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Old 01-25-2013, 01:28 PM   #26
tanthalas
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Re: A simple mechanical model of body use.

Thanks for the video and explanation Hunter! This may be totally unrelated and off-topic, but the part where your body comes out to counterbalance the arm raise reminds me a little bit of this video --
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2aUJcsPT6Y

(Footnote: I have no idea whether the video here fits the description of internal movement, but it definitely shows some very interesting ways to move the body for sure.)

Back to slightly on topic, this discussion about arm raises makes me think about standing post, particularly of the "hug the tree" variation. I was told by one instructor that one of the goals is to be able to do it effortlessly without any stress to the body/muscles through relaxation, and various instructors have talked explicitly about starting off in a standing position with the arms down, relax, breathe, and eventually the arms will start "floating". I've felt a little bit of this myself in my standing, though usually my arms float only about a few inches upward from their resting position (and I often wonder then whether I'm even Doing It Right or not).

My current thought is that the tree-hugging standing post done properly is nothing more than a regular standing post with the arms floating all the way up to that position.

(Which makes me wonder whether it's helpful/unhelpful/incorrect/dangerous to start from the "hug the tree" position and try to relax from there, since someone without this experience/ability would necessarily be using muscle to hold the arms up instead.)

Last edited by tanthalas : 01-25-2013 at 01:30 PM.
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Old 01-25-2013, 02:30 PM   #27
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Re: A simple mechanical model of body use.

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
Hunter has provided lots of good info for the discussion. most folks when they picked up something they are thinking of pulling it up, especially something light. internal folks train to get underneath and push it up, even with a feather. and we already talked about efficiency on the other thread.
The first problem I see here is that- muscles only contract. So every motion is really a 'pulling up' because it's a contraction. The muscles can't 'push' anything, they all contract, and make the body do different things because of their orientation in the body. So triceps seem to be making the arm 'push out' but really they are pulling on the backside of the arm to make the arm extend. Muscles work in opposing sets like this so we can get action on both sides of the body. We both are fully aware of this I'm sure, but I have to say this to make my next point.

If you use one set of muscles to support or lift a load, they are pulling. you can use an opposing set of muscles to pull in the opposite direction at the same time ('dynamic tension'). But you don't get a bonus result for this, you only expend more energy. Muscles can't help each other by using a complimentary 'push and pull' or 'extend and contract', they can only contract or 'pull'. So if you activate opposing muscle groups you are only costing energy and not gaining it.

Now this is not to say that the 'imagery' of pushing with one set of muscles while pulling with another set isn't helpful. But that can't be what is actually happening. Imagery is very useful in training physical motion. I often use images of rushing water, or electricity going through the body to help my students move correctly. But of course we know there is no water or electricity rushing through the body.

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here is an exercise that Sigman got us to do. stand normally with feet parallel about shoulder width. take a small weight, less than 1 kg. hold it in between your palms and raise it with arms straight, straight up the top of your head. hold it there. now relax your body and let the weight pushes down to your feet so that you will only feel the weight pressure on your palms and the bottom of your feet. you should feel like you are now holding the weight by pushing from underneath (pushing isn't the right word to use here, but for simplicity, i am using it). hold it there for awhile and try to let go off your shoulder muscles.

now, drop your arms (still straight out) 45 degree from vertical. the weight should be infront of you and above your shoulders. don't move the rest of your body, but use your intent to adjust your body so that you still pushing it from underneath and there would still be pressure between the palms and the bottom of your feet, i.e. your body doesn't exist, only palms and feet. then drop your arms to 90 degree from vertical. do the same thing as before. allow your body to adjust. then drop to 135 degree from vertical. then 180 from vertical which at this point the weight should be around your crotch. and you are still pushing from underneath. it should feel like you are pushing the thing up with your feet. this is bringing the ground to the object or a simple model of ground path. experts will tell you that there are more it than that and they are right. because your focus is pushing from underneath, your body will microscopically adjust internally to use the blue line (don't think of line but tubes) that Hunter mentioned.
This is a fun exercise, I plan to work with it today, thanks!

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i can provide a video but you would only see my good looking self stand there not doing much. i might eat a donut or two with coffee.
I think more of us good looking people should be posting videos. We'll help Jun get more subscribers that way!

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Old 01-25-2013, 02:48 PM   #28
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Re: A simple mechanical model of body use.

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Hunter Lonsberry wrote: View Post
For much of this material, I doubt most people without direct experience are going to be able to see whats going on. Thus I don't see too much point to video.

However, for this particular mechanic, what I'm referring to can be done in an internal way, but the following video, is more done in a "precursor" way. That is to say, I am still using muscle to raise the shoulder/arm, just not relying on the shoulder. Eventually, you don't want to rely on muscle so much, but use Sigman's suit. Thus I would not call this demo an "internal" arm raise, rather one with passibly good mechanics. Even now, when demonstrating this, you will see my body moving in certain ways, but don't talk about in the video other parts of my body being tugged as that arm raises.
Making video's is tough. I really appreciate your efforts to do so. Last night I was standing in front of the mirror with my shirt off trying to figure out how you could show the shoulder " not activating" and it was pretty hard. But I think this is still a good avenue to try, and possibly as we all understand how to show things better, we'll be able to make better videos. Either way I appreciate your effort!

So, there is no doubt that it's difficult to see what is going on. But most of what I can see is that you are keeping the shoulder from 'raising'. This raising shoulder is a problem in lot's of martial arts students, and is caused by unnecessary activation of the trapezius muscle. You do a good job or relaxing that muscle on your arm raise. However, if you touch your deltoid while raising your arm, no matter how you do it, can't you feel your deltoid activate? By rotating the arm as you lift, you can change the activation between anterior, lateral and posterior deltoid, but they should still be firing to some degree.

While I was playing with this yesterday, I found several interesting things I could do. If I took a big breath in while raising my arm, I noticed that the expansion of my chest made my shoulder arms start to raise (because my arm was resting on my ribcage) and if I slowly added shoulder pressure from there, the activation of my deltoid was very subtle, and much harder to notice. However when my arm was extended out 180- I could still feel a hard deltoid holding my arm up.

Again, I'm struck by the idea of 'imagery'. Using a good image, like an expanding balloon may help me better use my muscles. But I still feel it's impossible for me to raise my arm out to the side without engaging my shoulder muscles.

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Old 01-25-2013, 03:05 PM   #29
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Re: A simple mechanical model of body use.

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Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
Both the standard body use of Ki Aikido and the Pilates teaching "go down to go up" teach this body usage.
This is something I am very familiar with as well. I believe it is an image that makes the body align better, and stabilize better.

Quote:
The model I learned via aikido is to simply point at something the way you would when, well, when pointing at something . The ki test is to have your arm seized and simply point at something. The visualization or intent is that the shoulder and arm are still and relaxed and the finger simply extends and rises. The aikido model posits the triceps as doing the work.
I am familiar with this kind of visualization/imagery work. Wendy Palmer Sensei has some very interesting exercises like this. I believe what these kinds of things do, is make you quit thinking about fighting directly against the person who is trying to move you, and instead makes you move in the most natural way possible. Going around force, or using the correct muscles to align the body naturally as opposed to fighting the force acting on you directly. I do not think the triceps can raise the shoulder like we are talking about. While I'm not 100%, and would need to look it up, I think the triceps only extend the arm at the elbow. I don't think you can do anything else with the triceps- although I'd have to look that up.

Quote:
The Pilates model is that to learn this, you first drop your shoulders and then you simple allow your arms to raise. The Pilates perspective is you are enlisting primarily the latissimus dorsi.
Using both models, I believe it is initiating gross movement w/ the lats and secondarily maintaining extension via the triceps.
I think this is describing a kind of 'synergistic' use of muscle groups. They work together to produce a better result, but the lat isn't actually raising the shoulder, instead it's providing stable support for the back making it easier for the Deltoids to do their job.

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In and of itself this is not what I'd call "internal training" but it is certainly what I'd call "best use" body mechanics. And it is a very good way of beginning to understand the connection between intent and efficient body usage.
I think you're correct, I also think many conventional athletic approaches use these ideas.

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Old 01-25-2013, 03:50 PM   #30
Robert Cowham
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Re: A simple mechanical model of body use.

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The first problem I see here is that- muscles only contract. So every motion is really a 'pulling up' because it's a contraction. The muscles can't 'push' anything, they all contract, and make the body do different things because of their orientation in the body. So triceps seem to be making the arm 'push out' but really they are pulling on the backside of the arm to make the arm extend. Muscles work in opposing sets like this so we can get action on both sides of the body. We both are fully aware of this I'm sure, but I have to say this to make my next point.

If you use one set of muscles to support or lift a load, they are pulling. you can use an opposing set of muscles to pull in the opposite direction at the same time ('dynamic tension'). But you don't get a bonus result for this, you only expend more energy. Muscles can't help each other by using a complimentary 'push and pull' or 'extend and contract', they can only contract or 'pull'. So if you activate opposing muscle groups you are only costing energy and not gaining it.
I use the imagery of ropes and pulleys - so by pulling down on a rope with a smooth pulley at the shoulder, the arm raises. The question is: where is this initiated from? I imagine a rotating barrel/drum at the tanden which winds a rope connected through pulleys to the hand. I still think that muscles are involved, just that due to the overall integration, the muscles are involved differently to the "wrong" way of lifting hand/arm.

It's also interesting to try imagining the rope going from shoulder to hand, and not down the arm...
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Old 01-25-2013, 07:40 PM   #31
Janet Rosen
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Re: A simple mechanical model of body use.

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Chris Hein wrote: View Post
I think this is describing a kind of 'synergistic' use of muscle groups. They work together to produce a better result, but the lat isn't actually raising the shoulder, instead it's providing stable support for the back making it easier for the Deltoids to do their job.
I was just playing a bit and yes the deltoids are involved to some degree but not the other key shoulder muscles most folks engage and the shoulder unit can remain relaxed and low, supported by the core.

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Old 01-25-2013, 07:51 PM   #32
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Re: A simple mechanical model of body use.

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Chris Hein wrote: View Post
The first problem I see here is that- muscles only contract. So every motion is really a 'pulling up' because it's a contraction. The muscles can't 'push' anything, they all contract, and make the body do different things because of their orientation in the body. So triceps seem to be making the arm 'push out' but really they are pulling on the backside of the arm to make the arm extend. Muscles work in opposing sets like this so we can get action on both sides of the body. We both are fully aware of this I'm sure, but I have to say this to make my next point.

If you use one set of muscles to support or lift a load, they are pulling. you can use an opposing set of muscles to pull in the opposite direction at the same time ('dynamic tension'). But you don't get a bonus result for this, you only expend more energy. Muscles can't help each other by using a complimentary 'push and pull' or 'extend and contract', they can only contract or 'pull'. So if you activate opposing muscle groups you are only costing energy and not gaining it.
sure the muscle contracted and pull. however, muscle isn't the only thing in this model. don't forget the bones and sinew and other stuffs which create various levers and pulleys. question for you, do you use the same set of muscles to pull and push? or different set of muscles? another question for you, how do you generate a push if you only have muscle pull?

i think we posted this one before on the study about muscle usage using Kuroda sensei as the subject.

http://budoshugyosha.over-blog.com/a...-65641305.html

Look at the graph comparing between normal folks and Kuroda sensei. you would see that Kuroda sensei used his muscle differently than regular folks. then look at the graphs again and think in term of efficiency and energy expenditure. now replace Kuroda sensei's sword with a small weight and you got the exercise from Sigman that i mentioned. essentiall, "get underneath" the sword when you lift, and "get on top" when you cut.

Quote:
Now this is not to say that the 'imagery' of pushing with one set of muscles while pulling with another set isn't helpful. But that can't be what is actually happening. Imagery is very useful in training physical motion. I often use images of rushing water, or electricity going through the body to help my students move correctly. But of course we know there is no water or electricity rushing through the body.
in order to do these stuffs, we have to use imagery to mass manage the actions of our body. it's almost impossible to control the firing of so many different muscle groups throughout your body at the sametime or in multiple sequences. imagery allows our brain to do that without us interfere with the process. i don't use rushing water imagery, not when i am wearing the full aikido gear and can't get the damn gi pants off fast enough, especially after i down a whole pitcher of tea.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 01-25-2013, 08:01 PM   #33
Sy Labthavikul
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Re: A simple mechanical model of body use.

I'm speaking from my experience studying anatomy, biomechanics, kinesiology, and physical therapy - but the simple act of lifting one's arm is anything but simple. There are a ton of muscles - some we can consciously activate in isolation, others we can't - that have to contract, in sequence, to move the complicated thing we call the shoulder - the glenohumeral joint. And its hard to use plain language to describe this stuff, but I'll try.

If you look up the role of the serratus anterior (boxer's muscle) and the lower fibers of the trapezius in upward scapula rotation and what that means for lifting arms, that might help you visualize "pushing with your triceps" or "scooping the back of your shoulders down to lift the front up." There is way more, of course, to the sequence of events that ultimately lifts the arm, but its a good start. And it gets even more involved if you want to lift the arm while keeping the humerus in a secure, stable position inside the joint (like when you are lifting a heavy load, or when you are trying to transmit force through a punch)

When my taiji partner was teaching me about peng, he kept telling me to pretend I was crushing an egg between my shoulder blades and pushing the resulting mess down into the ground, again with my shoulder blades ("scoop back and down"). My inner PT translated that as "retract and upwardly - yes, upwardly - rotate the scapula" and low and behold my arms went up, elbows first. My deltoids of course were working - but they weren't operating in isolation.


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Old 01-25-2013, 08:13 PM   #34
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Re: A simple mechanical model of body use.

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Chris Hein wrote: View Post
While I was playing with this yesterday, I found several interesting things I could do. If I took a big breath in while raising my arm, I noticed that the expansion of my chest made my shoulder arms start to raise (because my arm was resting on my ribcage) and if I slowly added shoulder pressure from there, the activation of my deltoid was very subtle, and much harder to notice. However when my arm was extended out 180- I could still feel a hard deltoid holding my arm up.
this is the starting point of the suit model from Sigman using reverse breathing. as i understand it, when your "suit" is well developed, it helps you manage the load on your muscles. Ikeda sensei demonstrated a bit of this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hB-knlRDZ8

you know that ki/chi means air right? that's one of the reason my diet is heavily compose of beans, cabbage (both fresh and highly toxic fermented), and with a touch of cinamon for flavor.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 01-25-2013, 09:05 PM   #35
Janet Rosen
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Re: A simple mechanical model of body use.

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Phi Truong wrote: View Post
you know that ki/chi means air right? that's one of the reason my diet is heavily compose of beans, cabbage (both fresh and highly toxic fermented), and with a touch of cinamon for flavor.
well that explains my favorite dish...ki/chi with a lot of smiling "mmmmmmmmm" in the middle

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Old 01-25-2013, 10:12 PM   #36
Rob Watson
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Re: A simple mechanical model of body use.

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Sy Labthavikul wrote: View Post
IWhen my taiji partner was teaching me about peng, he kept telling me to pretend I was crushing an egg between my shoulder blades and pushing the resulting mess down into the ground, again with my shoulder blades ("scoop back and down"). My inner PT translated that as "retract and upwardly - yes, upwardly - rotate the scapula" and low and behold my arms went up, elbows first. My deltoids of course were working - but they weren't operating in isolation.
Is this not how one begins to operate when using a slightly refined seated kokyu ho dosa? You know the 'technique' osensei said to end every class with.

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Old 01-25-2013, 11:12 PM   #37
Michael Varin
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Re: A simple mechanical model of body use.

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Phi Truong wrote: View Post
i think we posted this one before on the study about muscle usage using Kuroda sensei as the subject.

http://budoshugyosha.over-blog.com/a...-65641305.html

Look at the graph comparing between normal folks and Kuroda sensei. you would see that Kuroda sensei used his muscle differently than regular folks. then look at the graphs again and think in term of efficiency and energy expenditure. now replace Kuroda sensei's sword with a small weight and you got the exercise from Sigman that i mentioned. essentiall, "get underneath" the sword when you lift, and "get on top" when you cut.
I had a feeling this would come up. And I'm glad it did.

First, take a look at what muscle groups were monitored. Trapezius (green); latissimus (blue); biceps (grey); triceps (red). Note: I think this was poorly done. No part of the deltoid is monitored. And only the right side of the body was monitored. Both of these were big flaws in my opinion.

Kuroda Tetsuzan is amazing. He far out classes me. But if you tested me, I am very confident that the muscle usage would be closer to Kuroda's than to the "amateur's."

Notice that the "total movement" is the raise and cut. The first half of the graph is the raise, the middle is the cut.

The amateur has unnecessary activity in his body, i.e. tension.

Kuroda's trapezius does activate on the raise. I would also like to point out that it is easy to see that Kurodo is contracting his deltoid (I would say a rather hard contraction) in the picture of Kuroda raising the sword.

What really is so remarkable about the results of this "study"?

Where do we see the "IP/IT/IS" tells? Do we?

-Michael
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Old 01-25-2013, 11:29 PM   #38
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Re: A simple mechanical model of body use.

Hunter,

Thank you for posting the video.

I wonder. . .

After taking the time to make the video and think/feel through the process, do you have anything different to add?

Have you made any new distinctions between "activate," "raise," and "use" as they relate to the shoulder, or even about what exactly someone may mean when they say "shoulder"?

If this is not "internal," how does it fit into "internal training"?

Thanks again.

-Michael
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Old 01-26-2013, 03:45 AM   #39
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Re: A simple mechanical model of body use.

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Phi Truong wrote: View Post
sure the muscle contracted and pull. however, muscle isn't the only thing in this model. don't forget the bones and sinew and other stuffs which create various levers and pulleys. question for you, do you use the same set of muscles to pull and push? or different set of muscles? another question for you, how do you generate a push if you only have muscle pull?
There are many things mechanically at work in the body. However the only thing making active force is muscle. Bones, connective tissue etc. only make a passive force. That is to say, if they are put in the right alignment we can use their advantages. This is what happens when we put our body in good alignment, the skeleton takes some of the load, so the muscles don't have to work so hard to support the load.

You use different muscle sets to move joints in different directions. They are set up so one set moves the joint in one direction, and another set moves them in another direction. Different sets have different jobs.

Muscles only contract or 'pull'. They only pull in one direction. Depending on how they are attached to the frame they make the body do different things. You generate a 'push' by using a set of muscles that contract to make that kind motion. For example when the arm extends out, making a 'push' the triceps pull the the elbow straight. This 'pushes' the arm out. Inside of the body there are no muscles that extend, so muscles can not work in extending and contracting pairs, only contracting opposites.

Quote:
i think we posted this one before on the study about muscle usage using Kuroda sensei as the subject.

http://budoshugyosha.over-blog.com/a...-65641305.html

Look at the graph comparing between normal folks and Kuroda sensei. you would see that Kuroda sensei used his muscle differently than regular folks.
There are efficient ways to use your muscles and inefficient ways to use them. I've seen studies on wrestlers and MMA competitors that talk about how they use their muscles more efficiently then others during their specific activity. That's what athletics is all about, using the body as efficiently as possible to do the job required.

Quote:
in order to do these stuffs, we have to use imagery to mass manage the actions of our body. it's almost impossible to control the firing of so many different muscle groups throughout your body at the sametime or in multiple sequences. imagery allows our brain to do that without us interfere with the process. i don't use rushing water imagery, not when i am wearing the full aikido gear and can't get the damn gi pants off fast enough, especially after i down a whole pitcher of tea.
The idea that 'internal' training is largely a set of very useful images is something I can get behind. This idea would be something like, it's not that the body is being used in a way that traditional athletics doesn't use the body. But instead that these images help us organize the body faster, better, more fully etc.

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Old 01-26-2013, 08:15 AM   #40
HL1978
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Re: A simple mechanical model of body use.

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Michael Varin wrote: View Post
Hunter,

Thank you for posting the video.

I wonder. . .

After taking the time to make the video and think/feel through the process, do you have anything different to add?

Have you made any new distinctions between "activate," "raise," and "use" as they relate to the shoulder, or even about what exactly someone may mean when they say "shoulder"?

If this is not "internal," how does it fit into "internal training"?

Thanks again.
When you work on this shoulder/arm raise, you start off using the muscle groups I am referring to. Over time, wether you do the arm raise, or hold it in a static position, you will find that you no longer activate (or fatigue) the area under the arm, it will move to the front of the body from the arm pit, then it will move progressively lower and lower., until you feel it in the upper abs, then the lower abs/hips to the area generally associated with the dantien (though this requires doing other things before it gets to this point). This is why I said that when you initially try to do it this way you are still using "local" muscle, just different ones.

Now when you then raise your arm, you won't feel a sequential activation of each muscle group that you previously learned to activate (and later relax). Are they actually activating? Beats me, but you tend not to feel them activate, so perceptually I think its fair to say that you don't feel it, nor do you tend to feel it if you put you hands on someone who can do it.

---

When I refer to activate or raise in reference to the shoulder, its much more like what I am showing in 1-2, you feel a tension/load there, but nothing else in the muscles associated with the inside/underside. As I stated earlier, this is because most people only really use one side of the body. You will see the same sort of thing in the legs (less of a load in the quads, as the inner thigh and the area below the buttocks take it up), as similar exercises may be performed with the hips.

Using both sides lessens the use of the shoulder. Now yes it feels like no shoulder is used because the load is not mostly taken up there. To me in the end, if it is actually used or isn't used is is not relevant, because the perception to the person raising it is that it is not.
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Old 01-26-2013, 12:21 PM   #41
Sy Labthavikul
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Re: A simple mechanical model of body use.

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Robert M Watson Jr wrote: View Post
Is this not how one begins to operate when using a slightly refined seated kokyu ho dosa? You know the 'technique' osensei said to end every class with.
Of course! Scapula stabilization is a necessary part of kokyu dosa - but it isn't sufficient. Kokyu dosa, for me, doesn't begin or end with scapula movement; the scapulas do whatever they are gonna do as a result of what i'm currently working on, which is bowing/rippling my lower spine.

Scapula stabilization like this is also a training cue weightlifters use when doing stuff like the bench press ("squeeze your shoulder blades and drive them into the bench!"). And here, its necessary to lift safely and with maximum efficiency, but not sufficient to get that weight up there. And bench pressing is nothing like kokyu dosa.


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Old 01-26-2013, 12:49 PM   #42
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Re: A simple mechanical model of body use.

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Hunter Lonsberry wrote: View Post
When you work on this shoulder/arm raise, you start off using the muscle groups I am referring to. Over time, wether you do the arm raise, or hold it in a static position, you will find that you no longer activate (or fatigue) the area under the arm, it will move to the front of the body from the arm pit, then it will move progressively lower and lower., until you feel it in the upper abs, then the lower abs/hips to the area generally associated with the dantien (though this requires doing other things before it gets to this point). This is why I said that when you initially try to do it this way you are still using "local" muscle, just different ones.
Is the eventual idea not to use local muscle groups at all?

If so, what muscle groups are making the power? I would guess from your post, and other discussions that we've had, that the 'ideal' muscle groups to be using (in this theory of use) are those in the core of the body.

If it is the muscles in the core of your body that are the ideal muscles to use, as opposed to local muscle groups I have two very important questions.

First question- how are the muscles in the core of the body connected to the limbs of a body, in a way, that when they contract they will pull on a limb.

Second question- Even if such a connection is possible. How is it that using the muscles of the core alone make more power, and drive everything in the body, better than the localized muscle groups.

There is no doubt that the muscles of the of the core are strong muscles. However I don't see how they can do as much work as the localized muscles can do in the positions there were set up to work most ideally. It seems like this kind of motion, even if it were possible, would be significantly weaker then using localized muscles, that are in ideal positions, for the movements required.

Another important question that comes from this, when we think of the 'omni-stable" ideal that seems very present in "IP", how can the muscles of the core drive the whole body at once? Muscles only move in one direction, and while there are several different muscle groups located in the core of the body, compared to the number of muscles in the rest of the body, their number is very limited. How can they drive the motion of the entire body, with their limited number?

Quote:
Now when you then raise your arm, you won't feel a sequential activation of each muscle group that you previously learned to activate (and later relax). Are they actually activating? Beats me, but you tend not to feel them activate, so perceptually I think its fair to say that you don't feel it, nor do you tend to feel it if you put you hands on someone who can do it.
If they do activate, but you are working on another 'image' that doesn't make you feel them activate, I could understand this. But muscles that do a specific function, and are the only muscles in the body to do that work (looking at a 'normal' theory of body use), not firing, sounds very strange to me. If we are talking about using muscle to do the work and it's not just an 'image' but a reality, I can't see how this would possibly work. Further.

Because I can't understand it, doesn't mean it's not so. But if I understand what you are describing, we are talking about earth shifting ideas here that go WAY beyond martial arts. If it were possible to move the body from the core muscles alone, there are many people with physical disabilities that would be able to regain much lost motion. The power of this alone, makes me very suspicious about what is really going on.

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When I refer to activate or raise in reference to the shoulder, its much more like what I am showing in 1-2, you feel a tension/load there, but nothing else in the muscles associated with the inside/underside. As I stated earlier, this is because most people only really use one side of the body. You will see the same sort of thing in the legs (less of a load in the quads, as the inner thigh and the area below the buttocks take it up), as similar exercises may be performed with the hips.

Using both sides lessens the use of the shoulder. Now yes it feels like no shoulder is used because the load is not mostly taken up there.
I can't understand what is meant by "both sides of the body". Because muscles only contract, there is not extending partner group. And while you could use some other muscle groups to contract and help, that doesn't quite fit what I'm picturing in your model.

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To me in the end, if it is actually used or isn't used is is not relevant, because the perception to the person raising it is that it is not.
This is a very fair statement. Here again, to me, we are talking about imagery. I like imagery, I use it in my teaching all the time. If the result we are looking for can be achieved by creating an image that is totally different from what is actually happening, when we are looking for the goal only, who cares.

However we must be careful when we start to think that our image is what is actually happening. We must keep the two things clear, or it might get in the way of our progress and serve to confuse us.

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Old 01-26-2013, 03:06 PM   #43
Robert Cowham
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Re: A simple mechanical model of body use.

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Chris Hein wrote: View Post
Is the eventual idea not to use local muscle groups at all?

If so, what muscle groups are making the power? I would guess from your post, and other discussions that we've had, that the 'ideal' muscle groups to be using (in this theory of use) are those in the core of the body.
Chris

Going back to the exercise of lifting a spoon, or indeed lifting anything (personally I prefer something like a pint of beer - good balance between effort and reward!).

This is an exercise that I originally got from Peter Ralston ("Art of Effortless Power" IIRC).

Start to lift the object.

Observe what happens in your body (note this is DIFFICULT).

Think about the physics of what *must* happen. e.g. In order to life any object the weight must pass through your body to the ground. What does "pass through your body" mean? How does your body adapt to this? What muscles are pre-stressed to accomplish this action? What happens to adjust to any extra load occasioned by the action of "picking up" something else?

Next exercise, imagine you are *about* to pick up said object, and intend to do so, but stop before anything moves (i.e. your hand which has grasped said object). If you fully intended to move but stopped, analyze what did actually happen in your body - which muscles fired, what weight shifted etc. Your brain/body organizes all this stuff automatically, pretty much every time we move - but we are generally totally unaware of what is happening.

Apply this approach to different weights of object and see what happens.

For you to lift *anything*, even something as small as a spoon (or indeed any part of your anatomy such as a finger, a hand, any part of your arm without any further load required), then the load *must* (due to physics) pass through the load bearing structure (your body) to the point of contact with the ground (e.g. feet, or perhaps your butt if you are sitting on a chair) - assuming of course you are on the earth as opposed to being in space!

This is difficult stuff because it requires so much attention to detail. We imagine that we "just use our fingers" to pick up a spoon, because we are not aware of all the other stuff that goes on to transfer the weight through our body to the ground. When we start to become more aware of what is really going on, we can start to become more effective.

I suggest that until you become in some sense at least aware of what *really is happening* within your body right now every time you move anything, it doesn't make much sense to worry about what are the most effective muscles or muscle groups to use.

Does that make sense?

Robert
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Old 01-26-2013, 03:06 PM   #44
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Re: A simple mechanical model of body use.

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Chris Hein wrote: View Post
Is the eventual idea not to use local muscle groups at all?

If so, what muscle groups are making the power? I would guess from your post, and other discussions that we've had, that the 'ideal' muscle groups to be using (in this theory of use) are those in the core of the body.

If it is the muscles in the core of your body that are the ideal muscles to use, as opposed to local muscle groups I have two very important questions.

First question- how are the muscles in the core of the body connected to the limbs of a body, in a way, that when they contract they will pull on a limb.
I don't know how Hunter thinks about this, but in my mind it works somewhat like a push puppet (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SdtzpaFyFk).

Little ropes connect the extremities to the control area. In the human body the little ropes might correspond with the myofascial lines aka anatomy trains, like the one below. Those lines all tend to pass through the middle of the body. That would be how (in theory) one could affect the extremities with the middle.

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Old 01-26-2013, 03:19 PM   #45
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Re: A simple mechanical model of body use.

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Robert Cowham wrote: View Post
Chris

Going back to the exercise of lifting a spoon, or indeed lifting anything (personally I prefer something like a pint of beer - good balance between effort and reward!).

This is an exercise that I originally got from Peter Ralston ("Art of Effortless Power" IIRC).
I'm very familiar with the work of Peter Ralston. I've done many of his exercises, many of which have helped me gain better understanding of how to use the body.

You are correct, the ground supports us always. Everything we lift, carry, push, pull, comes through a connection to the ground (when standing/sitting/laying on it).

I'm not arguing that the whole body is not in play. There are muscles that stabilize our structure, root us better to the ground, and provide support to our frame constantly. I totally agree with this, and try to get in touch with it on a daily basis.

However this is not the kind of thing I hear people talking about on AikiWeb, when they talk about 'internal'. What I described above is normal athletic activity, any good athletic coach would talk about these things with you. What is talked about here on AikiWeb, so something else. What that is suppose to be, I still can not say yet.

When I point out that good athletes and good 'internal' people are using their bodies in much the same way, I am told over and over again that I am incorrect.

So, I'm looking to find these differences. But as these discussions go on, I'm seeing less and less difference, and more and more similarities.

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Old 01-26-2013, 03:27 PM   #46
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Re: A simple mechanical model of body use.

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Dave de Vos wrote: View Post
I don't know how Hunter thinks about this, but in my mind it works somewhat like a push puppet (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SdtzpaFyFk).

Little ropes connect the extremities to the control area. In the human body the little ropes might correspond with the myofascial lines aka anatomy trains, like the one below. Those lines all tend to pass through the middle of the body. That would be how (in theory) one could affect the extremities with the middle.

Effect the extremities and create specific movement in the extremities are different things.

For example. Can I effect my shoulder by moving my leg- yes. Can I raise my arm without using the muscles of the deltoid- no I cannot.

The body can work together in unison, and it should. This is athletic activity. This is why football players are so powerful, they use their body in good internal rhythm. This is athletic.

Can a person walk, using only the muscles of the core- as far as I can tell they cannot. Can a person slowly raise their arm without using the localized muscles of the arm- are far as I can tell they cannot. These are the kinds of claims that I feel I'm hearing.

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Old 01-26-2013, 04:25 PM   #47
Robert Cowham
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Re: A simple mechanical model of body use.

My understanding:

1. There is no magic - there has to be local muscle involved, and yet the involvement of said local muscle is quantitatively different if other parts of the body are being used in an optimal manner.

2. In my experience there are not so many good athletes who are doing similar things really. What is perfect technique? If you are good enough to beat your competition, then what is the point of improving further? The number of people who *really* pursue this is not so large I suspect.

And of course it is really hard to perfect all phases of a particular activity. For example - see the commentary on a world championship winning throw:

http://www.coachkrall.com/Articles/Jav/Whitbread1.pdf

There are a lot of good tennis players but not many at the level of Federer. Google "roger federer slow motion".
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Old 01-26-2013, 04:27 PM   #48
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Re: A simple mechanical model of body use.

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Effect the extremities and create specific movement in the extremities are different things.

For example. Can I effect my shoulder by moving my leg- yes. Can I raise my arm without using the muscles of the deltoid- no I cannot.
Neither can I (which means little). When I raise my left hand sideways and then feel my left deltoid by sqeezing it with my right hand, it feels more solid than when my left arm hangs limp at my side. I assume it's unavoidable, but perhaps there exist people who can do it while keeping their deltoids really soft. I think I read somewhere on AikiWeb that Ikeda can do it.

Quote:
Chris Hein wrote: View Post
The body can work together in unison, and it should. This is athletic activity. This is why football players are so powerful, they use their body in good internal rhythm. This is athletic.

Can a person walk, using only the muscles of the core- as far as I can tell they cannot. Can a person slowly raise their arm without using the localized muscles of the arm- are far as I can tell they cannot. These are the kinds of claims that I feel I'm hearing.
I too think that movement requires local muscle. And in general, movement requires orchestration of different body parts working in unison. Basic coordination is already quite a complicated thing when you try to decompose it. Making robots that move like animals or humans seems to be quite a challenge.

IMO this is not what separates athletic movement from internals. I don't think that internal movement requires orchestration while athletic movement doesn't. It's just that the orchestration is different and training methods are different and I think the priorities are also different.
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Old 01-26-2013, 06:13 PM   #49
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Re: A simple mechanical model of body use.

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Robert Cowham wrote: View Post
My understanding:

1. There is no magic - there has to be local muscle involved, and yet the involvement of said local muscle is quantitatively different if other parts of the body are being used in an optimal manner.
I agree with the first part of this. I don't understand part of this- "involvement of said local muscle is quantitatively different if other parts of the body are being used in an optimal matter". If by quantitatively different, you mean that local muscle groups don't have to work as hard to deal with a force if the other parts of the body are being used in an optimal manner. I agree also. I don't know why you added the "and yet". I also think you will find many athletic coaches in total agreement with this.

Quote:
2. In my experience there are not so many good athletes who are doing similar things really. What is perfect technique? If you are good enough to beat your competition, then what is the point of improving further? The number of people who *really* pursue this is not so large I suspect.
Your experience is always a factor in these things. I have been around a lot of professional and serious amateur fighters. In my experience correct body use, much like you describe above is the norm.

I believe the second part of this is a philosophical statement, "if you are good enough to beat your competition, then what is the point of improving further?" From a competitors stand point, some may have this opinion. From a coaches stand point, you always drive your athletes to higher standards, nothing is ever enough. I would suspect among the best athletes you'll find this same "never good enough" attitude as well. This is why they are the best. Either way it's a philosophical point, and really doesn't have to do with the body use itself.

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Old 01-26-2013, 06:27 PM   #50
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Re: A simple mechanical model of body use.

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Neither can I (which means little). When I raise my left hand sideways and then feel my left deltoid by sqeezing it with my right hand, it feels more solid than when my left arm hangs limp at my side. I assume it's unavoidable, but perhaps there exist people who can do it while keeping their deltoids really soft. I think I read somewhere on AikiWeb that Ikeda can do it.
Who knows, I'm surprised all the time, but it's something I can't find a reason to believe could/would exist. Either way, even if it does exist, would it be more useful to be able to do this? Does it offer an advantage? If so, in what ways would it offer an advantage? I think the general idea behind "relax the shoulder muscles" has more to do with not using the shoulder muscles at the wrong time, than it has to do with not using the shoulder muscles at all. To me this interpretation has much more meaning and practicality then simply, you never use your shoulder muscles.

Quote:
I too think that movement requires local muscle. And in general, movement requires orchestration of different body parts working in unison. Basic coordination is already quite a complicated thing when you try to decompose it. Making robots that move like animals or humans seems to be quite a challenge.
I couldn't agree more! I feel very much the same.

Quote:

IMO this is not what separates athletic movement from internals. I don't think that internal movement requires orchestration while athletic movement doesn't. It's just that the orchestration is different and training methods are different and I think the priorities are also different.
I think this is a valid place to look next, how is the orchestration of 'internal' and normal-athletic different? I think as we keep peeling the layers of this problem back, we're going to find that they are not so different at all. I think it will become more and more clear that both are going for the same goal.

If someone asked me if I practice 'internal' martial arts, I would say yes. It is through studying with and reading the works of many great 'internal' teachers that I developed my understanding of how the body works. However, as time has gone on, I've realized that modern athletics echo's these same lessons/ideas/practices. I was super pleased when I realized this because it gave me more people to learn from and a better understanding of what I was trying to do.

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