Saturday, June 30, 2012

The ikkyo "projection" and its internal counterpart

Introduction

In this article I will analyse one of my favourite "projections" (or throws) and one that I most frequently apply in sparring.

The term "ikkyo" means, literally, "first lesson" in Japanese. Students of aikido will know it as a foundational technique that leads them on to "nikkyo", "sankyo" and "yonko" (second, third and fourth lessons respectively) as well as many other techniques.

In essence, ikkyo, like its related techniques, is a compound "lesson" teaching the student the following:
  1. a "projection" by which leverage on a joint can lead the body to be "projected" in a particular direction (think of it as a kind of "throw"); and
  2. a pin that takes place on the ground once the "uke" (your partner/opponent) is "projected" (thrown).
This article will deal with only the first portion: the projection. I shall deal with the ground pin on another day. I propose to give ikkyo projection the same sort of treatment I previously gave to techniques such as kote gaeshi (see "Kote gaeshi: how to apply it against resistant partners") and irimi nage (see "Leading momentum – how realistic is it?"). In other words, I propose to critically analyse ikkyo with a view to what, in my experience, works and what doesn't (at least, not optimally).

My perspective

I first learned ikkyo when I studied aikido in the early '80s both under my own instructor, Bob Davies, and his visiting friend and mentor, the late Ken Cottier. By the early '90s I had begun the study of the internal arts and I was taught a projection from xingyi's pi quan that was in many respects quite similar if not identical to ikkyo (depending on the aikidoka and xingyi practitioner demonstrating it).1

My internal arts cross-referencing of ikkyo and pi quan alerted me to what I believe are common errors and misunderstandings in the "ikkyo technique" (in no matter what school you study it). It is important to note that I do not claim to be an aikidoka (I didn't practise it for long enough to assert any level of expertise in that art). Second, I have the highest respect and fondness for aikido. Accordingly this article is not geared at criticism of that art, but rather the critical analysis of one technique – and how I believe it is optimally performed for use in practical civilian defence.

Some aikidoka might agree with my assessments, while many others will undoubtedly disagree.2 Regardless, I understand that aikido fundamentals are not all about "fighting techniques" but rather serve to teach you general principles of movement for that art.3 So I acknowledge that, to some extent, my "criticisms" of how some people perform ikkyo are unfounded. However if you plan to use the ikkyo projection against a resistant partner, I beg some indulgence so that I can outline my case! Please note that for ease of reference, I will be analysing the technique (initially anyway) from a cross-hand wrist grab.4

The need to use minimal force

Ikkyo is not a sweeping, tripping, flipping or other body throw (eg. a hip throw). Instead it "throws" a person through the use of leverage, using minimal force to do so. As you probably know, leverage is a very efficient and effective way of overcoming greater forces. As Archimides said:
    "Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world."
Some people consider that there are two parts to the "lever" action that powers ikkyo:
  1. an initial unbalancing (usually upward angled); followed by
  2. a downward pressure that directs the uke to the ground where he/she can be pinned.
I disagree with this dichotomy: to me, the lever projection is one movement, using the same lever and the same pressure on the same point of the arm. I suspect that most practitioners of ikkyo and its variants would agree with this statement but, as we shall see, it might not be borne out by the way the technique is being executed. Consider, for example, the video below:

The practitioner demonstrates a version of the ikkyo projection that I've often seen. Here, the "first part" of the movement is executed by what is effectively a pull that extends the uke's grabbing arm straight, as illustrated in the adjacent images.

I'm not going to say that this is "wrong"; it is certainly one way of doing the technique. However I will make a number comments about this approach to illustrate why I feel it is less than optimal.


One way of doing ikkyo – ie. by straightening the uke's arm

Who said you need brute force to "lever up" the elbow?

First, I disagree completely with the stated "necessity" for doing the technique this way.

Yes, ikkyo should not "require force" (ie. "brute force") to work. But I also hold it to be manifestly untrue that brute force (particularly of the kind the practitioner demonstrates in his video) is required for an upward "lever" action (ie. to force the uke's elbow up in a bent position).

There is simply no reason for the kind of "struggle" the practitioner is demonstrating. (Note carefully how he raises his shoulder and tries to directly oppose the uke's downward "constriction".)

As I will shortly detail, there is an easy and efficient method to raise the uke's elbow so that you can lever it, projecting or "throwing" the uke. This method is the polar opposite of what is depicted here. I am speaking of course about the "internal arts" approach to this projection, as seen in:
  1. the application of "pi quan" (splitting fist) from xingyi; or
  2. the slightly "easier to understand/learn" method that I've incorporated into my nagegata/touxing forms (which I call "shomen nage / zhengmian tou").
As I said, I'll explore this in detail a little later. For the moment you can take a look at the video below of the technique as it is applied in relation to my nagegata/touxing forms. Bear in mind that this is the technique I can, and often do, use under pressure. So if it required the sort of "brute force" where my partner could "punch and kick you" me while I "struggled to lever the elbow up" I'd have noticed it.


A video where I demonstrate the "shomen nage" or "zhengmian tou" – an internal arts version of ikkyo

Who said straightening an elbow was this easy?

Second, I disagree that the method the practitioner prefers is especially "force-efficient", not to mention effective. Let me explain: The method as shown in the video requires the practitioner to straighten the uke's arm. This involves pulling the uke's elbow straight. The problem here is essentially the same one I related in my article "Leading momentum – how realistic is it?"; your opponent will react and retract his or her arm the moment you try to pull it. I know there are some people who have exquisite timing honed after 40, 50 or 60 years of training and who might be able to achieve this.

But in truth, I never have. And I don't think I'm a slouch in relation to sensitivity and timing. My respectful suggestion is that this technique only appears to be relatively effective; this appearance is dispelled the moment you have a determined, resistant and strong opponent!

If you want to straighten an elbow, be prepared to use your forearm!

Am I suggesting that you can't straighten an opponent's arm? Far from it! I do such "arm bars" all the time. But here's the crunch:
    I never perform an "arm bar" without support - usually from my forearm.
Yes, I know that it is possible to lock an elbow using other methods, including using a wrist twist or applying pressure with the palm or hand to the elbow. However I hold it to be self-evident that it is very difficult to effect these against a resistant opponent. I go through why in my article "Elbow locks: Part 1".

Regardless, the practitioner in the first video isn't doing any form of "arm bar". He isn't twisting the uke's wrist at all, nor applying pressure with his palm (in the first video you see the practitioner's hand moving towards the elbow as if to support the lock but it never quite gets there!).

Instead he's relying on the uke to keep the arm straight by himself. In much the same way, he's relying up the uke to keep holding on to his wrist for the duration of the projection (when the "grip reflex" only lasts about 0.5 second at most).

The "internal" ikkyo projection

So how does the internal arts version of the ikkyo projection work? First, contrary to the first video, you don't have to struggle to raise his elbow. Done correctly, it is in fact very easy as I describe in the video below:


I discuss the more classical xingyi way of effecting a forward projection – using "pi quan" or "splitting fist"

Moving your arm along the lines of least resistance: rotating at the elbow

The first thing to note about the internal arts method is that your grabbed arm follows the lines of least resistance, thus negating any "downward constriction" of the kind the practitioner in the first video discussed.

You don't just try to lift your arm in direct opposition to the downward force. Instead, keeping your elbow close to your body, you rotate your arm from the elbow moving inwards in a half circle until your arm is up. This is illustrated in the adjacent series of pictures.

(Note that in these pictures I'm only illustrating the angles of movement of your grabbed arm – not what you should be doing with your other arm, not how you should be moving your feet, etc.).

You will find that this rotation of the arm can effected without any problem – so long as you keep your elbow close to your body!

(For more on this topic, see my article "Dealing with wrist grabs".)

I've invited the strongest, biggest guys I know to resist this movement, and they haven't been able to – even when they knew exactly what I was about to do. With the element of surprise, the resistance is greatly reduced.

Moving your arm along the lines of least resistance: fingers into the face

The next step, as illustrated in the images is ingeniously simple; you thrust your arm, palm up, straight into his face. Clearly the move is simple, but why do I say it is ingenious? Because, once again, it is the angle your opponent can least resist.

If your opponent is caught unawares, the elbow will bend. At this point you slam your other palm into the "triangle" of the elbow. I usually employ my thumb under the elbow to avoid "slipping off" (there are pros and cons to using the thumb – I regard it as a matter of personal preference; you don't want your thumb snagged, but you don't want to slip off the top of the triangle either!).

But what about my "forearm, not palm" rule? Well it doesn't apply – simply because this is not a grappling move like an arm bar: Rather, it is analogous to a punch or palm heel strike.5

Your opponent's response

There are only two possible responses to this scenario: If your opponent is surprised, his or her elbow will bend. This will mean that you push that triangle through his or her face. The resulting lever effect is devastating; with comparatively little effort, your opponent finds his or her face catapulted into the floor (or wall). It is very important to thrust directly at your opponent's face: if you try for an "angle" all you do is move off the line of least resistance, water down the force of your blow, decrease the amount of your opponent's loss of balance and enable his or her quicker recovery. But pushing into the face? It's simply marvellous! Nothing else upsets someone's balance quite so well.

Don't be troubled by the fact that there doesn't seem to be anywhere for your own body to move; such an assumption proceeds on a static analysis that is flawed. He or she will move – don't worry about that - and move exactly in the way that you want! This permits the "splitting" of which xingyi theory speaks. It is as if you are "cleaving your opponent in two".

Of course you aren't doing anything like this. But imagining that you are doing it assists in the excution of the technique to no end (largely because you are committed to a direct, central path with the downward circular moment characteristic of xingyi).

What if your opponent realises what you're going to do and stiffens his or her arm? Surprisingly, very little. His or her arm is just stiffer. As you can see from the adjacent image, your opponent's attempted resistance actually works in your favour; the stiff arm means that his or her body will be forced to rock backwards to accommodate the stiff arm. And the fact that the arm is stiff does not affect your ability to lever the arm very much; you can still attack the elbow with pretty much the same effect. What you lose from not having a bent elbow to lever, you gain by that fact that your opponent has rocked back on his or her heels and is therefore off balance.

Anyway, in my experience, your opponent will instinctively start to bend the elbow as you attack it with your palm. But even if he or she doesn't, the projection comes to much the same thing – you're punching the elbow at the point where the "triangle" would otherwise have been.

Footwork: getting the most efficiency out of your projection

The real key to the whole technique lies, as always, in the footwork. In this case you must use xingyi's "drop step" about which I've previously written. Essentially this means making a lunge with the front step before you follow through with the back leg.

When should you start the drop step? At precisely the moment you thrust your fingers into your opponent's face. What does this do? As I've exhaustively stated and restated over the years, it instantly applies the entire weight of your body to the momentum of your technique. Nothing else does this – certainly not as quickly or as efficiently. The xingyi drop step is what ITF wishes its "sine wave" were but isn't. I describe the principle in detail in the video below starting at 0:49.

I illustrate the effectiveness of this principle very simply using the "xiao chan" (small wrap) or "nikkyo" (as it is known in aikido) in the video. You will see from the above images that simply lifting the front leg adds enough force to the lock so that it exceeds the "tipping point".


I discuss some of the finer details of the zhengmian tou or shomen nage – noting the important differences between it and ikkyo

Aside from the absence of the xingyi drop step and a strange "backhand slap" to the face (instead of the fingertips being thrust in a linear path), the aikidoka in the following video does the technique in almost the exact same way as I've recommended. See what you think:


An aikido instructor demonstrates ikkyo in much the same way as the internal arts zhengmian tou

Here's another who is doing a fairly good job – again, apart from the absence of the drop step which is really so crucial in reducing the need for force (especially against resistant opponents). Very nice nonetheless. In particular I like the "tenkan" (turning) varieties, which are always an option even in the internal arts.


Another example of an ikkyo with similarity to the internal arts equivalent

No step at all?

Now compare these videos to this (honest, but in my view manifestly less efficient) method:


Another version of ikkyo. Note the lack of step through and the forceful "pull down" rather than the use of the body momentum.

Yes, this is workmanlike. But it really misses the magic of ikkyo – don't you agree? The first thing you'll notice is that not only does the demonstrator not do a drop step: he doesn't step through at all! This means that he doesn't continue with is forward momentum. Instead, he stops, then pulls his opponent down.

In other words, he interrupts his own body momentum rather than use it to his advantage – then he substitutes brute force to pull the arm down. The only reason you don't notice the brute force is because his uke is being compliant. A high attack of the kind with which he's dealing is tailor-made to be overpowered through the "simple" xingyi drop step. You're already moving into your opponent: why stop? Might it be because your opponent is moving toward you as well?

Again viewed as a static analysis it seems entirely reasonable. But if you think of it logically, the opponent here is only stepping into range; he's not planning on stepping past you. So you don't need to be concerned about "fighting his forward momentum". By the time you're in place with your step, your opponent will have halted his or her forward advance; in fact, he or she will more likely be starting to pulling away than continue the forward advance! What does this mean? By the time you come to pull your opponent's arm down, he or she will have started backing off. And every inch away from you reduces your chances of grappling effectively.

In this regard I always think of the song "Roam" by the B52s which has the following line:
    "Take it hip to hip, rocket through the wilderness."
Okay, the last bit doesn't make any sense! ;) But the first bit does - for grappling anyway! If you want to start manhandling someone, you'd better have your core in optimal position – hip to hip.6

After the "fall": unexpected stopping

Okay, you've used your arms along the lines of least resistance, punched the triangle of his elbow through your opponent's face (using a drop step and a follow up step to throw your whole body into the momentum and keep up with your opponent). He or she is plummeting, face-first, on the floor. What happens next?

What students typically do is they get surprised by the sudden movement in their opponent – almost as surprised as their opponent! This sometimes means that they forget (or delay) in making the second (follow up) step. Whatever you do, don't do this! Keep the "ball rolling"! More commonly still, students will take the second step, then stop. Of course, they should in fact keep making continuous steps, maintaining forward momentum until the opponent is face-first on the floor.

Despite injunctions to my own students, I notice that stopping, however briefly, after the step through is common. Maybe this is because we are safety conscious in the dojo: if so, that's a good thing in a way. But you still need to be careful not to groove a pause where there should be none; any such pause has the potential of being exploited by your opponent.

A "surprise mistake": the drift from the elbow to the tricep

But the tendency to "pause" does have a tendency to create one further, rather unexpected, issue and that is this:
    The hand that has, up till now, been so carefully placed in the crook of the elbow has started to wander up to the tricep.
Even when there is no "stop" I notice students' hands "drifting" from the point where they should be (namely, fixed in the crook of that elbow!). Remember what I said at the outset of the article:
    "[T]o me, the lever projection is one movement, using the same lever and the same pressure on the same point of the arm."
I predicted that everyone would agree with me, yet it would "not be borne out by the way the technique is being executed". And indeed this is precisely what I've noticed happening.

Does it really happen? Hell yes. If you look closely at the fellow who didn't step at all in his ikkyo, you'll see the same issue, plain as day (see larger image above). If you examine the aikido videos I've embedded, you'll notice that this "tricep drift" is ubiquitous. The adjacent image is taken from yet another video.

This "tricep drift" is a very bad thing. And yet, had the correspondent Ymar Sakar not alerted me to this issue (causing the delayed posting of this article so that I could address it), I would not have considered it at all.

Interestingly, I had already forgotten that this was precisely how I was taught (probably unconsciously) when I first started practising ikkyo all those years ago (and how I continued practising it for many years after that): that pressure on the tricep was somehow "okay" or even "good". Well, I'm sorry to say: it isn't. Why not? For the simple reason that when levering, the pressure should be at one end of the lever – not on the fulcrum! The tricep is mid-way between two possible lever points: the elbow and the shoulder. In other words, the tricep is the fulcrum. If you want to push there, you're going to be robbing the technique of all its effectiveness; you'll be taking away the "effortless" nature of the ikkyo projection and you'll be forced to substitute brute force instead. Don't believe me?

The best way to test this is to pause after you've done the initial "throw" and taken a couple of steps (but before your partner is on the floor (ie. just after the "rise and fall" of the elbow). Now hold that position (in which you might find yourself) and have your partner resist - in an honest way. As you'll find, I'm sure, pressure on the tricep is totally ineffective. For instance, take a look at the adjacent image that shows my student escaping my own "tricep push". The arrow shows the line of least resistance (and therefore easiest escape) by my student.

All he has to do is twist his arm and body in one motion, straightening up out of the hold. The amount of brute force required to hold my student there using pressure on the tricep is considerable - a bit like trying to push a door near its hinges.


The same video of the finer points of ikkyo, but this time set to start where I address the "tricep issue"

Even a smaller uke can wiggle out – or simply stand up - out of such a hold! A strong opponent will laugh you off. Worse, levering at the fulcrum can give your partner the chance to throw you onto your back before you even realise what has happened. I illustrate this at 5:56 in the above video.

Ymar Sakar has previously suggested that pressing on the tricep has a "safety" function. This raises an entirely different issue that I will cover in another article. For the time being it is sufficient for me to say that I address it in my previous video at 6:50.

Pushing on the shoulder is no answer either

I'm not going to say much about pushing on the shoulder, except that it in this position it is not much better than pushing on the tricep.

Why? In a nutshell, it is because when you start pushing the shoulder from behind, you're really entering the grappling domain. You're pushing close to your opponent's core. In order to unbalance him or her, you have to use your own body and get in close – remember: hip to hip! I cover this at 2:40 in my previous video. You'll see there that a shoulder press from behind is really not much stronger than a tricep press. It just doesn't work.

Where the joint points, the body goes!

By contrast, for some reason that I haven't fully grasped yet, pressure on the front of the shoulder produces a marked effect on your opponent's balance! I think it has something to do with the integral structure of the body; you're not working against the powerful back muscles that are trying to straighten, but rather simply disrupting the horizontal angle of the shoulders. Regardless, the shoulder press as illustrated in the above image is a good way to follow the principle that "where the joint points, the body goes!"

It never ceases to amaze me how a manipulation of the joints has the capacity to completely "break your structure" as Systema instructor Alex Kostic likes to say. (In fact, Alex covered this in some detail during his Perth seminar and we discussed the principle at some length later over tea.)

You'll see many more examples form 4:26 onwards in my video. Accordingly it should come as no surprise that pressure must be maintained on the elbow throughout the ikkyo projection. This means pointing the elbow to where you want your opponent to go – namely down! If he or she starts to rise, point the apex of the elbow triangle down again. It really is that simple.

If, like me, you spent years letting your hand drift up from the elbow to the tricep after the "rise and fall" motion, then the hardest part will be trusting that the technique will work – it will seem counterintuitive! But rest assured: it does (as you will see at around 2:24 in my video).

Applicability in myriad instances

In the first two videos of mine in this article I have described a number of other instances where the ikkyo projection can be applied. These include:
  1. a punch that is being retracted;
  2. a deflection (eg. a rising "block" or age/jodan uke);
  3. a high guard or shield.
There are many others.

In fact, the moment your opponent presents an elbow, even at chest height, and you have the opportunity, this can be leveraged into the projection. At 3:34 in my video "Pi Quan – Applications" I even demonstrate a (rather strange!) application I once saw in a '60s self-defence textbook: it involved ramming a pickpocket's face into the opposite wall! While I don''t consider this to be a reasonable/appropriate application for such a situation (were it ever to arise!), the availability of the technique from that odd angle still managed to impress upon me the versatility and adaptability of this technique.

Conclusion

The goal of this article hasn't been to denigrate aikido or any particular instructor or school. Rather, I have wanted to highlight my own research over the last 30 years into the projection known in aikido as "ikkyo". Why? Because I believe it is a devastating, inherently practical and ultimately simple and logical technique that is applicable in a wide variety of circumstances. I hope that I have been able to communicate at least some of the essential principles of this oft-forgotten gem.

Ikkyo is much more than a stepping stone to "nikkyo", "sankyo" and "yonkyo". It is much more than an "exploration of aiki principle". It is a brutally effective technique that is also intimately tied to xingyi's most central movement – pi quan or splitting fist. Given the age of xingyi, I think it is safe to say that this projection is arguably one of the oldest martial techniques ever devised (leaving aside obvious punches and kicks).

To see such an ancient, tried and tested technique (that just happens to be one of my favourites) relegated to the status of a "boring and impractical basic" is frustrating. However perhaps this is not all that surprising when you see how few people know what it takes to makes ikkyo truly functional. And yet, the "secret" of ikkyo is surprisingly simple, ie:
  1. follow the lines of least resistance to throw up your opponent's eblow in front of his or her face;
  2. punch the "triangle" of your opponent's elbow through his or her face using a "drop step" to exert instant force;
  3. keep stepping and don't pause until you have your opponent face-first on the ground;
  4. keep your pressure on the maximally efficient lever point – namely the crook of your opponent's elbow.
Next time I hope to deal with the ground pin (a mercifully shorter subject). For the time being, I hope this article enables you to add (or improve) a truly useful fighting technique (and principle) – whatever martial art/system you might be studying.

Footnotes

1. I later collated the "stray" internal arts throws and projections into 2 forms of my own design so as to preserve the footwork and essential mechanics in discreet "packages" which I call "nagegata" or "touxing" (literally "throw forms"). This experience alone alerted me the important function forms have in presenting and preserving a comprehensive martial curriculum.

Arguably, I needn't have bothered to add the "ikkyo-type" internal throw to my forms as it is already clearly evident in xingyi's pi quan. However there is also the inherent problem of pi quan's subtlety and complexity, arising from its advanced nature. Accordingly I am satisfied on balance that the technique should remain in the nagegata/touxing forms.

2. Those who disagree with my views will doubtless point to my "poor form" when demonstrating, say, the ikkyo pin on the ground. I'm not making excuses when I say that the videos I have here were filmed hurriedly after some standard lessons; this is simply fact. Furthermore, the primary purpose of my videos was to demonstrate the internal arts version of the projection and pin – not to demonstrate the "aiki" side of things. They should certainly not be read as some sort of proof that I haven't tested my views on high calibre martial artists of all styles, including aikido.

3. Practice methods in aikido are often high on "principle" and low on "direct applicability" but that doesn't mean they aren't important. For example, the various "kokyu ho" ("breathing" exercises) and the "tai no henko" drill are designed to teach you to deflect and redirect force, thus "harmonising" it with your own movement (hence the name of aikido – "the way of harmonising the spirit/breath").

4. For those who think wrist grabs are "unrealistic" etc. I invite you to read my previous articles "Dealing with wrist grabs" and, more relevantly "Gorillas in the midst: the question of wrist grabs" where I outline the primary reason practising techniques from a wrist grab: to create a consistent platform for isolating, analysing and understanding a technique by putting you "in the correct range for the application of a technique in a basic setting."

5. In fact, the relationship between the "zhengmian tou" (ikkyo projection) and a palm strike is hardly surprising. This is exactly the form it takes in xingyi's pi quan – an up and down palm strike. It is my view that this is precisely the intended meaning of pi quan – not some strange downward "slap" (be it to the face or the shoulder or whatever). More on this another time!

6. Unfortunately, a static or "standing start" drill of the kind usually employed in ikkyo practice doesn't reveal the flaw in the paradigm used by the "no step at all" demonstrator, ie. that the moment you start pulling down on your opponent's arm, he or she will pull away! And without sparring the deficiencies in this model are never uncovered. That said, the technique is still "workmanlike". It is, however, what I would unhesitatingly call "external" in approach; it is diametrically opposite to the dynamic and "momentum preservation" focused "soft" or "internal" arts of China (with which aikido is so often mistakenly compared).

Copyright © 2012 Dejan Djurdjevic

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Dealing with wrist grabs

Introduction

In my article "Gorillas in the midst: the question of wrist grabs" I wrote about the common misconceptions about wrist grabs: their occurrence in attacks, their function in "setting up" techniques and their use in martial training pedagogies.

But recently a correspondent's query made me realise that I haven't yet addressed the question of how to deal with wrist grabs. In this regard, Nathaniel wrote:
    "As a small man (140lb), I've found that people frequently grab my guard. They use these grabs to easily break my structure and make me feel quite foolish. I've been having a lot of trouble countering these grabs, especially double wrist grabs. I don't suppose you'd know anything I can do to improve this without anyone physically there to provide resistance, do you?"
The occurrence of wrist grabs

Nathaniel's comments provide an example of what I believe is the most common use of wrist grabs.

Yes, you don't see wrist grabs in MMA bouts (other than the odd, brief, set up for grappling etc.). But this is precisely because of the context in which those bouts occur. MMA fights are typically between two fairly evenly-matched opponents who have the particular goal of winning the fight. You can't win an MMA fight by wrist-grabbing!

This contrasts with many civilian defence situations where the perpetrator of the violence is a larger, stronger person picking on a smaller, lighter "easy target". The purpose of the grab isn't to "win a bout" but rather to effect a specific result, namely:
  1. to restrain you for the purposes of effecting a serious criminal offence (eg. a murder, sexual assault, abduction or robbery); or
  2. to effect some form of lesser abuse against you (involving harassment, humiliation or other domination) - whether through the restraint itself or some follow-up measure that relies upon the restraint.
In my previous article about wrist grabs, I referred to a particular case I was involved in prosecuting, where a woman was dragged out of sight of a surveillance camera. Had she resisted or otherwise been able to deal with the wrist grab for another 15 seconds or so, two people passing by would have seen her and might have come to her aid (or at the very least, their appearance might have caused the attacker to abandon his attack). So for a smaller person, I believe there is a very real need to learn how to deal with wrist grabs.

But the "lesser assault" cases are probably going to be of greater concern to my average reader, simply because they occur more often – in a park, on a train, in a domestic situation or even in the dojo. Some people are bullies. And wrist grabs are often used by them to dominate smaller, lighter people. The bully will use a wrist grab to assert dominance: to inflict humiliation and to cause distress.

Even if you aren't the victim of a bully, you might find yourself being overwhelmed by a larger person in honest dojo sparring; the larger person might unconsciously revert to wrist grabs because he or she can do so relatively effectively. I think this is totally contrary to the purpose and spirit of sparring, but I recognise that it might not be conscious or deliberate. In other words, it happens.

(In the above pictures and the video below , you'll see me "dominating" a student – but I did this reluctantly and only for the purpose of this article! The student got to throw me around at the end to make up for it!)


A video where I discuss dealing with wrist grabs

"If someone grabs you, just hit him!"

Bruce Lee famously said: "If somebody grabs you, hit him!" And that makes a lot of sense in the "more serious" offence situations. But it also assumes that:
  1. you are able to hit the person who has grabbed you (eg. you have enough strength and skill and the grab hasn't incapacitated your own ability to attack); and
  2. your strike is likely to be effective in dislodging the grab; and
  3. hitting the grabber is appropriate in the circumstances (ie. the grab is not one of the "lesser assaults" where causing harm is uncalled for, and you won't simply be escalating a situation to a new level of violence that is even less desirable to you and that would otherwise be avoidable).
Regardless, I shall take as a given that the simplest response is always the best one. If you can strike someone who has grabbed you and it will be both effective and appropriate for you to do so, you should do this rather than go through some more elaborate escape, lock or throw. In that case, the grab is really just an incidental part of a larger altercation.

But for the most part, people (like Nathaniel) who are concerned about grabs are looking for a response that is less "violent" and will be appropriate to a wider variety of situations than a "full blown fight".

Learning how to "escape" from a grab is the first step to dealing with grabs in this wider context. (Note that strikes can, and in serious cases should, accompany any escape from a wrist grab. They can assist in the escape and also permit a "follow up" to deter or even prevent further attacks.)

Escaping from wrist grabs

So how can one best escape from a wrist grab?

The answer to that question is really quite straightforward, even for a relatively small person. Obviously if the size/strength disparity is too great, it might be past the "tipping point" – ie. where you are no longer going to have enough physical strength to escape from a wrist (or any other) grab. A simple (absurd) example would be if you were grabbed by King Kong.

But for the most part, pretty much any adult will be able to escape from a wrist grab by another adult. This is because of one simple factor: if you do it correctly, you can use your entire body to aid the escape, while your attacker will be relying on his or her finger muscles (and to a lesser extent the muscles in his or her arms).

So how should you go about escaping from a wrist grab? Here are the general principles:

Act quickly

If you want to escape from a grab, it is always best to do so as the grab is being effected – not after it has been firmly established. The less secure the grab is, the easier it is to escape (using the principles to which I refer below). You need to act quickly, decisively and with as much vigour as you can muster.

As you are grabbed, keep your elbow(s) low and close to your body

This might seem to be obvious advice, but it isn't widely known. In much the same way as the uninitiated will try to escape a grappler by turning their backs (only to find themselves in an even worse situation), smaller people will often struggle with a wrist grab and raise their elbow in a futile attempt to find an escape route "upwards".

In this regard, I often think of the 1950s horror movies I used to watch as a kid. Inevitably the plot would feature a woman running away from a werewolf/vampire/monster, somewhere deep in a forest. The woman would trip and fall and the attacker would grab her by the wrist. She would scream and flail about – and lift her elbow! It wasn't till I watched surveillance footage of attacks on (untrained) people that I noticed how accurate this Hollywood depiction actually was.

Lifting your elbow as you are grabbed is the absolute worst thing you could ever do. Trust me. Keep your elbows low and close to your body. This will help you use more of your own bodyweight, while any distance your attacker keeps (eg. through a straighter arm formed by trying to pull you) will work against him/her.

(The only thing that you need to be careful about is not to let your opponent jam your elbows into your abdomen; for that reason, always keep your elbows about a fist distance from your body - don't rest them against your ribs. This allows you enough room to wiggle out from an attempted downward "jam" by your opponent.)

Move your body in towards your elbows

In order to keep your elbows close to your body, you will probably have to move your body towards your elbows and not the reverse – particularly if your opponent is much stronger than you are. I mention this as a separate point to the preceding one (even though they are really one and the same instruction) because people tend to try to pull away from their attacker. "Moving in" is often the last thing people will do reflexively.

So make sure you move into your opponent as the grab is being effected, keeping your elbows low as you do so. This will ensure that you will be able to use your whole body in levering your way out of the grab.

Attack the gap between the thumb and the fingers!

One of my first teachers used to say that "God didn't made your hands perfect for grabbing – he left a gap!" (and he would point to the gap between the thumb and fingers). I used to imagine a human hand comprising a solid, cylindrical band of flesh, and wonder how one could ever use it to grab something in the first place. But of course this was just my instructor's humour.

The fact is that with all but the most disproportionately large attackers (I'm thinking of King Kong again) there is a gap. Even if there isn't a "gap" there is a weakness. And it is this gap/weakness that you must exploit. Get it right, and you'll be levering your wrist through the gap with the whole weight of your body – while your attacker is left to resist the escape with his or her finger muscles. That is the "ideal" you're striving for. In reality, you'll end up with something less than that. But the closer you get to this ideal, the better your chances of effecting an escape from the grab.

Turn the "thin" edge of your forearm into the gap

I haven't discussed this in the preceding video, but it is a point worth making. When you are "attacking the gap" between your opponent's thumb and fingers, turn your forearm so that you present the "thin" edge to the gap. This will maximise your chances of escape.



Use a twisting lever action to escape in one quick, decisive movement

In the video I show that even a slow lever action against the gap will make holding on to your hands impossible. But in reality, and given a possible size/strength disparity, you want to leave nothing to chance! So effect your breakout as quickly and with as much venom as you can. In doing so, you can use a twisting action – ie. one that rotates your forearm on its axis. This will make it harder for your opponent to hold on.

You can see this clearly in the cross-hand grab escape that I demonstrate, but it occurs in the same-side grab as well; my wrist starts off palm down and ends up in a "thumb up" finish. You should use your twist so as to present the thin edge of your forearm at the start of the breakout and to lever your breakout for the rest.

Use both arms if you have to!

Nathaniel specifically refers to situations where both wrists are grabbed. In that case, as well as in the case where one of your wrists is grabbed with two of your opponent's hands, you can always use both hands together to assist your breakout.

In the case of both hands being grabbed, the easiest, most basic and most effective technique is to clasp your hands together, bring your body to your elbow and lever the elbow up, twisting your forearm through the gap as you do so.

In the case of two hands grabbing one of yours (a daft attack since you still have one hand free to hit your attacker – but it still happens!) you can use the same tactic. All that changes is that you might have to grab in between your opponent's forearms. If you can't grab there, you can always grab around them (on your grabbed hand's little finger side).

An alternative to clasping your hands together is to make your grabbed hand into a fist, then grab the fist with your supporting hand.

Note that "assisted breakouts" can also be used against single-handed grabs to make up for a significant size/strength disparity.

Counter if you need to!

One thing I didn't show in the preceding video is that you can and should effect a counter after your escape if the circumstances warrant it. An upwards levered breakout can easily be followed by a "reversal of momentum" bringing your fist onto the bridge of your attacker's nose, for example.

Taking advantage of your opponent's grab

But breaking out of a wrist grab isn't the only thing you can do. Even a relatively small person can use being grabbed as a platform for "turning the tables" on an opponent.


I discuss using wrist grabs to your advantage (video set to start at the correct point)

From about 5:22 onwards I discuss such strategies for exploiting wrist grabs. There are simply too many to enumerate here. It is sufficient to note that if your opponent has his or her whole attention fixed at grabbing you, your opponent will be preoccupied with that (foolish) task. This will leave you plenty of scope for exploiting that preoccupation.

One way in which you can do so is by using the grab to lever your opponent into a lock or throw. That might seem incredible for a smaller person, but you'll note in the above video that good lever locks/throws don't require much strength. In particular, note when my student locks/throws me towards the end of the video. This wasn't rehearsed nor was I "acting" or making it overly easy on my student (other than the initial pause when I invited him to throw me).

The secret behind this method is to realise that a grab is really a kind of "platform" for your own techniques. I call it that, because a firm grab provides a level of certainty. The firmer it is, the stronger the foundation for your technique.

For example, a stiff straight arm can more easily be locked at the elbow, a rigidly bent arm can be levered upward at the elbow, a firm grip on your wrist is almost as good as your own firmest grip (given the "grip reflex")... the list goes on!

By contrast, if your attacker's grab "evaporates" as soon as you start to try to apply your own lock, you have "nothing" upon which to base your technique.

So I teach my students not to be concerned about wrist or other grabs. For every hand your opponent is grabbing you with, he/she has one less to hit you with. And you still have your hands free to lock, throw – or simply strike.

Understandably, you can't actually strike in every instance (eg. in the dojo or when you and a friend are just mucking around) which is why I've concentrated here on "non-violent" counters (although I can tell you there wasn't anything non-violent about my student's last throw against me!).

High wrist grabs

I gather from Nathaniel's query that he is mostly experiencing high wrist grabs - ie. when his guard his being grabbed. This usually means that the grab is effected with your hand higher than your opponents.

I haven't really focused on that in the peceding video because it is really an extremely weak grab; it is generally much easier to break out of using the very principles to which I have previously referred. This is because all you will usually have to do to "attack the gap" and dislodge the grip is simply "drop" your hands. As you will see from the adjacent picture, this automatically weakens the grip and widens the gap through which you can escape.

Indeed, the same is true for a low wrist grab - simply raising your arm will weaken the grip and allow you to exploit the gap. The problem is, of course, that raising your arm uses much smaller, weaker muscles in your shoulders. Dropping your arms uses your latissimus dorsi (your "lats") - ie. your back muscles. These are some of the biggest, strongest muscles in your body.

So if somebody ever grabs you in a high grab, don't be too troubled. My first instructor used to call this a "goofy grab" because it is so inherently weak. The only thing you really need to worry about is the previously mentioned issue of having your elbows pushed down into your body. If your guard leaves a sufficient gap between your elbows and ribs (one fist distance is about right) then you should have no trouble wiggling out of this hold.

Otherwise, the adjacent pictures make it clear just how "transient" any wrist hold can be. You can test this with a simple "up/down" exercise where you take turns at converting his/her wrist grab into your own. If one side resists, you'll note just how much harder it is to do the rising conversion (from a low grab) than it is to do the falling one. It's simply phyisics and physiology. Larger muscles + gravity make escaping a high grab much easier.

If this is your problem Nathaniel, take a look at the following video, especially towards the end, for some tactics you can employ on high, double-hand grabs. Note of course that the escape is the first thing you should practice. Explore the weaknesses and the gap to see how best to effect it from any particular position.


Another video where I discuss locks/throws from double-handed grabs

Conclusion

So when your wrists are grabbed the main thing to do is remain calm. Keep your elbows low and move your body in towards them. Use a lever action and the thin edge of your forearm to exploit the gap between his thumb and fingers. Or use the grab as a platform for your own lock or throw.

Whatever you do, act confidently, decisively and quickly.

And remember that even if you don't succeed entirely in escaping/countering, you might well have impeded the attack sufficiently to permit your escape, allow others to help you or simply to make attacking you "not worth the effort".

Also remember that people who would grab you are normally going for an "easy target". If you are anything but that, they will be more inclined to leave you alone. Of course no one can guarantee this but you want to give yourself every chance...

Wrist grabs can and do get used in attack. Everyone should know, as a minimum, the basics of dealing with such an attack. I hope this article serves to provide some useful information in this regard.

To Nathaniel, I can say that while there is limited training you can do without a partner to grab you, you can, at the very least, practice the above basics on your own via simple drills (such as stepping forward into your elbow and effecting a twisting lever action with your arm). I would strongly recommend repeating this with a partner as soon as you can find one.

Remember however that no video, book or article is ever going to be a substitute for a good instructor!

Copyright © 2012 Dejan Djurdjevic

Thursday, June 14, 2012

TCM meridians and fascia: what do they have to do with the internal arts?

This is a first for this blog, and I hope it’s not the last. Today I’m featuring a guest blogger, Trevor Aungthan. He is both a gifted student of multiple martial systems (internal and external) as well as a qualified and experienced physiotherapist who has worked with Cirque du Soleil and is the creator of an exciting new exercise program called "Circus Conditioning". In this article Trevor gives a fascinating and highly informative analysis of the meridians of traditional Chinese medicine, fascia and the internal arts. Enjoy!

If you've ever seen an acupuncturist, you may have heard what Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners call 'meridians' - these are the pathways that Qi (or Chi) flow through in our bodies. There are 14 meridians and along each meridian are Qi (or acupuncture) points where Qi can be manipulated to restore balance, via acupuncture needles or acupoint pressure. Much research has been done and is currently ongoing on the correlation between TCM meridians and our own fascial pathways. The fascial pathways are interconnected lines of fascia, or connective tissue, that run in various trains throughout our body (see Anatomy Trains for more details). Tai Chi quan and other Internal Martial Arts (IMA) are believed to help cultivate our Qi as a dynamic, flowing form of Qi gong.

So what is the link between these systems: the meridians and the fascial network and how does it relate to IMA practice?

Have a look at the following picture of the Superficial Back Line (SBL) - which is an interconnected fascial chain - from Anatomy Trains (Myers, 2nd Ed. 2009) juxtaposed with the bladder meridian.



Pretty close right?

Similarly, the other six Anatomy Trains correlate very closely with the other meridians i.e. Superficial Front Line = Stomach meridian and the Lateral Line = Gall Bladder.

One of the pioneers in research into TCM meridians and fascia is Helene Langevin, a Professor in Neurology from the University of Vermont. Langevin and her team found that most of the Qi points occur where fascia planes or networks converge. They showed that acupuncture points mostly lie along the fascia planes between muscles or between a muscle and tendon or bone. When an acupuncture needle pierces the skin, it penetrates through the dermis and subcutaneous tissue, then through deeper interstitial connective tissue. Langevin hypothesized that a Qi blockage can be viewed as an alteration in the composition of the fascia and that needling or acupressure may bring about cellular change in the fascia (Langevin & Yandow, 2002).

    Sun Xi Kun performing Bagua Single palm change from his book "Genuine Transmission of Bagua Quan"
For internal martial arts practitioners (Tai Chi, Bagua, Xingyi, Yiquan, etc) like us, what does this mean for our own practice? How can we manipulate our meridians and thereby the fascial system through movement?

We, probably more than anyone else, already use our fascial systems whenever we practice jibengong (foundational exercise) or via forms practice without many of us realizing it. At the base level, everytime we were told to fang song (relax) what was our laoshi or sifu really trying to tell us?

I know, personally, it was a difficult concept for me to comprehend - movement without muscular activation - or movement without a reliance on overt muscular activation.

If the muscles were not to work, how was I moving my body through space? How were my arms 'parting the horses mane' without my deltoids, pectoralis major and latissimus dorsi co-activating the movement required?

One word –
Fascia


Guimberteau

It was my fascial network all along that was driving the movement. Fascia has long been neglected as just the 'white packing stuff' around our muscles - anatomy labs around the world have been in competition as to who can clear out the fascia best so that the muscles are left pristine for examination and study. Looking at the video above by Dr Guimberteau which shows video of fascia in-vivo, in live fascial tissue, we can see the chaotic, fractal design of our fascial networks. In the last few years, there has been a paradigm shift in how we look at fascia and what it means for movement, health and dysfunction.

The traditional model of the human spine was based upon the post-and-beam model of a skyscraper (Schultz, 1983) and the soft tissues (muscles, fascia, tendons, etc) were always regarded as just curtain walls or stabilizing guy wires. If we assume our bodies as non-living organisms, this may hold weight but as biological structures we are mobile, flexible-hinged, low energy consuming, omni-directional structures that can function in a gravity-free environment (Levin, 1995). Skyscrapers are immobile, rigidly hinged, high energy consuming, vertically oriented structures that depend on gravity to hold them together. Similarly, the lever model we have previously used to explain muscles and joints in the body is flawed. See below.

A load of 200 kg, (not unusual for a trained weight lifter), located 40 cm from the fulcrum requires a muscle reaction force of 8 x 200 = 1600 kg. The erector spinae group can generate a force of about 200 to 400 kg, a force of only one quarter to one half of that necessary. Even a weight of 25 kg would put an average man at risk of tearing his back muscles. Muscle power alone cannot lift moderately heavy loads close to the body or light loads extending out from the body, such as a fish on the end of a rod. The calculated forces of these actions would rip muscles, break bones and severely deplete energy stores (Levin, 1995). The model nowadays agreed upon which most closely resembles our bodies' is based upon the tensegrity model, a type of truss system, which is omni-directional so that the tension elements always function in tension no matter the direction of applied force (Fuller, 1975).

A balloon is a great example of tensegrity; the skin of the balloon is the 'tension member' pulling in, the air is the 'compression member' pushing out; replace a series of rubber bands in lieu of the skin and dowels for the air in the balloon and you have a classic tensegrity structure (Myers, 2012). If we substitute bones for the dowels and our fascial and myofascial membranes for the rubber bands/skin, that is the fascial integrity of our body.

If we take a look at the drawing of 'spiral Qi lines' by Chen Xin taken from his book, Illustrated Explanations of Chen Family Taijiquan, what seem like random circular drawings around the body were possibly an early attempt to explain the concept of fascial integrity with what was familiar to Chen at the time - spiral Qi.

Another way to look at his drawings are a rather accurate 'force-map' for the major fascial connections in the body. A small excerpt from his book reveals his deep knowledge;
Coiling power (Chan Jin) is all over the body. Putting it most simply, there is coiling inward (Li Chan) and coiling outward (Wai Chan), which both appear once (one) moves. There is one (kind of coiling) when left hand is in front and right hand is behind; (or when) right hand is in front and left hand is behind....once Qi of the hand moves to the back of the foot, then big toe simultaneously closes with the hand and only at this moment (one can) step firmly...
It's amazing to think 100 years ago, Chen was already alluding to things we now know about integrated movement (connectivity of the big toe to the rest of the body) and kinetic awareness (left-right hand interplay). These things play a big part in the new sub-science of Fascial Fitness, or in other words, how to train our fascia to be resilient and elastic as to perform optimally and prevent injuries (Müller and Schleip, 2011).

So how do we as IMA practitioners, or more importantly, as human beings attain this Fascial Fitness? Müller and Schleip (2011) outline six guidelines to efficiently train our fascia.

(1) Preparatory counter-movement, or pre-stretch

Before performing any movement, there should be a slight pre-tensioning in the opposite direction. This is like drawing a bow to shoot an arrow, the pulling back action of the bow string is akin to the pre-tension on the fascia before movement i.e jumping, leaping. An example from the IMA is beng quan from xingyiquan: the loading into the rear foot pre-tensions the fascia in the lower leg which helps explode forward into the punch.


Hebei xingyi master, Dong Ziyi, performing beng quan

(2) The Ninja principle

Just as this sounds, this involves performing dynamic movements such as jumping, leaping and hopping as lightly, silently and smoothly as possible. Each movement should flow into the next and any extraneous and jerky movements should be avoided. The video of Swedish high-jumper Stefan Holm below is a perfect example, jumping around 1.70M (!) seemingly effortlessly. To IMA practitioners this should need no explanation - we should endeavour to do this each and every time we practice!


Stefan Holm

(3) Dynamic stretching

Two types: fast and slow. Contemporary research now suggests that fast, dynamic stretching is actually beneficial to the elastic architecture of the connective tissue when performed correctly (Decoster et al, 2005). Muscles and tissue should always be warm when performed and jerky and abrupt movements should be avoided. When combined with a preparatory countermovement, this type of stretching is found to be even more effective (Fukashiro et al, 2006). Rhythmical controlled bouncing at end range, when warm, is effective at this.

With slow dynamic stretching, the aim is to focus on engaging the longest possible myofascial chains (Myers, 2009) rather than isolated muscle groups. These should be multidirectional movements with slight changes in angle and direction i.e. sideways or spiral-type movements to have maximum effect on large areas of the myofascial web. An example of this might be performing a downward dog stretch with a right-to-left side emphasis, focusing on lengthening each posterior myofascial chain (i.e hamstring and calf) separately.

(4) Proprioceptive refinement

Current research indicates that the superfical fascial layers of the body are in fact more densely populated with mechanoreceptors than tissues situated more internally (Stecco et al, 2008). This goes away from the traditional thought that joints were the source of most of our proprioceptive capabilities - it is now believed that joints only provide joint feedback when at end of range movements and not during physiological motions (Lu et al, 1985).


Wu style taijiquan

To best stimulate fascia in this way, 'fascial refinement' training is recommended i.e. super-slow movements that may not be perceptible to an observer and also very quick macro-movements of the body. This concept will be familiar with IMA practitioners that do zhan zhuang training (standing post) or who perform their tai chi or other forms/partner work at super slow speeds as well as fast-form training.

(5) Hydration and renewal

The video at the beginning by Dr JC Guimberteau illustrates how important water and hydration is to our fascia. Our fascia is predominantly made up of both moving and bound water molecules that move in/out of fascial tissue like a sponge in the more stressed areas when stretching (Schleip & Klingler 2007). More fluid re-fills these areas when the stretch is released, coming from the surrounding tissue as well as the lymphatic and vascular networks - pain or dysfunction in areas is due to poor rehydration at neglected areas. With these types of specific exercises and through various therapies (myofascial, foam roller, etc) the aim is to refresh these neglected areas.
Interval training is also recommended over long, intense periods of exercise to allow adequate rehydration of the fascia.

(6) Sustainability

Fascial changes, unlike muscular adaptation, can take a long time and researchers advise 6 to 24 months before any significant changes may take place. This time-frame will not deter any serious IMA or yoga practitioner. Training needs to be persistent, regular and in small doses for collagen re-adaptation to occur.

By adapting some or all of the properties of Fascial Fitness into our existing training regime will certainly help towards us moving and feeling better. The evidence seems to acknowledge that TCM practices were very advanced considering they were developed approximately 2000 years ago. Many of today's top athletes have already incorporated these principles into their training and anecdotal evidence is promising. It's also interesting to note that the experts advise 6 to 24 months for these fascial changes to take effect, rather close to certain timelines to gaining some basic skills in the IMA. I’ll finish with a video of Yiquan master Wang Binkui which I believe portrays rather nicely the elasticity, fluidity and resilience we all strive for.


Wang Binkui Yiquan

Copyright © 2012 Trevor Aungthan

Further study

Chen X: Illustrated Explanations of Chen Family Taijiquan. Translated from Chinese by Jarek Szymanski; © J.Szymanski 1999-2002.
Decoster LC, Cleland J, Altieri C, Russell P (2005) “The effects of hamstring stretching on range of motion: a systematic literature review,” J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 35(6): 377-87.

Fukashiro S, Hay DC, Nagano A (2006) “Biomechanical behavior of muscle-tendon complex during dynamic human movements,” J Appl Biomech 22(2): 131-47.

Fuller RB: Synergetics. New York, McMillan Publishing Co, 1975, pp 372-420.
Guimberteau, JC: Strolling under the Skin DVD.

Langevin HM and JA Yandow: Relationship of acupuncture points to connective tissue planes. The Anatomical Record (New Anat.) 269:257–265, 2002.

Levin SM: Spine: State of the Art Reviews. Volume 9/Number 2, May 1995 ©Hanley and Belfus, Philadelphia. Editor, Thomas Dorman, MD.
Lu Y, Chen C, Kallakuri S, Patwardhan A, Cavanaugh JM (2005) “Neural response of cervical facet joint capsule to stretch: a study of whiplash pain mechanism,” Stapp Car Crash J 49: 49-65.

Müller DG and Schleip R (2011): Fascial Fitness: Fascia oriented training for bodywork and movement therapies. FF Yearbook.

Schleip R, Klingler W (2007) “Fascial strain hardening correlates with matrix hydration changes,” in: Findley TW, Schleip R (eds.) Fascia Research: Basic science and implications to conventional and complementary health care. Elsevier GmbH, Munich, p.51.

Schultz AB: Biomechanics of the spine. In Low back pain and industrial and social disablement. American Back Pain Association. Nelson L ed, Redesign, London, 1983.
Stecco C, Porzionato A, Lancerotto L, Stecco A, Macchi V, Day JA, De Caro R (2008) “Histological study of the deep fasciae of the limbs,” J Bodyw Mov Ther 12(3): 225-230.