ISAI The Martial Art of Formless Flow: Importance of conscious work and compensation mechanisms

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Importance of conscious work and compensation mechanisms

During out lives we all develop compensation mechanisms. Part of them is necessary for our proper functioning and there are adjustments to our intrinsic inability to perform absolutely perfect motions. In cases of structural organic deficits of organic deficits of Central Nerve System (CNS) these compensations are unavoidable and play positive role in our motion. Even in these cases there is a place for improvement of our motion.
In other cases the deficits can be result of the social or cultural pressure and our chronic reaction to these conditions. In these cases compensations are harmful but on the other hand provide us with much more room for improvement.  Sometimes our adjustments to cultural or social pressure result in temporary organic changes. In other cases we can suffer from permanent organic changes. 

We already spoke that the most desirable and sought-for motion is Self-Annihilating Inertial Motion (SAIM). It must be performed with the highest degree of relaxation and so felt by performer. This relaxation as I already wrote is a correction that is a common element for every skilled motion. To feel this this relaxation we have to perform SAIM. The SAIM is possible only with considerable speed and velocity of motion which demands significant muscular effort during initial phase of the motion. In this stage incorrect bio-mechanics will make SAIM impossible. Correction of bio-mechanical aspect of motion under significant load is a very hard task. We are much more sensitive to the differences in the loads if they originally are low. More significant the original load more additional load must be applied in order to feel the same difference. There is a Weber-Fechner law that provides a scientific basis for such phenomena. As a result we have to work on improvement under very low loads if we want to remain sensitive to improper efforts and changes. This can be done only with a very low speed of motion where no SAIM is possible.

The work on improvement of the motion must be done, therefore, with maximum relaxation and minimum of muscular effort. Only then we can introduce real changes and improvements in order to reach the SAIM or to be very close to it. 

The problem is that almost any motion performed at low speed under low load with no inertial and reactive forces is a "right" motion. In absence of inertial and reactive forces nothing will warn the performer that something is wrong. Some of these motions when performed at high speed will need significant muscular effort to stop them or can cause severe damage to performer. These too strenuous motions will cause to exhaustion of performer on one hand and slow down the performance on the other hand.   

At low speed we have to imitate considerable inertial and reactive forces during all our motions. In order to be able to do it we have to understand the biomechanics of the natural motion and to be able to control the motions of the different parts of the body and combine them with the motions of other parts.  The best speed of the motion in this part of practice is the lowest speed in which we still have some, even very minute, feeling of inertia. Naturally such kind of practice demands very high degree of sensitivity and concentration. This practice gradually increases these qualities of practitioner. Practitioner with highly developed special imagination has great advantage, but in any case this practice develops greatly this important but rather rear quality.

Therefore the practice is a cyclic method. At low speed we polish our skill and introduce improving changes and variations. At high speed we check out correctness of our slow work, add some more improvements and work on automation, standardization and stability of the motion (according to Prof. N.A. Bernstein). Only then we will finally obtain the dexterity, this most desirable quality, which make us really creative in constantly and unpredictably changing conditions.         

Biomechanically every bending, flexion or extension, of the limbs will be naturally followed by rotations along the limb. The right and left limbs rotates in coordinated manner and so the upper and lower limbs.  

The motions of the limbs are much simpler that the motion of the trunk of the body, neck and head. The great number of joints along the vertebra and therefore enormous number of degrees of freedom will produce great difficulties to anyone who tries to understand and recreate his or her SAIM of the trunk, neck and head. Every bending of the vertebra will be naturally accompanied by rotation. In the lumbar and cervical areas the rotation will be contralateral or in the opposite direction to the bending. In the thorax area the rotation will be ipsilateral or in same direction as a bending. 
If this complexity is not enough the motions of the limbs, trunk, neck and head must be naturally coordinated in order to produce SAIM of all the body.

All this seems to be very sophisticated and difficult tusk to every performer. It is obvious that every performer has to be aware of very complex biomechanical reality within his or her motions. But how this theoretical knowledge can help? All these motions performed together most likely can't be observed by any performer. It seems the problem has no solution, but here Occam's razor principle will rescue us.  ("Occam's razor (also written as Ockham's razor and in Latin lex parsimoniae) is a problem-solving principle devised by William of Ockham (c. 1287–1347), who was an English Franciscan friar and scholastic philosopher and theologian. The principle states that among competing hypotheses that predict equally well, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected. Other, more complicated solutions may ultimately prove to provide better predictions, but—in the absence of differences in predictive ability—the fewer assumptions that are made, the better." The source: Wikipedia) . 

Fortunately to us the theory of ISAI provides us with very simple theoretical decision of this problem. The practical training method NMTS provides us with very short, fast and comfortable way to recover our inborn ability to move naturally, using SAIM. These materials were already presented in general lines to the reader in the previous chapters.

The slow, relaxed training followed full-focused, razor-sharp attention to our feelings can really recover our natural motion. It must be tested and approved in full speed in presence of powerful inertial and reactive forces. This process produces magical ring of personal improvement, the process as joyful as efficient.

This is the only way to erase harmful compensations and to move naturally, effortlessly and nicely, to feel great and to enjoy our everyday motions, to convert our life into constant training and finally, but probably the most importantly, to be incredibly efficient.

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