Saturday, January 19, 2008


Andre Willers
20 Jan 2008

Athlete .
Athletic prowess is intimately bound to the body self-image .

Body self-image :
Your body knows where it is by knowing where its fingertips are , then eyes , then ears , then feet soles in this order .

Why fingertips first ?
The scared hominid perched on a branch in the dark while the leopard-class predator stalks nearer , disturbing the elastic branch in certain very specific harmonics , is primarily reliant on sense-pads and computing in its fingertips to survive . Later on , visual systems became more important , but the primary , underlying sense of self-image is in feedback from the fingertips .

This can be easily shown :
Play some rousing semi-classic or chorus music that can be finger tapped to .Try to tap the fingertips of each hand against the other in time to the music :
a. With your eyes closed
b. With your eyes open
You will notice that you miss more with your eyes open . Your eye-hand system is not properly co-ordinated , and the fingertip sense is better and messed up by the visual input .

Training :
You will notice that eye-ears are coupled because they are on the same head - chassis , which is coupled to the body-platform housing the arms and fingertips .
We simply train each fingertip to know where every other fingertip is , with or without visual input .

This is done not only in the brain but also on local level (ie at the level of fingers , hands ,arms) . This better self-image leads to better performance .

The recipe:
Once again , play some rousing semi-classic or chorus music that can be finger tapped to . Move the head back-and-forth through an arc of about 5 degrees .Try to tap the fingertips of each hand against the other in time to the music .Keep on for at least 10 minutes . You will notice that you rapidly improve . It is because you are using existing brain-body mechanisms .

Stop after 10 minutes and do not try again until after a sleep .
This potentiates long-term memory .
Take some cod-liver oil .The cod-liver oil gives essential fatty acids for memory formation .

Moving the head compensates if you are using a CD , but also integrates the visual system .

Comment :
The first improvement is extremely rapid ( 10 minutes ) and also permanent after the next day .
Then you will wonder why you could not do such a simple thing before . There is no sense of strain .
You are simply relearning things that you should be doing naturally . Further improvement increments are smaller as per law of diminishing returns .

Whether you are playing golf , tennis , hockey , basketball , etc , knowing where your fingertips are relative to your body , or rather ,where your body is relative to your fingertips , is the thing defining athleticism in these sports .

These are fairly simple neural-networks . If you over-work them , they start to learn minutae .

If your pinkie lifts while drinking tea , stop!

Da Feet ,da feet!
Originally , proto-homonids had the same sensitivity on toes . When they transferred to the ground , a lot of this sensitivity transferred to the soles of the feet for balance . This sensitivity has been quantized (roughly one node per square cm of sole .) Fairly coarse , but sufficient to give enough feedback for normal balance .

But what about abnormal balance ?
Dojo mats for judo and karate (where balance is critical) , uses rough fibres woven to these dimensions .

Old people lose their sense of balance because of degradation of feedback from their soles . Their body-image is not in balance .
Old age sensitization of soles using stimuli on this order is now commercially available .
Sportspersons use them as well .

What to do if you cannot afford a $7000 vibrating sole from Switserland or the US ?

Well , move your feet in a rhythmic pattern . Have a floormat with a knobby surface and dance barefoot on it to the time of the music . The thing is to train the system .

Integrated Training System :
Watch ITARIN (while wearing your glasses) on a computer screen while listening to some rousing beat classical music , while moving your head side-to-side over a about 5 degree arc , while dancing barefoot on a knobbly mat , all the time tapping your fingertips together .

Repeat this three times daily about once every three months .

Apart from looking ridiculous , you will be :
1. Training your eyes for better vision with/without glasses.
2. Integrating your self-image with your visual and auditory system.
3. Improving your balance.

Yes , but what about my hair ?
Your bodyhair defines the envelope of your body .

Note that the most potent , in-your-face , body-to-body , contact warriors the planet has ever seen were the Greek Hoplites . They were scraped clean of all body-hair by strigils . For hairy monkeys , the only real sense of self they could feel was in mano-a-mano combat ,or wrestling . This definition of male beauty is still with us . Ever seen a hairy Greek statue?
As discussed , the invention of soap did a lot to do in the Roman Empire .

So what can you do ? Long ,straggly hairs are markers of old age . ( See previous discussion) . Short chest hairs are a sign of manliness among some cultures . So , cut them .

Males have sort of x-ray vision that can see straggly armpit hairs in females . A sort of subliminal friction and smell effect . Similarly , females can detect smelly old men , even when they are young .

Sigh .


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