Pedagogy, tuishou, space-time, philosophy, the standard model of particle physics, and the Dao…. But I digress.
We can take advantage of our opponent’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as our own. Good and bad choices are often measured by their results, which goes to show how there are variables that we cannot see. These are akin to dimensions that are outside of our reference frame. There is a non-causality, and a non-phenomenal universe that is relevant in martial arts, if you can find a way to weave the appropriate kind of analogy into the student’s experience.
- Ian Sinclair as the “Analo Jeezus”
- Nick Nahwegabow as “Nisidotama Mookaazo”
[Brief Musical intro]
One of the symptoms of my own unique pathology is that I can talk.
Those who are familiar with me know that when they are with me they are never under any real pressure to hold up their end of the conversation. They can just relax, sit back, listen, occasionally look at their watch, and possibly scan for the nearest available exit. But of course, one of the problems with talking so much is that sometimes I say stuff.
This can lead to some dangerous situations, and may actually be one of the reasons why I have spent so many years studying martial arts. I mean…
Isn’t it interesting how one thing can lead to another. Perceived negative characteristic can lead to consequences that we might never have imagined. We cannot always predict the results of our actions. There’s probability but no certainty.
A particular goal of martial arts training is to take our weaknesses and apply them as strengths… to find the strengths within our weaknesses, and also to exploit both the opponent’s weaknesses and their strengths. What might seem like a positive attribute might actually cause a person to fail. You can use the opponent’s strength against them just as easily as you can use their weaknesses against them, sometimes more easily. But I digress.
Okay. In business, a good decision can sometimes lead to bad consequences, and a bad decision sometimes leads to good results. The natural tendency of the human mind is to see patterns where there are none. And this can lead us to make decisions based on unreliable experiences. We can convince ourselves that the bad decision was actually a good one, based on the results. It’s an flaw called “Post-hoc Ergo Proctor Hoc” (Latin for “After, therefore because of.”) This can be made worse by confirmation bias. We would rather believe what proves us right than acknowledge evidence that proves that we are wrong. We will pick whatever cherry or superstition that will make us feel better about decisions that we have already made. This is because we like the reference frame that we are in.
If we are on a train with like-minded people we can sit down and relax in comfort, because we’re going the same speed as the train and we are with people who make us feel comfortable about ourselves. (That is not always the case in public transport. But I digress.) We can enjoy the ride without thinking about people in the other trains who going other directions. We don’t need to know that they are there, or that they exist at all, or that the other dimension even exists. Our egos can be so powerful that changing our mind can feel like stepping off of a moving train and onto another train that is going in another direction. Fortunately, with practice, we can regulate our egos and learn to slow down and change lanes, and even change trains without being destroyed by the momentum of our own intellect. (That analogy is getting out of control. I should get back on the train.)
Okay. When I teach martial arts, it is all about reference frames. This applies not only to martial technique. but also to strategy, tactics, and philosophy, and to a person’s emotional and mental state. One of the challenges that students face is the tendency to trap themselves within a paradigm. They start thinking in a particular direction and, pretty soon, they are on a train of thought that is oblivious to the scenery. They think that the rail car that they are in is the entire universe. And this is where my pathology comes in. But I digress.
As a student starts to understand something in a particular way, it is my job to change directions on them. So, I will often go off on a tangent that might seem slightly unrelated, before circling back and making my previous point in a different way. And as students improve, the tensions can go farther astray. Eventually a question about a joint lock or a punching technique might turn into a dissertation about how the phenomenal universe is really just a way for the abyss to observe itself in its own emptiness. And then we might talk about how the current standard model of particle physics is complicated by its own constraints in the same way that the pre-Copernican model of the solar system was complicated by the earth centric inertial reference-frame bias…thing.
But I digress. But I follow these digressions, not for their own sake, but as a martial arts teacher. The purpose is to improve the student’s practical ability and to liberate them from the traps that the ego is constantly creating for them.
I am not a physicist. A physicist typically has at least seven years of post-secondary education. But I have something that few if any physicists actually have. You see, I have seven years of secondary education.
I’m thorough, or patient, or I digress a lot, or maybe my brain just doesn’t do very well with numbers. (The margin by which I passed my grade 13 Calculus class was measured in Planck units. My teacher assured me that I did pass, but that I needed to learn my limits.
I am, I suppose, a sort of natural philosopher. That is if by “natural philosopher” you mean a wannabe scientist who sucks at math… and if by “amateur” you mean someone who never went to school for it. But I have spent many years as the worst student of some of the best martial arts Masters in the world. I have seen, firsthand, how quickly one inertial reference frame can mess up another, both physically, mentally, and emotionally.
I’ve also seen how one must be centred in non-duality in order to observe duality, but one cannot observe non-duality from within a dualistic reference frame. So, you have to meditate, and to cultivate nothingness, and to shatter the void. I don’t think Loop quantum gravity will be complete without an understanding of the nature of consciousness. And I think that, to understand the Universe, I think it is helpful to look at it from the point-of-view of a universe that does not exist.
This confuses people because you can’t see nothingness from the point of view of somethingness. But you can see somethingness much more clearly from the point-of-view of nothingness. The illusion of existence is created by the motion that occurs when non-granular space observes itself. Perhaps that is what causes causation. Anyway, the study of a martial art can be a good way to observe your own inertial reference frame from the point-of-view of a different one. Your opponent gives you a new perspective.
Another way would be to travel toward your own past at the speed of causation. But that’s a little tricky… physically anyway. The universe would have to stop existing for you to do that. But, if you stop existing, you can see the universe.
At the highest level, a martial art is the study of existence… but I exist…
At the highest level, a martial art is the study of existence and nothingness. It is the art of conflict resolution and the ultimate proof that there is no enemy. Fundamentally. But it still hurts when they punch you though.
So, the phenomenal Universe cannot grasp nothingness. But nothingness is the phenomenal universe.
To put it another way, Heidegger can take a nap in a car. But a Carnap can’t take nothing from Heidegger.
See…that’s a pun, and has levels… it’s got a double negative that talks about nothingness… and references continental and rational philosophy…
But I digress. Okay. Let’s watch this teaching method in motion. Roll it.
It’s fun teaching this stuff because it sounds so ridiculous. The satire becomes scripture after a while.
No. That’s very true!
AJ: Schrodinger’s cat is an example. When Erwin Schrödinger told that story, that thought experiment was designed to ridicule quantum mechanics.
NM: Yeah! That’s it!
AJ: Quantum mechanics responded by saying, “Yeah, that’s about it. That’s a good analogy we should think of it that way. “
“Is it? But that doesn’t make any sense.”
“We didn’t say it made sense. We said it was true… or it allows us to make predictions.”
The strength of the model is that it allows you to predict what’s going to happen. It doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s the way that the universe is. It just means that that’s the math that we’ve got so far.
NM: I feel like everybody’s kind of in on the quantum Multiverse Theory now, just because it’s such a wonderful storytelling device. You know, it’s like kind of like this generation’s time machine.
AJ: Yeah. The Multiverse Theory has some flaws in it. For me, one of the biggest flaws in the Multiverse is that, uh, first of all, it doesn’t exist. Everything is emptiness. Um… well…
Okay. We are as close to… uh
We have our backs to the beginning of the universe.
AJ: If we look this way or any direction, if we look far enough we are looking earlier and earlier in time. But we can’t see the beginning because the beginning is behind us. We’re looking at it the wrong way. The future is undefined.
NM: But I thought the whole idea was that the Big Bang was in the past. Isn’t it?
AJ: I think it’s called the three sphere. If you look that way, as far as you can, you’re looking towards the beginning of the universe. So, look far enough, the beginning of the universe is there.
NM: Yes. That I understand.
AJ: Same thing that way.
AJ: The same thing that way. Same thing that way. ‘
NM: Right. It’s out there. it’s not back behind…
AJ: Right. But it’s this big. (Holding an imaginary basketball.)
AJ: So, you’re looking that way and see that 13.5 billion years ago, the universe was only this big (indicates basketball size). And you can see it right over there.
NM: (turns to look) Yeah. I see it.
AJ: And you can see it right over there. And if you look that way, there it is again. The same thing right there.
NM: Because it’s everywhere.
AJ: Yeah. So, if you walk this way on the earth, eventually you’ll get back to where you started. So, looking toward the beginning is like that. But the horizon is only that big. That’s sort of the Horizon of the universe that you’re looking at.
If you consolidate the dimensions, we’re basically looking into the past. Everything that we see or we remember. We see the past.
Existence is a train going that way at the speed of light. We are on the Caboose looking backwards, watching time unfold in front of us. We’re looking backwards. We think we’re looking to the future. We think we’re moving forward. But really we are just being dragged along. And behind us, the future is undefined. There is no future yet.
We have the past we remember. Here’s our life. And then there is the past we see. We see the past of the universe coming towards us. The light that we see that’s coming from the Sun is about eight minutes away, or from eight minutes ago. And the light that we see from the center of the Galaxy is about 26 000 years ago. The light that we see from distant galaxies is a billion years ago, and the light that we see from the earliest universe is 13.5 billion years ago. And then we’ve got redshift, which to me is sort of like a Coriolis effect caused by this spinning of existence.
So, imagine you are in the ocean. You take a trip to a different part of the ocean. An now you want to go back to the starting point. You go back to the same part of the ocean where you started. But it’s not the same water. The currents aren’t going the same direction. It’s not the same thing at all.
Now, imagine you’re traveling in time. You get to the present. Now you want to go back to the date of your birth. You go back and nothing’s the same. It is not the same past that you remember. I don’t just mean, that your family is different, or that furniture has moved. I mean, the planet might not be there. The universe as you knew it might be giant ball of jello with crocodile-elephant hybrids flying through hula hoops made of 9-dimensional coconuts.
We think of time as being a straight line. But another way to think of it a spinning non-duality.
Imagine you’re spinning, and the past is sort of being created by centrifugal force. It’s just accelerating. You’re just flinging the past out by the spinning… by the movement of your mind. So, the past is just emerging out there in front of you like that. But it’s going in different dimensions. So, you have the subjective past that you remember, and you have the object of past that we all talk about, that we all can see. And then your yourself.
So, those are two different dimensions of time, and then you have the choices that you make, which might add another dimension. And then the choices the other people make that might add another. What you can predict…
NM: So, that is why techniques don’t work when you’re thinking about your subjective experience.
AJ: Exactly. That’s exactly where I was going with it. It is why, when you add a bunch of vectors, the variables are too great for you to understand or control. You can’t control all of space and time. You can’t make decisions about the entire future. But you can make decisions about aspects of it.
So, when I’m pushing you like this, I don’t want to have this vector from the extension of the leg, and this vector from the rotation of the hips, and this vector from the twisting of the waist, and this vector of the extending of the arm, all added on top of each other. Because then I would have to figure out the cube root of the technique, and I have to do it at lightning speed.
So, instead, I’m going to move in this plane only, and then I’m going to move in this plane, and then I’m going to move in this plane, So I have this then I have all of these vectors adding together but I’m not going to do this all at the same time that I’m doing this. Because, this hand thinks it’s going straight when, in fact, it’s going in an arc. It’s very difficult to adapt to those things.
There’s an artificial gravity lab in Massachusetts, where they put people in spinning room. This spinning room is used to research artificial gravity applications for when people go to Mars. So, when you’re standing in the spinning room, and you’ve got the Coriolis effect happening as you’re spinning. The Coriolis effect is what causes hurricanes to spin one way in the Northern Hemisphere and the other way in the Southern Hemisphere.
NM: Yeah. Like the Simpson’s Toilet.
AJ: Yeah. Well, you would need a really big toilet to demonstrate that. It affects oceans. It would affect a really really big tub if you give it enough time.
If we were in this spinning room, I’m facing you, and we’re spinning around, and I throw a ball at you. I’m going to throw it right at you and the ball is going to curve and go over there. It depends how fast we’re going. If I throw it at the right speed I might I might throw the ball and catch it. Right. because the ball is going in a straight line but the room is spinning.
So, that’s our view of the universe. We think that things are moving in a straight line. But our minds are moving. Our minds are doing this. In order to create reality, we’re those infinitely small points infinitely close together, circling around another infinitely small point infinitely close together. When we are still, we are undefined. But when we move, we differentiate. We’re separate. So, the phenomenal universe is those points in movement. You create the granular space, you create that that dualism. It’s why Achilles is able to pass the tortoise. Remember Zeno’s paradoxes?
NM: Yeah. So, it is not actually cut in half every single time.
AJ: Right. You get down to Plank length and you don’t get any smaller.
So, the interaction between the energy, between electromagnetism and gravity, creates this sort of field of standing wave patterns that we call granular space. That’s how it is in my mind. I don’t know if that’s real or not. But that’s that’s my best explanation.
So, the universe is spinning, and rotating and then everything’s going outward like this. And I think of redshift as being like a Coriolis effect. Light is one dimension and the spectrum is another dimension. I think of the light spectrum as being a different dimension of space. I don’t know. I can’t do the math for that kind of stuff. I’m sure it’s ridiculous.
With all of these things happening then, if I’m doing this, and this, and this, and this, then my arm thinks I’m going in a straight line, but the room says, “nope we’re going that way.”
So, if I try to push you and move you with all of these different vectors happening at once, I don’t have any coherent power connecting to the ground. I can adapt to it, if I train it a lot, and I’ll have a whole bunch of class three levers doing all kinds of really inefficient stuff. I can do it. I can make it work. That’s like if you’re standing in that spinning room and you’re up against the wall. And you raise your hands up and down in front of you. What’s going to happen is that the first time you do it, your arms are going to go to the side like that, or that way, depending on which way the room is spinning.
So, your hands go up like this. So just as the ball is going to turn, your hands are going to go like that. But you do it over and over again you adapt until your hands are doing doing this so we think time is going in a straight line. But in fact, it’s doing this. But we’ve adapted.
So, we have this common idea of a past. But your past is not my past. The past of the sun is not mine. We’re not existing at the same time. You may be experiencing this event at a different rate than I am. I may have gone through this life already and you’re still going there. Or, maybe you’ve done it already and I’m then I come along later and teach you.
Our Consciousness is not necessarily synced up. And if it is, then we cease to be separate. Then we may find out that Oh! Gee! You know, it’s all one electron. So, maybe we’re all just one entity incarnating over and over again in different things. So, everything in the universe is just a different incarnation of the same thing, which is a hypothesis.
So, when you raise your hands in that spinning room, you adapt. And eventually, you’ll raise your arms straight in front of you and it feels natural. You no longer feel like you’re fighting against the Coriolis effect. So, it just feels totally natural. Then the machine stops spinning and because you have adapted to the spinning, when you raise your hands in the still room, they automatically go to the side. You are surprised. You ask, “Why are my arms doing that?’
That’s what happens when you do all this class three lever stuff. You’re fighting against the complexities that you’re creating, because one part of you is moving this way, another part of you is doing this, another part of you is doing that. So, to be able to just pour yourself into the ground and just connect directly to your opponent means taking away all of that differentiation. You have to stop the world from spinning. You have to stop being different from the other person. You have to stop the different parts from being separate from each other.
So, now instead of me doing all that complicated stuff, I’m just doing this. Okay? And then your own Coriolis effect throws you off balance.
NM: Yes. Yes. You’re changing the scope of your opponent’s reality.
AJ: Yeah so for for you, it just has to come back to First principles. You adapt to the universe the way it is. That’s what we’re doing when we’re doing Zhan Zhuang. You’re finding the Stillness. Where is the perfectly natural still place, wher e I’m not fighting myself. I’m not doing anything.
And then, how do I move that without adding those extra vectors. So, then when you move the arms, just go there. Okay? They don’t have to do this.
NM: Keep it flowing.
AJ: Right. That’s why, when you when you do it with weights, you’re still practicing class one and class two levers. You’re not doing class three levers
NM: Yeah. Yeah. Totally.
AJ: And the weights will help you do that. It’s not necessarily… It might make you stronger but that’s not the point.
NM: Yeah. My weights have actually almost become an extension of my tai chi, everywhere. Because I’ve gone lighter on everything, and I go longer, and it’s nicer because that is actually easier. I’m less sore throughout the week. And I can bring it to Tai Chi, and Muay Thai, and everything.
AJ: Nice, and when we start doing sword, you’ll start translating that stuff…
NM: Yeah. It’s just like a three pound weight. That’s all it is.
AJ: Yeah. and now you can think of me as that three pound weight. You connect, and so you make me … there you go. See?
NM: Like cutting through butter.
AJ: Yeah. That’s it. So, I’m becoming an extension of you. And then you learn to feel my intent. That way, you feel all the vectors that are going on mechanically. But you’ll also start to feel my mind.
And that’s what we were talking about with the magician saying, “Who can take this stuff and translate it into the other person’s mind?”
If I can do that sleight of hand, I can do the magic trick. But if I don’t relate it to your mind in a particular way, the illusion is not going to work.