In Search of Efficiency Part Eleven: Loose

Sensei Canna offers insight into the real world of self defense!

Moderator: Van Canna

In Search of Efficiency Part Eleven: Loose

Postby Rick Wilson » Fri Dec 01, 2017 4:20 pm

In Search of Efficiency Part Eleven: Loose

Words are very important to me. As a person who tries to translate the movements of self defence into the written word they mean a lot.

Different words resonant with people. My job is to try and find the words that resonate with as many people as I can. I admit a bias in that I have to select the words that resonate with me first.

“Loose” is one of those words.

Very often you will hear instructors tell their students to relax. The definition of “relax” is to cause or allow to become loose or slack or limp.

“Slack “is defined as sluggish, lacking energy, activity, firmness or tautness. I don’t want to be sluggish in defending myself. So of the ways to interpret relax I do not want “slack.”

“Limp” is defined as easily bent and not springing back into shape, without will or energy. Once again because another principle we will get to is tendon power or the inherent spring of our bodies to lose that and be limp is definitely not desired. Nor do I want to be without will or energy. We see this a lot when instructors tell students to relax they go limp or rag doll and it never goes well. I also found personally when I tried to “relax” my mind went limp too – not good for self defence.

“Loose” is defined as released from bonds or restraints, detached, not contained. To loosen means to become less tight and that is what we are really after.

Because of this thing I have with words I talk about being loose or loosening rather than relaxed.

I’m going to make a bold statement and say that tensing never helps anything in self defence.

When I began my martial training like many people I was taught to tense every muscle at the end of strike. Why? Tensing the muscles brings everything to a halt. It stops and prevents movement. When hitting something the only thing I want slowing me down is my weapon penetrating their mass.

We know when striking that you hit through and not “to” the target so I want to penetrate with a strike. Let’s do a few small experiments. The first one comes from Peter Ralston.

1. Stand in front of a wall but far enough away you cannot reach it.
2. Throw a punch and tense at the end but do not retract the strike.
3. With you arm extended move until your fist touches the wall.
4. Retract the strike and loosen your muscles and keep them loose.
5. SLOWLY, and I mean slowly go through the motion of slowly throwing the same strike but with looseness.

You will find the loose strike would have traveled another three or more inches minimum. This is why it has to be done slowly or else you hammer the wall with a strike.

Second experiment:

1. Hold a hand pad up for your partner to hit.
2. Tense every muscle you have.
3. When your partner throws a punch at the pad you are going to try and move it out of the way before it hits. Remember you are starting with our muscles clenched tight as you can.
4. Now loosen every muscle, keep them loose and repeat trying to move the pad before your partner hits it.

You will find when tense they hit the pad and when loose you can move it before they do.
Third experiment:

1. Your partner holds the pad.
2. You are a distance that takes a small slide step to hit the pad.
3. Tense every muscle you have and then slide and hit the pad.
4. Your partner is going to try and move the pad before you hit it.
5. Now loosen all your muscles and repeat trying to hit the pad before your partner moves it.

Here we find when tense they can move the pad but when we are loose we hit it.


Fourth and last experiment:

1. Stand in front of your partner just within arm’s reach and tense every muscle you have.
2. Your partner is going to try and touch the top of your chest.
3. You try to move back or to the side to avoid being touched.
4. Now loosen all your muscles and repeat.

You will find trying to move when all your muscles are tense means you have to release them before you can making it hard to get out of the way of that touch.

So, striking and moving are inhibited by being tense and being loose makes them work better – pretty much means tense isn’t good for anything but being loose makes it all work much better.

Now, you might use dynamic tension in your training but that is a training tool for a specific purpose and not what I am talking about here.

Another factor that enters into this are “tells.” Tells are something that gives away what you are about to do and one of the biggest and easiest to read tell is tension. If you need tension to move, then you are sending signals out before you do.

We have talked about emptying the foot to engage gravity to enhance movement and that principle cannot be done without being loose. In addition, we often place impediments in our own way. We tense muscles that are actually inhibiting the movement we want. Learning which muscles to loosen and which to use is another topic.

For now, I will leave you with the fact that I believe in being loose and that tension does not help anything. As demonstrated in the experiments tension detracts from performance and looseness improves it.

So, stay loose.

http://wpd-rc.com/blog/in-search-of-efficiency-part-eleven-loose/
Rick Wilson - http://wpd-rc.com/
User avatar
Rick Wilson
 
Posts: 506
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2012 12:43 am
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Re: In Search of Efficiency Part Eleven: Loose

Postby Van Canna » Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:56 pm

Good post Rick but when training at the Lethal Force Institute we discussed some of the muscle tension problems that the fight or flight reflex brings in moments of stress.../the adrenaline strength that is hardwired.

And how this resulted in the Glock's NY trigger of 12 pounds pull weight.

When we talk about staying calm how do we reconcile with the following scientific information?

https://entertainment.howstuffworks.com ... ength2.htm

Austrian physician Hans Selye studied the human reaction to stress and concluded there are three stages that make up what he termed general adaptation syndrome.

The first stage occurs when you encounter stress, the alarm reaction (AR) stage. This stage includes the arousal of your fight-or-flight response to a stressor. All of your internal alarms are activated and you prepare to face danger or run away.

The next stage is the stage of resistance (SR). In the SR stage, the human response to danger is in full swing: Your pupils dilate, your heart rate and respiration go up and your muscles contract.

At this point you are running for your life, lifting a car off another person or engaged in another above-average activity.

In the case of seeing a person pinned beneath a car, the stressor is short-lived. The body begins to relax and returns to its normal state after a few tense minutes. After the stressor is gone, the parasympathetic system kicks in.

This system plays a role opposite of the sympathetic system. When the parasympathetic system takes over, heart rate slows again, breathing returns to normal, muscles relax and nonessential functions (like digestion) immediately begin again.

The hypothalamus, which is responsible for triggering both the sympathetic response in the face of danger and the parasympathetic response after the danger has passed, is ultimately responsible for achieving a balance between both. This balance, the body's normal state, is called homeostasis.
Van
User avatar
Van Canna
 
Posts: 46477
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 1999 6:01 am

Re: In Search of Efficiency Part Eleven: Loose

Postby Van Canna » Fri Dec 01, 2017 9:24 pm

The bone to bone alignment is of course a necessary component of structure behind any strike, but I think we should also discuss how to keep the joints safe.

I like what Ian Abernathy writes here
The muscles should tense briefly at the end of each technique. The reason for this momentary tension is to protect the joints.

For a blow to have the greatest possible effect it must hit the target at maximum speed. If the limb was to carry on moving at high speed then injuries such as hyper-extended elbows could occur.

Just before the limb is fully extended the muscles contract to that the limb decelerates in as short a time as possible. Without this type of muscular contraction, the limb would have to start to slow down sooner (if damaged joints are to be avoided) and this would seriously reduce the effect of the blow.

A common mistake is for the muscles to contract harder and longer than is actually required. This unnecessary muscular contraction will result in premature fatigue and can slow the delivery of the techniques.

Once a technique has been executed the muscles must relax instantly so that the limb is ready to move again. It is important to remember that in kata, as in fighting, there are times to be hard and times to be soft. Using muscular strength indiscriminately is the sign of an inexperienced karateka.
Van
User avatar
Van Canna
 
Posts: 46477
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 1999 6:01 am

Re: In Search of Efficiency Part Eleven: Loose

Postby Rick Wilson » Sat Dec 02, 2017 12:37 am

I will post later on your first comment, Van – a longer reply required.

As for Mr. Abernathy I respectfully disagree entirely.

I’ve hit makawari for years loose and no tension without any joint injuries. If you have proper alignment you will not suffer joint injury or hyper extension.

I recall Master Nakahodo being asked about protecting the elbow from hyper extending in a strike once and his reply was simple – if you strike properly there can be no hyper extension.

Just before the limb is fully extended the muscles contract to that the limb decelerates in as short a time as possible. Without this type of muscular contraction, the limb would have to start to slow down sooner (if damaged joints are to be avoided) and this would seriously reduce the effect of the blow.


This makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever. In fact, it detracts from the natural retraction of the blow if it is allowed to continue unimpeded by contracting the muscles to slow it down.

How do you hit at maximum speed while slowing down? That seems contradictory to me.

Proper skeletal alignment is required and loose but not rag doll muscles to allow a strike to hit without any danger to the joints in any way.

Tensing briefly to slow the strike down enough to not hurt your joints is … well … why not say just punch slower?

I find absolutely no kinetic logic in what he said.

In fact, tensing your muscles tends to engage the shoulders to slow down the speed of the strike misaligning them so that the force is taken into the shoulder and not the body; therefore, doing shoulder damage. The body should be allowed to rotate and let the arm go to the fullest extension it can.

The only thing that should slow our strike down is the fact you hit your target.

I’ll go farther I was always taught you had to clench your fist tight to protect the hand, well I don’t. Clenching the first tenses the arm. I use what a Taiji stylist would call a cotton fist aligned properly with the wrist and arm and firm but loose muscles. But a loose fist. Again, I have pounded a makawari without ever damaging my hand.

So bottom-line, while I happen to be a fan of much of his work, Mr. Abernathy may have an issue with joints or hyperextension while striking but you shouldn’t with proper alignment. I would be interested to know if this is what he was told his martial arts life or what he encountered himself?
Rick Wilson - http://wpd-rc.com/
User avatar
Rick Wilson
 
Posts: 506
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2012 12:43 am
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Re: In Search of Efficiency Part Eleven: Loose

Postby Rick Wilson » Sat Dec 02, 2017 5:51 am

When we talk about staying calm how do we reconcile with the following scientific information?


A long post but if you don’t make it through please take the time to follow the link at the end because Chris Hadfield relates his training to the time he went blind on a space walk and that is exceptionally interesting and directly applicable to this question.

What is calm?

Is it a state to achieve or is it a state to return to?

That may sound like a weird or even lotus question, but it isn’t.

If we think of calm as something to be achieved, then we have to do something to become calm.

If we think of calm as something to return to, then we have things not to do.

Not doing something is an easier thought process than doing something.

What does tactical breathing do?

Does it stop the rapid breathing that comes from the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) activation or does it return you to a more normal breathing pattern?

Is tension a natural state? If you have ever practiced standing meditation or Qigong you learn very quickly that tension exhausts you. Standing balanced properly on your skeletal structure without tension is a far more natural state and effective state.

If we train to add tension, we are training to add something.

If we train to be loose, we are training to remove something - tension.

One factor talked about in training is confidence. To train to add confidence is an approach to mindset. Not a bad approach but what if we trained to remove self doubt instead? Just something to ponder.

My post presented my approach which is to train for being loose because, as shown in the experiments, it increases effectiveness.

My goal is to be loose and therefore more effective.

Which has more chance of returning to that more effective state, training to be the opposite or training to achieve it?

Will we be hit by a massive chemical cocktail – in the right circumstance absolutely.

Will we be affected by it – absolutely.

Do we have to deal with it – absolutely.

Do we have an affect on dealing with it – absolutely.

Will you do it well the first time – absolutely not.

Will more experiences make that process easier – absolutely.

In certain situations of danger, the SNS will be activated. If it is a situation where you have time, such as when I was an armed guard and had to walk a bank building we thought may be in a robbery situation, then you can take steps to remove the things preventing you from returning to calm.

In certain situations of danger, the SNS will be activated and you will need to respond with no time. How you respond will depend on a number of factors one being the operant conditioning you have set in place and another being your experience. Training becomes more of a factor with experience and longer into the situation.

In that immediate situation you hope to have the operant conditioning or the experience to use your training. So, the question is – what have you prepared to do?

If you’ve trained tension, then the chances of getting to calm are little to nil. Remember this doesn`t mean you wouldn`t survive THAT situation, just perhaps not another.

If you conditioned or trained looseness, then the chances of returning to calm are greater.

Is this fool proof and you will always make it back to calm – absolutely not, way too many factors for guarantees. Again it doesn`t mean you won`t survive that situation - doesn`t mean you will either.

I want to be working to the most effective state I can achieve rather than working to stay in a least effective state.

We can liken this to driving and swerving around an object appearing in front of us. Most of the time the conditioning here comes from experience unless you have participated in a course designed to teach such tactics. However, most drivers have experienced this can remember the first time it happened and how, with more experience, it is still an adrenaline kick but how they handled it is very different.

Undergoing training that conditions the swerve gives you the chance to be calmer and looser when it happens for real (no guarantees though). Having done it a number of times gives you the experience to be calmer and looser. Having both is better.

So here is my reply to the science, Van. Absolutely we will have factors to deal with, and we may not succeed, but I would rather condition and train to be loose than add to the situation and perhaps bring my effectiveness down to useless by training the opposite of what I need. I think we all know it is hard to not be calm with a loose body where it is much harder to be calm with a tense body.

So the bigger question then is: Can you really prepare to be calm in a truly dangerous situation?

Chris Hadfield gave a TED talk where he told the time he went blind in space. The talk covers a larger topic but when he relates his experience of going blind while on a space walk he talks about the training that allowed him to return to calm and deal with the situation. We don’t have access to all that he did, but we can look to emulate it as closely as possible.


https://www.ted.com/talks/chris_hadfield_what_i_learned_from_going_blind_in_space/transcript?languageen
Rick Wilson - http://wpd-rc.com/
User avatar
Rick Wilson
 
Posts: 506
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2012 12:43 am
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Re: In Search of Efficiency Part Eleven: Loose

Postby Rick Wilson » Sat Dec 02, 2017 6:01 am

I do want to add here that I present simply my approach to things and the reasons why I take that approach, but I make no claim or guarantee that I am right.

So if you disagree and have reasons - then disagree.

If you want to discuss those reasons and inspire thoughtful dialogue as Van has with his post, I`d be happy to reply and give my thoughts.

If you want to disagree without posting, but I`ve given you something to ponder - fantastic.

If you want to disagree and never think of it again - absolutely your right.

My posts contain what I have learned and as I am always learning there`s no guarantee there isn`t a better way.

I never want anyone to think I am dictating how it must be.

I`m just posting what is working for me now and I hope people find it interesting and even helpful.
Rick Wilson - http://wpd-rc.com/
User avatar
Rick Wilson
 
Posts: 506
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2012 12:43 am
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Re: In Search of Efficiency Part Eleven: Loose

Postby Van Canna » Sat Dec 02, 2017 6:22 am

Good discussion Rick, and I don't disagree really because there are a number of views on this subject.

So here is mine:

I have always felt that anything we learn and teach _ must be tied into the hard wired body alarm reactions we all fall prey to in the chaos of survival combat while in the grip of a hormonal cascade_ and its resultant fight or flight reflex.

It is our obligation, as we train, to protect our 'striking weapon' while in the midst of mind numbing chaos that a self defense encounter will bring, and this is where many people suffer many joints injuries.

I realize there are different views on this...and that some people are better than others at achieving this concept...but I feel that generally it is difficult in practice because of the hard wired reflexive responses to danger where our muscles tense up, which is the body’s natural way of protecting itself from injury and pain.

The making of a really tight fist momentarily] upon reaching point of impact[ but not before] _ and quickly relaxing the fist in withdrawing_ has for me at least, the result of maximizing power transmission but minimizing the chance of injury to my hand (and wrist) while striking.

As to punching we can learn much from trained boxers. One of my students is a former heavy weight boxer who trained under Petronelli.

A real scary puncher[ and kicker]... He says that he was taught to clench his fists a bit when first putting on the gloves to make sure he could make a good fist, the rest of the time staying relaxed.

But then _ on impact, just at the moment of impact, “you tense as hard as you gotta to maintain proper structure. The surge of energy by the clenching adds to momentum and just helps my punches get sting.”

But he is the first guy in the class to warn us not to even think about throwing punches to the head in a real fight because of the dire consequences of it.
Van
User avatar
Van Canna
 
Posts: 46477
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 1999 6:01 am

Re: In Search of Efficiency Part Eleven: Loose

Postby Rick Wilson » Sat Dec 02, 2017 6:32 am

Absolutely different views and all can be valid.

Also absolutely correct that what works fro one person won't necessarily work for another.

Great discussion point though.

I like being made to think through and present my thoughts. :)
Rick Wilson - http://wpd-rc.com/
User avatar
Rick Wilson
 
Posts: 506
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2012 12:43 am
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Re: In Search of Efficiency Part Eleven: Loose

Postby Van Canna » Sat Dec 02, 2017 6:54 am

I would rather condition and train to be loose than add to the situation and perhaps bring my effectiveness down to useless by training the opposite of what I need. I think we all know it is hard to not be calm with a loose body where it is much harder to be calm with a tense body.


Absolutely, Rick, and I think that is a judicious view.

Training to be loose, if even pointing out the need to remain loose under stress to ingrain a concept...goes to efficiency as you point out.

We see the problem here:
A significant percentage of law enforcement officers — some experts say as high as 20% — put their finger on the trigger of their weapons when under stress. According to firearms trainers, most officers are completely unaware of their tendency to do this and have a hard time believing it, even when they're shown video evidence from training exercises.


The officers fail to realize or forget, that under stress their muscles will tense and accidental discharges will occur.
Van
User avatar
Van Canna
 
Posts: 46477
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 1999 6:01 am

Re: In Search of Efficiency Part Eleven: Loose

Postby Stryke » Wed Dec 06, 2017 1:15 am

two different issues here

joints and tension


the joints well , the big issue is the rapid deceleration of tensing and hitting the air , the tensing is jarring any way you look
at it .

yes solid fist if your going that way (I don't use them i think Kanbun was onto something) But I'll go all Rock on a string analogy wise

the jarring from not tensing well that's real too , if you do the linear strike forcing a set of connected levers along and back along the same artificial straight line , where as real power is always at least slightly arced , and the jints flower in a circular motion , while punches dont work like this is shows how circular becomes straight . unfortunately to many think straight comes from straight .... imagine how lone your engine would last if it slammed at each end of the compression /expansion cycle

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQY8A62LTUg

it is basic physics F=M*A deceleration reduces force , ie tension
also tension does not as many wrongly think aid mass :?

alignment and getting your mass behind the arc (oops i should say straight :wink: ) is the key to utilizing mass , this is the science of grounding , compressing your mass and using centripetal force to torque(another rotational force) and accelerate centrifugal force

while this is sometimes subtle , it is effective , and yes many disagree .


loosen is an ideal phrase , but it works built on correct alignment and training and enforcing natural movement flows .

such flow is not possible with tension.

truly heavy shots in my experience feel like i'm hitting nothing at all , all the force goes into the target.

as an aside I wonder if this is a lot of where the chi strike stuff comes from , the feeling of effortlessness , and even sometimes when you deliver the lighter strikes just right and the shock seems to sink into the target.

there's a time and a place , but longevity joint care (programming safer movement that circles and feed the joints) thinks like incorporating intuflow and movement patterns inherent in the style.

The chinese flavour of the style vs the more rigid interpretation of the Japanese that is more and more common.

I really looked hard at this from my Shotokan background , I have huge respect for Master Shigeru Egami who essentially rebelled resisted and took a serious look at punching mechanics, because he saw the inefficiency of how shotokan punching under Nakayama evolved into pseudo-science. of course he seems to have gone a bit far the other way also .

big strong tough tension can work , but is it efficient for all , is it healthy long time?

yin and yang , you have to have them both


My thoughts on the adrenal dump, well tension will happen , the last thing I want is to program it and layer another layer on top of it . but practicing loosening , well handy skill set to have when you find yourself needing to shake it out and get going . Even if it just a little .
Stryke
 
Posts: 708
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2012 5:48 am

Re: In Search of Efficiency Part Eleven: Loose

Postby Rick Wilson » Wed Dec 06, 2017 3:17 am

Hey, Marcus I hope all is well with you and family. :)
Rick Wilson - http://wpd-rc.com/
User avatar
Rick Wilson
 
Posts: 506
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2012 12:43 am
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Re: In Search of Efficiency Part Eleven: Loose

Postby Van Canna » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:14 am

Good post Marcus, nice to see you, hope all is well back home.

It is always to our advantage to 'round table' our individual training predilections and interpret them conceptually.

I agree with you and Rick on the looseness aspect of training, but I also believe in learning to apply correct selective tension especially where the hands are concerned for safety.

Marcus mentions ‘joints’ and that is a critical observation. In the chaos of rapid exchanges of blows, in real fights there will be few strikes that will land perfectly _which will result in forces to be applied to the finger joints and wrist joint from a variety of vectors.

Those joints need to be protected at all cost.

When I was fighting tournaments and coming up against formidable TKD kickers I knew by instinct that keeping a solid fist but relaxing the arms was the best defense against jammed fingers and or broken fingers against full power kicks.

The necessity of a properly clenched fist was also a critical concept discussed at the Lethal Force Institute [LFI] when training there with 1911 .45 pistols/semi auto pistols _ and impact weapons, such as sticks/clubs etc., where if we were not conscious of a solid grip the pistol would likely malfunction on recoil and we would loose the club/stick upon impact.

So I think that learning selective tension as we do in Uechi, is a useful skill.
The problem with punches though, remains…clenched or not…never hit the head/only the body.
Van
User avatar
Van Canna
 
Posts: 46477
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 1999 6:01 am

Re: In Search of Efficiency Part Eleven: Loose

Postby Van Canna » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:17 am

Rory cautions
The experimentation is key. And this is one of the places, where, as an instructor, you have to be careful. A lot of martial artists have been damaged by their previous instruction. These are the one who are always asking if they did it 'right' or which finger to use or how to grip.
Van
User avatar
Van Canna
 
Posts: 46477
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 1999 6:01 am

Re: In Search of Efficiency Part Eleven: Loose

Postby Van Canna » Thu Dec 07, 2017 4:23 pm

Van
User avatar
Van Canna
 
Posts: 46477
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 1999 6:01 am

Re: In Search of Efficiency Part Eleven: Loose

Postby Rick Wilson » Fri Dec 08, 2017 3:27 am

my entire post was lost - %^&^%$$

I have to rewrite it all.
Rick Wilson - http://wpd-rc.com/
User avatar
Rick Wilson
 
Posts: 506
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2012 12:43 am
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Next

Return to Van Canna's Self Defense Realities

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests