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Monday
Dec172007

Systems

HabitrailOne of the basic ideas of Systems Theory is that if you have a complex system and you speed up one part of that system, you will slow down the whole system.

Likewise, if you make one part of a system more efficient you will make the whole system less efficient.

In martial arts, if you have one joint that is looser than the adjacent joints, the body will tighten up somewhere else to compensate for the loose joint, which will make the whole body less efficient.

Likewise, if you have one muscle or one muscle group that is stronger than the adjacent muscles, the system will be weaker and less efficient.

Systems theory, by the way, is really just a collection of observations about how stuff works. An important observation that is practically a rule of industrial commerce, is that for any given output or product created by a system with multiple variables, there is a way to make the system more efficient. I posit that this is why we can always improve our martial arts skill.

If you want to speed up and improve the efficiency of a whole system the best way to do it is to confine the output, limit the product produced, and then run the whole system at different speeds, both fast and slow, to see where the weak links are. Then you can focus on efficiency in that one location or component. Games like Push-hands, sparring, boxing, sumo, and even MMA, all confine output. They all "run our systems" with confining rules that limit output and thus allow us to find the weak links.

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 Formosa Neijia responded to my last post with a post of his own.  Systems theory would suggest that strengthening or weakening any one region of the body is a losing strategy unless you have already shown that for a given output that region is the weak link.  In other words, whole body unity should be a priority--both the measure of any intermediate steps, and the final fruition.

Reader Comments (1)

I was planning for a long time to write that post anyway. Your post spurred me to go back and finish the draft. :)

I agree that whole body strength is the goal. But in my experience, the gut tends to be a weak link in the chain. In order for the chain to be efficient, the weak links need to be taken care of.

December 17, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterFormosa Neijia

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