Yang Jwing Ming put out a book that contains some of the oldest comments, but the translations are fuzzy (because it's hard for anyone to understand the old characters and idioms). I think the book is a good one to have for the library of someone really interested in a glimpse at the old references, althought they don't tell you much and YJM's added commentaries are always suspect (IMO), so take them with a grain of salt.

My wife is a doctor (an orthopedic surgeon) and she doesn't have much trouble with the concepts being offshoots of things shes knows about anatomy and physiology, even though they're not what she learned in medical school. Although the concepts are a little odd, there's nothing contradictory between these developments, as far as I know.

FWIW

Mike

Best.

Mike
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Old 07-30-2007, 08:48 AM   #28
DH
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Re: The Leather Man

Tim
If you are interested in the Japanese perspective look for references to training involving breathwork or "breath-power". You will hear the term breath-work brought up here or there by the some of the old guard. There is a reason breathwork is connected to fascia work. Also look for references to "long muscle." There are two schools I know of which used this terminology for fascia. It showed up again recently at Aikido journal in an older article some forumite referred to in a link. I'd have to find it. There is a discussion of bone thickening and skin toughening as well in another article by a guy who trained DR. I think he talked about a broken arm and an X-ray showing thickening. For other references you have also a picture of Takeda's son doing In/yo ho breathwork exercises in a recent book out. It only gives a cursory overview of "feeling" the hands being drawn-in and then pushed-out. Naturally, it contains no details of; what, is doing what, and why breathing is involved in the first place. Good luck researching though, a friend of mine is in Japan right now training, and decided to ask some detailed questions about some things. It didn't go well. I suspect these things will almost always be held close to the vest, denied, and generally not spoken about. As Sagawa said "Teaching these things to foreigners would give them an advantage." How pervasive is it? Who knows. Its very existence gets denied.
I think you might have better luck talkng to PT's, message therapists, and bodywork people than Docs. They see what fascia does on the recovery end of things day-to-day from injury and lack of use, and how hard it is to rework it at a natural level. Stands to reason it is connected and it is tough stuff. So strengthening it and making it work as a whole interconnected system seems rational on the surface-pun intended.

Last edited by DH : 07-30-2007 at 08:57 AM.
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Old 07-30-2007, 11:54 AM   #29
Timothy WK
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Re: The Leather Man

Obviously these techniques are really old, work, and have some sort of biological basis. What I was curious about was how the current, modern understanding developed. (That being, that ki/jin/kokyu/what-ever-you-call-it -related actions are powered by or at least involve the fascia.) Even if ancient manuscripts mention "connective tissue", I doubt they had the same concept of the fascia that we have today.

When did the leap from "long muscle" to "fascia" happen?

Is this only an issue here in the West? Is this idea accepted by the medical establishment in China?

Have there been any scientific studies to test this idea (even if it's in Chinese or Japanese or whatever)?

Thanks! I don't doubt all the fascia talk, I'm just curious how this understanding developed.

--Timothy Kleinert

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Old 07-30-2007, 12:19 PM   #30
David Orange
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Re: The Leather Man

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Timothy Walters Kleinert wrote: View Post
I spoke with my doctor friend briefly the other night. They conceded that yes, it's possible for the fascia to contract, but it doesn't normally. They said it was one of those situations where doctors don't understand why it would ever need to contract.
Well, this is why it was so startling to me to realize that "the leather man," or the whole system of fascia was the central idea in these discussions. I've had some experiences there that immediately made me see vast potential in using that system.

However, I think we have to look elsewhere than muscles or "muscle-like" contractions or relaxing to see the potential for martial application in the fascia.

If someone said, "You have to use your eyes in a fight," you wouldn't think of contracting them or hitting with them. So think of a system that is radically different from the muscle system: how would you use that to support a fighting situation?

Recognizing that the discussions were about how to employ the very unique system of the fascia was what excited me so much. The fascia could even be called the ura of the muscles--the muscles being the omote of human strength.

First of all, the fascia is very sensitive. Think of sliding into a tub of hot water--the rush of tingling warmth that spreads throughout your body. That sensation spreads through the fascia, I believe.

In my Zero Degree teaching, I grab a student's wrist and ask if they can feel it in their foot. At first, they don't notice it, but usually, on the second try and thereafter, they notice it. The fascia has the capacity for full-body awareness--almost instant awareness throughout the body of something that happens elsewhere on the body.

The fascia thus can conduct the ki of the body pretty much instantly from one part of the body to another to focus there.

So I can see that using that system has the potential to augment fighting skills incredibly, but we have to think of it in a way radically different from the way we use muscles.

I remember Dan's recent post about how, having worked so much on his own structure, he could "feel" another person's structure "on contact". He could "feel" "the holes" in their structure and lead their movement to "fall into" one of those "holes".

Well, anyone with a good bit of aikido can do that with movement, but Dan was talking about doing this with almost no movement at all. Now I think I understand "conceptually" what he's talking about. So I would begin thinking about this idea as a matter of improving one's own awareness to improve body structure and maintain that structure with movement. Then it improves sensitivity to the other person's movement and structure (in an almost backward order--or a mirror image) so that someone like Dan can "lead" that movement in such a way that the other person compromises his own structure as he applies effort.

Dan has indicated something about the kinds of exercises he uses to develop these skills, but I think we can do more to approach him by immediately getting rid of the idea that we are trying to "flex" the fascia or use it like muscles (Dan's last post notwithstanding--there is a direct relation between the muscles and fascia, but it seems that the full fascial system works with very different potentials.).

Best to all.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 07-30-2007, 12:31 PM   #31
Lee Salzman
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Re: The Leather Man

I have to wonder, is the "fascia" explanation maybe chasing ghosts? I don't mean to question the work, only the explanation of it.

There is a LOT that can be trained with plain old muscles and the nervous system, for instance:

1. Get every muscle from your toes, fingers, wrists, neck, ankles, forearms, calves, various rotators of the shoulders and hips, the abdomen, as well as all the major extensors/flexors involved in every movement, and working in biomechanically efficient lines and rotation around axes.

2. Get them all activating simultaneously/instantaneously (without any preparation or delay) and with equal intensity.

3. While keeping all of the above, get them activating to the maximum of the juice your poor little brain can output, or until you feel like something is going to tear off.

4. Keeping all of the above, get them to activate and then release in an instant, like an electric shock. Two aspects: minimizing transition trime from relaxation to tension, and from tension to relaxation.

5. Keeping all of the above, get them to rapidly change direction, to the point where the whole body is switching many many times a second.

6. While moving at any speed, anywhere from slow to fast, keep all of the activation, without letting it break, or any part merely clench without useful motion, up to the limits of what the muscles can contract to.

7. Practice changing movement direction in response to different visual, tactile, or perceptive targets, to the point where your brain can identify a new target and respond with purposeful movements many times a second.

So where does fascia fit in above and beyond this?
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Old 07-30-2007, 12:44 PM   #32
David Orange
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Re: The Leather Man

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Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
There is a LOT that can be trained with plain old muscles and the nervous system, for instance:

1. Get every muscle from your toes, fingers, wrists, neck, ankles, forearms, calves, various rotators of the shoulders and hips, the abdomen, as well as all the major extensors/flexors involved in every movement, and working in biomechanically efficient lines and rotation around axes.

2. Get them all activating simultaneously/instantaneously (without any preparation or delay) and with equal intensity.
I think that the fascia must be very useful in the two things you describe above in that it can transmit instant awareness among all the areas of the body. Dan has refered to it as a "load distributor system," I think--meaning that it can diffuse impacts by spreading them through the system and that it can sort of "govern" the work of the entire muscle system at once. I think it also can "manage" the efforts of the whole muscle system so that each muscle contributes the optimal effort to the whole effort.

In any case, if your body has an entire different system, why leave that out of the equation if you're looking for "total" effectiveness?

Quote:
Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
4. Keeping all of the above, get them to activate and then release in an instant, like an electric shock. Two aspects: minimizing transition trime from relaxation to tension, and from tension to relaxation.
If my above ideas are correct, the fascia would also facilitate those efforts.

Since my sudden recognition the other day, I've been having a pretty good time working with a new level of feeling. I've also been thinking a lot about "how" you could apply this system and a lot of what has been said on these forums has come back to me. Also, there is a lot about the fascia system and the nerves connected to it that has not been discussed at all, including emotional states and involuntary responses, that I think would have a lot to do with managing stresses.

Best wishes.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 07-30-2007, 12:52 PM   #33
Lee Salzman
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Re: The Leather Man

David, the question I was posing was whether the fascia really need to be fundamentally involved in the explanation of those phenomenon, and how they are trained? Not necessarily could fascia conceivably augment them, but rather, in an Occam's razor sense, is fascia necessary to explain them at all?
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Old 07-30-2007, 12:54 PM   #34
Mike Sigman
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Re: The Leather Man

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Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
So where does fascia fit in above and beyond this?
Frankly, I don't see any point in discussing what is a best a hypothetical topic with most of the people on this forum. We do extended discussions on this stuff on the QiJin forum (and previous forums), but since most people can't even do simple jin, the fascia, qi/ki, muscle-tendon theory/channels, acupuncture relationships, etc., are probably just exercises in typing on this forum.

Let me note again that one of my cautions is that this stuff has levels of skills and often people think that the level they're at is all there is to know so they use the buzzwords indiscriminately. I'd suggest that people take every expert's opinion and every "epiphany" with a grain of salt. In my perspective, the most correct approach to Aikido is actually going to be the soft approach that Tohei espouses or a related version. The harder approaches do indeed use "ki" and "kokyu-power", but O-Sensei apparently preferred the very soft approach (and he says that clearly), so anyone starting out on this road needs to bear that in mind, IMO. And needs to explore the why's before too much is committed on yet another tangential path, even if it's somewhat more informed than just normal strength.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 07-30-2007, 01:06 PM   #35
David Orange
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Re: The Leather Man

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Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
David, the question I was posing was whether the fascia really need to be fundamentally involved in the explanation of those phenomenon, and how they are trained? Not necessarily could fascia conceivably augment them, but rather, in an Occam's razor sense, is fascia necessary to explain them at all?
Without the fascia, the muscle would flop around loosely (assuming there was still a nerve fiber attached to it). And I do think that the fascial system enables the whole muscle system to share information (in a manner of speaking). So I do think we'd be leaving out a lot of important information to omit the fascia from the discussion.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Let me note again that one of my cautions is that this stuff has levels of skills and often people think that the level they're at is all there is to know so they use the buzzwords indiscriminately. I'd suggest that people take every expert's opinion and every "epiphany" with a grain of salt.
I have to agree with you there, Mike. I certainly don't think I know much about using fascia in martial arts. The feeling I have is of having opened the door to a huge warehouse where I can see thousands of displays on matters I'm very interested in, but I have not yet even walked into the room to start studying the exhibits.

Still, my recognition came with a sense that it would be very easy to go in the wrong direction in trying to develop the skills in question and that, without guidance, severe injury and lasting bad health could easily result.

Which, even more than not wanting the information to get into "the wrong hands," could be why the subject is not more openly explained in all the books that deal with it.

Best wishes.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 07-30-2007, 01:27 PM   #36
Mike Sigman
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Re: The Leather Man

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David Orange wrote: View Post
Which, even more than not wanting the information to get into "the wrong hands," could be why the subject is not more openly explained in all the books that deal with it.
This stuff gives an unmistakeable edge, no question. So in ancient times, you didn't show everyone those things which gave you a survival edge. That was "the wrong hands" in those days, but "the wrong hands" idea is morphing somewhat in these days of guns, etc. My idea of the "wrong hands" has to do with the emphasis that there is always more information about these skills that you didn't know... so the guy who stops at any stage (often as soon as he declares he's teaching the subject in some way) and declares that he has arrived and is a "teacher" is often the guy I have in mind as "the wrong hands". But only for the reason that he's doing a disservice to his students, etc. I actually have some pretty good information-exchange conversations on other forums with guys who I don't personally care for, but they have knowledge and they're not into playing a role as a teacher. So they're not what I would call "in the wrong hands", if you see what I mean.

Each level of knowledge is only the entryway to the next level of knowledge. Anyone who is arrogant enough to point out the lowly level of people below him is the sort of person I don't want to tell anything, frankly. He appears too much to be into these things for self-aggrandizement and not enough for the pure chase of the knowledge. Role players need not apply.

Best.

Mike
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Old 07-30-2007, 01:44 PM   #37
Lee Salzman
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Re: The Leather Man

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
Without the fascia, the muscle would flop around loosely (assuming there was still a nerve fiber attached to it). And I do think that the fascial system enables the whole muscle system to share information (in a manner of speaking). So I do think we'd be leaving out a lot of important information to omit the fascia from the discussion.
Sure, they are of course an important part of the muscular system. But by analogy, look at the mitochrondria. Without them, we'd be corpses. They can even be trained individually in certain aspects. And at the high levels of sports, drugs that enhance their function are essential to stay competitive. But would training only the functions of the mitochrondria result in complete athleticism? Now, surely knowing about the mitochondria would inform how one went about their athletic training, but would it decide the entirety of their athletic training? Would it be the underlying theory of how they trained... everything?

So, in practical terms, is isolating out one structural component of the muscle, while ignoring the other aspects of the contractile machinery, useful as an overarching strategy for the practice of martial arts? Would it optimize the performance of the whole system? ... Or is there something more at work here (and being worked on) than simply focusing on fascia can explain? Can it provide me with a useful predictive theory of how to measure and train these aspects?

Last edited by Lee Salzman : 07-30-2007 at 01:56 PM.
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Old 07-30-2007, 01:54 PM   #38
Mike Sigman
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Re: The Leather Man

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Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
So, in practical terms, is isolating out one structural component of the muscle, while ignoring the other aspects of the contractile machinery, useful as an overarching strategy for the practice of martial arts? Would it optimize the performance of the whole system?
Without the fascia component, you can't really do the "whole-body" thing. Without the whole-body approach, the jin advantages don't appear. It's a complex subject that goes much deeper than this, but understanding the "whole-body" part is a fair contribution so that people can begin to see the relationship between the qi/ki/fascia and the jin/kokyu-ryoku aspects.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 07-30-2007, 02:26 PM   #39
David Orange
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Re: The Leather Man

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Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
...is isolating out one structural component of the muscle, while ignoring the other aspects of the contractile machinery, useful as an overarching strategy for the practice of martial arts? Would it optimize the performance of the whole system?
That's the point--to realize that our bodies are made of interacting systems. It's easy to recognize the function of the heart/lungs and muscles, plus the eyes and ears, balance, etc., without ever noticing or factoring in the functions of the fascia system. In previous discussions, I've not recognized that 1) the discussion was about an entire system of fascia; or 2) that this was the same system I've had experience with in completely unrelated areas.

When I made both those recognitions, then it occurred to me that this system had to play an important part in all martial arts. But we immediately hit the question of exactly how to apply this system's functions and "sense" tends to tell us that it's by some kind of direct willful control of the fascia as through tensing/relaxing and using it to "hit" the other guy. My purpose in this thread is mostly to think out loud about 1) the nature of the fascial system and 2) the "potential" ways that that system could contribute to martial strength.

We can check out all the books (Emei Baguazhang, by Liang Shou-Yu with Yang Jwing-Ming and Wu Wen-Ching (?) has some interesting information); you can look at the well-known systems of qigong; you can look at these forums; and you can experiment--the last being interesting but potentially very dangerous.

As I said in an early post, I came to the recognition of "the leather man" through Feldenkrais practice. I had a "crick" in my back from working on Quicken, updating several months of bank transactions and receipts. So I lay down on the bed and went through the small Feldenkrais movements, and when I put my attention to my left pectorals and willed them to "open", I felt the warm rush of relaxation flow from the pectorals into my left arm/shoulder/bicep. And I suddenly realized that this was not muscle relaxation that I felt--at least not entirely: a lot of it was fascia "opening" or "releasing". At the same time, I realized that the fascia goes throughout the body and that it's pretty well completely connected and basically unified.

Two related things: I spent over $2,000.00 having a full course of Rolfing treatments in Tokyo between about 1990 and 1992. I had the deep-pressure treatment over my whole body, feet, ankles, calves, knees, all the way up to my head. And in fact, when they get to your head, they stick their finger up your nose and massage the fascia of the face!!!!!!!! They take pictures of you before and after each session, but they have to tell you how to stand and align yourself. And if your attention wanders, you will automatically return to your habitual way of standing. So Rolfing had that limitation and just a few weeks after completing the whole course, I got a bad back injury. So while I had a lot of experience with fascia there, it didn't teach me anything, really, about how to interact with the fascia. It didn't teach me that the fascia is anything other than purely connective tissue that could work just as well "dead" as "alive," so I just thought of that tissue as being insensate and beyond any willful influence, so I never thought much about it.

Second related issue: I had a hernia. This thing started in about the late 1970s, looking like a pea under my skin--which was tight as a drum back then. The doctor told me it was "a piece of fat" under my skin. I couldn't figure out how it got there and he offered no explanation. Over the years, it gradually grew and I went to doctors again and again and asked about it--maybe three or four times. They all said it was "nothing." So what could I do? I went to Japan in 1990 and by that time, if I were wearing a t-shirt, you could see a lump on my stomach. But I worked out strenuously in karate, judo, aikido and sword. I got punched and kicked in the stomach and whenever I did judo, people's hips were banging into my stomach, etc., etc. But since the lump didn't rupture, I just kept on. I got my black belt in judo with that lump. I came back from Japan in 1995 and went on with life. I had other people look at the lump and they told me it was "nothing," "fat" or a "cyst." Finally, in 2002 or 2003, I really got after my doctor to tell me what this was. He sent me to a surgeon, who confirmed that it was a hernia. A tiny hole had opened between two of my abdominal muscles and this tissue had oozed out from inside the abdomen and was held in by the skin over the hole. The surgeon operated, pushed the tissue back into the hole and unfurled a plastic screen on the inside to keep the tissue from coming out again. It was a very small hole.

Anyway, after the surgery, I felt a dull aching around my midsection and realized that all that tissue was aching from having been pushed through that hole for all those years and sqeezed with all the abdominal contractions I'd been doing--thousands of crunches, hanging straight-leg lifts, etc., plus when I punched and kicked and someone slammed his hips into my gut to do ogoshi or such techniques. But what was aching after the surgery?

Well, there is the abdominal wall, with fascia, then a layer of fat, then, I think, more fascia, then the internal organs, that are covered with fascia. So what had oozed out of this hole was, in large part, fascial tissue, which is full of nerve endings. And after the surgery, I could tell a difference in my whole body. The relief of that squeezing of the fascial tissue was perceptible throughout my body because the fascia of the whole body is connected and shares information. So if you're going to share awareness between muscles, I think, that awareness has to move through the fascia....

Doing Feldenkrais that day, I recognized that that was the tissue they were discussing on the internal power threads. I realized that this tissue is not muscle and could not be used as muscle. And I realized that it is an effectively unified system that works with the muscles. And I understood at once that it would take a lot of study of the nature of that system to even glimpse how that system could be applied to martial technique.

So "The Leather Man" thread is intended to discuss the nature of the fascial system and the fact that any "use" of that system has to be in accord with that nature. Just as we wouldn't "hit" someone with our eyes or with our lungs, we have to find out "how" fascia can contribute before trying to force it to contribute in some way that goes against its nature.

Is what I'm saying.

Best wishes.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 07-30-2007, 02:29 PM   #40
David Orange
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Re: The Leather Man

Quote:
Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
Would it optimize the performance of the whole system? ... Or is there something more at work here (and being worked on) than simply focusing on fascia can explain? Can it provide me with a useful predictive theory of how to measure and train these aspects?
What I meant to say was that we have to learn to coordinate the various systems of muscle, fascia, bone, blood and breath (among others) to get the best results. The only reason I isolate the fascia here is to clarify what's being discussed so that we can discuss more clearly how the functions of the fascia influence the other systems, giving us a better idea of how even to attempt to coordinate the systems.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 07-30-2007, 06:15 PM   #41
Timothy WK
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Re: The Leather Man

David,

Did you happen to catch my thread, "My first glimpse of internal power"? I tried describing my first experience of ki-/fascia-based movement. I can do a *little* more than I could then. I've worked a number of manual labor jobs, and what I'm experiencing now is definitely NOT the same thing as normal movement.

So the fascia can be used in a "muscle-like" fashion, even if we're not 100% sure about the exact bio-mechanics. I'm not sure if experienced people like Mike or Dan use pure fascia movement, or some muscle/fascia combo (though I think Mike might have mentioned some sort of muscle/fascia combo).

--Timothy Kleinert

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Old 07-31-2007, 12:00 AM   #42
Aran Bright
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Re: The Leather Man

Quote:
Timothy Walters Kleinert wrote: View Post
David,

Did you happen to catch my thread, "My first glimpse of internal power"? I tried describing my first experience of ki-/fascia-based movement. I can do a *little* more than I could then. I've worked a number of manual labor jobs, and what I'm experiencing now is definitely NOT the same thing as normal movement.

So the fascia can be used in a "muscle-like" fashion, even if we're not 100% sure about the exact bio-mechanics. I'm not sure if experienced people like Mike or Dan use pure fascia movement, or some muscle/fascia combo (though I think Mike might have mentioned some sort of muscle/fascia combo).
Hi Timothy,

For my money I am betting that it is a muscle/fascia combination to create a stable structure. I think that the floating feeling comes from relaxed muscles and the pull of other muscles on the fascial tissues, definitely different to normal movement.

Aran

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Old 07-31-2007, 02:35 PM   #43
Lee Salzman
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Re: The Leather Man

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David Orange wrote: View Post
What I meant to say was that we have to learn to coordinate the various systems of muscle, fascia, bone, blood and breath (among others) to get the best results. The only reason I isolate the fascia here is to clarify what's being discussed so that we can discuss more clearly how the functions of the fascia influence the other systems, giving us a better idea of how even to attempt to coordinate the systems.
But there's the question gnawing at my monkey brain... How long has this fascia idea been pushed... a year? For well over a year I would say, if not more. How much practical enlightenment has come of that?

The methods for training coordinated strength should be right there, and self-evident, without needing to talk about fascia or qi or ki to use them, or even know about them.

Moreover, if the reasoning behind these exercises is understood and quantifiable, in a way that is not entirely dependent on the practicioner's subjective reasoning so he can't just go on deluding himself ("Hmm, it feels like I might be doing X, and I've been practicing X for so long, that I must be doing it!"), or instead of searching for subjective floating feelings in your body, asking, "Can I hit a lot harder than I used to? Do the people I hit describe it as more like getting struck by lightning or hit by a freight train, or by more like an ineffective tap?". The exercises necessary to practice them should be self-evident, at least in an, "Oh duh, that's how!" sense. If you can measure it, and you can reduce the circumstances enough to where problems can be worked on, then you can practice it.

But this empirical flavor is missing from the "fascia" idea. So how is it an advancement over simply saying "ki" or "qi"?

Last edited by Lee Salzman : 07-31-2007 at 02:41 PM.
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Old 07-31-2007, 03:46 PM   #44
Mike Sigman
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Re: The Leather Man

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Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
But there's the question gnawing at my monkey brain... How long has this fascia idea been pushed... a year? For well over a year I would say, if not more. How much practical enlightenment has come of that?
Actually, the "fascia idea" has been pushed in other places for at least a couple of thousand years, Lee. I can't see where it particularly means anything in relation to how long it's been on one Aikido forum, if that's what you're talking about. It's just a name that more or less points to and corrals a bunch of different phenomena... phenomena which most people don't seem to realize are actually related. For instance, in yiquan, which you seem to have some experience with, the hairs standing on end (pilo-erection), the startle-releases Wang Xiang Zhai learned from Bai He, the connection of the body via the standing, etc., are the same "fascia" phenomena that Tohei works on with some of his breathing techniques, that Shioda expouses when he suggests expanding/spreading the hand, and so on. Are any of these Aikido and Yiquan practices "helpful"? If so, then the fascia idea, by pointing out more about what's going on should be helpful, too.
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But this empirical flavor is missing from the "fascia" idea. So how is it an advancement over simply saying "ki" or "qi"?
How is "force vector" helpful in a discussion about "ki strength" or "kokyu power"? To me, it's pretty helpful to know that it ain't no mysterious, green-glowing magical force.

Best.

Mike
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Old 07-31-2007, 03:52 PM   #45
David Orange
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Re: The Leather Man

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Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
... How long has this fascia idea been pushed... a year? For well over a year I would say, if not more. How much practical enlightenment has come of that?
Well, it's been around for hundreds if not thousands of years, but very, very few people have looked into it. First, probably, because it's not obvious and second because their teachers didn't tell them about it. And their teachers didn't tell for reasons previously discussed: the teachers were protecting themselves by not letting just anyone find out about it; and the teachers were protecting the students because training with that system in the wrong way is debilitating to one's health. If you've read much about qigong (used to be called chi kung), they always say you need to have a qualified teacher or you can hurt yourself seriously. And where are the qualified teachers?

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Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
The methods for training coordinated strength should be right there, and self-evident, without needing to talk about fascia or qi or ki to use them, or even know about them.
Well...it's not all self-evident because it uses "weakness" or at least "softness" in a world oriented to hardness and strength. And maybe saying "coordinated strength" is an example of that orientation. Dan has describe something almost the opposite--in effect, causing the opponent to coordinate his own weakness to the extreme so that he loses all his power. And he does this using both his own and the opponent's fascial system.

Because the fascia system is so different in structure and function from the muscle system (and because so few people even recognize it at all--much less as a whole system), we need to be very careful in how we think about how we might employ it.

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Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
But this empirical flavor is missing from the "fascia" idea. So how is it an advancement over simply saying "ki" or "qi"?
I think the empircal element is there in people offering to demonstrate it very openly. Several people have met Dan, Mike and Rob/Akuzawa now and have reported impressive experiences. Dan is reported to be able to stand in an ordinary stance and not only not be pushed over, but make the one pushing him become weak and unable to lift his feet--or make him fall. And he is said to be able to generate tremendous penetrating impact with almost no motion. Likewise for Mike Sigman, according to no less than George Ledyard. And you can see videos of Akuzawa doing some pretty eerie stuff.

So I think the empirical side is covered. The only question is how to do that stuff, ourselves.

And I started this thread to be able to "ruminate" somewhat on that subject, as I shall do more before long.

Thanks.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 07-31-2007, 04:02 PM   #46
Lee Salzman
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Re: The Leather Man

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Actually, the "fascia idea" has been pushed in other places for at least a couple of thousand years, Lee. I can't see where it particularly means anything in relation to how long it's been on one Aikido forum, if that's what you're talking about. It's just a name that more or less points to and corrals a bunch of different phenomena... phenomena which most people don't seem to realize are actually related. For instance, in yiquan, which you seem to have some experience with, the hairs standing on end (pilo-erection), the startle-releases Wang Xiang Zhai learned from Bai He, the connection of the body via the standing, etc., are the same "fascia" phenomena that Tohei works on with some of his breathing techniques, that Shioda expouses when he suggests expanding/spreading the hand, and so on. Are any of these Aikido and Yiquan practices "helpful"? If so, then the fascia idea, by pointing out more about what's going on should be helpful, too. How is "force vector" helpful in a discussion about "ki strength" or "kokyu power"? To me, it's pretty helpful to know that it ain't no mysterious, green-glowing magical force.

Best.

Mike
I guess I lay my cards on the table by saying this, but, if we're talking yiquan, then the process of learning coordinated strength via the yiquan I learned does not suppose fascia, nor does knowing about fascia shed light on how one trains yiquan in this way. Doesn't mean it might not be involved, it just means it doesn't inform the bulk of the training at all, anymore than say the myonucleus, myofibrils, or the cytoplasm, because practical issues do instead.

And if you tag ideas onto a concept, that while maybe is tangible, but on the other hand isn't predictive or prescriptive, then how much better is it than magic? Because it still opens the door for very subjective interpretation, and thus for people to start turning it into magic, because the framework for explanation is still lacking. -- "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." -- How many people really know how their TV works? Or even how to program a VCR? I don't think buzz words help. If anything, discuss the practical exercises, and reason from there, but reasoning from a nebulous buzz word down...?
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Old 07-31-2007, 04:14 PM   #47
Mike Sigman
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Re: The Leather Man

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Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
I guess I lay my cards on the table by saying this, but, if we're talking yiquan, then the process of learning coordinated strength via the yiquan I learned does not suppose fascia, nor does knowing about fascia shed light on how one trains yiquan in this way. Doesn't mean it might not be involved, it just means it doesn't inform the bulk of the training at all, anymore than say the myonucleus, myofibrils, or the cytoplasm, because practical issues do instead.

And if you tag ideas onto a concept, that while maybe is tangible, but on the other hand isn't predictive or prescriptive, then how much better is it than magic? Because it still opens the door for very subjective interpretation, and thus for people to start turning it into magic, because the framework for explanation is still lacking. -- "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." -- How many people really know how their TV works? Or even how to program a VCR? I don't think buzz words help. If anything, discuss the practical exercises, and reason from there, but reasoning from a nebulous buzz word down...?
Well, the exact same argument could be made about fascia in ki, kokyu, etc., and people could similarly lay their cards on the table that knowing the fascia idea doesn't help them any, and so on. But doesn't that depend on how much they know to start with? If you don't know much, then piling the fascia information on top does not do any good. However, people that have a basic understanding of the concepts seem to, in my experience, benefit from the fascia perspective... and it's certainly predictive and reproducible. If you want to set a baseling of what level people would benefit from the knowledge, that might be a good discussion. My perspective is that someone with even moderate knowledge of how the skills actually work benefits fairly obviously. Would the suggestion be that the level is so low that we should forego some aspects of the discussion?

Best.

Mike
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Old 07-31-2007, 04:38 PM   #48
Lee Salzman
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Re: The Leather Man

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Would the suggestion be that the level is so low that we should forego some aspects of the discussion?
The worry is that it simultaneously may be overinflating the concept beyond what it is, while also ignoring other components of the system that may be involved and deserve their own emphasis.
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Old 07-31-2007, 04:54 PM   #49
Lee Salzman
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Re: The Leather Man

David, I believe that Dan has got some cool stuff going on, and I'd still like to fly down there and learn it and see it. I have no idea how many puzzles pieces I have, just that I recently had a fantastic opportunity to learn some stuff that was *vastly* overwhelming to me despite the relative mundaneness of it, and perhaps especially because of the mundaneness of it (simultaneously "Oh, DUH!" and "You can do that with this!?"); so to peg it on one construct seems dismissive. But here we're picking one piece of paper out of a hat, and saying, "Yep, that's what it is! Just these fascia here."

What if there are a dizzying confluence of factors involved in making it happen, such that if one were actually to redesign a new system of training from the ground up based on merely the premise of active fascia, it would never achieve the intent of the original?

So if you can define the system with reference to the outcome (and not in a way that can shed doubt), and efficiently achieving that outcome, would that not be better? And what of the outcome? If you don't have a very sharp answer about what the outcome really is, regardless of how you define the system, how do you know you ever got there? That is what I mean by "self-evident".

Last edited by Lee Salzman : 07-31-2007 at 05:04 PM.
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Old 07-31-2007, 05:59 PM   #50
Mike Sigman
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Re: The Leather Man

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Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
The worry is that it simultaneously may be overinflating the concept beyond what it is, while also ignoring other components of the system that may be involved and deserve their own emphasis.
Well, I've always maintained that it's a complex system, but fascia is certainly part of it and is noted as such in documents going back a couple of thousand years... except not in English, of course. Although different schools of Yiquan use different terminology (backbitingest martial art I've ever seen, in terms of factions ), it's in there, too. Personally, I think that while the interractions are complex in terms of what we're used to, the description of what's involved can be kept fairly basic. And I think we've more or less kept it basic by just leaving it at "fascia-related" at the moment.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
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