Sunday, July 20, 2014

Jiu-Jitsu and the Cardboard City that Glitters

I have always found Las Vegas to be a sweltering death trap and bizarre social phenomenon.  Usually when I go, it's for work, and so I only see it from the third person perspective.  This time, I went for a Kajukenbo seminar with three of my other gymmates; Seth, Carlos and Ronnie.

The first day was lessons, and the second a tournament.  Of all the things I saw that first day, Grandmaster Jay struck me the most.  He is an old man (who doesn't look old) covered from neck to feet in tattoos who lives in the woods on the border between Oregon and Washington.  He spoke of the body by referring to technical names (Vegas Nerve, Trapezius, ect)  and referred to humans as first bioelectric, and second biomechanical creatures.  A lot of things he talked about resonated with cross-disciplinary research I've done, tightening circles, strike points, breathing practices.

I would really like to take a long weekend here and there to visit, just to get a training dump.  Those sorts of concepts are where my curiosity is heading... propreoception and thinking of the work in terms of the opponents local axis (as opposed to world).  That is really where the soft martial arts go in a lot of scenarios I've seen... moving with the body so that they can just feel you on the outskirts, like a breath on the fingers, in order to lure them into holes. (Push Hands, for example).

It reminds me very much of a project my group discovered at Siggraph last year, made by Tactical Haptics.  Its so clever, the controller has a mechanism that shifts its weight forward or backwards, pending on what sort of reaction the game is trying to give you.  With that little amount of touch input, the game is able to convey a HUGE range of sensations that all feel real.  What that project made me realize is that human touch is very sensitive, but it acts as a secondary depth cue with other senses that give us the illusion of depth and space.  If you feel a little jerk in an upward direction while you watch a sword slicing upwards through a virtual object, it will feel as if you made contact. (Regardless of the fact that your arm isn't remotely close to where it would have to be to hit that target)  This is exactly what soft flow martial arts teach.  Touch the opponent in just the right place to give them a localized haptic feedback so that they feel they've made contact.  They'll keep reaching, right up until the point where they overreach, and then you have them.  Its all a game of illusions.

Here are some videos of the grappling tournament.  I'm happy with the progress I've made since my last tourney (that must have been about a year ago), and there is a LOT LOT LOT that can still be improved on.  Regardless, I like posting videos, so that in a few years I can make a study of work over time.