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Sunday, January 28, 2007

"MY LESSONS WITH THE MASTERS..." Ari Kandel's personal training blog. #5

My Second Tim Tune-up Continued...
Tim explained how his whole body is involved in every movement, even when it looks like just his hands are moving. For example, he showed me how the arm break he'd gotten me with a half-dozen (okay, maybe closer to a full dozen) times was powered by his shifting weight onto his rear leg, not by any increase of strength in his arms. Likewise, a strike he hit me with was created by the slight repositioning of one of his feet, not by the thrusting of his arm.Tim eventually ended the physical part of the lesson, but then had me sit down with him in the front office to discuss any questions I had. We discussed aspects of exercises, things I should concentrate on improving, and general concepts about Guided Chaos. Here are some highlights:

"Looseness" is not floppiness, and it's definitely not SLOPPINESS, but maintaining a "flow" throughout all movement so that you'll go around anything without being stopped.

To Tim, the opponent always feels rigid as a statue, whether Tim is applying no force or 100 pounds of force.

After asking my age, Tim pointed out that I've been using my hands for 27 years. He thinks they probably know how to work together without further guidance! (This was in response to a question I asked about the Tai Chi concept of yin hand and yang hand.)

It's all just balance, sensitivity, coordination between hands and feet . . . and art.

For correct body positioning, imagine how you would stand to push a big old Cadillac up a hill. You would align your body and dig from the legs. The elbows would be down, and the arms themselves would not do much of the work.

During our discussion, Tim got up and we went back into the studio so that he could demonstrate some things he was explaining:

He wanted me to start out in a "safe" position (the L-stance and arm position discussed in the previous lesson), then use the movement of my body and legs to stick with his arms, rather than moving my arms to follow his. If I moved my arms to follow his, my arms ended up out of position and my body ended up open, such that he was able to hit at will while tying up my arms. If I used only body and leg adjustments to stick with his arms (beyond simply turning the waist), my arms remained in a "safe" position, covering my body and connected to it. I noticed that this idea automatically had me moving behind a guard with good (or at least better) body unity. Powerful idea!

Tim also showed me that despite the non-stop barrage of powerful hits he dished out, he was actually playing almost all defense! He stuck to my arms and maintained a safe position for himself, penetrating and hitting only when I made a mistake (balance, tightness, alignment) and put myself in a position where I had no hope of hitting him. He said that to do otherwise was to risk trading punches, which he is not willing to do against someone who really means to hurt him. Furthering that idea, Tim admonished me not to rush my hits. I should hit only when I am in a good position to END it, hitting a good target with full body unity with no chance of being hit back. Anything else is simply asking to trade punches.

Finally, Tim showed me how he uses pulsing. If I have a good position that Tim cannot safely penetrate, he uses a slight addition of uncommitted pressure to force me to move somewhere, even if it's just pushing back to maintain my position. This increase in energy or movement away from a safe position on my part is all he needs to feel my mistakes and begin the slaughter.

By the time I left Tim's studio, my brain was so occupied with pondering everything I had learned that I completely forgot about the visit to the Baskin Robbins near the studio that I had promised myself before the lesson! (Two scoops of Jamoca Almond Fudge does wonders for your sensitivity and balance, by the way.)

For the next few blog posts, I'll discuss my experiences with Lt. Col. Al and Matt Kovsky. Plenty of interesting stuff. . . . Stay tuned!

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