Movement Inside the Movement
I have had the privilege to train under some amazing teachers in a number of fighting systems over the years. But for all the brilliance, similarities and differences of these fighting styles I cannot compare them in any shape or form to The System.
Last week I was lucky enough to train with Mikhail and Vladimir. And afterwards considered an observation that is unique to the experience of the art under such teachers.
The level at which we think and the level at which we function are related, but also fundementally redundant to each other. The mind cannot comfortably deal with all the information the body experiences physically, psychologically and pychically at any one moment and allow us to think effectively. For example if we had to think about walking around we would not get very far in a day, and any conscious level of thinking to eat would soon ruin the experience of taste and enjoyment of the food. We function, experience and analyze but rarely attempt to separate the experience of the whole.
Experience teaches us to make decisions and then allow the body to think for itself. When a hand reaches out for a fork, or balls up to strike an opponent the subconscious plays a major part in directing the hand to the objective. The conscious mind simply does not work efficiently or fast enough to direct the hand through all the myriad functions of the muscles, tendons, bones etc that are required to make the action. We rely on experience and ‘stop points’ to tell the mind that certain requests are completed and that another request may be acted on.
When a punch is thrown it has to land or miss (one or the other ‘stop points’) for the mind to understand what is happening and not continuing flowing. If neither of those things happen then the person throwing the punch is at the mercy of their own subconscious.
Working with Mikhail last week, one of the experiences my body registered was the ability of Mikhail to slip inside my movement, never allowing me to reach a logical stop point. As I reached out to grab him my hand (and body) had to register the stop to react again.
If Mikhail just left me I could easily re-adjust, but by staying with me he replaces the feeling I am expecting by letting my mind feel ‘a positive something’, essentially ‘catching’ my consciousness. I experienced a drift in my mind as it allowed itself to be guided, unable to use the familiar landscape of ‘stop points’ to navigate the space I was in. But also aware that my body is feeling something gentle, so as not to alarm it.
Mikhail for all intents and purposes had slipped inside my subconscious movement and was guiding my body. It seems likely that we have an outside shell of recognizable movement, and ninety- percent internal movement. A high percentage of what we do is unrecognizable movement to the conscious part of the mind.
Becoming ‘soft’ allows your mind (and body) to meld with an opponent’s subconscious movement. Guiding it to a natural conclusion without ‘stop points’, practically unaware to the opponent’s conscious mind.
This is also extremely healthy for all parties involve. And easy to recognize if done effectively, your opponent should be laughing as they are guided.