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Old 01-29-2007, 03:31 AM   #26
statisticool
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Re: Musings on combat distance

Quote:
Chris Birke wrote:
Maai takes momentum, intent, and ability into account. It is not simply distance from point a to b.
That is all very well, and known, but beside the point. The simple geometrical model I showed comes from the assumptions I stated.

Quote:
The assumptions of your system are wrong. The circle is dynamic.
They aren't wrong, they just are. You want to model a dynamic circle, momentum, intent, etc. Fine. But this creates a much more difficult model, a model that is probably beyond everyone's capabilities to actually model. So one has to start somewhere.

Thanks for your comments in any case.

Quote:
"Note, however, that if Person1's leg attack fails, then Person2's arm attack is able to get to Person1's center first, barely." What does that have to do with anything? Really, is it like tag?
Yes it is like tag. A fist can "tag" a person quite well.

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Old 01-29-2007, 05:12 AM   #27
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Re: Musings on combat distance

Quote:
Justin Smith wrote:
Quote:
Chris Birke wrote:
The assumptions of your system are wrong. The circle is dynamic.
They aren't wrong, they just are.
I agree totally Justin. Your assumptions just are... wrong. Chris is correct even if his idea is taken in a static context like your model.

Using your exact model if person1 and person2 were fixed at precisely one point, within touch range of and facing each other without the ability to move forward from that position and both persons had exactly the same length of limbs but person2 had greater hip and leg flexibility it means that if both persons executed a side kick, the greater hip flexibility of person 2 would allow for greater hip extension and penetration, making a more effective kick. The "tag" you referred to would be more pronounced than that of person1 even though both persons' limbs are of identical length. At a slightly greater distance apart, person1 would not be able to touch person2, stopping just short of contact while person2 would be able to make contact due to better hip extension. This remains true to a point even if person2 has slightly shorter legs.

Ma ai is not just about distance it is "combative" distance hence the effects of ma ai must have a result that adds utility in a combative sense. Your model represents static distancing between 2 objects in a neutral sense, i.e. non-combative sense. In combat one cannot divorce movements or distance from goals, tactics and strategy, so to make a "model" that disregards these elements, regardless of how simple, is in fact useless. It's like designing a car model that has no wheels or propulsion system.
Quote:
Justin Smith wrote:
You want to model a dynamic circle, momentum, intent, etc. Fine. But this creates a much more difficult model, a model that is probably beyond everyone's capabilities to actually model. So one has to start somewhere.
The "one has to start somewhere" argument when something is proven inadequate is often used as an excuse for mediocre work/results from my experience. If you start from a place that is wrong from the outset, your best results will still be wrong, since your core concept has set you on the wrong path.

Justin, to be honest this looks to be an attempt to define/model something by someone who has read books and magazines on a subject but never experienced it for real. Is this the case with you? Would this explain the illogical assumptions? What is your experience with ma ai?

Gambatte.
LC

Last edited by L. Camejo : 01-29-2007 at 05:15 AM.

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Old 01-29-2007, 08:34 AM   #28
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Musings on combat distance

Quote:
Justin Smith wrote:
They aren't wrong, they just are. You want to model a dynamic circle, momentum, intent, etc. Fine. But this creates a much more difficult model, a model that is probably beyond everyone's capabilities to actually model. So one has to start somewhere.
Justin,
You are still missing the point... One does not have to start somewhere. Unless you are programming a machine, there is no function to modelling at all. It will help your Aikido not one iota.

This is not a "learning styles" issue with the whole auditory, tactile, visual styles set of distinctions. This is someone who is trying to think through a question that can't be thought through. In fact, in terms of function, thinking at all is your enemy. This is an issue of training your perception and developing your intuition. Math is useless.

If one wishes to investigate the principles which govern the martial interaction, the Japanese have the most complete set of descriptive terms of any culture. Ma-ai is the "critical distance" it is inseperably linked to De-ai "critical instant".

Then you have the issues of timing such as sen sen no sen, go no sen, etc. These basically fall out into: you initiate, he initiates, you strike him at the instant he initiates, you wait until the very last instant to strike him, etc

Someone mentioned intention and athletic ability as related to ma-ai. Athletic ability could be said to effect ma-ai (if someone can leap farther, it changes the ma-ai; if he can attack faster, it changes the de-ai) but intention is a different issue; not an unimportant one, but not effecting ma-ai.

- George

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Old 01-29-2007, 08:45 AM   #29
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Re: Musings on combat distance

Quote:
Michael Hackett wrote:
On a similar note.....I once worked with a graduate engineer who was the epitome of a nerd. Bob and I stopped for lunch one day in a little dive that served sandwiches and beer. The joint also had a pool table and a pretty rough looking lunchtime crowd of biker types. Bob got up and placed his quarter on the table to challenge the winner, and when his turn came to play, pulled out his pocket calculator and "ran" a bunch of numbers before each shot. He ran the table several times and pocketed enough money to buy our lunches and beer a couple of times over. I asked him after we left what he was calculating and he explained that he grew up around pool halls in the midwest and paid his way through grad school shooting pool. The calculator was just for effect.
Now that is a funny nerd

"No matter your pretence, you are what you are and nothing more." - Kenshiro Abbe Shihan
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Old 01-29-2007, 08:49 AM   #30
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Re: Musings on combat distance

Danger1 = [(((1/2) * [(-d+Leg1+Leg2)(d+Leg1-Leg2)(d-Leg1+Leg2)(d+Leg1+Leg2)]1/2)) / (pi*Leg12)] + [(((1/2) * [(-d+Arm1+Arm2)(d+Arm1-Arm2)(d-Arm1+Arm2)(d+Arm1+Arm2)]1/2)) / (pi*Arm12)]

carry the 3 multiply by 2 to the power of diet cola and you get........... OH MY GOD, this proves, without any doubt that Kermit the Frog shot JR,

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Old 01-29-2007, 09:29 AM   #31
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Re: Musings on combat distance

I am very interested in the mechanics of Aikido, for descriptive purposes, because they lead to better understanding (and closer observaiton) of correct and incororect movement in a given instance while training. I am as patient as anybody in trying to observe the particulars of actual interactions, with mechanical concepts. Having said that, this effort is off-base, in my view.

Assuming some generally effective combat range, maai (and deai, as Ledyard Sensei points out) are not operational components of tactical movement, they are strategic concepts that have any number of expoitable aspects. They are more about learning what parts are simultaneously in range of what targets as a range or pattern of choices (sometimes successive and continuous in application or combination) that are presented for action.

There is not one maai (or deai) in an given interaction but many times many of them at every moment. Maai as Justin is using it would be merely the recognition of one choice of action among a potential cascade of thousands of contingencies.

At one instant there is maai (to different targets, perhaps) in a single movement to use the fingertips, the palm, the fist, the back of the wrist, the forearm, the elbow, the shoulder, hip, knee, shin, or foot, and that's just one side of the body -- without turning around. In sword terms -- there is maai for mune, kissaki or tsuka -- all requiring different choices of movement or targets to effect, but all with some maai from the same locaiton. A very slight movement of either of you and all that changes -- instantly. You cannot spreadsheet that.

From the nage side the maai for the basic body dynamic of kotegaeshi, for instance, is simply whether I am connecting to apply it at the wrist, elbow, shoulder, neck or hip. Connection and flow of energy are more important that distance or timing.

This is the strategic point of aikido -- it does not matter what maai, (or what deai) or what linear cascade of tactical choices my opponent employs. If I simply harmonize with him at every moment -- they become irrelevant -- or more correctly, every spacing is maai for me, every moment is deai, every choice he makes is my sente in the engagement.

At a certain point, all I want is to receive is what he wants to give, which means he should always be "right where I want him." If he is not "right where" he is "supposed" to be, it is not a maai problem. -- it is my problem -- in my mind, not in my placement. I can recognize a need for more training on what ever seem not "right" about the interaction. I don't practice at the level where every action is "right" but I do know how to recognize in the interaction where my desires are interfering with it, and generally what I need to change.

Welcoming whatever comes, as it comes, and overcoming the calculating mind "If A then B and then C" -- that's the hard part.

Thinking, rigorously and critically, is for self-correction after the fact of training -- so as to plan better for more needed training.

Masakatsu agatsu.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 01-29-2007 at 09:42 AM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-29-2007, 10:44 AM   #32
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Re: Musings on combat distance

Quote:
Ma-ai is the "critical distance"... but intention is a different issue; not an unimportant one, but not effecting ma-ai
Just to be contrary for no other reason than 'cos - I'd hold that intention of the attacker/defender can affect ma-ai under several circumstances. If the defender was more interested in a specific place/person other than themselves, their intention would change ma-ai. Alternatively, an attacker who wished to confuse the issue of who had actually started the attack may close with their intended victim beyond the optimum for the attack.

caveat - I'm of course presupposing ma-ai means perfect distance for the purposes of combat only rather than being applicable to the entire range of social/situational interactions which may not be your intention George.

On the modelling side, the only problem with any model is that it has to be of some use and I can't see how this would help. As has been mentioned, you could use statistics to model strategies into high and low percentage, but even here you only have trends and very broad-brush identifiers useful for betting but not really applicable in the heat of the moment. Have you attempted to use this model as the basis for any sort of training methodolgy and how did it help?
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Old 01-29-2007, 11:30 AM   #33
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Re: Musings on combat distance

"Ma-ai is the "critical distance"... but intention is a different issue; not an unimportant one, but not effecting ma-ai" - I'll have to assume George is right on this one - I was probably taught wrong definitions. But intention is important too (at a very similar moment)! =) Also, my specific broken down example was only that, not whole account of what I think ma ai is (just to be clear). Ma ai is that critical distance, and the process of maintaining it, which is holistic.
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Old 01-29-2007, 11:53 AM   #34
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Musings on combat distance

Quote:
Ian Hurst wrote:
caveat - I'm of course presupposing ma-ai means perfect distance for the purposes of combat only rather than being applicable to the entire range of social/situational interactions which may not be your intention George.
As far as my understanding of ma-ai goes, it is a physical distance. It is the distance that forces the oponent to move his body mass in order to attack. In epty hand, this does vary much. If a guy can kick, and it would be generally wise to assume he can, then one prefers to keep him at such a distance that he has to move his body mass in order to reach you with his legs.

There are weapons with greatly variable ma-ai. In the Araki Ryu we used the kusari-gama to learn to deal with a weapon with variable ma-ai. The chain could be adjusted and the weapon could be wielded with one hand giving one a very long reach.

Also, with yari, one slides ones hands along the shaft to adjust the ma-ai. If an opponent starts to slide inside the tip, one slides the shaft back to put the enemy back on the outside the tip again.

But as with empty hand, it isn't the variations inside the critical distance that are the consideration in "critical distance" it is the place at which the initial contact is possible. It is this distance that has to do with the various timings for defense etc. But most importantly, if one doesn't control this distance, it won't matter what techniques you know how to do because you will not be able to do them due to insufficient reaction time.

The only weapon you have that extends beyond the "critical distance" is the Mind. One must absolutely extend ones attention out beyond ones own furthest physical range. If the mind is not already connected with the opponent, one will not be ready to move when the "critical instant" arrives.

Aikido folks, in general, do not really understand distance very well. Often, especially with weapons they get too close before they launch an attack. Often they are in range of the defender without knowing it before they attack. Rather than do the defense as shown in the form in qustion, the defender should simply strike them first.

In empty hand one sees both issues. Many folks are not comfortable engaging and attack from too far away. You can just stand there and they come up short by six inches. Other folks, because they can't move effectively, get too close before they try to strike. Once again, the defender should strike them as soon as they get that close rather than attempt a technique.

This lack of understanding how to effectively attack is one of the reasons that Aikido folks don't understand how to control the ma-ai as precisely as they should. You can't develop the requisite skill if one is traiing with unskilled attackers all the time.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 01-29-2007 at 11:55 AM.

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Old 01-29-2007, 01:45 PM   #35
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Re: Musings on combat distance

I just tried again to understand the math formulae, so I input it into my computer, which promptly jumped off my desk, swept my legs from under me, and escaped out the front door, dragging my monitor along with it. It is now across the street mating with my neighbor's dog...
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Old 01-29-2007, 02:48 PM   #36
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Musings on combat distance

Hi Alfonso, you saw someone make sense out of that???? hmmm....I must be using the wrong browser...

Clark, you now owe me a new keyboard...thanks!

B,
R

Ron Tisdale
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Old 01-29-2007, 03:02 PM   #37
Alfonso
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Re: Musings on combat distance

ok, I retract myself on the sense part. clearly its amazing though

Danger = hmmm.. plus divided multiplied by .. ..arms, legs

yes clearly this explains why facing three armed attackers is dangerous

Alfonso Adriasola
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Old 01-29-2007, 03:08 PM   #38
Robert Rumpf
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Re: Musings on combat distance

Quote:
Justin Smith wrote:
Here are my random thoughts on combat distance, or ma ai, that I was thinking about the other day, and made a webpage on.

Any comments/criticism are welcome,
http://www.statisticool.com/maai.htm

Justin
I've read your model, and I understand it, but I'm not sure what you are trying to achieve, and I don't think that the model makes assumptions that reflect the actual dynamic of the situation, regardless of the simplifications in calculations that the assumptions enable.

Here are some points about the model:
  • The area of circular overlap does not relate uniformly to danger - and so why be concerned about this area?
  • The adversary does not and will not demonstrate the limits of their reach, skills, or intentions - so how would you determine these constants?
  • Skills, intent, and attention are not reflected in the model.
  • The circular (or effectively, cylindrical) nature of the areas to be modeled are not representative, and in fact inhibit modeling - so why make this an assumption?

I could keep going.. but I don't see the point.

I have some professional experience with doing mathematical modeling of physical phenomena. I don't see how anything with this gross of fidelity can be used for modeling physical encounters between individuals, or coming to meaningful conclusions beyond those that are obvious. In addition, some of the conclusions of this model conflict with my understanding of conflict (more overlap can sometimes mean less danger, or vice versa).

Justin - you should consider reading this: "Aikido in Everyday Life: Giving in to Get Your Way," by Terry Dobson, Victor Miller. It has some geometrical and behavioral insight into those old favorites that you might be able to get something from.

That said, I don't understand why people are so hard on Justin (or Erick Mead).

Justin (and Erick) seem to be doing what almost everyone else tries to do in Aikido (explicitly or not) at some point - take the contents of the art as they learn or perceive it and internalize it in a language that they understand more clearly internally. They then throw this out there for comment, which can lead to meaningful discussion (or not). Isn't that what Aikiweb is for?

The fact that the language is technical in nature causes them to be ridiculed - do Aikiweb people really need to be that stereotypical?

While I've taken issue with some of the attitude I've seen from a variety of people on this website (including Justin), that is not an issue that is at all isolated to him.

Justin is clearly inexperienced, and most likely young: he deserves more kindness.

Rob
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Old 01-29-2007, 03:31 PM   #39
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Re: Musings on combat distance

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
Clark, you now owe me a new keyboard...thanks!
I'll send you mine, Ron... It's all that's left...
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Old 01-29-2007, 03:49 PM   #40
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Re: Musings on combat distance

It looks like you're using the entire circle as the target area? I.e., defining the vulnerable body area as all the area swept out by the arms and legs?

I think I'm kind of with Robert, in that I don't think it's that useful or helpful, although I don't see what's so crazy about someone fiddling around with it if they happen to like math and find it interesting.

But with models of very complex phenomena there tends to be a trade off between accuracy and simplicity, and I think this is so complicated it can't really be mathematically defined that simply without making the margin of error so enormous as to make the predictions meaningless (or at least any prediction further than something like 'longer reach is an advantage, all other factors being exactly equal').
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Old 01-29-2007, 04:09 PM   #41
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Re: Musings on combat distance

Since it was brought up that joint flexiblity would affect maai [as well as intent]...how about the person in this video? Is he covered by your equation?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrYlN...elated&search=

Charlie B.

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Old 01-29-2007, 04:31 PM   #42
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Musings on combat distance

Quote:
Robert Rumpf wrote:
That said, I don't understand why people are so hard on Justin (or Erick Mead). ... The fact that the language is technical in nature causes them to be ridiculed - do Aikiweb people really need to be that stereotypical?

Justin is clearly inexperienced, and most likely young: he deserves more kindness.
--- "Oooh! Quite the Jailer's pet!"

-- "He spat in my face!"

--- "Oohh -- what I wouldn't give to be spat at in the face! "
.... "Nail 'im up! Nail 'im up, I say! Nail some sense into 'im!"

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-29-2007, 07:55 PM   #43
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Re: Musings on combat distance

For what it is worth, my own understanding of maai is pretty much the same thing as Erick's. This, in my opinion, is what makes a diagram or a charting of maai (as an abstraction or as something that can be taken in any kind of general sense), especially a two-dimensional one, problematic (i.e. not capturing enough of what is going on). However, agreeing here with Robert, I think Justin's attempts are quite natural and indeed part of his starting point/development/progress. The history of the martial arts is filled with these attempts. In fact, I'm sure one can do a search and find charts that are very similar to the one Justin drew up. Sure, such charts don't do everything for everyone, but they are a part of the something that a given person is doing at a given time. In that sense, let it be his beginning. It is not a waste of time - in my opinion. From there, as we can from all beginning, he can move on. There's nothing wrong with starting with simplifications, even over-simplifications, in my opinion. We all do that. In fact, we cannot NOT do that.

dmv

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Old 01-29-2007, 09:17 PM   #44
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Re: Musings on combat distance

Justin,

Grudgingly, I have to say, you are sort of on to something. The Spanish had an entire sword system based on the circle and the chord. My understanding is they used analytic geometry. They were notorious as highly skilled duellists.

See: http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~wew/other/magic_circle.html

I'm inclined to believe the Spanish had a very systematic method of weaponcraft....after all, they clearly had an influence in the development of weapon arts in the Philippines.

Of course, actually developing the system required people to fight it out, and , likely get hurt in the process. So get out there and check it out.
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Old 01-30-2007, 12:27 AM   #45
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Re: Musings on combat distance

You go away for four days to actually DO martial arts, and this happens!

This has GOT to be the thread of the year!

There are those the DO and those that Discuss.

Professors make a good living talking about economic theory....then there are the "C" students that could not tell you the first thing about economic theory...that make a million dollars selling widgets.

I suppose at some point you need to decide what balance you want to strike in understanding extrinsically and intrinsticaly. (implicit/explicit).
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Old 01-30-2007, 12:27 AM   #46
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Re: Musings on combat distance

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
For what it is worth, my own understanding of maai is pretty much the same thing as Erick's. This, in my opinion, is what makes a diagram or a charting of maai (as an abstraction or as something that can be taken in any kind of general sense), especially a two-dimensional one, problematic (i.e. not capturing enough of what is going on). However, agreeing here with Robert, I think Justin's attempts are quite natural and indeed part of his starting point/development/progress. The history of the martial arts is filled with these attempts. In fact, I'm sure one can do a search and find charts that are very similar to the one Justin drew up. Sure, such charts don't do everything for everyone, but they are a part of the something that a given person is doing at a given time. In that sense, let it be his beginning. It is not a waste of time - in my opinion. From there, as we can from all beginning, he can move on. There's nothing wrong with starting with simplifications, even over-simplifications, in my opinion. We all do that. In fact, we cannot NOT do that.

dmv
Hi David,
Missed you when you weren't around much...

It may be my bias against math, but I just don't see how this helps at all. Most of the terminology that the Japanese have used over the centuries to delineate the martial interaction is descriptive. In other words it has something to do with what you do, when you do it, how you focus your attention, where you focus your attention, etc. I find that type of analytical work to be helpful in knowing what I want to work on, what issues to be paying attanetion to as I train, etc

I just don't see how any type of mathematical calculation would be helpful in any way. It is not how the human brain processes... All of the issues that go into the martial interaction can be described much better using verbal terminology which serves not only to list the various principles at work but also what you actually do with those principles. This is all about how you develop your physical reactions to the point at which they are automatic and how you develop your intuition to the point at which you are no longer "reacting" to an attacker's movement but rather controlling them before they even have a chance to come to fruition. I just don't see how some equations can be of any value whatever in accomplishing that.

I am big on principle based training. I use scientific terms when they serve to help people visualize what they need to be doing. May, the equations do that for some people, I don't know... But, even for someone who is so comfortable that he thinks mathematically, like it was a second language in which he was fluent, I do not think that anyone has been able to come up with a quantitative model that comes close to describing the intricacies of these issues. So, I guess I just don't get it. In the time it takes to work out some equations that still don't really describe anything terribly accurately, one could read several books on Japanese swordsmanship and come a lot closer to having some concrete areas to investigate in ones practice.

But as I said, perhaps its just me. If folks find it to be helpful, by all means go for it!

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 01-30-2007 at 12:30 AM.

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Old 01-30-2007, 01:14 AM   #47
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Re: Musings on combat distance

Even though I am a physical scientist I don't really find mathematical models of the physical activities I take part in very useful. But each to his own I suppose...
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Old 01-30-2007, 06:29 AM   #48
Robert Rumpf
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Re: Musings on combat distance

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Kevin Leavitt wrote:
Professors make a good living talking about economic theory....then there are the "C" students that could not tell you the first thing about economic theory...that make a million dollars selling widgets.
I'm not sure what to tell you Kevin.. the only economics professor that I ever had was filthy rich. Teaching was something he did after he exercised his golden parachute.

It'll be good to see you back in NoVA this summer. You'll be happy about the fact that Mike Laskey is around much more often.

Rob
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Old 01-30-2007, 07:50 AM   #49
Basia Halliop
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Re: Musings on combat distance

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I just don't see how any type of mathematical calculation would be helpful in any way. It is not how the human brain processes...
Maybe not the people you know... I have had more than one conversation in my life that went nowhere for a long time until I scribbled a one or two line equation down, and then everyone was like "ahhhh!... why didn't you just say so, if that's what you meant?"

A lot of people find description very difficult to make any sense of, but if you just give them a couple of numbers or a short equation, they get exactly what you were trying to say all along, because the equations show the basic logic in a way that's much harder to get across with words. There are times when with words sometimes you have to sort of dance in circles around the actual point and try to get it indirectly. Maybe you just have to be in a technical field before you start meeting these people...
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Old 01-30-2007, 12:52 PM   #50
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Musings on combat distance

thanks Rob! Look forward to being back this summer.

I always figured that once those smart professors figured out how to do it, that they would just leave the numbers behind and do it!

There are always the exceptions to the rule though!

It'd be cool to figure out what the distance between our maŠi is right now. What is your 8 digit grid coordinate?
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