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PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 1999 8:17 am 
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Hi,

The internal v. external thread was once again getting large so I have started a new thread with a different focus. I had suggested that ice skating was a good analogy to the practice of MA since the skaters have to generate power to perform the jumps and spins. Additionally, the skaters have compulsories (aka forms in MA parlance) and free skates (aka free sparring in MA jargon).

Sensei Glasheen and Drew Doolin (in a long ago post) have analogized the generation of power to pitching. (BTW, Bill please describe a submarine pitch. Is this the same as a sinker?) Each pitcher uses a different type of rhtymn and muscular control to throw varying pitches.

Ok, I would humbly suggest that hitting the ball is ultimately more difficult than throwing the ball. The power involved in hitting the ball involves hip rotation, eye hand coordination and bat speed. This is also true in other sports which require the hitting of a ball such as in golf, tennis, racquetball, etc. Watch the pro golfers and tennis players. The best performers are grounded in their stances and use their hips, and legs to generate the power to hit the ball. I contend that good martial artists are usually good at these other sports.

Any comments?

Mike


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 1999 2:59 pm 
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Ah yes, hitting a baseball. Last week I pulled out the Louisville Slugger and headed to the batting cages. In fact, I went straight to the fast ones (80 mph) to see how my eye-hand coordination was after a winter layoff. Well, the muscle memory was there, and I immediately made clean contact on the first ten or so pitches.
Why do I do this? A lot is required mentally and physically. Concentration, vision, focus, upper and lower body coordination. Trying to get good translational and rotational energy at the same time is what I work on, ie stepping into the pitch while rotaing the upper body, turning the hips and still making contact on the sweet spot, all in less than 0.3 seconds. When all is perfect, the sound on the WOODEN bat tells you. Think of all of the moves in our kata where we are doing all of the above.

One caution - The muscles and motion involved in hitting a baseball are somewhat tough on the old bod. Even after a stretch and warmup, my torso was sore for about 5 days. Do not jump into the batters box without some warmup this early in the season.

Rich


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 1999 3:54 pm 
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Mike

A submarine pitch gets its description not from the outcome of the pitching motion, but from the pitching motion itself.

Assume a right handed pitcher for the sake of convenience of description. Think of a progression of pitches, all of which can be thrown with a number of different wrist movements and grip types. The extreme in one direction is an overhand pitch with the arm coming over at almost 12 o'clock. Then there is the 3/4 overhand pitch with the arm at about 1:30. There is a sidearm pitch, or the classic sidearm throw often done by shortstop. There the arm comes around at about 3:00 or even 3:30.

Now imagine carrying the path of your arm around the clock face until it hits an extreme of almost 6 o'clock. When you first see this pitch done, it looks illegal. It looks like an underhand pitch. It is not. The hand dives down like a submarine and then comes back up just a bit before the ball is released. The spin of the pitch (with proper supponation of the forearm on release) is such that the ball is rotating almost underneath. It's like doing an undercut of a tennis ball with the tennis racquet.

The "action" of any spinning pitch comes because you get a high pressure zone on the side that the ball is spinning from, and a low pressure zone on the side that the ball is spinning to. Whatever part of the clock face that your arm goes roughly determines the side of the ball where the high pressure zone is when your do a forearm supponation for the spin. This ends up being the side that the ball wants to go away from. Thus the ball will actually float up and perhaps slightly away from the side of the pitcher's throwing arm. Gravity and the pressure zones around the spinning ball actually are working against each other, with a slight side vector remaining. When the ball has its initial high spin, gravity is losing. As the spin slows from friction, gravity starts to win.

The final effect is interesting. Most batters end up swinging under the path of the ball and popping up. Those batters that hit it squarely but too slowly end up hitting grounders because of the way that that the spinning ball reflects off of the bat.

Want an entirely different science? The knucle ball is it!! Here one can almost parallel the claims of those who claim to do things differently. The knuckle ball really is different. The curve is caused not by the rotation of the ball, but rather lack of rotation which - combined with the stitches on the baseball - create a very unstable airflow around the baseball. The curve is completely unpredictable. Catchers have to use special mits to hang onto these pitches. They have a saying about how to catch one - wait until it hits the backstop and then pick it up.

Anyone who has ever read anything about the mathematical field of chaos can appreciate the knuckleball. For a good start on that subject, read the book Chaos: the making of a new science by Glick.

Complex? Yes. Difficult to explain? Only if you lack the language, lack the understanding of science, or have a hidden agenda.

Bill

[This message has been edited by Bill Glasheen (edited 04-09-99).]


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 1999 4:50 pm 
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Mike

In regard to your question about the similarities between throwing a baseball and delivering a strike/thrust/throw, these similarities do exist. All require use of virtually every major muscle in the body to be done at optimal level. All require constant rehersal before mastering. All have slight variations in practice from person to person. And the difference in one strike vs the next or one pitch vs the next is only a difference in the sequence of contraction of the various muscles and muscle groups in the body. Very slight changes in this complex equation that creates the total motion can produce dramatically different results.

Bill


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 1999 7:23 pm 
An interesting bit of synchronicity happened the other day. On the broadcast of the second Blue Jays game against the Twins (that'd be the one they won!), a batter let his bat fly into the stands after missing a pitch. Joe Carter, who was doing the colour commentary, mentioned that some batters do that frequently becasue they hold their bats so loosely. They want to keep their hands and forearms completely relaxed so that they don't interfere with the transfer of energy from their hips, legs and waist (ie. koshi in Japanese). Other batters hold tighter, but use their arms more to power the swing. If you watched the latter part of last years season, you could see this difference when comparing Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa.

This is analagous to the difference between the internal and external generation of power in the martial arts, I reckon, dontcha think?

------------------
maurice richard libby
toronto/moose jaw
Ronin at large


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 1999 9:21 pm 
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Maurice

No, you don't understand! And you probably never will! Sorry....I couldn't resist.

Rich brings me out to the batting cages now and then. I can vouch for his ability to lay his bat on an 80 mph fastball (with his old-man's cane). Late last summer I was sitting behind the backstop and watching his form. Afterwards we had a rather lengthy discussion about some of the very things you and he are talking about here. I used it as an opportunity to talk about some of the very problems I had seen in his sanchin. Imagine that!

Bill


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 1999 2:32 am 
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Yes, the advice was taken and I've since added that translational motion to the circular. You should see the balls fly! In fact, I draw a crowd when they hear the sound of the WOODEN bat making good contact.
Rich


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