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Martial arts and the sixth sense

  1. Jul 6, 2005 #1
    Hi everyone. I've heard that martial artists can somehow foresee an event before it actually happens. There is a test in which the student kneels, and the teacher behind him strikes with a sword, and so the student must avoid the strike by rolling. According to the people that have passed this test, it is impossible to feel the movement of the sword with the ordinary senses because of the great speed, but they rather "sense" a great fear of being killed and then they react. Do you have any insights on how this can be done? If there is no time for them to react, how can they "know" that they have to roll over? In terms of physics, how can one interact with an environment so quickly? Thanks in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 6, 2005 #2
    Maybe the people who didnt pass the test cannot say otherwise because they are dead?
  4. Jul 6, 2005 #3


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    ahahahah thats what i was about to say
  5. Jul 6, 2005 #4
    jejeje Actually the people who don't pass the test are not dead, just get a bruise on the shoulder or the head because it is a wooden sword called "shinai".
  6. Jul 6, 2005 #5


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    aha dang, there goes the simple answer!
  7. Jul 7, 2005 #6
  8. Jul 7, 2005 #7

    Ivan Seeking

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    They probably learn to pick up subtle clues - sound, most likely, but also perhaps shadows, or even vibrations in the floor, I suppose.
  9. Jul 7, 2005 #8
    My pet notion about things like this is that people may well be able to sense electric fields. In the right state of mind, calm, they might be able to process the vague sensation into a usefull reaction, in this case, an emotion.

    You may have heard about "seizure dogs" who appear to be able to sense when someone is going to have a seizure, even before that person experiences their own aura. This strongly suggests that the dog can somehow sense changes in whatever electric field may emanate from a person.

    I suppose if a dog can do it, then a person might also be able to do it. So, I speculate that what the person about to be hit senses is the change in the electric field of the person about to strike that results from their final decision to go through with the blow.
  10. Jul 7, 2005 #9
    I've studied martial arts for a number of years and I can say there is no magic to avoiding the sword. I'm very skeptical.

    Here is my reasoning:

    First, the students and masters can train constantly. They can develop a rhythm like dancers and move in a pre-determined way. Martial art forms capitalize on learning patterns and rhytms.

    Second, everyone has a "tell" that advertise their movements loudly.

    Third, can anyone put this experiment to some scientific rigor. Can we eliminate "luck", is there a causal relationship between striker and and strikee.

    Most martial arts demonstrations are smoke and mirrors. For example, it takes little skill to break a piece of wood. You can be taught in less than five minutes.
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2005
  11. Jul 7, 2005 #10
    Can you expand on this? This sounds like what the person about to be struck must be sensing, then.
  12. Jul 8, 2005 #11


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    I vote with Ivan, it's called cueing. This phenomenon has been well documented in ESP hoaxes.
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2005
  13. Jul 8, 2005 #12
    Thank you very much for your responses. This martial art is called Ninjutsu and it is very different from other martial arts because there are no predetermined forms, rather we learn to respond intuitively. Also, the test I mentioned can only be performed by people who have been training for many years, and the person who strikes with the sword can only be the Grand Master. I've been told that during this test, the Grand Master not only strikes with the wooden sword, but must also have the intention to hurt, to think of the student as an enemy.
  14. Jul 8, 2005 #13
    From what i understand what you said, I think that Grand Master might be crazy.
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2005
  15. Jul 8, 2005 #14


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    Along the lines of what H-Bar mentioned, I too have studied for more than a few years. In Aikido, we work at developing awareness. That however is not anything magical or mystical. The development comes in being able to still your mind and just not let the outside world distract you. It is difficult. I don't think I know of anyone who says that they have mastered that aspect. It is a thing you continually strive for.

    Personally, whenever I see or read things like this, I think scam automatically. The martial arts world is full of them. There are a lot of people who will do/say anything in an effort to set themselves or their ryu apart from everyone else, to make them look special.

    Also, anyone who calls themselves "master" or "grand master" immediately makes me suspicious.

    There's my two cents worth.
  16. Jul 8, 2005 #15
    Recently I saw a show about a guy who claimed he could stop people's hearts with a special nerve pinch.

    He did a carefully controlled demo, and they had the subject hooked up to a portable EKG when he did it. According to that he did actually flatline, untill the guy revived him.

    Ever heard of this? It was completely new to me and I didn't really know what to make of it.
  17. Jul 9, 2005 #16


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    No. I haven't. But then again, I tend to shy away from martial arts foklore. That sounds surprisingly like "Bruce Lee could rip your heart out and show it to you before it stopped beating" kind of stuff.

    From a scientific standpoint, I would like to get the opinions of some cardiovascular doctors on the idea of one single nerve controling your heart beating.

    Then again, there are many things we can not explain in this world..."There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
  18. Jul 9, 2005 #17
  19. Jul 9, 2005 #18
    I can't view the video, and have no idea what's going on. Can you describe what happens and the conclusion it leads to? You're saying it debunks the "pressure point" guy somehow?
  20. Jul 9, 2005 #19
    I can actually speculate a decent argument in favor of this being possible from what I know about nerves and the brain. There wouldn't have to be any special "undreamed of" thing at work. But your mention of scams and the lengths people go to to make themselves seem special in the martial arts makes me first want to question if it is actually happening at all as claimed.
  21. Jul 9, 2005 #20
    http://videos.subfighter.com/highlights/other/Dimmak Death Touch Fraud.wmv

    try this instead. basically the dude can't get his stuff to work on anyone besides
    his own students.
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