Thursday, January 28, 2016

Chasing the magic

I touched it, at least for a moment on Sunday.  Ha, don’t get cute with that.  

I touched the magic I have been chasing.

What is that “magic” you might ask.  Best way to describe it is to share a conversation I had with Dillon about it.
Me - Do you know of a Japanese term meaning effortlessness?

Dillon - What's the context?

Me - That's the rub, hard to put into words in any language
The feeling is when you are just doing the motion as if you are doing kata or just in the air.
Then when you use that same amount of effort with a person, especially a resistive opponent and they go flying through the air like Hong Kong wire work

Dillon - I mean, in martial arts my go to for that would be Kano's Seiryoku Zenyo.

The "maximum effect/ minimum effort" from Judo.

But I don't know of a term for "effortless" in the same sense as we'd use it.

That is close, probably as close to what I’m trying to express as I’m going to get.
As far as I know there is no succinct term or phrase meaning:
Real time, practical use of martial arts nerd stuff that seems like bullshit until someone half your size tosses you get across a room, or hits you so hard it feels like you crapped out a sizable portion of your skeleton and you just want to lay in the fetal position for a few minutes.

These things have happened to me.  The magic I seek is the ability to reliably and consistently do that to bigger, stronger resisting opponents.

I have written about training geared to get from 0 to proficiency as quickly as possible.  The magic is going from proficient to mastery, to effortlessness

I think I am on the trail.  I touched it on Sunday.  On Sunday we had a VPPG (Violence Prone Play Group) meeting.  The idea of VPPG is there isn’t a student / teacher relationship.  Everybody that attends is tasked with bringing a problem they want to bang out, or a general idea they want to work on.  When it is their turn everyone else helps to solve the problem with insight / experience from their unique perspective.  Then there is some form of sparring / dynamic resistance to test out the potential solutions.  Everybody works on that idea for themselves.  Then we move on to the next guy

It started with Greg’s request
Me - Anything in particular you want to work on?
Greg - Yes, basic trips if getting to the dead side isn't an option. Some of the old timey ones from some of your videos you've posted.

I thought he wanted to work on attacking the legs from 0.  That is cool because that is part of the Katamedo Jujitsu curriculum anyway. 
Effort and prep time are what allow Batman to fight against super powered demi gods

So, following that example I put work in to prep for the VPPG.  Working ashi waza (leg techniques) no Gi, from striking (in offense and defense).

I reviewed The 65 throws of Kodokan Judo DVD’s from the USMAA.
I took mental notes as Phil Porter Sensei, an American pioneer in martial arts who has coached Judo at the highest level explained how Ko Uchi Gari (minor inside reap)works.  I won’t get into too much detail, but I mention it because his ability to translate esoteric martial arts ideas into physics, kinesiology, biology that I can understand is outstanding.
If the “magic” can be understood through science, then it is obtainable.

Side note as I was writing this blog I contacted Mike Makoid.  I told him that I would be referencing the DVD’s and asked if there is a link readers could click to purchase them.
To paraphrase Makoid Sensei, access to those DVD’s is benefit of attending the USMAA National Training camp.

I have never endorsed a product on the blog before.  I don’t see a penny from sales.  So when I encourage anyone who enjoys a throwing art to get these DVD’s I hope that attests to the quality of the information they hold.  Clearly no book or video can replace a good instructor and training buddies to roll with.  However, these DVD’s are an excellent supplement to your training.

Click the link below, register for National Training Camp, spend a weekend training with some of the best Instructors in the Country, take the DVD’s home with you.  
Easy -  Peasy  - Japanesey

Now as Paul Harvey would say and now for the rest of the story.

If the “magic” can be understood through science, then it is obtainable.

It is real, it is not just demonstration side show sleight of hand nonsense.

The idea of maximizing positives and minimizing negatives is a part of it
I’m sure I’ve written it here as well, but many times when I am teaching I talk about how you can’t make yourself instantly stronger.  If you could you would turn into to the Hulk, or you would flood your blood stream with Venom like Bane in times of need and training would be unnecessary. 

You can’t make yourself instantly stronger, but you can remove everything that makes you weak, bleeds off your power. 

You can also maximize the strength that you do have.  I talk about the “tyrannosaur triangle”, bringing the threat to where you are the strongest, as opposed to breaking your structure in an attempt to deliver force into the threat.

Another aspect of maximizing the strength that you have is sometimes described as  - Old man strength

Here is an entire article on the subject

The Urban Dictionary defines it as  - The crazy insane strength you gain when you become an old man
In context:
Did you see grandpa pick up that keg of beer?
Yeah he has sick old man strength

Although ligament strength developed over a youth of rigorous labor pays off later in life, I feel a more significant factor is experience using strength.

An example that comes to mind is training with Steve Jimerfield.  Steve is very strong.  However, we will be working on something and he will show me some sort of bone alignment, or tightening of ligaments, or finger extension.  When he does it in that way, it isn’t just a little stronger, it is exponentially stronger, scary stronger.  No bullshit practical applications of the “unbendable arm”

I know the magic is real.  It can be explained, it can be obtained.  I have found it from time to time.  I have felt it with Jimerfield.

I have also felt it with Marc MacYoung.

Just as removing anything that bleeds power from you, and maximizing your strength is part of it, minimizing their strength another part of it.

Putting weakness into them, for lack of a more elegant term.

One of the first times I played with Marc he brought me down to where he is strongest, twisted me up in such a way that all my advantages in size and strength meant nothing, stepped in such a way that all my avenues of escape were blocked, then chucked me across the room.  
That was very cool!

Here is a picture from after that seminar from when Lise tossed a dude twice her size through a wall.

A concept I use to help explain this is unlocking gates.  If I can unlock the gates (break the framework) you need to use force against me, then clearly it becomes much more difficult for you to do so.

Inversely I can lock gates (create a frame work) in you that allows me to move you to where you do not want to go.

Dillon mentioned this idea is like playing with one of these

Collapsing or creating structure with their skeleton

Factors in being able to scientifically reproduce “the magic”:
  • Removing anything that robs you of power
  • Maximizing your strength
  • Minimizing their strength (unlocking gates)
  • Sensitivity

Sensitivity is putting these all these ideas together, and being able to switch gears between them as the circumstances dictate.  This can be seen in things like casting a net in Kung Fu, or the rowing exercise in Aikido

Back to last Sunday, we are working on the above mentioned factors, some specifically, some by coincidence.  

Greg is working with Dillon on ashi waza (leg techniques).  No Gi, from striking (light sparring). The leg sweep Greg is working on is most often a trip with the thrower landing on the opponent and transitioning directly into ground work.

Dillon is built like a fire hydrant, genetically engineered not to be thrown.  Without getting too inside baseball or bogged down by details, as Greg reaps the leg he drives Dillon back sending him through the air.  So much so Dillon had to cover his head as he landed so he didn’t crack his skull.  
Holy shit!  
Greg tosses me, and Jake the Snake.  Now it is my turn.   

Ko Uchi Gari has never been one of my favorites, until that Sunday.  
Minimal Effort, maximum effect.  
Guys didn’t just trip, guys flew off my leg.  Very cool!

Sadly, I didn’t catch that on tape.  I was busy doing it.  I’ll see if I can at the next VPPG play time. 

Until then, in his own search of this magic Dillon has been learning Bagua.  Part of his homework is to find applications of basic Bagua forms.  So for your enjoyment here is some video of Dillon throwing me all over God’s green earth using the throwing applications of one small part or on Bagua form

Train hard, train smart, be safe

Find the magic.  Even if you never do the search itself will be worth it

1 comment:

  1. Kasey - could the 'magic' be Fudoshin?? That eefortless execution of a technique as if the opponent isn't even there, and nothign they do matters... seems to apply well in my understanding