Characteristic Problems, Part 1

Motor Control might appear very dull in its depiction in books. Experimental subjects boringly move levers back and forth and the examiner is “delighted” during evaluation when the raw data of muscle activation changes during the tests (at least some kinds of texts make it appear this way). Despite its direct relevance to martial arts, these things are a closed book to outsiders.

The following examples may indicate the possibilities for derivations. You can´t always derive something directly from studies. I will explicitly indicate when experiences from training or personal thoughts are added. The background and approaches will not be outlined in detail in the brief examples. Sources are not mentioned here now. All the presented examples happened to me in the broadest sense.

Almost every beginner experiences this kind of first example. It happened to me as well with my first wrist grab release. Heads up! Everything is greatly simplified. One could fill pages with a larger analysis and discussion of the situation. But, the approach should not overwhelm a beginner by packing him with knowledge for such a friendly event. A robust solution against various opponents and contingencies certainly looks different. In this example, the mentally incorrect modeling of the situation is the main issue.

So, as a beginner in training, you’ve learned a new wrist grab release against a particular grab. Then, full of pride, you want to show this to a friend. You explain how he ought to grab. Then you carry out the new movement and “release” yourself from the grab. The friend is not convinced and asks for a second try. He applies the grab and you start your release and it fails. Your friend has just countered your movement directly with an opposing force. You stand there puzzled because you just don’t understand why it didn’t work out. Your friend just grins at you and says “Well, that didn’t go so well, did it?”.

Different things occur to you and your friend at this point. You are too concentrated on the movement due to its newness. You cannot respond quickly to the adaptation of your friend in the second try. Your friend has “homed in” on a release after the first try and simply conducts the solution which occurs to him. It is usually sufficient for the other to quickly tense up their muscles or to go with the movement to neutralize a beginner´s movement. I am always surprised how good humans with knowledge of processes can come up with counter-solutions for some problems. As a beginner, you usually lack the tricks to design movements in a robust way against these counters.

One approach to such a situation is to have at least two opposite solutions (releases in this case) on hand for the friend. The friend has created an internal model of the movement in the first pass and instinctively and unconsciously goes backward through the options to stop you. It is often a kind of competition for beginners to hinder each other as much as possible in learning and performing. So, during the second pass and without telling him beforehand, present him a completely different solution. His counterpart model of your first release should fail against your second release. His special solution against the first release should be as susceptible to rapid changes as your first release was.

If he gets upset that this is unfair and that you ought to do the same thing again, just ask in return:“Well? Do you always tell your opponent beforehand what you are about to do?” This should calm the situation. To keep everyone happy, you can offer to show the second release again (and then of course to perform the first release ad infinitum).

The post was published 1. November 2013 related to the category Miscellaneous and tagged with .