The metaphor of fascia

Discussion on the three big Chinese internals, Yiquan, Bajiquan, Piguazhang and other similar styles.

The metaphor of fascia

Postby Tom on Thu Oct 15, 2009 5:47 pm

Ordinarily I don't pay much attention to the world of aikido, but over on Jun Akiyama's forum in recent years, there have been some good discussions on internal connection and strength. One such thread is at:

http://aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16952

I recommend paying particular attention to the posts of Dan Harden (posts on RSF as "Bodywork") and David Orange, who trained in Yoseikan (Mochizuki's school) for many years and also attended the early August 2009 seminar that Dan gave on how to get your fascia al dente and then use it to eat your opponent. The training process is akin to reaching enlightenment through watching paint dry.
Needless to say, this is just my opinion. Please feel free to disregard it. ;D
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Re: The metaphor of fascia

Postby leopard on Fri Oct 16, 2009 12:19 am

Good lookin' out, Tom. Great thread. Thanks.
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Re: The metaphor of fascia

Postby canard on Fri Oct 16, 2009 12:41 am

good grief, I didn't think it was possible for a MA forum to have more handbag throwing that RSF...... ;D
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Re: The metaphor of fascia

Postby yusuf on Fri Oct 16, 2009 1:48 am

..and I thought Chris McKinley was over verbose :)
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Re: The metaphor of fascia

Postby somatai on Fri Oct 16, 2009 6:35 am

Re: The metaphor of fascia?
Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
It just don't work that way with kinesthetic practices, no matter how hard we want to think, rationalize, or intellectualize it.
I agree, but I don't think the importance of careful observation, rationalization, and thinking skills can be understated either.
A lot of guys that "get it" (including people from both the CMA and JMA camps) have mentioned that you can't be an "idiot" if you want to obtain these skills. Perseverance and hard work sans the thinking will only land someone in a sea of mediocrity.

"Couple of things from a book that's been quoted way to often and used as a tool to beat an animal:

1) Most people don't think enough (and intellectualizing is NOT the same as "thinking" in this case)
2) Most people don't train enough
3) Most people don't know how to combine 1 & 2

Get parts 1-3 down, and things kind of start to happen all on their own."



I quoted this post from Robert John on the other thread because it rocks.....this is so true, it is this trinity that makes this pursuit(internal body methods and development) so worthwhile...... it is such a mystery and challenge and if you are not in awe of your training and constantly fishing for new connections and awakenings you are not engaged enough........... Having felt, Dan, Ark and Rob as well as Ima people who have this feel, it is clear what the idea behind the term "gung fu" is.
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Re: The metaphor of fascia

Postby Chris McKinley on Fri Oct 16, 2009 8:19 am

yusuf,

I am merely a verbosity wanna-be in comparison. :P My excuse is that I'm an extremely fast typist. Either those guys are ungodly fast with the keyboard or they are particularly dedicated to each and every post. Upon whipping out the verbage, their wind is even longer than mine. ;D
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Re: The metaphor of fascia

Postby Tom on Fri Oct 16, 2009 9:15 am

canard wrote:good grief, I didn't think it was possible for a MA forum to have more handbag throwing that RSF...... ;D


Indeed. 8-) Too much starch in some of their hakamas as well. There are some legendary threads over the past three or four years on that forum, particularly when the non-aikidokas put their rumps in the tent.

Nevertheless, there are two or three people who have "IT" (IP, IS, IC, what have you) and an additional handful who have experienced "IT" and are in the process of reworking their personal training paradigms, and it is those posters who are worth paying attention to. The nay-sayers, skeptics working from positions of profound ignorance, and aikibunnies have their place, in that they challenge the handful of people with real understanding to explicate, and that has been extremely valuable, at least for me personally.
Needless to say, this is just my opinion. Please feel free to disregard it. ;D
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Re: The metaphor of fascia

Postby Bhassler on Fri Oct 16, 2009 2:20 pm

Tom,

Could you point to something in particular that you thought was interesting? To me the whole thing boiled down to another "Internal is different than external because it uses fascia and intent plus many other things that can only be vaguely alluded to online and have to be felt, and if you don't get it your shit is fake" thread. I don't doubt that there may be good stuff in there (and by good I mean practical that someone could actually benefit from reading), but since I have not met any of the IS exponents involved and am not familiar with their particular jargon, I suspect I may be missing something.
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Re: The metaphor of fascia

Postby Chris McKinley on Fri Oct 16, 2009 3:20 pm

What I'm most reminded of by that thread is that "investing in loss" and investing in minutiae are not the same thing.
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Re: The metaphor of fascia

Postby everything on Fri Oct 16, 2009 4:44 pm

Chris McKinley wrote:What I'm most reminded of by that thread is that "investing in loss" and investing in minutiae are not the same thing.


lol this is a line that will have to be reused again and again
amateur practices til gets right pro til can't get wrong
/ better approx answer to right q than exact answer to wrong q which can be made precise /
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Re: The metaphor of fascia

Postby Tom on Fri Oct 16, 2009 5:47 pm

Bhassler wrote:Tom,

Could you point to something in particular that you thought was interesting? To me the whole thing boiled down to another "Internal is different than external because it uses fascia and intent plus many other things that can only be vaguely alluded to online and have to be felt, and if you don't get it your shit is fake" thread. I don't doubt that there may be good stuff in there (and by good I mean practical that someone could actually benefit from reading), but since I have not met any of the IS exponents involved and am not familiar with their particular jargon, I suspect I may be missing something.


8-)

Fair enough. People will get different things out of the thread. The discussion of connective tissue and anatomy trains was quite interesting to me, providing a context for certain important aspects of my own personal training that I've been working on since meeting three of the people on that thread and one of their teachers (to wit, Rob/Upyu, Rob's teacher Akuzawa, Mike Sigman and Dan Harden). Since I don't have the professional familiarity with many of the ideas that you do, it reinforced my conceptual grasp of what is happening inside with some of the training exercises and work I was introduced to by those guys. Like in Derek's post above:

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
It just don't work that way with kinesthetic practices, no matter how hard we want to think, rationalize, or intellectualize it.
I agree, but I don't think the importance of careful observation, rationalization, and thinking skills can be understated either.
A lot of guys that "get it" (including people from both the CMA and JMA camps) have mentioned that you can't be an "idiot" if you want to obtain these skills. Perseverance and hard work sans the thinking will only land someone in a sea of mediocrity.

"Couple of things from a book that's been quoted way to often and used as a tool to beat an animal:

1) Most people don't think enough (and intellectualizing is NOT the same as "thinking" in this case)
2) Most people don't train enough
3) Most people don't know how to combine 1 & 2

Get parts 1-3 down, and things kind of start to happen all on their own."


Conceptual understanding is certainly no substitute for the focused, persevering physical/mental/perceptual practice that actually gets you somewhere. And it can actually mislead or distract from the practice. But truly you can't be an idiot and get these skills.

The constant admonition that IHTBF, while annoying, is constantly true. I've met and pushed/rolled/hit/sparred/been trashed by several hundred people from around the world over the years. While undoubtedly there is more than one method to identify and to train internal strength/connection/power, only a handful of people in my personal experience truly have "it" and are able to demonstrate it to any significant degree. Those people are worth seeking out, not just waiting in typical American fashion for a seminar to come to a neighborhood near you. In some cases, there won't ever be seminars.

It's not a case of "your shit is fake" if you aren't doing what they are doing. It's more accurate to say that IHTBF provides an opportunity to see what a high level of internal skill physically feels like (versus watching it on a video), inspiration to go after that kind of skill yourself, and some valuable pointers in training without which you are likely going to be wasting a whole lot of training time. In the end it helps distinguish what they do from aspects of what you have been training, and perhaps validates other aspects of your own training.
Needless to say, this is just my opinion. Please feel free to disregard it. ;D
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Re: The metaphor of fascia

Postby ashe on Fri Oct 16, 2009 6:03 pm

this is a very timely topic tom and thank you so much for posting! i'm loving the talk on bio-tensegrity.

i recently spent some time with a training brother of mine who is also a profoundly powerful body worker and actually spent time apprenticing under tom meyers (author of the seminal "anatomy trains"). my Sifu has been expounding on the role fascia for awhile and that combined with my experience with my training brother recently has completely opened my eyes to a whole new level of possibility.
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Re: The metaphor of fascia

Postby Bhassler on Fri Oct 16, 2009 6:05 pm

Cool, thanks for the elaboration. I definitely get that it has to be felt, but I kind of wonder at the purpose of going online just to say "I have this really great thing but I can't tell you about it online." I know Sigman has in the past posted a number of exercises to begin to develop this quality (which I've never bothered to work since it's all old-hat in my neck of the woods and, besides, I can never get past his obnoxious online persona), but for the most part it's just a bunch of talk that may or may not include general theory (it's fascia and it's not muscle) but nothing that anyone could play around with and maybe learn something for themselves.

I also understand wanting to feel a lot of different guys to get a sense of their expression of power-- so far I've felt a lot of different gradations of internal power, but I have yet to feel anything that's so different that I would call it a whole different animal, which leads me to think that either I've been fortunate to meet mostly guys who are of real quality in what they do (which is impressive regardless of internal, external, or whatever), or maybe-- just maybe-- there's something else out there that could only be simultaneously awesome, terrible, and sublime, if only I could find one of these legendary practitioners who seem to get it so clearly.

Ultimately, whether you think of fascia, chi, pulleys, bones, or magical chee fairies that move your arms and legs, it's all just metaphor to contextualize the felt sense of what's happening in your own body, since the brain doesn't have a muscle/fascia switch that can be toggled back and forth-- it's all just part of the bigger "you". So, while it can enrich one's experience, I don't know if I believe that the mechanical accuracy of one's self-image is particularly significant.
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Re: The metaphor of fascia

Postby somatai on Fri Oct 16, 2009 6:27 pm

" I don't know if I believe that the mechanical accuracy of one's self-image is particularly significant."

i agree that it is not, the model is irrelevant, but new models are useful in that they may make someone curious and begin to look and see in new ways, but at the end of the day, what is actually happening is not so important in my book, it is that "it" is happening that matters.
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Re: The metaphor of fascia

Postby Tom on Fri Oct 16, 2009 6:37 pm

Bhassler wrote:Ultimately, whether you think of fascia, chi, pulleys, bones, or magical chee fairies that move your arms and legs, it's all just metaphor to contextualize the felt sense of what's happening in your own body, since the brain doesn't have a muscle/fascia switch that can be toggled back and forth-- it's all just part of the bigger "you". So, while it can enrich one's experience, I don't know if I believe that the mechanical accuracy of one's self-image is particularly significant.


In and of itself, it's not. But paradigms are useful as learning tools. Rote physical repetition of what is demonstrated is self-limiting. Perceptual breakthroughs that your conceptual mind and imagination can integrate both help direct training and motivate--in my experience, anyways. And if one aspires to teach or even just to be a good training partner, then a variety of modalities of communicating "the felt sense of what's happening in your own body" are needed. IHTBF is perhaps the most effective, least conceptual demo/teaching approach when the skilled practitioner lets you get your hands on her body . . . oh, we aren't talking about tantra here, I forgot. Seriously, though, the "ah ha!" moments when I got to feel a variety of local Chenshi teachers then Chen Xiaowang made a huge difference in guiding me towards an on-track "felt sense of what's happening in my own body," back in the day when I studied Chen taijiquan. IHTBF plus simultaneous narrative--by the skilled practitioner as they move with your hands on them, or as they provides hands-on correction to your movement--is incredibly useful.

It is important not to confuse or inaccurately cross-pollinate paradigms, as the Aikiweb thread and discussions here at RSF may do.

Guess I've used up my quota of italicization for the day, so I'll stop here.
Needless to say, this is just my opinion. Please feel free to disregard it. ;D
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