THE SCIENCE OF FORMLESS FLOW by Monya Gorelik, M.Sc. : Where we are now with ISAI?

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Where we are now with ISAI?

After my first trip to India and coming back home (home, sweet home) to my family, my dog Leopold and cat Bruno, this is a time to stop for a while, to look around and to make short account to myself where we are now on our way. Where we are in our understanding of the true nature of the Natural Motion? What this understanding contributes us in our training methods and practice?
ISAI or ISraeli Art of Integrity is a combination of art and science. The main object of ISAI is the theory and practice of human motion. ISAI is about how to move naturally, doesn't matter if you want to walk, run, climb, swim, fight, drive the car or perform any other physical activity. This is a main difference between ISAI and any other method and system dealing with movement. This is a difference between "how to do" and "what to do". For our opinion "how to do" must be the part of every system "what to do". The practical training method, which is a part of ISAI, is called Natural Motion Training System or NMTS.

There is infinite number of ways to perform any motor task. We believe that the best way is always the natural way, it means implementation of the Natural Motion. There is our definition for Natural Motion: “Natural Motion is that motion which is closest to the inborn motion applied under existing conditions in order to solve motor problems”. Therefore the Natural Motion in its ideal form is a chain of statokinetic reflexes following each other in sequence. Actually ISAI is completely based on our belief that the best teacher and coach is Creator or Nature and not human being, doesn't matter how wise and knowledgeable he or she would be.
The main fields of activities and training in ISAI are Martial Art, Motional Art, Therapy, Bodybuilding and Creativity Development. All of them have the same theoretical basis, the same understanding of Natural Motion and closely related practical methods of its development and implementation, which just put stress on different goals of training. 

Theoretical basis.

It is clear that our bodies, their anatomy and physiology, serve our most important need to move and exist in certain surroundings, in certain environmental conditions or ecological niche. Even more than that – our anatomy and physiology seems were created to serve us in our future conquering of our future ecological niches.  Of course I speak not only about humans. This is a one of the most important features for the almost all living creatures. The best motion is a most economical one, which needs the lowest level of energy to be performed. Some movements must be performed with a great precision, others strive to the maximum velocity. Some motions have a camouflage character or may be the part of game or courtship inborn reflexive movements. There are many other different kinds and classifications of motions, but for all of them the most economical motion, the one that consumes minimum energy when all other parameters are the same – this motion is the best one.
This minimum energy consumption motion (MECM) is either inborn or very skilled motion. MECM is only possible when internal muscular forces don't fight external forces of reaction and inertia but rather act in harmony with them. The force of inertia is a very beneficial in MECM. Watch the jumps of kangaroo, flight of the birds, sliding of the swimmers on the surface of the swimming pool, skating on ice – all of them use inertia. This MECM always looks nice, elegant and effortless. It's always the motion we enjoy watching beautifully moving wild animals like wolves or deers, jumping out the water dolphins or flying eagles.

The main problem with inertial motion is that it decays slowly while humans and animals often use fast energetic motions. It is also need in sudden changes of the speed or direction of the motions, which can happen every moment.
How the Creator (or Nature) combined these opposite qualities in one motion? The answer is as simple as genius – he created the principle of self-annihilated inertial motion (SAIM). SAIM can be demonstrated in nunchaku movement. Nunchaku is a Japanise traditional weapon consisting of two identical short wooden sticks connected by short rope or chain. Legendary Bruce Lee demonstrated amazing skill with nunchaku in his kung fu movies. Practitioner usually grips in his hand one stick and performs rotational motions causing the second stick to rotate violently on the chain. When practitioner wants to stop his nunchaku he or she performs swift short motion so that second stick suddenly stops in the air. The interesting thing is that the second stick can also slow down and even stop the motion of the first stick in the hand. This is a SAIM.

In our natural motion the voluntary movement of the upper arm will cause inertial motion of the whole arm and finally the inertial motion of the forearm will slow down and even stop inertial motion of the upper arm and of the arm in whole. This is a SAIM.
The option to stop completely inertial motion of the arm can be realized only by means of constructional solution. This solution is applicable not only to arms but to all and every part of our body, in other words the structure of our bodies has the fractal nature.

This is a reason for Creator's (or for Nature's) decision to apply proportions of Golden Ratio to our bodies. These proportions make our motions most effective, graceful and beautiful. Our appreciation of beauty has its roots in functional value estimation and beautiful body is capable of great movement. This is a reason we subconsciously perceive Golden Ratio proportions of human body as most attractive and beautiful. We subconsciously project this perception to all other objects of external world and consider the Golden Ration as universal criteria for beauty.
In the middle of the 20th century the genius scientist Prof. N.A. Bernstein offered the theory of motor control of the vertebrae. We believe that Bernstein's theory, in a very simplified version represents, to some degree, a kind of replica of Haeckel's theory of recapitulation, likening the motor control of every motion to the evolution process. Therefore the levels of evolutional development of the various classes of living creatures – phylogenetic ancestors - are reflected in motor control, similarly to the way they are reflected in the general forms of fetuses in the process of development, according to Haeckel. In very general terms, Bernstein's theory points to the correlation between the levels of motor control and motion apparatus.

The motions of vertebrae are performed by rotations in skeletal joints. Our studies have lead us to believe that the levels of motor control, corresponding to the levels of evolutionary development, cooperate with corresponding levels of joints and muscles, which we have successfully found and determined.
Therefore we believe that the body and its program for motion management or motor control, constitute a fusion. This fusion consists of layers –functional structures of the Central Nerve System (CNS), the levels of joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles and correlating them levels of motor control. These layers correlate with the classes of living organisms. Every motion includes them in the same sequence that they were created and developed during the process of evolution. This is the motor control recapitulation theory.
The natural motion of human body is SAIM and it has unique general form, general morphology of natural motion (GMNM), which resembles Chinese symbol of Taiji or Yin-Yang. We call it Fish Play. The natural motion has a fractal structure and so our bodies, which perform this motion.
How our bodies move along these orbits? Our research discovered that parts of our bodies perform series of accelerations and decelerations that comes in specific order. This order was coded, according to tradition, thousands of years ago by legendary Chinese emperor Fuxi and we know it under the name of Fuxi Bagua or eight trigrams and hexagrams of Fuxi. This sequence reflects the rhythm of the motion, its "personality" and "mood". It also reflects coordination of the motion of the different parts of the body – pelvis, chest, head, arms, legs, etc. We call it general kinematics of the natural motion (GKNM). GKNM has the same fractal structure as a GMNM.
The ancient traditions of China and India speak about centers and points in the body where the energy and spirituality concentrates and manifests – Dan Tiens, Chakras (energy centers in Chinese and Indian spiritual traditions), Nadis and Marmas (internal energy channels and points). ISAI provides unique theoretical biomechanical explanations for them and use this discovery in practical training and applications. 
ISAI provides biomechanical understanding of Kabbalistic model of man. We discovered strong parallels between Kabbalistic, Indian and Chinese models. These models have tremendous practical value for actual training.
The symbols of Kabbalah, Indian Tantra and Chinese Daoism have also very much in common. Some of them are just different graphic representation of other symbols ( as David Star and Mawangduy Bagua that are just a different graphic form of the same).
This strong connection between 3 most ancient cultures can be seen even in comparative study of their alphabets.
ISAI also make usage of the natural vocal sounds and vibrations which are the part of the natural motion. These sounds and vibrations have powerful spiritual and health impact on the practitioner.

Practical benefits of training.

Practical training method includes training SAIM, based on integral feeling of inertia with relaxation, learning the motor control recapitulation theory, learning the general morphology of natural motion (GMNM), learning the general kinematics of natural motion (GKNM). Therefore the practical methods of ISAI combine knowledge and logic with feeling and intuition, the clear vision of the fractal trajectories of the moving body and its parts in the space with feeling the energy moving inside the body. This method wonderfully balances activity of the right and left hemispheres of the brain, developing in harmony the intuitive and logical thinking.
Natural Therapy: Includes Natural Movement Therapy. Very efficient in control and cure of chronic stress, HBP, bad cholesterol, diabetics, bad posture, flat feet, back problems, knees problems, pain control etc. The sessions usually are very short and last only few minutes, have great energizing effect. There is no need in special place, equipment or time and in many cases your exercising is imperceptible for external observer.
Natural Martial Art: The most beautiful Martial Art and in the same time extremely effective and easy to learn. One of the most unusual features of ISAI Natural Martial Art is unusual velocity of its punches and kicks. The punches of ISAI are so fast that fists produce loud cracking sound of whiplash like a thick whip of cowboy.
Natural Motion Art: The art of moving with natural elegance, beauty and seemingly effortless efficiency. This art was practiced with great success by theatre actors. It can be very beneficial for sportsmen, dancers, models and everybody who wants to move better, easier and faster. It also greatly improves the practitioner's stance. 
Natural Bodybuilding: The art of developing nice body shape, exceptional power and muscle control with natural reflexive motion. The training doesn't need any devices, special place or time. The method is extremely beneficial for the general health, greatly improves natural stance and motion and has great energizing effect. Needs very short time for training and therefore is one of the best time saving training methods ever.       
Natural Creativity:
While most of the creativity developing systems are based on acquiring of special methods of resolving specific problems Natural Creativity Development method of ISAI develops rather intrinsic need and energy of curiosity, search and investigation. This method based on Search Activity Concept (SAC) discovered and developed by Prof. Vadim Rotenberg (in cooperation with Prof. Victor Arshavsky) and implementation of the practical methods of ISAI. This method, especially when combined with existing methods, can produce outstanding results. 


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