Pre-Activation Responses

I've been working this idea like crazy over the last month or so in my Baguazhang classes and my own experiments. Probably because of my skateboarding background. Skateboarding tricks where you jump up on a railing and ride down the stairs are only possible with some theory of pre-activation, because the first few times you risk trying it, you are going to fall hard and fast on something unpleasant.  
Here is the quote that got me thinking: 

 When I teach patients or athletes how to integrate foot to core sequencing into their programming my ultimate goal is to establish reflexive motor patterns between foot contact and core stabilization.

Nigg et al. has demonstrated that closed chain neuromuscular stabilization patterns actually occur before foot contact in what are referred to as pre-activation responses. This means that instead of reacting to movement the neuromuscular actually anticipates or pre-stabilizes for movement.

One such study by Nigg et al. has shown that foot & ankle stabilizers activate 100ms before foot contact in runners.   This pre-activation response allows the foot and core to stabilize against impact forces allowing for faster loading responses.  In the gymnast faster foot to core sequencing would mean improved joint stability, faster loading responses and optimal performance.

Here is the link http://shiftmovementscience.com/foot-to-core-stabilization-in-the-elite-gymnast-a-guest-post-by-dr-emily-splichal/

I've been working fast repetitions of ground-reaction-force with weights. I'll try to make some videos because this stuff ties into YIquan beautifully. 

My Interview with Graham Barlow

Just did a wonderful interview with the charming and thoughtful Graham Barlow at Tai Chi Notebook. Enjoy and subscribe. 

I would like to take a moment to thank the ~1500 people who have either bought or downloaded Possible Origins. You are awesome. Please consider writing a review on Amazon or your blog if you liked it. I just learned that the promotion we ran at Kung Fu Magazine giving away five copies had three times their usual number of participants. Woo Hoo

Is Stretching Good?

I recently read Richard Lieber's book Skeletal Muscle Structure, Function, and Plasticity. Fascinating stuff. Tendon recoil is more important than muscles for speed. 80% of muscle improvement from training in the first two weeks is from "neural recruitment," not hypertrophy. Meaning the brain finds and activates more muscle fibers rather than making muscle tissue stronger. The more efficient muscles become, the fewer muscle fibers engaged. That's the argument for weights in nutshell. Make your muscles inefficient and they will be more active. 

Before that I listened to 4 hours of muscle fiber scientist Andy Galpin. So much enthusiasm! It is all part of my project to expand the number of people who I can talk too through learning their specialized language. And there is a lot of food for thought in the science of muscles, even if we know almost nothing about its application to the real world (called in vivo). 

Stretching is new evil step-mother. I loved both these articles. Paul Ingraham is a talented writer and thinker. Enjoy.

https://www.painscience.com/articles/stretching.php

https://www.painscience.com/articles/unstretchables.php

 

Get a FREE copy of Possible Origins

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For the next five days I'm giving away digital copies of my book Possible Origins for FREE! 

The more people who download my book, the higher my ratings on Amazon get. Amazon then automatically increases my visibility on its website. You can give my book to your friends as a gift! You can post it on Social Media, or your BLOG. 

My real hope is that more people will read it, and if they enjoy it, write reviews. Reviews are easy to write on Amazon and I deeply appreciate the ones I've gotten so far. Click on the Button! This is only good for FIVE DAYS.

Theater of the Dead

Theater of the Dead

Book Review:  Theater of the Dead: A Social Turn in Chinese Funerary Art, 1000-1400, by Hong Jeehee. (2016, University of Hawaii Press).

This new book by Hong Jeehee is about the aesthetics of 1000 year old tombs in China. I picked it up because I thought it might tell me something new about the ritual elements of theater. Hong starts out with this question: Why were they putting theater stages, images and statues of actors, and theatrical reliefs in tombs over several hundred years in China? 

To be completely honest, I thought I would just scan this book for juicy bits, but I ended up reading it cover to cover. It is fascinating and weird. As it turns out

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End of Summer Links

1. They found the tomb of playwright Tang Xianzu (1550-1616). I wonder if they buried him with a stage and statues of actors (that is a teaser for my next post on Theater of the Dead!).

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2. We are studying these strongwoman tricks because many of them work in similar ways to Chinese internal martial arts. There is a PDF link in about the 11th paragraph that is well worth reading! 

3. Finally some push-back against zero-tolerance! 

4. Chinatown Goes Whoopee! 1940

5. A nice interview with Paulie Zink.

6. When you are in LA check this place out. A unique sort of depth at the Dharma Health Institute.

7. If you are in Colorado you have a chance to check out He Jinbao.

8. If you've ever wanted to visit China, Livia Kohn would be an awesome guide.

9. My Father just wrote a book called The Most Important Book in Human History! Check out this great review. You'll want to grab a copy while they're hot.

What is Strength?

What is Strength?

The definition of strength has changed dramatically in the last 10 years! It has expanded! The way we used to use the word strength today would not have been recognizable 15 years ago. It is a true paradigm shift. The old meaning has largely disappeared, while simultaneously, people use the word strength in more and more creative ways.

What is the old definition of strength?

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    How to Integrate Yin and Yang in the Body?

    How to Integrate Yin and Yang in the Body?

    The yin side of the body is the shadow side if you are on all fours. The yin side of the body developed early in our evolution as "radial" creatures. A starfish attaches to a rock using only it’s yin side, its yin side is also for eating, its yang side is crusty and colorful for defense. This kinesthetic sensation is a very powerful whole-body organizing tool. 

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