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Old 04-04-2013, 07:13 AM   #1
Carl Thompson
 
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Re: Static Stretching...

Quote:
Walter Martindale wrote: View Post
Carl:
What's the difference between a "conventional" muscle and whatever other type you're referring to?
If they're skeletal muscles going from one bone across a joint to another bone, they're pretty much the same everywhere, with minor variations for twitch speed, endurance, staining characteristics, etc..
Hello Walter

Conventional is how most of us normally move. In sports it's athleticism and in many aikido contexts, "not using strength" means reduction, by various means, not avoidance. Even full-on faked no touch throws involve some use of the conventional muscles to make Jedi gestures.

The unconventional usage I have come across means the most obvious muscles are flaccid. I mean hanging, or even dangling like Osensei's pectorals while moving powerfully regardless of the attempts of others to prevent the movement. This is kokyu power (Note: Kokyu does not just mean breath). Some of the IP proponents on this forum seem to have cogent explanations for how it's done.

Carl
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Old 04-04-2013, 06:13 PM   #2
Walter Martindale
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Re: Static Stretching...

Quote:
Carl Thompson wrote: View Post
Hello Walter

Conventional is how most of us normally move. In sports it's athleticism and in many aikido contexts, "not using strength" means reduction, by various means, not avoidance. Even full-on faked no touch throws involve some use of the conventional muscles to make Jedi gestures.

The unconventional usage I have come across means the most obvious muscles are flaccid. I mean hanging, or even dangling like Osensei's pectorals while moving powerfully regardless of the attempts of others to prevent the movement. This is kokyu power (Note: Kokyu does not just mean breath). Some of the IP proponents on this forum seem to have cogent explanations for how it's done.

Carl
Hmm. Ok. I'm afraid you can count me as skeptical. I've been told "don't use strength" to move, and when things work really well they seem to have needed no effort, but humans can't move unless muscles contract. It may be a 'conditioned reflex' that we don't have to think about, it may be something that's well trained and can be done in a very "relaxed" manner, but movement can't happen without muscle contracting.

I've tried reading some of the IP info but I get confused because of my (long ago) biomechanics research background. I'm sure there's something in it, but I just don't get it.
I've also discussed with some of my sensei in the past "I'm trying not to use my strength." and have been met (by at least one shihan) with "You got it, use it, as long as your technique is good".

Discussing this sort of stuff with an Iwama-type godan today (he's teaching at a school nearby and I was doing classes on my sport - rowing) - and he said - yeah, right, what were the shihan doing when they were young - swing a sword 1000 times a day, then a jo 1000 (or 5000) times a day, and you're going to develop muscle.

Cheers,
Walter
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Old 04-05-2013, 12:17 AM   #3
Carl Thompson
 
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Re: Static Stretching...

Quote:
Walter Martindale wrote: View Post
Hmm. Ok. I'm afraid you can count me as skeptical. I've been told "don't use strength" to move, and when things work really well they seem to have needed no effort, but humans can't move unless muscles contract. It may be a 'conditioned reflex' that we don't have to think about, it may be something that's well trained and can be done in a very "relaxed" manner, but movement can't happen without muscle contracting.

I've tried reading some of the IP info but I get confused because of my (long ago) biomechanics research background. I'm sure there's something in it, but I just don't get it.
I've also discussed with some of my sensei in the past "I'm trying not to use my strength." and have been met (by at least one shihan) with "You got it, use it, as long as your technique is good".

Discussing this sort of stuff with an Iwama-type godan today (he's teaching at a school nearby and I was doing classes on my sport - rowing) - and he said - yeah, right, what were the shihan doing when they were young - swing a sword 1000 times a day, then a jo 1000 (or 5000) times a day, and you're going to develop muscle.

Cheers,
Walter
Thanks for the reply Walter

One thing that interests me about IP practitioners is their attempts to put it in scientific terms, since in aikido it seems to be encoded in animism. But regardless of how it is explained, I would recommend that if you are able to find someone who can do it well, you should ask them if you can feel their arm while they lift a bokken.

Regards

Carl

Carl
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Old 04-05-2013, 01:33 AM   #4
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Re: Static Stretching...

Quote:
Carl Thompson wrote: View Post
Thanks for the reply Walter

One thing that interests me about IP practitioners is their attempts to put it in scientific terms, since in aikido it seems to be encoded in animism. But regardless of how it is explained, I would recommend that if you are able to find someone who can do it well, you should ask them if you can feel their arm while they lift a bokken.

Regards

Carl

Carl
It would feel different, the array of musculature that's used is generally different, and it's employed in different ways (along with some additional activators and controls) - but nobody who's really studying IP has claimed that no muscles are used at all.

Still, the difference is big enough that it has confused physical therapists who were expecting something else to happen - and that's partly the point, that confusion is itself a big advantage.

The scientific stuff is interesting - to a point, but too much of it doesn't really seem to help in actually doing this stuff. The old standbys of visualization and imagery that have been used for thousands of years are usually the most effective in that regard. Phil Jackson and the Eastern European Olympic coachs seem to have reached similar conclusions, in many ways (in terms of the value of visualization, not as related to IP).

Best,

Chris

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Old 04-05-2013, 05:23 AM   #5
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Re: Static Stretching...

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
It would feel different, the array of musculature that's used is generally different, and it's employed in different ways (along with some additional activators and controls) - but nobody who's really studying IP has claimed that no muscles are used at all.

Still, the difference is big enough that it has confused physical therapists who were expecting something else to happen - and that's partly the point, that confusion is itself a big advantage.

The scientific stuff is interesting - to a point, but too much of it doesn't really seem to help in actually doing this stuff. The old standbys of visualization and imagery that have been used for thousands of years are usually the most effective in that regard. Phil Jackson and the Eastern European Olympic coachs seem to have reached similar conclusions, in many ways (in terms of the value of visualization, not as related to IP).

Best,

Chris
Thank you for that Chris

Just to clarify, as I pointed out to Janet, I referred to not using "conventional muscles". I did not say moving using no muscles at all.

Carl
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Old 04-05-2013, 10:26 AM   #6
Mert Gambito
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Re: "Conventional Muscles" and Internal Power

Just more food for thought on this topic. Various Taoist metaphors are key to creating the sets of physical mnemonics used in various methods of IP/IS training. Traditional five-element theory is one set of metaphors utilized, and muscle is expressly considered in the theory. That said, muscle is interestingly assigned neutral, or balanced yin and yang properties.

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Old 04-05-2013, 10:30 AM   #7
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Re: "Conventional Muscles" and Internal Power

Quote:
Walter Martindale wrote: View Post
What's the difference between a "conventional" muscle and whatever other type you're referring to?
Hi Walter-
I think this is an important question and lots of people think/guess about it. We don't currently have hard data so that's what we do for now -- think and guess. But there is a proposed answer that is rational. It has to do exactly with how you posed the question:

Quote:
Walter Martindale wrote: View Post
If they're skeletal muscles going from one bone across a joint to another bone,
That's the "if" in question. Have you read people here refer to terms like "local muscle" and "long muscle?" Of course neither are scientific terms but they are terms that deal with exactly what you described here.

The hypothesis:
Let's say there is only one type of muscle tissue involved, shared by IS and normal/conventional. What is different may be the connective tissue not the muscles. Connective tissue (such as the ECM of muscle, and that muscle's tendons) shows adaptive changes that are correlated to the load that they commonly experience, yes? Also, body-wide sheets of connective tissue (the same type of tissue as this adaptive connective tissue) are contiguous with muscles, tendons, and ligaments. So, it is theoretically possible for a practitioner to train some connective tissue functional connections that span many joints. Thus you can have "regular" muscle tissue pulling on "developed" connective tissue connections in a trained body, where these muscles would NOT as you put it be "going from one bone across a joint to another bone" -- rather, they (the trained novel muscle-connective tissue units) would be going from location to location across many joints. The implication is that a different kind of motor behavior would be possible, by use of these long-range connections that are trained to support high loads, across many joints (ie the length of the whole body).

If that seems too far-fetched, here is an example with a different type of connective tissue: bone. Say you partially outstetch your arm using conventional "local muscle." Now something touches your outstretched hand. You can extend your knee joint of your rear leg and thus apply force to the thing touching your hand. Or you can extend at the elbow and also push the object. 2 different muscles producing the force, vastly different in location relative to the atari. OK this is nothing special, of course we all know this. And it in itself isn't "IS." But it is an example of a possibility that can be explored more thoroughly than this mundane example.

Last edited by JW : 04-05-2013 at 10:33 AM.
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Old 04-07-2013, 08:26 AM   #8
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Re: "Conventional Muscles" and Internal Power

Even in traditional athletics, it's well known that the body can use different sets of muscles, or a different balance across sets of muscles, to accomplish the same movement.

Going back to my weightlifting days, a bench press can depend primarily on the pecs, anterior delts, triceps, or lats. A common limiting factor is depending too much on delts and tris and not getting the pecs engaged. The common fix for this is imagery: "Imagine there's a rubber band connecting your elbows. As the bar comes down, you're stretching the band. Then as you raise the bar it's pulling your elbows together."

Similarly for squats, depending too much on quads and not enough on hams and glutes. There's a set of visualizations to help lifters get the posterior chain involved.

So I don't see the IS imagery as magic or particularly unusual. Any time you want to get the body to move differently, it seems, people use visualizations to help create the new movement patterns. And the visualizations rarely have anything to do with physics.

Evolution doesn't prove God doesn't exist, any more than hammers prove carpenters don't exist.
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Old 04-07-2013, 03:21 PM   #9
Janet Rosen
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Re: "Conventional Muscles" and Internal Power

Word.

Quote:
Hugh Beyer wrote: View Post
Even in traditional athletics, it's well known that the body can use different sets of muscles, or a different balance across sets of muscles, to accomplish the same movement.

Going back to my weightlifting days, a bench press can depend primarily on the pecs, anterior delts, triceps, or lats. A common limiting factor is depending too much on delts and tris and not getting the pecs engaged. The common fix for this is imagery: "Imagine there's a rubber band connecting your elbows. As the bar comes down, you're stretching the band. Then as you raise the bar it's pulling your elbows together."

Similarly for squats, depending too much on quads and not enough on hams and glutes. There's a set of visualizations to help lifters get the posterior chain involved.

So I don't see the IS imagery as magic or particularly unusual. Any time you want to get the body to move differently, it seems, people use visualizations to help create the new movement patterns. And the visualizations rarely have anything to do with physics.

Janet Rosen
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Old 04-07-2013, 05:43 PM   #10
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Re: "Conventional Muscles" and Internal Power

Quote:
Hugh Beyer wrote: View Post
Even in traditional athletics, it's well known that the body can use different sets of muscles, or a different balance across sets of muscles, to accomplish the same movement.

Going back to my weightlifting days, a bench press can depend primarily on the pecs, anterior delts, triceps, or lats. A common limiting factor is depending too much on delts and tris and not getting the pecs engaged. The common fix for this is imagery: "Imagine there's a rubber band connecting your elbows. As the bar comes down, you're stretching the band. Then as you raise the bar it's pulling your elbows together."

Similarly for squats, depending too much on quads and not enough on hams and glutes. There's a set of visualizations to help lifters get the posterior chain involved.

So I don't see the IS imagery as magic or particularly unusual. Any time you want to get the body to move differently, it seems, people use visualizations to help create the new movement patterns. And the visualizations rarely have anything to do with physics.
I wouldn't go that far. While there are conceivably a nearly unlimited amount of muscle recruitment patterns that can be trained, the number of actual muscle groups you can leverage for a specific movement, not so much. Doing things like spreading your knees while squatting can bring some assistive tissues into the equation, but for the most part movements are mediated by the major muscle groups which are already cleverly positioned for exactly that task.

Even if you could train to not use those muscle groups for movements, which you cannot, it has never been satisfactorily explained to me why in the would I would not want to use my body in the way it was designed. I am guessing all of the double speak about "western", "athletics", and "conventional" boils down to different and effective recruitment patterns more than it boils down to actually using different musculature. That said I can imagine, given that fact that almost no aikidoka could squat their way out of a wet paper bag, people using profoundly incorrect musculature for even the most simple tasks, but that is more of a remedial discussion. Obviously there is great room for improvement no matter where you are in the game.

Taking the pseudoscience angle one step further, we have to consider that it has been strongly recommenced here at times to use non-contractile tissue as an alternative to "conventional" movers. It is quite reasonable that "feeling" like you are using such tissue may result in a non-standard recruitment pattern that could have martial application, actually attempting to use non-contractile tissue for movement will result in no movement, a state with little martial application.

This situation is exactly why people often ask for better clarity on the ideas presented here, particularly those that have the ring of woo.

Last edited by bkedelen : 04-07-2013 at 05:50 PM.
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Old 04-07-2013, 06:34 PM   #11
Janet Rosen
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Re: "Conventional Muscles" and Internal Power

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

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Old 04-07-2013, 07:04 PM   #12
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Re: "Conventional Muscles" and Internal Power

Janet, the quads open the knees and close the hips, and the glute-ham chain opens the hips and closes the knees. You use both for jumping, and if you use your quads as primary movers you jump poorly. If you were taking jumping practice seriously at all, you would find yourself using the glute-ham chain as the primary mover in short order. The athletes in the research you are referencing were shown to have neglected the study of powerful/healthy hip extension, due to some odd gender differentiation starting at an early age, and because they were primarily just playing a lot of basketball. What was the "retraining" you reference that got them moving correctly? That would be the exact (and very basic) weight training methodology that supposedly ruins your internal strength. So in your line of reasoning, the "conventional" movers turn out to be the solution, not the problem. Not a convincing argument.

To your second point, we can always improve and there are some great (and not so great) ideas out there. Yet seeking them out with an skeptic's mind is always a good idea.

As for pilates and rolfing, how is this not about pseudoscience, exactly?

Last edited by bkedelen : 04-07-2013 at 07:15 PM.
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Old 04-07-2013, 07:42 PM   #13
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Re: "Conventional Muscles" and Internal Power

I do not believe they did weight training to learn a different way to jump. If you simply focus on body usage and learn what it feels like to engage specific muscles you do things differently. I'm sorry you think this is wrong or not doable but it is. I've done it and I've seen others do it and taught others to do it. And I don't understand this "conventional" thing vs. "IS" thing anyhow . We all share the same body. We are all capable of the learning the same things. And I don't understand how or why you think Pilates or Rolfing are in any way pseudoscience when - like IS training - they have empirical track records . So I"m bowing out.

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Old 04-08-2013, 12:50 PM   #14
JW
 
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Re: "Conventional Muscles" and Internal Power

Hi Benjamin, I appreciate a skeptical point of view very much. But I am not sure what specifically you are arguing-- do you disagree with any of these specific points, which this thread addresses?

1. The human motor system is plastic, that is, it can be modulated by the individual. So, if a given task requires 3 big muscle groups, the individual can change at will and in real-time, the relative amount of activation in those muscle groups. This is often done using visualizations. The task will thus vary a bit in outcome but as long as the barbell goes up you are happy, thus you are free to vary which muscles get loaded (and thus exercised) more using this method.
2. Due to this same plasticity, there can be multiple "versions" of a given task, like the type of jump before and after retraining in the basketball players. One version may be awkward and inefficient at first but with development can become superior. Strikingly different versions are created not in real-time, but over the course of tissue strength training.
3. Different circumstances may allow the individual to benefit from the ability to do a task with a "version" that is normally slightly inefficient. (Like if you need to jump in basketball but your hamstrings have become injured or fatigued)
4. As a corollary to #2 and #3, you may get stuck in a "crappy" pattern of motor unit activation in a situation where certain muscles (or other, passive load-bearing structures like ligaments) have atrophied.

I don't think any of that is controversial or disputed in the field of motor learning and behavior. It all points to 2 conclusions:
1. There is no single "most efficient way" to do something, except in the specific context of a given physical situation and a given individual's muscular/tissue development. That context is not set in stone so "most efficient way" is not set in stone.
2. There can be very different global patterns of motor unit recruitment, with each pattern having some activation barrier that inhibits switching. The source of the activation barrier is muscular and connective tissue strength, as well as mental habit. As we get comfortable moving a certain way, unused muscles will atrophy and used muscles will strengthen - thus we get comfortable in a certain pattern. But, if certain weak muscles were strengthened, there may be a much better way to do things.

So what is it that is the actual source of disagreement?
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Old 04-09-2013, 10:00 AM   #15
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Re: "Conventional Muscles" and Internal Power

Quote:
Hugh Beyer wrote: View Post
So I don't see the IS imagery as magic or particularly unusual. Any time you want to get the body to move differently, it seems, people use visualizations to help create the new movement patterns. And the visualizations rarely have anything to do with physics.
Hugh, if I'm getting that right, I agree with you. The problem with visualizations is that they're open to such a broad range of interpretation - and much of it incorrect or ineffective at accurately transferring the desired quality.

I see the IS community, even those quite experienced, tripping over themselves in an attempt to transfer their knowledge into written form. Peter Ralston is a perfect example. He was frustrated for years by his inability to write about his experiences in a way that would transfer more directly to the reader.

What's often missing is a way to directly communicate experiential knowledge - but it can be done. For instance, with bread making and the forming of gluten, we could write pages of visualizations to attempt to achieve the result of the reader understanding what they should be seeing, sensing, and feeling. Or we could come up with something that's easily accessible in their environment that would easily transfer the desired end result. In the case of bread dough, simply state that the perfect consistency of the dough is the same as the feeling of one's earlobe. That's not visualization; that's direct experience - which also allows for a continuously-available reference and feedback loop to the body.

I recently added the experiment of Passing the bottle: refining sensitivity for more effective technique to accurate allow for people to easily get a sense of the quality of their own body operating more from a level of their own natural energy and strength. It also allows the hands and arms to function more as intelligent antennae - rather than dumb pieces of meat used as a block or barrier to incoming forces, or as a hardened tool or appendage that can actually be used against nage.

I haven't seen anything that someone like Dan Harden writes about where he advocates getting too far down the rabbit hole of various muscles, tendons, fascia, etc.. Getting too far into chemistry when it comes to cooking food can, in most cases, actually result in bad food. The way to good food is being around good cooks, experiencing and tasting good food. Having an experiential base from which to work. That's when constructive conversation and the sharing of ideas works.

Not through visualization, but through direct experience. The challenge - in any kind of writing on movement and performance - is to arrive at better tools to communicate - not ideas - but experiences.

Last edited by Dan Richards : 04-09-2013 at 10:04 AM.

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Old 04-09-2013, 10:31 AM   #16
Mert Gambito
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Re: "Conventional Muscles" and Internal Power

Hi Dan,

This is so true:
Quote:
Dan Richards wrote:
Not through visualization, but through direct experience. The challenge - in any kind of writing on movement and performance - is to arrive at better tools to communicate - not ideas - but experiences.
Frankly, I don't know if you can circumvent the majority of practitioners, when they're starting out, doing IP/IS exercises wrong to varying degrees, since the exercises are not natural or intuitive relative to how people typically use their bodies in everyday life, let alone in martial arts as a whole.

Fortunately, what works in martial arts as a whole seems to be effective for imparting IP/IS as well. Students ardently train during class and solo. When they train together, they use ukemi to provide feedback to refine each others' physical and mental understanding of an exercise or technique. The teacher observes, takes ukemi and fine-tunes as needed.

Words will always be abstractions of experiential knowledge. You're right in cautioning about going too granular: we've found that students tend to make scrunchy faces from information overload and lose the feeling (i.e. the taste in your example) of what they're trying to accomplish. I can't imagine how IP/IS training methods could be written that would result in even 10% of new practitioners getting it right the first time. But, even if that was possible, the face-to-face feedback and fine-tuning would still be needed ongoing for 100% of practitioners.

Mert
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:27 PM   #17
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Re: "Conventional Muscles" and Internal Power

Quote:
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Hi Benjamin, I appreciate a skeptical point of view very much. But I am not sure what specifically you are arguing-- do you disagree with any of these specific points, which this thread addresses?
It is hard to disagree with any of those points, and may I mention that those points are extremely well presented.

Doubtless I am being overly pedantic, but the source of my ire is the claim that novel musculature is being selected, and that against all odds the musculature in question does not span the joints being motivated, does not have contractile potential, or is not consciously mediated. I understand and have experienced that a *visualization* of such a selection can result in unique movement properties, I protest at the confusion between the moon and the finger pointing at the moon.

I am not in the camp of people who believe that strength and conditioning and internal skills are somehow mutually exclusive, so I am also a lot more skeptical of the anti-fitness circlejerk that pops up here from time to time. As long as we stay within the bounds of reality, I am perfectly satisfied. Similar to what Chris pointed out, I am equally convinced at of the futility of making a science or a dogma out of training.

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Old 04-12-2013, 06:23 AM   #18
Robert Cowham
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Re: "Conventional Muscles" and Internal Power

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Benjamin Edelen wrote: View Post
I am not in the camp of people who believe that strength and conditioning and internal skills are somehow mutually exclusive, so I am also a lot more skeptical of the anti-fitness circlejerk that pops up here from time to time. As long as we stay within the bounds of reality, I am perfectly satisfied. Similar to what Chris pointed out, I am equally convinced at of the futility of making a science or a dogma out of training.
Hi Benjamin

In my understanding, the issue with conventional strength training and internal skills is a question of the amount of focus and awareness that you spend on said training.

In my IS type research, it requires lots of focussed time exploring and increasing awareness of what really is going on within my body - which muscles are moving what, and how are they doing so. How can I achieve more with less effort. It is a total retraining exercise. It can be minutely detailed. OFten it is the mental ability to stay with it that is harder than the physical effort (but not always!). The more time I spend on it, the better I get. If I spend time on strength training then I am more likely to use the results of that strength training (and the methods) than anything else.

For me it is about focussing much more on the process than the results. It is not about lifting a few more pounds than last time. I don't want to denigrate that, but I find it far too easy to just focus on the results and lose focus on how I am achieving them. Obviously if I never achieved any results then that would be a cause for concern too!

I find the same thing when teaching my students about cutting with a sword. I get them to start by really feeling gravity and how to let the sword drop with just its weight - not getting in the way of that (which is what most people do in my experience). Then expand the movement and still focus purely on dropping the weight. Once people can reliably start to do this, then they can add the weight of their arms. Then they can add some "contractions" of muscles, first in the arms, then whole upper body, then with tanden in too. But in my experience this takes months due to retraining patterns of movement.

Invariably they start rushing ahead and use (local) muscle (most often shoulders and arms), which most of the time just messes up the cut - because the coordination is all wrong.

It's all a choice about what and how to train. Find exemplars of the the type of results you want, and see what they did to get there. If you don't like the answer, find another one. Look for patterns. Look for your own internal resistances (mainly mental) to particular approaches.

Some thoughts
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Old 04-12-2013, 08:51 PM   #19
JW
 
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Re: "Conventional Muscles" and Internal Power

Cool Benjamin, thanks. Well personally, I think it is a case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. While I agree that there is a lot of "bathwater" being bandied about (always was and always will be), I sure don't think it is coming from the likes of Hugh and Janet. If there is a baby, making judgements about "circlejerk" and "pseudoscience" may very well end up throwing it out.

I think there is truth to all the things you are arguing against, but of course I am arguing only that there is a core truth, which can become distorted in discussion, not that everything that gets posted is true. The fact that you don't disagree with my above points is a case in point regarding this.
Another example, regarding the warnings against doing traditional exercise:

Strength of muscular tissue is not what is bad. It is the way muscles are coordinated that is an issue. If you use the "regular" way that we humans do, you are basically talking about a huge set of pieces all working together, each doing little things (articulating individual joints). Any practice (ie exercise) that reinforces this organizational principle automatically distances you from learning to do IS. (So OTOH if you already use IS, then by all means you can work out. That wouldn't be a problem and all IS adepts spend a lot of time working out. They just call it "tanren," "jibenggong," "suburi," "zhan zhuang," etc)

In other words a critical goal for a beginner is to learn to use the tanden and a body-wide netowrk of load-bearing connective tissue to move (see my post #7). This is a fundamentally different way of moving than the "local muscle" method you and I discussed here. Achieving this change-over is an important goal, more important than building power, internal or external (although you can't do the change-over at all if there is no body-wide netowrk and no tanden musculature). So, the point is learning to do a different thing, and doing regular exercise will simply inhibit that learning (by reinforcing the old thing).

[ps if the idea of a unique, specialized, dantian-and-qi-based motor coordination sounds like BS, I would like to point out 2 things in my defense: 1) The connective tissue of the body has plasticity that allows it to adapt to load per my post #14, so the idea of "growing" a new system is in that sense not weird. 2) There are physiological precedents for having 2 systems in place that articulate the same joints, where these 2 systems are overlayed in the body. In these precedents, one of the systems consists of muscles local to the series of joints, and the other consists of muscles distant from those chains of joints. The latter, the non-local system, works by employing long connective tissue structures spanning the whole series of joints-- these connective tissues structures are controlled "off-site" by the distant ball of muscle. I am of course talking about the hand (a design we share with the other mammals I think). So the only thing really revolutionary that I am proposing in my description of IS vs conventional motor behavior is that unlike the hand, we don't in general use both systems together in default motor behavior. One (the long-connective tissue system) is atrophied in favor of the other (the local joint control system). The goal in IS is to trade one in favor of learning to use the other.]

Last edited by JW : 04-12-2013 at 08:58 PM.
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Old 04-12-2013, 10:46 PM   #20
hughrbeyer
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Re: "Conventional Muscles" and Internal Power

Truth is IS work is not as mysterious as those arguing against it would like to claim. It's a fairly organized body of knowledge with a long history. No two practitioners or schools agree on all of it, but so what--when did two martial artists ever agree on anything? The broad outlines and the training methodology are clear.

All the stuff about fascia and so forth is interesting, but not really the point. Maybe it's fascia; maybe it's not. The work endures, regardless.

One of the things that there's general agreement on is that traditional strength training gets in the way. You can read about Chinese masters 500 years ago complaining about having to give up strength training to get good at internals. And that has nothing to do with focusing on single joints or muscle groups--I know exactly how much of your body you have to integrate to do a squat with any significant weight.

And the training methodology is well understood. It's a lot of solo work, a lot of visualizations, and a lot of hands-on with senior practitioners. And when I say hands on, I mean hands ON--I just read an article by a guy who went to China to train with Liu Chengde and he describes how Liu guided him in the right stance and attitude by pressing down with a hand on his hip pocket. Hip pocket, my ass. So to speak. Anybody who's trained with some of the western experts, including He Who Must Not Be Named, know what that's about.

At this point I'm not much concerned with trying to convince people who haven't gotten on the mat with those who are known to have the goods. Theoretical wanking is going to get you precisely nowhere with this stuff. You don't believe in it? Fine, keep doing what you're doing. And have a nice day.

Evolution doesn't prove God doesn't exist, any more than hammers prove carpenters don't exist.
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Old 04-12-2013, 11:16 PM   #21
Jeremy Hulley
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Smile Re: "Conventional Muscles" and Internal Power

Quote:
Hugh Beyer wrote: View Post
And the training methodology is well understood. It's a lot of solo work, a lot of visualizations, and a lot of hands-on with senior practitioners. And when I say hands on, I mean hands ON--

At this point I'm not much concerned with trying to convince people who haven't gotten on the mat with those who are known to have the goods. Theoretical wanking is going to get you precisely nowhere with this stuff. You don't believe in it? Fine, keep doing what you're doing. And have a nice day.
Yep..
Hi Hugh...
Hope you are well

Jeremy Hulley
Shinto Ryu Iai Battojutsu
Tuesday Night Bad Budo Club
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Old 04-13-2013, 12:30 AM   #22
Michael Varin
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Re: "Conventional Muscles" and Internal Power

Quote:
Hugh Beyer wrote: View Post
Truth is IS work is not as mysterious as those arguing against it would like to claim. It's a fairly organized body of knowledge with a long history. No two practitioners or schools agree on all of it, but so what--when did two martial artists ever agree on anything? The broad outlines and the training methodology are clear.
I don't think you are accurately portraying this discussion. I'm not so certain that anyone is arguing against "IP/IT/IS." And I would say that if anyone was touting it as "mysterious" it would be a few of the "IP/IT/IS" proponents. In fact, if there is an argument against it, it would be that it is not unique, unusual, or mysterious.

Quote:
Hugh Beyer wrote: View Post
One of the things that there's general agreement on is that traditional strength training gets in the way. You can read about Chinese masters 500 years ago complaining about having to give up strength training to get good at internals. And that has nothing to do with focusing on single joints or muscle groups--I know exactly how much of your body you have to integrate to do a squat with any significant weight.
What are these works? Can you tell me where to find them?

That is quite a bit earlier than I understand the word neijia was used with the meaning that you all assign to it here.

And when did we start calling it "internals"? What exactly is included in that category?

-Michael
"Through aiki we can feel the mind of the enemy who comes to attack and are thus able to respond immediately." - M. Mochizuki
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Old 04-13-2013, 12:35 AM   #23
Michael Varin
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Re: "Conventional Muscles" and Internal Power

Quote:
Robert Cowham wrote: View Post
In my IS type research, it requires lots of focussed time exploring and increasing awareness of what really is going on within my body - which muscles are moving what, and how are they doing so. How can I achieve more with less effort. It is a total retraining exercise. It can be minutely detailed. OFten it is the mental ability to stay with it that is harder than the physical effort (but not always!). The more time I spend on it, the better I get.
Just to play the Devil's advocate...

Why do you think that this can't be or isn't done with any type of movement? For instance a snatch or a clean?

Isn't this exactly what building skill is about?

-Michael
"Through aiki we can feel the mind of the enemy who comes to attack and are thus able to respond immediately." - M. Mochizuki
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Old 04-13-2013, 02:29 AM   #24
Lee Salzman
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Re: "Conventional Muscles" and Internal Power

Quote:
Michael Varin wrote: View Post
Just to play the Devil's advocate...

Why do you think that this can't be or isn't done with any type of movement? For instance a snatch or a clean?

Isn't this exactly what building skill is about?
I can see it now: Olympic Budo-lifting.

Two opponents, face each other, and MAY perform any of the sanctioned lifts of his choice. Should both execute the lifts, the highest qualifying lift wins.

However, one may opt to instead hoist the weight at his opponent. In the event that he misses his opponent and the opponent completes his lift successfully, his own lift must be scored as zero.

In the event the hoist contacts the opponent, but the other successfully completes his lift, the qualifying lift will be scored as normal, whereas the damage inflicted against him will net a numerical score for the hoister as described below.

Should mutually assured destruction arise that both parties hoist the weight at his opponent, points shall be awarded for the number of disabled limbs. Small-joint destruction does not net any points - however, exceptional numbers of disabled small-joints may net under special circumstances a judges' choice style award point.

In the event that during a normal lift, a lifter actually disables one of his own limbs, he shall net a point for his opponent as if his opponent had damaged him.

Should both actually miss his opponent, and thus a tie arise, the match shall reset and start again.

Somewhere embedded in here, there is a point, I swear.

Last edited by Lee Salzman : 04-13-2013 at 02:38 AM.
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Old 04-13-2013, 08:18 AM   #25
bkedelen
 
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Re: "Conventional Muscles" and Internal Power

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Michael Varin wrote: View Post
I'm not so certain that anyone is arguing against "IP/IT/IS."
Yes exactly. Obviously I am not arguing against internal training, as it is nearly an obsession for me. I simply don't think there is any mutual exclusivity between being physically capable outside martial arts and being physically capable inside them. That apparently touches on the persecution complex built into at least one internal training orthodoxy, so people can't agree to disagree.
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