Vicente: Muscle memory-A A +A
Friday, August 17, 2012
OUR mind has the capability to remember. It serves as storage of things we feed it. The things we do everyday are remembered because of the wonderful works of the brain. But how many of us are familiar with the term “muscle memory”? It may sound odd but as not to mislead you may I point it out early that it’s not about the muscles having a mind of its own not per se for that matter.
Muscle memory is the ability of the muscle to get back to a routine or a physical ability state after a lengthened layoff. Compared to a person who is starting from zero, the person who had lain off from his physical workout and returns develops faster than a person who has just started. This explains how the muscles, after a long period of doing activities, develop reactions that will not be lost. This is even if the person disrupts his physical activity by stopping for quite some time.
Martial arts, where repetition of movements is always practiced, is the best example for muscle memory. Almost everyday, martial arts practitioners train in executing almost the same exercises and drill every meeting. This is the reason why young enrollees last for only as much as they can bare their boredom, but for those who understand the reason behind continue with their training knowing that perfection of a few skills is better than being confused by the so many techniques without precise effectiveness.
Martial artists execute almost the same punches every training, almost the same kick, almost the same throw and almost the same strikes in almost every meeting. One master told me before, “if we use martial arts in the art of fighting that applies real life combat, one blow must mean the end of the fight so why practice too many techniques? If one or two is enough?” In my own perception the muscle memory phenomenon is a muscle reaction that is developed through a long period of training that does not get out of one’s system once it has been developed by the body.
That explains those athletes returning to training after a period of time of backing off from physical exercise routines, having recovered in no time and back to form again. Many says that martial arts is a discipline that demands a lot of patience, in traditional sometimes I like to call it authentic style of martial arts practice repetition of movements is perfection of skills in that period of seemingly endless technique repetitions is the cultivation of character that evolves together with improvement of techniques.
“Muscle memory”, “muscle instinct” or whatever we call it, it only connotes one thing, and that is the importance giving ourselves time for physical activities that could improve our physical wellness.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on August 17, 2012.