The figure eight in Russian martial arts – but why?
The figure eight is such a central concept in RMA. And the reasons for this are many. The understanding of the concept has evolved in time for me.
I wanted to list some of my thoughts. And maybe you can can think of even more reasons why the figure eight is so important, and even list em' in the comments? Or maybe just attack me and tell me how wrong I am?
Before I get to all the gory eight shaped details. The time is right to talk about this concept. Because I'm on my way to workout with Karimov - Андрей Каримов in SPB. There I'm meeting up with Olivia Overturf, Rick Parry and of course others! It will be epic!
Here's a figure eight related Karimov video that's a real gem, IMHO (his style taught me many things that I've kept around and even shown others!)
Whenever I think about this concept, I recall a fairly simplistic toy machine I ran into a while back at the University of Stuttgart in Germany. I was invited there to give a talk in the physics department. And my host had one of these fun gadgets - which I'm about to describe - in his office. It was really very simple, yet mesmerizing. Here's how it worked.
A string was used to suspend a weight positioned above a plate. The plate contained sand of various colors. The weight was just a plumb bob – hence, it came to a steep point at the end that contacted the sand. All you had to do was give it a little nudge and sit back and watch it make a pretty pattern in the sand. Wallah. The patterns were a bunch of concentric figure eights! Yup.
If you think cats are silly for mindlessly entertaining themselves with balls of sting, perhaps ultra intelligent life forms far off in a distant galaxy get a kick out of us humans for being so entertained by this. But then even more intelligent life forms get a kick of these ultra intelligent life forms getting a kick of us getting a kick out of this. You see, it's a twisted galaxy, all the way to the top rungs.
Forgetting the aliens: why is this relevant? You see, this sandy toy is an example of a 'pendulum in motion'. And the sand keeps a visual record of the various figure eight shapes it traces out. How pretty.
If you give something in suspension a nudge and let it move around, the figure eight path will be part of its natural undisturbed motion. The key word here which we'll return to later: undisturbed.
Here are a few of the examples of figure eights arising in RMA. (there are more! And many principles are not listed here! Tell us about them in the comments!)
. You'll recall that there's been several solo work videos posted here. They've shown us various weapons swings that typically trace out figure eights. Video by Suny Lum: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8yH8KNfn1M
- Double weapons
. you might be familiar with the Cossack double sword, double stick and double whip work. The figure eight is easy to spot! But do you know about this elegant connection between empty hand blocks, take downs and the double weapons work? This is one of the reasons why I'm on my way to SPB to workout again on Siberian Cossack – here's the video I already listed https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJkbC4IPlVI&index=250&list=WL
--- see you soon Andrey Karimov
- The secrete connection
no one wants to talk about between FMA and RMA: replace the slashes above ^ with stabs and use the impulse to generate force: magically the Cossack double weapons work starts to look painfully close to some of the FMA knife stuff. Hmmn... A different culture, with different weapons. How cool! [Come to SystemaPalooza!]
- On that same line. You'll notice how Volk
have some rapid hand strikes. This stuff is all part of the same thing. [Come to SystemaPalooza!] Video by Micheal Grudev:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_n-7leDD8g&index=174&list=WL
=== connecting the movements
You see, when your body moves, each movement must be connected to the prior movement. Of course.
What do I mean by this? Well, say you want to do a few strikes. And then a take down. Or whatever. It's not important. You just want to do a bunch of stuff in a row. Like always.
There's no rules in combat. And you don't always have the luxury of picking and choosing how things fit together. But your natural movement style can be programmed and the more of your body weight and skeletal structure you can use the better. Why? Because it's more powerful and takes less energy. Among other reasons with deal with human perception.
All of us are getting in the way of our own movement: it's something to work on which can always improve! But the more we practice, the more relaxed we become.
The efficient patterns connecting things is typically not a straight line!
Your arms are such a good example. They are suspended not unlike that toy. The spin sort of holds them in place.
You see, if I throw a punch, even the path of the punch is often in a bit of an arch, and the retraction will drive the next movement, if I let it. (like strikes from Skobar) Let those big meaty shoulders of yours relax enough to drive each other and when you do need to stop and go, tiny little curves really changes the game in terms of how tired you get and how fluid things become.
And I've been holding back on you. But I don't have al the space in the world here. The spine is so so important. I will talk about how the wave travels through it next time. For now, just remember.
Starting and stopping takes work. So move around the jagged bits, just like that sandy toy does smile emoticon
One time a master at CMA told me that the problem with the internal wave is that you fully extend yourself at the end of the movement. But this is not CMA, it's RMA. The movements themselves are fundamentally shaped to account for the figure eight, at all levels of complexity. He's a cool guy, but since real RMA didn't really leave Russia yet, he might not of known this.
While we do a lot of bowing and unbowing with the spine, legs and arms, a lot of internal twisting and winding with the hip joints, the important message I'm always working on, is to apply the muscular force in a way that accelerates the natural waves going through my body. And to connect these waves using figure eights all over the place. You can't be all floppy, that's wrong too.
OK. That's enough for today. Tomorrow I'm off to SPB. And I still need to set up the event page for SystemaPalooza.
Don't forget. This is an open discussion. I'm interested in hearing your thoughts about any or all of this!
=== further reading and more about the magic 8
I'm listing everything I can here! If you know of more content, drop me a link or post it in the comments! Thanks!
- 'Figure eight movement of the arms' by +Paul Genge http://combatlab.russianmartialart.org.uk/blog.asp?blogid=33
- 'The principles of movement' by Paul Genge http://combatlab.russianmartialart.org.uk/blog.asp?blogid=7
- 'The internal pendulum' by Paul Genge http://combatlab.russianmartialart.org.uk/blog.asp
- 'The trinity strike' by Paul Genge http://combatlab.russianmartialart.org.uk/blog.asp?blogid=23
- Here's all anyone ever wanted to know about plumb bobs, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plumb_bob
- Image credit. I have a real artist to make my midlife crisis epic RMA pilgrimage all the more pleasant. This picture was from Lusa Zeglova. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lusa-Zeglova/228469290661621?fref=ts
- the science of pickpocketing with some martial arts mixed in
…/posts/N3pgQxBacTc #Izvor #Volk #RussianMartialArts