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September 25, 2020 at 20:08 #31642I couldn’t get a reply box despite several log ins. I could get to the discussion zone, and my Summer 2020, but I kept being asked to log in and still couldn’t find the means to submit a reply. I also can’t see the URL that was with “ latest stroke” any more, so I didn’t view it.What I did want to say before I forgot was that I figured out in today’s swim something on the head turn. In Tai Chi Chuan, certain qualities of the movements in the form and therefore martial situation are always present, such as: looseness of the limbs; stickiness, meaning a means of grasping the opponent through touch at the surface; connecting, meaning dropping the pelvis, extending the spine and crown, and changing angle of a limb or limbs so that a new system of leverage is created. I’ve been struggling as you know with keeping the line and therefore momentum with the head turn, and making the head turn independent. I knew that I was always in danger of losing the correct degree of rotation to skate, and losing the connection of through the pelvis. I could do that increasingly easily without the head turn to breathe ( one two occasions I crossed the 35 ft in five strokes, even better than six which is routine now) but with the head turn, the stroke count would often shoot up. But: if I extended the arm forward at the correct angle, poured by deltoid/scapula into the tunnel and shot forward, and then imagined connecting the arm so that it was rooted in the water, just as one sinks the connected spine through the pelvis into the inner thighs and down into the earth, thereby rooting ( that is why 75 year old tiny soft form martial artists seem to be immovable by young men a third of their age and twice their size), and from the connection to the water, up the arm to my shoulders and back with a relaxed neck, I can turn my head whenever I want without losing the foundation. Once connected to the water through my arm, I am independent and time slows down. That’s the key. The other thing was that I had to remember to exhale and then inhale for the .5 sec. If I didn’t exhale sufficiently through my nose, I can’t obviously inhale; not news, but once freed from the chaos of not being connected I could focus on that. In short, it’s all about finding the right connection. What I was doing previously was connecting to the water, but the angle of entry was way off, so that I was reaching forward but not down, so there was no real connection for the torso and hips. At least, that’s my theory.September 28, 2020 at 20:08 #31643I missed making a crucial point: the extended arm becomes connected by subtlety changing the angle and creating leverage by dropping the shoulder which changes the angle of the elbow creating another point of connection, which in turn creates a surface for the volar surface of the wrist to connect to the water. So, instead of an extended arms there is an extended arm sunk into the density of the water, therefore increasing the length of the vessel and decreasing the points of instability.I have another question before we end. Is it realistic to expect an inevitable decrease in efficiency from breathing, or should the impact of the turn be eliminated completely ?September 28, 2020 at 20:09 #31644Mat HudsonKeymaster
Well, I would say that there is a noticeable cost to turning the head for breathing even with the best breathing technique on board. Anyone would prefer to never have to turn the head at all (if only we could have a breathing tube out the back of our necks!) But the cost that a masterful breather experiences is likely so light compared to what most people are experiencing when they try to breathe. The cost is that there is some effort involved in turning the mass of the head, and the turning of that mass has some effect on the stability of the frame which the skilled swimmer absorbs gracefully on each breath. Yet, there is virtually no cost to momentum and streamline when that breath is done in the ‘sneaky’ way.
That’s the long answer. The short answer is that you have a lot more improvement ahead of you to enjoy in that area, so don’t give up! It can become a lot more comfortable and less disruptive than you are experiencing it to be.
I lament the closing of your pool and our dialogue!September 28, 2020 at 20:09 #31645I’m simultaneously encouraged and discouraged—a familiar struggle, so it’s all good. It is difficult to string together enough strokes in a small pool to let things get smoother, but there isn’t much choice. I’m going to try to rent a cottage on a lake for a week next summer; my daughter, who is much more athletic than I has also been swimming fervently. In the meantime, I’ll keep drilling to try and keep the foundation as solid as possible so that the head is in it’s own world.All in all, though I’m pleased with the progress this summer. Thanks for all your help. I’ll look forward to continuing with you next summer. Please let me know how the Dojo plans unfold.Best,TimOctober 3, 2020 at 20:36 #31651Mat HudsonKeymaster
I try not to make an issue of the short pool situation, but I think you’d notice considerable acceleration in integrating skills if you had more repeats of more uninterrupted strokes. And, if only we could meet at the pool in person… it would be so much easier to communicate and sense one another’s movement and meaning.
The new Dojo is going. I’ve extended your membership through the month if you’d like to check it out and talk more.
I’ve enjoyed working with you and hope for more.
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