Gross motor/fine motor question

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Gross motor/fine motor question

Postby Cecil » Fri Mar 05, 1999 9:47 pm

The wrist twirling motions in sword and stick forms, type of wrist motions that require you to spin the wrist more so than the elbow: is it gross or fine motor (I think fine, but not sure), and will it fail under the cocktail?

Also: the knife twirling and twirling weapons tricks I see people teach and do: will they hold up under the cocktail? Or are weapons techniques and katas that are simple but applied at different angles better? I think so, but I'd like an expert opinion.


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Gross motor/fine motor question

Postby Van Canna » Sat Mar 06, 1999 2:31 am

Cecil -san ,

Siddle writes " Fine motor skills are skills which are performed by small muscle mass or groups , such as hands and fingers ; and frequently involve hand to eye coordination .Action such as typing , handwriting or playing the piano would be considered fine motor skills .In the survival skill category , a fine motor skill would include any action that requires precision hand -eye coordination !

"Complex motor skills are skills which involve hand -eye coordination , timing or tracking , and have multiple technique components "

My opinion is that spinning and twirling are not as ' stress resistant ' as the more simplistic angled techniques that you mention !

What it is really hard to comprehend for most of us is that a technique is only as good as the body's ability to instinctively summons it under the wet blanket of the 'fight or fight' syndrome ! In debriefing a number of martial artists involved in fights , they remain astounded by the lack of all the fancy moves from their katas ; they recall the 'primal fist ' response in spite of their open hand training along with lots of flailing !

Also , take highly trained black belts in any style , put gloves on them , let them fight full contact / knock out matches and watch how they degenerate into a brawl with wild swings / flailing and basic front kicks as opposed to fancy footwork !

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Gross motor/fine motor question

Postby Greg » Sat Mar 06, 1999 4:23 am


In my opinion, when it comes to weapon training, especially sticks or bladed weapons, it is difficult to tell if anything will 'hold up' if one doesn't train drills with a partner. By this I mean that it is difficult to simulate the 'cocktail' during controlled training (although the kinds of things which have been discussed on the forum about 'reality based training' likely come closest), but a quick way to find out if those moves we have trained with the stick involving twirling or 'fancy' grip changes midway through movements are utilitarian or merely pretty is go at it with some vigor. In the case of stick work, this may mean free sparring or drilling at full speed and power. Personally, when working with live blades, I have no interest in "sparring" per se. However, working with a live blade in a drill situation focusses one's attention remarkably, and, in some ways may simulate something similar to the 'cocktail.' This is not because the intent is necessarily to cut one's partner. Rather, it is simply the fact that I know that intentional or not, if I don't properly receive my partner's technique, I will be cut (but this is perhaps another thread).

My suggestion is to 'simply' test these techniques in progressively more 'realistic' scenarios. It is always tempting, I think to say that movements which look 'fancy' are decorative only. Generalization like this is, I believe, a mistake - certainly it has been for me. In the past, those movements that I have categorized as overly fancy have sometimes later been techniques which I realized I did not understand.

I do think that the idea that small muscle movements degenerate under stress is fairly incontrovertible. Nevertheless, small adjustments in the angle of one's wrist when one is holding a knife make all the difference in the world to the person being cut... I suppose the question always comes back to where each of us draws the line, realizing that this degeneration occurs. Do I (because of the realization that my small muscle control will degenerate), aim a knife slash not for the areas on the arm which I may know will incapacitate the arm, but rather think in terms like "just cut the arm?" Or do I exhaustively train the movments (small muscle movements included) which are necessary to effect my goal (incapacitating the blade arm, in this case), hoping that the degeneration will not lower my capabilities to the point at which they become ineffectual?

Sorry, Cecil. It seems I've got more questions than answers!

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Gross motor/fine motor question

Postby JohnC » Sat Mar 06, 1999 7:23 am

Fine motor skills are those that require more discreet visio motor coordination. These would include dynamics such as finger dexterity, complex bimanual coordination, haptic integration and others that involve extensive finer movements, usually on multidimensional kinesthetic planes. They are less instinctual and require extensive practice and development. In vocational terms, these type skills may require 4-7 years to fully develop and mature in order to fulfill job expectations. Think of a master jeweler, engraver of fine crystal, dental hygenist, electronic assembler, etc.

Gross motor skills are those that are simpler strength and/or balance oriented coordinations such as the kinesthetic integration activity of stooping, walking, crouching, pushing, or pulling. They are usually simpler movements of a singular directional plane. They are more natural and instinctual and either do not require additional learning, or can be learned, adapted or advanced with minimal effort. Think of a construction laborer, ditch digger, etc.

These are very distinct differences that are routinely assessed and measured in vocational evaluation, ergonomics, job analysis, exercise physiology and kinesthetics. In all of these disciplines there are studies that measure the affects of stress and various stimulus on performance with similar outcomes to those espoused regarding real life encounters.
Stress and distracting stimuli confound and obliterate fine motor skill performance.

Keep fine motor skills to a minimum in high stress situations to the degree possible, whether in designing high speed production plants, olympic performances, or self defense systems.

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