Super Slo-Mo
The grok part

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The benefits to slo-mo training? ... cascade as follows:

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=== Getting Your Inner Grok On ===

Let's say that in a self-defense dojo, they're going to teach you a defense to a drunken knife attack (ha!).  

Most places, the instructor will "demonstrate" it in full speed with a cooperative student, mostly for the sake of impressing you.  Then, he'll give you two or three checkpoints about the defense, explaining with a fair amount of drama why you want don't want to block this other way, 'cause you could have it hit you in the face, or whatever.  Then he'll say, be sure to turn the wrist back THIS way, cause if anybody gets cut that way IT WILL BE THE BAD GUY!, and etc etc.

In aikido, likely a student will attack in slow-motion with a wooden blade, and the sempai will shift the back foot and back hip, in slow motion.  

Stop.  Why move the foot that way?  Why move it that particular distance?

And so on.

Here comes the energy, in slow motion.  The sempai's forearm glides up, smoothly, as the sempai's back knee dips a bit and the sempai exhales.  The forearm makes a "cross" under the attacker's forearm, at a very particular place on both forearms.  

Stop.  Why do the forearms touch there?  What happens if they don't (which, in practice, they will not)?

Okay, the contact between forearms takes place.  The sempai's forearm begins turning in a corkscrew motion, and the back foot begins swinging around, as though the attacker is pushing open a window.  The blade seems to be "engulfed" in the attacker and the attacker's forearm is very safely riding on the outside of the sempai's forearm; there is NO chance of blade touching either party, or a third party. How exactly do these movements relate?

It's beautiful to watch, and happens to be a movement I can execute myself pretty well at parties and whatnot.  But try it with a Shotokan green belt.  :- )  He doesn't even get his wrist UNDER your blade, much less under it at the right point.  He doesn't "grok" the way in which the attacker's leading hand "pushes" him out of the way.

....................

Watch the average American hitter in the on-deck circle -- high school, college, more often than in the majors.  If he's swinging, he's swinging in time to the live pitch on the diamond, as though he were hitting a home run from the on-deck circle.

In the majors they do this usually with the first little bit of a bat launch, but then check their swings.

Contrast Ichiro, who is doing what?  Rehearsing his swing -- in slow motion.  And stretching out his lower body, so that he can engage his weight in the movement.  And meditating.

....................

In aikido, there is a saying:  "Before you can take another person's balance, you must first learn to control your own balance."  Ichiro is not out on the on-deck circle visualizing home runs.  He is making sure that he himself is well-organized, that his own responsibilities (within the sports moment) are taken care of.

It's the difference between "greed for success" -- skipping all the boring vegetables to get to dessert -- and being "in the moment."  As Bruce Lee said, "It's not about winning.  It's about perfection."

The first thing that slow-motion training does:  it gives you, for the first time in your life, an understanding of everything you are doing.  Then, and only then, can you repeat it at will, and modify it at will, and accomplish it at will under crisis.

First understand, then predict, then control.  First learn walk, then learn fly.  Nature rule, Daniel-san, not mine.

NEXT

Comments

1
Brent's picture

When I was first learning piano (six years old) my teacher was insistent that any piece be learned at the speed at which no mistakes were made, Didn't matter if it took an hour to play the minute waltz; do it with no errors. Only then could you increase the tempo, and only to the point at which no mistakes crept in. Let me tell you, as a six-year old with the attention span of a squirrel on uppers, I about lost my mind. But when I was ten, and took up trombone, that same slo-mo procedure made it much easier to learn the instrument. Slow repetition, until I got the muscle movements correct and knew just how far the slide needed to go to get the correct note without having to think about that aspect of playing the piece. I could concentrate on the music itself, not the mechanics of producing the individual notes. I'm still a rookie ball pianist. Maybe Low-A. But the issue is physical, not mental. Short, stubby fingers do not lend themselves to the task. On trombone, I was AAA, maybe even AAAA. The technique just flat-out works.

2

I wish I'd thought of that when I was playing.  What a pitch-perfect application.
Get it perfect, then speed up a bit, and a bit more, and a bit more...   Eddie Van Halen says he can still play all of Clapton's stuff note-for-note.

3
F.Nietzsche's picture

I had a thought today regarding Smoak and his current mental approach to his development. It may have finally dawned on him that his raw talent is not going to be enough to cut it.
Not trying to boast here, but to illustrate my point: Growing up I was always intellectually superior to most of my peers. Not genius, or even VERY intelligent, by in high school I got 4.0's and 1400 SAT scores without any significant effort. This created a sense in my mind that I was the smartest person I knew, and if I applied myself I could easily be the top of any class I was in, regardless of subject.
This continued while I was in the military, getting promoted quickly and winning awards even though I had no intention of staying in. It was easy.
When I got out to pursue engineering, I thought that it was gonna be more of the same. "You're crazy", people would say, "people drop out at a huge rate because it's so hard". These people didn't realize they were talking to ME. Don't worry guys, I'm different. I'm talented.
First semester Calculus. B minus? Oh that was just an aberration. I was sick for a couple weeks. Won't happen again.
Second semester Calculus. B. First semester Physics. C+. What is going on? Guess I gotta work a little harder.
Third semester Calculus. B. Linear Algebra. B-. I worked my hardest! What is going on?!?!
What was going on is I had overestimated my own raw talent and underestimated the intellect and drive of both my classmates and the genius of our scientific forefathers. Newly humbled, I knelt before the reality of my fallibility and viscerally realized that I wasn’t as smart as I thought I was. Not nearly.
But with that realization I rebuilt my study regimen from the ground up, and that gave rise to a genuine humility that was necessary for my development. Being smart just wasn’t going to be enough at this level. I had to be smart and humble and driven and sacrifice many things that were very dear to me.
Based on the quotes I’ve heard over the past couple years from Smoak, I think he’s arrived at the same crossroads. Before we heard “I’ve hit in the MOTO all my life” etc. His whole life he’s been the biggest, strongest, person he knows. He’s worked reasonably hard, very hard in fact, but perhaps he hasn’t truly, VISCERALLY, realized his fallibility in the face of the genetic freaks he’s been tasked to compete against.
He didn’t analyze pitchers before? Really? While at first that may seem like ego, it’s more likely just naivete to the truly fantastic abilities of the pitchers he’s facing.
There are a miniscule number of Newtons, Einteins, Feynmans, and Eulers. Men born with brains that can invent branches of Physics and Mathematics. I thought I was at their level. I just laughed out loud at the thought. Absolutely ridiculous.
There are a miniscule number of Ken Griffey Jr’s. Men genetically engineered to be good at hitting and catching baseballs. Perhaps Smoak thought he was one of these men. With his experiences all his life, it could be difficult to think otherwise. He’s always been the best baseball player he knows. Why would that stop now?
I think this news bodes very well for Smoak. He may never put it all together, but coming at the game from a very humbled perspective is going to be his best shot at it. I’m excited to see what he’s gonna do this season.

4

Great post Nietzche (interesting choice of moniker). It's very possible you may have nailed what's going on with Smoak. Here's hoping, whether that's it or not, that Smoak recovers his career trajectory, 'cause we gave up on Carp in order to protect our investment in Jason.

5

Per my previous post, in my opinion: 26 year-old, team-controlled, high-upside, cheap Mike Carp was sacrificed to create a roster spot for Raul who is a 40 years-old 1-year wonder with declining skills and an expensive contract. Without Raul, Carp has a roster spot.

6
ghost's picture

I was, at first, in favor of the Raul signing...or at least understood why ity was done (because we wanted to lock in a stoploss in case we whiffed on higher targets)...but now, in light of the additional moves that were made, it looks very incoherent and has likely cost us a valuable player for nothing.

7
misterjonez's picture

Same basic story for me. Home schooled, had essentially graduated high school by the time I was 13 but decided to go to public HS for sports a couple years. IQ150 on the nose, ranked 99.991 percentile on national aptitude/intelligence scores, etc..
Went to nursing school, got 3.7gpa on prerequisites in my sleep, then first quarter in program bam! 2.7. rededicated myself a smidge and cruised to a 3.7 for the rest of the program.
Got into online business, thought would be more of the same. Ha! There are some REAL geniuses in THAT field, I've come to find out over the last five years of daily battle. Still struggling to keep up with the curve...have essentially abandoned the idea of getting ahead of it.
Respect for your opponents does funny things to your psyche. You''re right: humility makes you better. You stop headhunting for he knockout, or the cheap checkmate and you start grinding for points day in, day out. Some people, the revelation hat there are MANY fish bigger than them, it breaks them. Others, it's just the fires of the forge, tempering them into something much, much more dangerous.
Great post. Keep it coming!

8

That transition, from "ain't no thang" to deep respect for the challenge, is critical for you super-talented guys who are going to ACCOMPLISH anything great.
Now that you bring it up, it seems very likely that Smoak ran into something pretty similar there.  If so, good for us.
We all realize that young ballplayers get better.  There are 1000's of possible reasons why.  Am sure that this is a very common one.
Great stuff Nietzsche!  (And thanks for the backgrounds guys.  Fascinating.)

9
misterjonez's picture

Was slomo for learning the featured maneuver of the day. It was all about balance and progression. Doing a Granby roll doesn't work no matter how hard you flip your body IF YOU HAVEN'T CLEARED YOUR HIPS, and seeing as that particular move is all speed and explosion, it was the only one I specifically remember going back to again and again through the season, and man did it pay off.
We'd spend fifteen minutes balancing our postures during he first two or three steps of the process, and we'd pause at the point where you are posted up on one arm with your feet side by side, then SLOOOOOWLY twist your feet until they were crossed, which is the moment you spring the trap and reverse position by flipping your legs over your head in he direction of your opponent, taking him with you.
It's a speed/surprise move, so you have to learn it as slow as possible. If you just try to flip like a spastic monkey, you get stacked up and pinned for your trouble because you didn't create the requisite space and angle. But if you can FEEL the exact moment to strike like a viper, then the worst case scenario is you resume the previous position and have gained he initiative. Only way to get that feel is by slow, precise repetitions.
We were easily the best school on our circuit at Granby's.

10
Brent's picture

Exactly! I'm not a great chess player; I was only fifth chair at my high school. But I'm a much better player during a game of attrition. Work, work, work for position, get that one piece ahead, and turn it into an endgame advantage. If I knew what caused it I'd fix it, but whenever I got impatient and went for a quick knockout I seemed to always have blinders on and miss something that boomeranged on me. I was the king of "DOH!" long before Homer Simpson... I think nowadays they call it facepalm.

11

That was the same message I got from the article. Basically that Smoak did better the second half of 2012 because he was actually preparing for the pitchers and the games like he should.
Really disappointing... IMO there's simply no excuse for someone at his level not putting in the effort to be the best he can be. I realize that not everyone can be Michael Jordan, but c'mon... it took him 3 years of struggling (in a most extreme fashion) to figure out that maybe he should actually prepare for his job? What a waste of God-given talent.
The only solace I can take from this is that it does provide a plausible reason for him to improve this year.

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Chat: 8/3/15 7:02am
Interests: Strange Money (204063)
    Shouts update every 10 seconds.       
2015-08-04 17:26

My Dream Team: Dave Dombrowski for Chief Baseball Officer/President of Baseball Operations/COO (La Russa / Friedman role, with Mather remaining in Kasten-type CEO role), Larry Beinfest for GM and ExecVP, and Jim Beattie for AGM/Director of Player Development and Minor Leagues Director. Keep TomMac as Director of Amateur Scouting and keep Ted Simmons as a senior adviser and coordinator of coaching programs. Keep anyone else the top trio wants, including McClendon and his coaches for now. Make Dan Wilson a minor league manager (Dave Valle to help him break in?) or else replace Jewitt as Bench Coach. Shake it up, but add REAL quality. And Beinfest and Beattie's strong connections to the '95-'01 M's certainly won't hurt - In fact Beattie would be reprising the role he had then (which I assume is better than a scout for #Toronto or a bullpen coach for #Miami).

2015-08-04 16:24

Dombrowski out in #Detroit. Thoughts on him as GM or Baseball Ops Prez here in #Seattle? If so, might he stick with McClendon?

2015-08-04 09:38

Research has shown that pitches at Coors Field (that's ALL pitches) move about 50% less than they do at sea level. You don't need a daily variability to explain last night. Felix had command of his curve and threw it for strikes, but was wise enough not to throw it very often last night because it wasn't breaking much. That's normal. The only pitchers who have success at Coors are guys with heavy fastballs thrown at a downward plane and a good change-speed game that doesn't require movement to work. Carson was not a good match for the park...but he's been bad for a while now in all venues. He's a good pitcher with a hilarious Nintendo slider...but that is the least likely weapon to be consistently effective in the closer's role. That has been researched. Guys like Arthur Rhodes, Jeff Nelson and company - guys who rely on big time sliders, do not do well in the closer's role because hitters in a save situation take more pitches (seriously...look it up) and if you're taking more pitches, you won't swing at as many sliders that break off the plate. If that makes my opinions less than worthless, I'm sorry.

2015-08-04 09:24

It doesn't surprise me that #Denver gets hash-tagged in the shout below... but why does "#Denver??" deserve the hash tag? Why just 2 question marks and not 1 or 3? I guess in the end it doesn't bother me or affect me since our current culture has taught me to ignore all pound signs and avoid them like the plague, just seems bizarre.

2015-08-04 09:20

Said all that to ask this question... Matt, is there anything atmospherically that can exacerbate the CO effect on a night to night (or season to season (spring vs. summer vs. winter) basis? Meaning was Coors be extra annoying last night or is THAT what baseball is like EVERY GAME in #Denver??? If so I thank the heavens I am not a Rockies fan!

2015-08-04 09:17

Granted, I don't get to see a lot of games in #Colorado... but I was taken aback by just HOW FLAT all the breaking balls were last night. Poor Butler (CO Starter) pretty much only had 2 versions of fastballs... fast and slow and centered (his "Slider"). Felix' Royal Curve was anything but majestic last night, even his change up seemed blah, and it was visibly effecting him... making him throw wilder than usual, spiking balls in the dirt trying to get them to break, and he demeanor was obviously frustrated. And of course Smith... Frisbee Slider of Death, was just a meh slider... better than Butlers (and he got a couple of ks on it) but defintely not teh Carson we are used to.

2015-08-04 08:53

A month ago, I hadn't seen much of Smith closing games. Since he took the closer's role, he's been VERY wobbly...and no, not just in #Colorado. he's young...he could get better...but right now, he is not ready for the role. He's still a good reliever...just needs to be used where he can be most effective.

2015-08-04 07:58

Watching Rasussen walk into the bullpen carrying the pink back pack standing next to the others really made him look like a kid hoping to try out for the high school team. Fun to get to see Felix and the rest of the M's take on the thin air. RockiesJeff

2015-08-04 02:48

Re: Carson Smith and BTB pitching. May not be a conditioning issue (Smith is a former college starter IIRC). Just might be the way his body reacts to the tissue damage/inflammation related to throwing a >90 mph high spin slider at max effort. His recovery might take 48 hrs rather than 24. IOW might not be fixable.

2015-08-03 23:38

B-R has Rasmussen at 5'10".

2015-08-03 23:35

I think Lloyd was right about Carson Smith a couple of months back pointing out that he can't really go out there on back to back days the way Rodney can. It makes me curious what sort of off-season conditioning regimen someone like Carson Smith would use to build up his endurance.

2015-08-03 21:55

Only this team can almost blow that lead. Even with Felix.. no lead safe this year. As mentioned though..baseball tgere just isn't fair at times. I guess the playing field is all even, but not really and more of a crap shoot than not

2015-08-03 21:41

BTW - what is Rasmussen, 5'4"?

2015-08-03 21:37

Also looked like the CO air was stealing bite from everyone's offspeed stuff... Is Felix also "worse than overrated" based on his performance? Their starter also couldn't get a slider to bite for the life of him... welcome to mile high! Carson definitely looked tired and his slider didn't move, but he was poised, he didn't walk people to make it worse and... he got the save...

2015-08-03 21:34

I can certainly see why they were leery of him getting too much exposure. Looks like he's tired and overthrowing to me. Good way to get hurt.

2015-08-03 21:29

Well, Matt, I'll give you one thing... Your opinions are never luke-warm, either hot or cold... although also almost always... "worse than useless" ;) a month ago you were lauding Smith as uber closer and untouchable... So he had a mortal week... so sue him

2015-08-03 20:57

Carson Smith is worse than useless as a closer. He is probably one of those guys, like Nelson, that just can't do it.

2015-08-03 20:56

Carson Smith needs a week off. Or two. He's as scary right now as bad Rodney.

2015-08-03 19:26

HAHAHAHAA...Zunino getting greedy - for a WALK. Throws the bat away on ball three. :)

2015-08-03 18:33

Baseball in #Denver is a joke.

2015-08-03 18:32

7-1....I bet Felix can handle this.

2015-08-03 17:48

Brown: M's fired Wakamatsu mid-year.

2015-08-03 17:47

This is a pretty good article on Chapman's adjustment from Cuba... http://espn.go.com/m...

To be honest, I have a hunch that the M's have trouble growing players that aren't classical in the sense of family and friendliness. Felix is the epitome of this; he has a wife, two kids, a dog and is extremely media friendly. Cano also seems fairly family oriented, especially with his parents.

But flip it over to Sasaki, or any number of players that have had media or family or any sort of outlying trouble, and their exits can be seen from a mile away. Sasaki was only afforded a dignified, but very Japanese, exit.

2015-08-03 17:45

Ackley look-alike playing CF for the Rockies!

2015-08-03 17:07

Crap runs downhill...look at the top.. maybe this is beginning of the end for upper management.. will now within next few weeks.

2015-08-03 16:47

Right. I have no issue with Nuno getting the start but if they are just now talking about changing a culture of entitlement, well, that's a little odd.

2015-08-03 16:34

McC sez 'We are trying to change the culture here' with respect to Roenis Elias? That's way harsh as a public comment. It's also way harsh on himself, if the culture needs to begin changing at the year-and-a-half mark. Not annoyed; mystified. McC's frustration and "visible sinking feeling" aura in the dugout ... it's quite a contrast to Pete Carroll imposing his personality on everybody around him including the media.

2015-08-03 16:28

Ya I see more likely them staying.. just cuz really the end is pretty close at this point. I do not see the Ms making a run at .500 though. Nothing has shown them to have that in them this year. No.matter the strength of schedule. If Lloyd and Jack are here come end of Aug.. they certainly will play out contract. If memory serves me Ms coaches usually play through contract also.

2015-08-03 15:41

I wouldn't be at all surprised if the addition of Montero etc, a weaker 2nd half schedule, that the M's go on a bit of a run, maybe even get back to .500 by seasons end and as a result Lloyd and Jack stick around.

2015-08-03 14:49

I think they are in fact going to stay the rest of the year. Because the gettings will be better for their replacements in the off-season.

2015-08-03 14:38

Gnatto... hope you are wrong about Lloyd and Jack playing through contract... but definately should prepare for that. I am just hoping for the notification of otherwise, but don't see any movement there

2015-08-03 14:23

Why would you reward Elias's 7plus ERA with a callup? Jesus Montero had to lead the entire PCL in hitting (.346) before he got his second callup. Elias has been terrible in Tacoma since he was sent down. You call him up now, and what you are saying is that you can just mail it in in Tacoma.

2015-08-03 13:52

Regarding Nuno over Elias... this may be Jack trying to accomplish two things... build up Nuno's value, as well as making Elias hungry

2015-08-03 12:59

I think we may need to prepare ourselves for Lloyd and Jack to play out their contract.

2015-08-03 12:05

Toward the end of his last call-up, Elias wasn't very good...not just talking runs or K/BB/HR...I'm talking pitchability and repeating his delivery. He looked...out of sorts. Distracted.

There was a reason he got sent down. Happ didn't do any better, but they had to keep him up to showcase him for trade.

Honestly...I love Elias' potential and his pitch mix. And I generally like his poise out there. But I do worry that he was rushed emotionally. From desperate Cuban ballplayer who was largely overlooked to rotation mainstay with only a brief and lukewarm stint in A+/AA before his arrival.

2015-08-03 10:09

Sabr.. you may be on to something in regards to Elias.. look at Puig. Still trying to adjust to all the stardom. Don't feel it's anything racial.. just cultural. Esp in Puig regard in big city like LA, but still the #Money and dramatic change of scenary in #Seattle can def be attributed. Moe definately highlighted that he has been good though. Everyone's gunna have a shaky game here and there buy compared to most of the team he has been consistent.

2015-08-03 08:09

Too cryptic for me. It just soulnds like an "after the fact" continuing defense of choosing Happ in the rotation over Elias. Hey, it was a pick 'em perhaps....although I would have preferred we pick Elias. Nonetheless, Elias has been pretty good as a MLB starter this year, minus two terrible outings: In 7 of his 13 starts he gave up 2 runs or less. In 3 others he game up 3 runs. So in 77% of his starts, he went 5.2 to 8 innings and gave up 3 runs or less. He had one start of 5.1 innings with 4 runs. And then he had two terrible starts w/7 combined innings and 14 ER's. Take those 2 starts away and he's running an ERA of less than 3 over 11 starts. In his last 10 starts in '14 he gave up 2 runs or less (although 1 was a 4 inning outing and another was 3 innings. So basically he's got a 24 start run of impressive stuff. But I suppose he doesn't fit the M's "culture." Montero didn't either. I don't blame Elias for being frustrated. He's been better than decent in the Majors!

2015-08-03 08:05

I guess Elias got tossed from the game after he got taken out the other day, too. So maybe some frustration bubbling up for him?

2015-08-03 08:00

Right Matt, that's the sort of thing we don't have a window on. For all we know Lloyd's decision could be precisely the right one. By the way, this "change the culture" mantra, though in general a good thing, seems to be taken too far sometimes. Imagine how this season might have gone if Montero had been on the big club earlier and allowed to play his way into regular PT. But no, we had to bludgeon Montero's lesson into his head in a display of overkill while we watched LoMo flail against LHP.

2015-08-03 07:40

Maybe Elis took himself too seriously this year and acted too big for his own head? It happens sometimes with Cuban players (and no...that's not a racial thing...it's a cultural one)

2015-08-03 07:38

The "change the culture" comment by Lloyd did come across as a little #Strange. I'm sure for him there's a context that makes this a decisive factor for him. Some factors of that context may be opaque to us. But it's hard to fathom why, the team having rightly given up on making the playoffs this season, the primary consideration is giving Elias a chance to reestablish himself as a bona fide member of the rotation going forward (or a serious trade chip if needed). By the way, if McClendon wants to change the culture he should invite #Lincoln and Zduriencik to lunch and suggest that they all resign immediately.

2015-08-03 07:27

My lack of faith simply keeps sinking. If that's a true quote, that'll be my newest gripe after him using Marte at leadoff.

2015-08-03 07:10

Lloyd said that? What the heck does that mean? Maybe we need to start w/the manager's chair.

2015-08-03 07:02

I guess with Elias getting torched in AAA, Nuno gets the start on Tuesday. I got a chuckle over Lloyd's "we are trying to change the culture here" comments regarding why Elias wasn't being brought up.

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