Total Immersion Forums  

Go Back   Total Immersion Forums > Freestyle
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #71  
Old 01-30-2011
terry terry is offline
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,305
terry has disabled reputation
Default The Value of Practical Explanations

The strength of Eric's post is that it's both highly practical and draws strongly on direct experience. In another post I described the Taoist principle of Wu Wei as "consciously choosing the right action, appropriate to its time and place, resulting in greater harmony and balance . . . You achieve wu wei by being keenly attuned to your environment, heeding physical intelligence more than the intellect or rational mind. We learn wu wei through direct experience, not intellectual or theoretical pursuits."

The experience of Wu Wei - effortless power - is what we are really after in our swimming, not adherence to some academic construct. That's why I barely glance at posts referencing Newton's 1st, 2nd or 3rd laws - and subsequent arguments they inspire - but feast hungrily on posts such as Eric's. To be quite frank I can barely recall one of Newton's Laws, let alone all three, yet that hasn't handicapped my continual progress, nor unlimited enjoyment, produced by practice of swimming. I'll bet the house the same is true of Shinji.

But direct experience has been the source of my every significant insight. As I noted above, my conviction that the Mail Slot was valuable began one, well, thrilling, day around 2000 when I was 'noodling' with my stroke at a health club in Atlanta, after a workshop. When I entered my hand at an angle that felt way too steep I immediately felt a linkage between arm-action and my core body that was dramatic and unprecedented. I thought "anything that feels that good merits more practice."

That was reinforced in late 2004 after I ruptured the biceps tendon in my right shoulder while lifting weights. My HMO wouldn't approve surgery for another 5 months. I decided to attempt to keep swimmng (1) because I didn't know how serious my injury was, only that I experienced disabling pain; (2) I considered that gentle arm-movement might be therapeutic; and (3) If I was going to have surgery I would probably recover faster if I maintained some strength leading up to it.

Through experimentation I eventually found that if I carried my right arm forward with rag-doll relaxation, then let the arm drop into the water of its own weight and through a 'slot' that resulted in a silent, splash-free entry, then applied no pressure until my shoulder was in a highly stable position, I could actually do whole stroke with no pain. (At the same time, I couldn't pour tea, flick a light switch or put on my seat belt without pain.)

Not only did this allow me to swim therapeutically, but near the end of the 5-month waiting period I was actually swimming faster repeats than I had previous to the injury. After surgery, when I learned I'd been swimming pain-free and fast with a bicep that had been torn from its shoulder attachment I was shocked. And convinced this was a hugely important technique.

Ever since I've remained hungry to better understand the physical explanation for a technique overlooked (if not criticized) by the mainstream swimming world - yet which the direct experience of thousands of TI swimmers - has confirmed helps you (i) swim faster, (ii) with effortless power and (iii) virtually eliminates shoulder pain. While I enjoyed the results of the technique, I found it difficult to rest until I could explain it to myself more fully.

My intuitive explanation was very similar to Eric's. Yet it still seemed insufficient to explain the unquestionably significant increase in 'effortless power' (wu wei). John's engineering-influenced explanation not only made instinctive sense to me, but had the ring of credibility of coming from someone who has spent 40 years exploring the action of Physical Laws.
__________________
Terry Laughlin
Head Coach & Chief Executive Optimist

May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story
Reply With Quote
  #72  
Old 01-30-2011
Lawrence Lawrence is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: London, UK
Posts: 804
Lawrence
Default

Bit harsh to call Newton's laws an academic construct, Terry. For many they are the finest example of a truth about the natural world that humans have discovered.
Reply With Quote
  #73  
Old 01-30-2011
MarkkuS MarkkuS is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Arboga, Sweden
Posts: 61
MarkkuS
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawrence View Post
Bit harsh to call Newton's laws an academic construct, Terry. For many they are the finest example of a truth about the natural world that humans have discovered.
Until Einstein came, many thought Newton's laws was laws of nature.
Reply With Quote
  #74  
Old 01-30-2011
Lawrence Lawrence is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: London, UK
Posts: 804
Lawrence
Default

Happy to debate the meaning of 'law' as understood by philiosophers of science.

Meantime, interested to hear what Einstein can tell us about swimming that Newton doesn't.
Reply With Quote
  #75  
Old 01-30-2011
haschu33 haschu33 is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Hamburg, Germany
Posts: 787
haschu33
Default

I would summarize that Newton, Bernoullie et al play a minor role for our swimming. The one most important factor is drag, and its increase by the power of two when the speed doubles. The next important factor is propulsion - through drag. Meaning creating resistance against the water and 'leaning' against the water, or pushing against the water.

I have no problems seeing the benefit of the mail slot entry. And I have no problems seeing the beneft of entering the water relatively close to the head.
But I am not so sure about the spearing angle. I'd like to beleive the benefits. But when I see Shinje in his 'famous' demo-video he shows an almost flat spearing angle with his left arm. Still he is extremely efficient.

Why does it work for him with a flat spearing angle then ?
Reply With Quote
  #76  
Old 01-30-2011
FrankJ FrankJ is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: london
Posts: 56
FrankJ
Default

I would also like to add my 2 cents. I believe that the most likely explanation for the feeling of a forward squirt, is that the body assumens a most hydrodinamic position during the accelarating part of the stroke. Specifically, to describe this in phases:

(1) when the recovery arm is ready to enter the water at an angle, the body has a low hydrodynamic position. The swimmer is facing the water with head, shoulders and the back of both forearms.

(2) Next, extension of the arm into skating immediately put the body in a more hydrodinamic positiion.

(3) The change that happens as the body assumes the skating position, ‘removes the brakes’ described in (1). As the body is still acitvely accelerating, this should result in an increase in speed-hence, the feeling of a forward squirt.

Point 3 would also lend support to the notion pointed out earlier in the thread in favour of straightening the arm in a shallow position following entry, as Shinji does.
Reply With Quote
  #77  
Old 01-30-2011
Alistair Alistair is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 57
Alistair
Default

I can't keep up with the volume in this thread but a number of you would benefit from high school physics.
Reply With Quote
  #78  
Old 01-30-2011
trekcenhoj trekcenhoj is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 5
trekcenhoj
Default

This is quite the lively thread!

Regards,
John
Reply With Quote
  #79  
Old 01-30-2011
Lawrence Lawrence is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: London, UK
Posts: 804
Lawrence
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by haschu33 View Post
I would summarize that Newton, Bernoullie et al play a minor role for our swimming. The one most important factor is drag, and its increase by the power of two when the speed doubles. The next important factor is propulsion - through drag. Meaning creating resistance against the water and 'leaning' against the water, or pushing against the water.

I have no problems seeing the benefit of the mail slot entry. And I have no problems seeing the beneft of entering the water relatively close to the head.
But I am not so sure about the spearing angle. I'd like to beleive the benefits. But when I see Shinje in his 'famous' demo-video he shows an almost flat spearing angle with his left arm. Still he is extremely efficient.

Why does it work for him with a flat spearing angle then ?
Haschu, if I understand you, you're referring to the early video where Shinji himself admits that he spears differently with each arm, his left arm spearing less deeply than the right.

Perhaps one can get propulsion from steep spearing even if one spears to a very shallow point; that is, if one flattens the spearing arm as soon as the fingertips pierce the water. Does Shinji travel as far on his left spear as on his right? I would doubt it, given my own suggestion about how speep-then-shallow spearing aids propulsion, but am prepared to be corrected.
Reply With Quote
  #80  
Old 01-30-2011
Lawrence Lawrence is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: London, UK
Posts: 804
Lawrence
Default

To pick up on points made by haschu and fjconti72, and others, I agree that minimising drag is an important part of correct spearing technique. Flattening the spearing arm after it enters the water at a steep angle would appear to minimise drag.

Further, as I think fjconti72 has pointed out, minimising drag this way means the body is in the most streamlined shape possible at the very point where the maximum accelerating force is applied (i.e. at the point a foot flicks, the torso twists and the catch is executed).

All this leaves the question why entering the water at a steep angle is better than entering the water flatter (we all seem to agree that it is better, barring perhaps haschu who seems sceptical, if I undertand him correctly). I don't think the answer lies in being able to achieve a cleaner entry, since it should be possible to slice into the water cleanly at any angle, with practice.

More significantly, in my view, a steeper angle appears to correspond to a larger weight shift as one moves from skating on one track to skating on the other. This is because, at the very least, a steeper entry angle means spearing from a higher point (the recovering elbow moves through a greater vertical drop), so there is more potential energy to recruit, with the aid of gravity, for propulsion. Possibly in addition, a steeper entry angle brings with it a higher shoulder on the recovering arm side, so that there is also more body roll to aid propulsion (this element may depend on the individual). If that's right, then the question is how the increased available weight shift helps propulsion. Here it is important, if we are to avoid confusion, to remember that gravity pulls the swimmer vertically down, and so cannot by itself pull the swimmer forwards. So however weight shift helps, it isn't by dragging the swimmer forwards all by itself.

My own suggestion in earlier posts is that weight shift translates into forward force because dragging a diagonal rod (the lead arm) vertically down causes the water to push back, and this pushing back can be resolved into components one of which points forwards.

I haven't been able to discern an alternative suggestion in the posts above for how weight shift produces forward push. The only other thing I can think of is that, if spearing more steeply means recruiting more weight shift, then a steeper entry angle gives the flicking foot more purchase on the water that it, itself, pushes backwards.

And for the sake of heading off further blind alleys, you'll notice nothing I have said attempts to elevate propulsive forces above streamlining or balance. The ranking of these items is a separate issue.

Apologies to anyone who finds all this needlessly fussy and academic. I find it fascinating. Picking one's way through a difficult analysis is one of life's more fulfilling pursuits, in my experience.

Last edited by Lawrence : 01-30-2011 at 04:16 PM.
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are Off
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 01:11 AM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.