Likes Likes:  0
Page 3 of 7 FirstFirst 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 LastLast
Results 31 to 45 of 95

Thread: Hidden in Plain Sight - Discussion

  1. #31
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    3,535
    Likes (received)
    129

    Default Amazing Feats With Feets

    The New York Times June 17, 2005

    Why the sherpas of Nepal would leave our fittest soldiers standing

    By Mark Henderson, Science Correspondent

    NEPALESE mountain porters who climb steep Himalayan slopes carrying more than their bodyweight are the fittest and most efficient load-lifters in the world, scientists have found.
    Their combination of technique and physical ability makes their performance far more effective than that of Western soldiers marching with backpacks, according to research. It even surpasses the most efficient carrying methods studied to date: those of African women whose loads are balanced on or suspended from the head.

    A study by Belgian researchers has quantified the remarkable efficiency of Nepal's porters, most of whom come from the sherpa, Rai or Tamang ethnic groups, for the first time. They carry huge loads in a basket known as doko, which is supported with a strap looping around the top of the head.

    A team led by Norman Heglund of the Catholic University of Louvain, in Brussels, conducted tests on eight porters travelling to a bazaar in the town of Namche, which lies 3,500m (11,500ft) above sea level close to Mount Everest.

    The dirt-track route from the Kathmandu Valley to Namche covers 62 miles (100km), with combined ascents of about 8,000m and descents of about 6,300m, and takes seasoned porters between seven and nine days to complete. Hundreds of porters make the trek every week; on the day before the bazaar, the scientists counted 545 men and 97 women, along with 32 yaks, with many more passing earlier and later in the darkness. The youngest porter was 11 and the oldest 68.

    All were carrying loads that seemed unfeasibly heavy to Western observers. The men bore an average of 93 per cent of their bodyweight and the women an average of 66 per cent. A fifth of the men were carrying 125 per cent of their bodyweight and one managed an astonishing 183 per cent.

    By contrast, the greatest loads carried by African women, such as those of the Kikuyu tribe in Kenya, amount to 60 per cent of bodyweight, and the loads typically included in military backpacks are lower still.

    Dr Heglund, whose results are published today in the journal Science, recruited eight of the porters for further investigation, which has shed some light on the nature of their amazing skills. The porters were asked to walk along a 51m flat track at five different speeds, carrying six or seven different loads, while their oxygen intake and carbon dioxide output was measured.

    The tests revealed that loads of up to 20 per cent of bodyweight were carried "for free" meaning that the porters' metabolic rate did not increase at all compared with an unladen walk. With higher proportional loads, their energy efficiency was far greater than seen with the most efficient head-based carrying techniques used in Africa.

    Previous research comparing Kikuyu women with army recruits found that the former carried heavy loads much more efficiently. For loads of 20 per cent of bodyweight, Kikuyu oxygen consumption rose 2 per cent compared with 13 per cent for the soldiers. The difference was even greater for 70 per cent loads: the soldiers used 100 per cent more oxygen, but the women only 50 per cent more. The porters did even better. While they were not subjected to quite the same tests, they were able to carry an extra 30 per cent of bodyweight, on average, while maintaining the same metabolic rate.

    Their secret seems to rest on three factors. The first is physiology: the combination of a short but powerful stature and a high red blood cell count evolved as a result of living at high altitude. Also critical is their carrying technique, by which a strap around the head bears the majority of the load. The final element seems to be the regular rests that they take during their climbs.

    TAKING THE STRAIN

    SHERPA

    Technique: doko basket on the back supported by namlo strap around head

    Load and efficiency: male porters carry average of 93 per cent of bodyweight, females 66 per cent. Maximum was 183 per cent. Can carry 100 per cent of bodyweight for same energy used by an African woman carrying 70 per cent

    AFRICAN WOMEN

    Technique: loads balanced on the head or suspended from it using straps. The most efficient method, used by the Kenyan Kikuyu, uses bindings across the forehead to support a load on the back

    Load and efficiency: Loads do not generally exceed 60 per cent of bodyweight

    SOLDIER

    Technique: backpack with shoulder and waist straps

    Load and efficiency: US Army guidelines say that a backpack should weigh no more than 15 per cent of a soldier's weight. A 70 per cent load raises oxygen consumption 100 per cent

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Cady Goldfield

  2. #32
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    679
    Likes (received)
    110

    Default "natural existence"

    Cady - Actually, I do - sort of.
    Some very strong judoka of my acquaintance made a trip to a mountain lodge in Japan. And they were met at the base of the very steep hill - parking lot - by the elderly innkeeper, and she began walking them up the hill, they each hauling a large suitcase. And they were stuggling. Mountain air, slope, etc. The elderly woman grew impatient - she well in her 70's, snatched the suitcases from their hands, and stomped up the path, muttering about 'city people.'
    Although Ueshiba didn't live as a peasant, his father tried to toughen him up by having him play by the seashore with the fishermen's sons, and he, at a fairly young age, began farming.
    But I'm really not focused on him or Takeda - but that an ordinary life in the 19th century and before made much more demands on the body (as your examples illustrate).
    I'm not saying that a life close to the "ground" creates "internal strength." But think of all the excercises in Chinese martial arts to create the "kua" - the proper alignment of waist, hips, hip sockets, and legs - which are requisite for the smooth application of integrated power from the legs. If one squats 15 minutes a day (toilet), and walks everywhere and carries everything, a particular body is developed that is, until crippled by the excess work needed to survive - far more prepared, I believe, to learn a more sophisticated use of the body - nervous system, musculature, connective tissue - that we call internal training.
    Again, my point is that I think a "civilized" person needs a lot of remedial work that a person familar on a daily basis with variable load bearing, exertion of force at awkward angles (without injuring oneself), varied physical demands on self every day (not a "work out") will learn a lot quicker.

    Final example - post standing - in Chinese martial arts, often considered an essential practice. And very very hard for most people to do - to maintain a posture, relaxed but stable without local recruitment of muscles. Back before snow mobiles and guns, the way Inuit hunted seal was to find a breathing hole, take a "kamae" ready to throw his harpoon, and stand without moving for hours. The seal comes up for only a second or so to breathe and the Inuit had to perceive that moment and immediately throw his spear. One perfect second after hours. Masters of relaxation. Think of how more quickly a person already able to do this would be in learning relaxation applied to the scrum of grappling.

    Best
    Ellis Amdur

  3. #33
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    3,535
    Likes (received)
    129

    Default

    Ellis, I understand your points and I don't disagree, if you're basically saying (to encapsulate the whole) that it's easier to open the kua if you've spent your life squatting in the privy. (I used to call the floor toilets of India, "Arthur Murray" toilets... because they had little indents to show you where to place your feet.) It stands to reason that such will facilitate being able to do the exercises that lead to internal skills. For actual internal awareness, though, I'd be more inclined to look at work such as hay-pitching and the like, which require adjustments in frame alignment to make the work less arduous and more efficient.

    That said, I do think you're right that the collective effect of "primitive" farm and village life likely did - and still does - convey a greater awareness of one's body (beyond complaining of the myriad aches, pains and ailments that accompany such a life).

    Your story of the muscularly strong judoka is a familiar one. Whenever I was in Nepal, I was regularly blown past on the mountain trails by women much older than I, most bearing huge loads of firewood secured by a tump line (strap) across their foreheads. Though I was in good physical shape by "Western standards" at the time, I was no match for their robust stride. Even more baffling was how they could not only dash up steep trails for miles, but also carry very heavy loads while I struggled with a mere 35 lb pack (of course, I pretended I was stopping frequently to admire the stunning Himalayan views...). Only part of it was the altitude; there was more going on with those women. The feats recounted later in the New York Times article were no surprise to me.

    Those women's movements are not mere "walking." They are navigating steep mountain paths, up- and downhill, with heavy loads. There is much more going on inside than just the basic mechanics of walking or squatting. It's partly physiological (high-altitude adaptations of cardio-vascular and pulmonary functions), partly frame adjustment (musculo-skeletal alignment).

    I suspect that it's not necessarily the general rigorousness of the lifestyle, but what you are doing -frequently- in it that requires a modification in your movements and alignment to make them more energy-efficient, so you can do them for hours and hours, daily, for most of your life, without dropping dead in the process. Your Inuit seal-stalkers and Chinese MA post-standers fit in with that. It's those modifications that, collectively and -I believe- in certain specific kinds of movements, likely play a role in heightened internal body awareness that may make learning IMAs more "natural" for such individuals.
    Last edited by Cady Goldfield; 5th December 2009 at 18:35.
    Cady Goldfield

  4. #34
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Washington State, USA
    Posts
    3,324
    Likes (received)
    48

    Default

    It goes the other direction, too. Kalahari !Kung (Bushmen) have reported severe sensory overload simply visiting cities. You, in their environment, see very little; they, at the airport at Johannesburg, see, hear, smell, and feel more than their brains are capable of handling.

    On those Inuit -- Captain Cook or Vancouver, one of 'em anyway, was up in the Aleutians. The Aleuts were paddling their boats a little faster than his ship was sailing. No big deal, you say, he was only doing about five knots. Yes, but sustained speed, open Pacific, five knots. That is an Olympic kayaking pace.

    In their defense, modern people have their own skills. Some people can thumb through pages of mostly dry drivel, and say, simply glancing through page umpteen, "Wait a minute. Back up there. What did that just say?"

    Put another way, as Kim Taylor has said, his daughter thumb types faster than he types, and both of them type faster and more accurately than they write with a pen.

    As for the modern infantry load, that was the old ideal. (See SLA Marshall's books.) Today, US generals in Iraq typically carry about 45 pounds of equipment, whereas infantry privates typically carry about 145 pounds. Total load includes the body armor, water, ammunition, communications equipment, crew-served weapons, ammunition for crew-served weapons, and whatever else the supply room has...

  5. #35
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    3,535
    Likes (received)
    129

    Default

    As I said earlier, the human body - remarkable thing that it is - is capable of adapting its range of motion, neuro-muscular wiring and sensibilities to whatever the demands of its environment might be.

    I'd like to think that post-Industrial denizens have accomplished more than adaptations for electronic-appliance utilization, however.

    When we're talking about people learning internal stuff, we seem to be referring to one discrete portion of the Western "civilized" population: those who are likely to be the ones keyboarding on these forums, and who, largely, work in offices, cubicles and other such surroundings, doing mostly non-physical work. I agree with Ellis that such folk probably do need more remedial work to get in touch with their bodies, before they can learn even the most basic kinds of "new" movement.

    OTOH, there are plenty of 21st-century Westerners who earn their bread by the sweat of their brow, doing all manner of very physical work. The "cleaning lady" and the stevadore, the construction worker and the farm worker. Do you suppose they could learn IMAs faster and more easily than folks here? Interesting to ponder.

    Heck, my own work involves a lot of repetitive schlepping and hauling of heavy barrowsful of mulch and topsoil, stone-setting, tree-climbing and pruning, digging, rock-pitching and you-name-it. Add to that, that my days start with mucking out a small poultry barn and hauling water buckets before I head out to work on other people's properties. But ask me if I think that such work has made me more sensitive and aware of my internal movements... I honestly couldn't say. But maybe I can shovel BS (the real BS, not just the verbal) longer and faster than you can.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Svinth View Post
    It goes the other direction, too. Kalahari !Kung (Bushmen) have reported severe sensory overload simply visiting cities. You, in their environment, see very little; they, at the airport at Johannesburg, see, hear, smell, and feel more than their brains are capable of handling.

    On those Inuit -- Captain Cook or Vancouver, one of 'em anyway, was up in the Aleutians. The Aleuts were paddling their boats a little faster than his ship was sailing. No big deal, you say, he was only doing about five knots. Yes, but sustained speed, open Pacific, five knots. That is an Olympic kayaking pace.

    In their defense, modern people have their own skills. Some people can thumb through pages of mostly dry drivel, and say, simply glancing through page umpteen, "Wait a minute. Back up there. What did that just say?"

    Put another way, as Kim Taylor has said, his daughter thumb types faster than he types, and both of them type faster and more accurately than they write with a pen.

    As for the modern infantry load, that was the old ideal. (See SLA Marshall's books.) Today, US generals in Iraq typically carry about 45 pounds of equipment, whereas infantry privates typically carry about 145 pounds. Total load includes the body armor, water, ammunition, communications equipment, crew-served weapons, ammunition for crew-served weapons, and whatever else the supply room has...
    Cady Goldfield

  6. #36
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Washington State, USA
    Posts
    3,324
    Likes (received)
    48

    Default

    On wiring post-industrial denizens, I am guessing that most people will be semi cybernetic within ten years. You'll want to be hooked into the Cloud 24/7, and not carry that pesky cell phone with you. Most of our children will end up being essentially cyborg. (Replace a leg? No problem. It will be grown, or metal.)

    Even on what we do well, we are essentially John Henry vs. the Steam Drill. Indeed, that is probably why the publishing industry is so unhappy with Google scanning books -- once the material is scanned, anybody will be able to discover, in a few minutes, where the pages were copied from previously obscure sources, and when the professor borrowed a bit too liberally from his grad students' thesis.

    Sometimes, we do old things, more or less the old way, simply because we enjoy the activity. One does needlepoint, or reads a paper newspaper, not because one need a cover for the chair or something with which to cover the bird cage, but for the tactile pleasure.

  7. #37
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Maryland, USA, by way of Bavaria, Germany, Texas, Indiana and Virginia
    Posts
    490
    Likes (received)
    1

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Svinth View Post
    Most of our children will end up being essentially cyborg. (Replace a leg? No problem. It will be grown, or metal.)
    When I had my hip replaced in '07, the doc (chief of orthopedics at Regensburg university) told me I'd need a tune-up in about 20 years ... but not to worry about it, we'd probably be growing them by then.

    Whilst living in Europe, watching elderly omas and opas schlepping around on bikes, hiking the hills, still actively engaged in farming, woodcutting and other such activities, contrasted with their grandkids was fascinating.

    I know nothing about 'internal' energy, but I do know that people who grow up actively engaged in physical labor - and stay active - tend live longer, are stronger. Until, as pointed out above, such time as that labor catches up and the body wears out ...
    Chuck Gordon
    Mugendo Budogu
    http://www.budogu.com/

  8. #38
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Blue Ridge, Texas
    Posts
    1,991
    Likes (received)
    121

    Default

    But ask me if I think that such work has made me more sensitive and aware of my internal movements... I honestly couldn't say.
    Cady,
    I don't believe that it is the awareness that makes the difference. I think rather that it is the internal musculature that is developed by living a more vigorous lifestyle that makes the difference. That sort of lifestyle will cause your core muculature to be very stout, and the ability to balance yourself against heavy loads with minimal effort will become instinctive. I believe that learning to utilize these attributes against an unwilling opponent would be much easier for those folks than it would be for us. Further, I also think that this is a large contributor to the fact that there are so few people with the abilities spoken about in Ellis' latest book. We have a great number of techniques handed down from that time, but no exercises to create the specific body type for which these techniques were developed, as specific exercises were not required then.
    Paul Smith
    "Always keep the sharp side and the pointy end between you and your opponent"

  9. #39
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Montpellier
    Posts
    13
    Likes (received)
    0

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by pgsmith View Post
    We have a great number of techniques handed down from that time, but no exercises to create the specific body type for which these techniques were developed, as specific exercises were not required then.
    It might be of use to take a look at Akuzawa san's Aunkai:
    http://www.youtube.com/view_play_lis...h_query=aunkai
    Great discussion by the way, go on gentlemen.
    Maxime Mouysset

  10. #40
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Sagey Plains, WY
    Posts
    900
    Likes (received)
    0

    Default Why haven't I seen a rush of internal training neophytes to ag jobs?

    Cady wrote:
    For actual internal awareness, though, I'd be more inclined to look at work such as hay-pitching and the like, which require adjustments in frame alignment to make the work less arduous and more efficient.
    Well, we'll be pitching 6000-8000 pounds of hay per day this winter, as usual, so if anyone really wants to develop their internal awareness or whatever, feel free to stop by.

    Didn't think so. I'm really looking forward to Thursday's expected 17 degrees! Tonight is supposed to be -20. There are days when I wish I was back in the classroom or the cubicle, working away on my carpal tunnel syndrome or what-have-you. A pleasant visit to the dojo afterwards...ah, very nice.

    Chuck Gordon wrote:
    I know nothing about 'internal' energy, but I do know that people who grow up actively engaged in physical labor - and stay active - tend live longer, are stronger. Until, as pointed out above, such time as that labor catches up and the body wears out ...
    Exactly. Trade-offs abound. None of us out here are internal masters, unsurprisingly. Just a bunch of semi-anachronistic idiots. I'm thinking that an internal master farmer probably isn't farming enough.

    Anyway... Great book Ellis.
    J. Nicolaysen
    -------
    "I value the opinion much more of a grand master then I do some English professor, anyways." Well really, who wouldn't?

    We're all of us just bozos on the budo bus and there's no point in looking to us for answers regarding all the deep and important issues.--M. Skoss.

  11. #41
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Posts
    318
    Likes (received)
    3

    Default old farts and other things

    ...By coincidence, a retired anthropology professor, a sort of mentor to me, remarked recently about his one trip to the Himalayas in the 1950s. His guide secured pack carriers for him and some Brits. He said the baggage handlers carried loads that looked bigger than them, including (if I recall correctly) a piano for a British diplomat! When he asked the guide about their amazing ability to carry such loads, the local guide replied that such workers often worked like that until their lungs and bodies literally gave out and they dropped dead. No big deal about it. He was aghast but the guide and the more seasoned travelers thought nothing of it.

    ...To echo Cady's remarks: I remember walking along a footpath just north of the big city of Kyoto, Japan, through rice fields, and we passed this little old baa-chan (grandma) who had a ten-foot long, about foot-thick log laid on her head. The thing must have been heavier than her! Yet she managed to smile at us and made a short bow without the log rolling off her head. Yikes.

    As to that kind of lifestyle being conducive to internal training, I believe so. The kihon found in many martial arts seem to be "remedial," in that they develop muscle strength and basic movements that we need to learn for the kata, and it seems that much of the kihon were developed post-Meiji. Shimizu Takaji developed the kihon for Shinto (Shindo) Muso-ryu jo when he tried to teach Tokyo folk; that's documented. Ditto in our system: there are no kihon or warm ups. What little warming up and cooling down exercises we had, I learned, came from the current crop of top students' experiences in college rugby and sports clubs.

    Yet, bereft of developing such musculatures and body movement, many students can be ineffective in their techniques. I've been trying to teach a set of "foundation" kenjutsu kata to my students and it calls for using a short sword, going into a natural shoulder-width stance, except that your knees are bent a lot, in order to have the ability to pounce in quickly (and other reasons)...ALL of my three current students are having a hard time getting that low. They lean forward, splay their toes out, stick their butts out...because they don't seem to have the flexibility or muscle tone in their thighs. It seemed odd to me at first, because the native Japanese and even foreigners I train with in Japan can all do it reasonably well. So it's a matter of my own students needing to develop proper musculature and flexibility. It's not a mystical woo-woo thing.

    If you can't do those basic things, then you really can't concentrate on developing "internal" strength, because the physical foundations simply aren't there. I remember grabbing Eddie Wu (the current head of the Wu style tai chi ch'uan) because he wanted to show me what "sticking" and "explosive" power meant, and he pushed me around like a rag doll. One thing I noticed was that his knees were bent; flexible and yet powerful, just like in the kenjutsu stance. Trained as an engineer, Wu decried the mystification of internal power; he said that most of it should be explainable in terms of the mechanics of coordinating breath, balance, timing and movement.


    Anyways, just a couple more cents' worth of thoughts.

    Wayne Muromoto

  12. #42
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Tokyo, Japan
    Posts
    283
    Likes (received)
    32

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wmuromoto View Post
    ................
    If you can't do those basic things, then you really can't concentrate on developing "internal" strength, because the physical foundations simply aren't there. I remember grabbing Eddie Wu (the current head of the Wu style tai chi ch'uan) because he wanted to show me what "sticking" and "explosive" power meant, and he pushed me around like a rag doll. One thing I noticed was that his knees were bent; flexible and yet powerful, just like in the kenjutsu stance. Trained as an engineer, Wu decried the mystification of internal power; he said that most of it should be explainable in terms of the mechanics of coordinating breath, balance, timing and movement............
    Wayne Muromoto
    Gee, imagine that....

    Build a strong, flexible body.
    Add technique.

    Viola', you can do great things.

    No magic there. Don't complicate the issue necessarily.
    Lance Gatling ガトリング
    Tokyo 東京

    Long as we're making up titles, call me 'The Duke of Earl'

  13. #43
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    3,535
    Likes (received)
    129

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by nicojo View Post

    Well, we'll be pitching 6000-8000 pounds of hay per day this winter, as usual, so if anyone really wants to develop their internal awareness or whatever, feel free to stop by.
    Yeah, don't hold your breath.
    No one seems to want to help me yank weeds, either. Particularly the ones with deep taproots.

    Again, I don't believe that any of this agricultural and lo-tech work directly cultivates any kind of internal power; IMO, only on the most "primitive" level does it open the gates to better body alignment and economy of motion that may make the individual more open to the training.

    As for the "internal awareness," probably not many farm workers and laborers ever thought (or think) about how they are making their alignments better and their movements more efficient. Maybe that's where the genius of the first Chinese (and perhaps Japanese) internal-arts practioners shines through. Someone, somehow, started to make that connection between what they were doing on the "outside" -- the feats of strength and endurance -- and how they had gradually come to alter the way they were moving -inside- to make their work easier.

    It is not about muscle bulk and muscle strength; it's (in part) about using less muscle activity while maximizing energy output. Far more sophisticated than just pumping iron and using muscle flexation to accomplish the tasks.
    Cady Goldfield

  14. #44
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Posts
    318
    Likes (received)
    3

    Default A couple more pennies' worth...

    I had seen some videos of Kuroda sensei, Ellis, talking about his ideas and training exercises. Really interesting notions.

    As Cady wryly noted, "...As for the "internal awareness," probably not many farm workers and laborers ever thought (or think) about how they are making their alignments better and their movements more efficient. Maybe that's where the genius of the first Chinese (and perhaps Japanese) internal-arts practioners shines through. Someone, somehow, started to make that connection between what they were doing on the "outside" -- the feats of strength and endurance -- and how they had gradually come to alter the way they were moving -inside- to make their work easier..."

    Yes, granted. I cut my previous post short because I had to help a student out with his art project. Anyway, I had also thought about that. So perhaps more food for thought:

    I butcher wood sometimes as a hobby, so I am aware of the difference in Western saws vs. Japanese saws. Both cut wood. What's the big deal? Both require muscle strength. However...In traditional Western saws, the cut is on the push stroke, so you place the piece to be cut on a table or saw horse, steady it with your free hand, and saw with the other hand. Because the saw works on the push, the saw blade has to be somewhat thick, so it won't buckle or torque under compression (the push) going through the wood. You also need a decent push, mainly with the shoulder muscles of one arm.

    With Japanese saws, the cutting is done on the pull. Ergo, you can get away with a thinner, lighter blade, because when you pull the blade to saw, you have it under tension. As long as you saw straight, the tension keeps the blade from buckling. You also place the piece on a lower stand, only a few inches off the ground, and hold it down with one foot. That lets you use two arms for the cutting action. The lower angle also lets you pull the saw using not just your shoulders and arms, but the strength in your hips and legs. If you are able to coordinate your whole body with the pull sawing motion, you use much less focused arm and shoulder muscles, and more hip and thigh muscles...

    Both saws do the job (Japanese planes also cut with a pull, not a push), both are practical, workmanlike activities, but the Japanese style pull-saw and pull-plane make more sense if you are trying to develop whole-body coordination, not just localized one-arm strength. So pitching hay, for example, may not in and of itself make you a better budoka. You may get better overall muscle strength, but unless it helps you develop more coordination and proper body movement, then it's no better or worse than any other muscular activity.

    With some crafts and budo, I think the "devil in the details" is basically that: tinkering with movements so that they are the most efficient as possible; less energy expended for the work produced. Problems arise, I think, when there aren't enough basic muscle and physical coordination to do it right, so some students do it wrong and try to "force" it through, rather than trying to develop proper positioning, timing, movement and body alignment.

    Another example from my class: in the very first short weapons kata in our school, there is a throw where you sweep the person's foot out from under him and throw him face down on his face. One of my students tried to do it to another student, whose weight was north of 220 pounds. He pulled the big guy's right wrist with his two arms horizontally forward, pulling and pulling, using his arm strength. One leg was out in front of Big and Heavy's leg, but it wasn't doing anything. Big And Heavy just stood there, not moving.

    Big and Heavy, a senior student, wasn't going to fall if the technique wasn't right. He explained that you don't try to drag the guy, with your arms trying to pull a body forward. You just knock out one leg from under him and throw his arm DOWN, vertically. He demonstrated on Long Arms. Grabbed Long Arms' right wrist, pulled it straight down, and swept out one foot from under him. Long Arms fell face first very quickly.

    Long Arms felt the effect, but after years and years of relying only on his upper body strength, he still had a hard time doing a coordinated motion of foot-sweep and yank DOWN, even when he saw it demonstrated. He kept trying to pull horizontally forward and his tripping leg was all over the place. It seemed nearly like a mystery to him. But it was just body positioning, mechanics and timing, and proper technique.

    Wayne Muromoto

  15. #45
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    3,535
    Likes (received)
    129

    Default

    Wayne,
    I'm going off-topic for a few graphs, because you said the magic words: Japanese saws. Do you get the Japan Woodworkers and Hida Tools catalogues? I have a nice collection in our home "reading room."

    Japanese pruning- and bamboo saws are a heavily used part of my horticulturist arsenal. There is no argument that the pull stroke is far more efficient than a push-stroke saw for cutting live wood and bamboo (and dried bamboo) cleanly -- crucial in a practice where you want to minimize the wound on a living shrub or tree.

    You're absolutely right about the body dynamics of using this kind of saw; it's from lower in the body, not in the shoulders. The shoulders and scapulas, and the arms, serve as a conduit for the power coming up from the ground and through the "hara" up the spine. I can prune for hours without getting exhausted or sore.

    Now, to get a bit back on-topic... I'd bid adieu to the homely lives of farmers and villagers with their squatting, schlepping and load-bearing, and go right to potential martial sources of nascent internal body awareness: warriors fighting in heavy or bulky armor, who would need to adjust the body to be able to bear the weight of both the armor and the weaponry, yet remain mobile. Sherpas and water-toting village girls just have to focus on walking steadily with a load, on all sorts of terrain; armored combatants have a lot more stuff going on, a lot of it unpredictible.

    That need to maneuver and effectively cut, thrust, and strike, etc. with various weapons, not just to bear up under the weight, may have been a key proto-element in developing an "interior intuition" for body usage that later might have been part of a skill set codified into a formal internal training regimen.
    Cady Goldfield

Page 3 of 7 FirstFirst 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •