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Monday, May 27, 2013

Automated reaction / punch simulator

This person has really thought about this device. I really think this idea is worth perusing. The foot pedal idea adds an uncertainty to the release of the strike that makes the reaction less predictable.

I wonder what his ideas are for curved 'hook' angles!

Note he has an adjustable height for kicks.

Slippers build this for me.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Why Chess is like Martial Arts II

Here is another aspect to chess culture that is like martial arts. The evaluative side. 'Which is the best system' debate. These often crop up.

At the moment the best PR in the martial art world goes to cage fighting systems. See the Straightblast Gym  and Matt Thornton for the 'delivery systems' that draw upon Thai boxing and Brazilian ju-Jitsu for these. Anything else is seen as probably less reliable, according to this orthodoxy. 'Look to the results' in professional fights, is the basis of this debate. 

This debate is similar to chess :

I play this line called the Alekhine Defence. It lets white chase black's knight to the edge to create an asymmetric unbalanced position.

On another forum someone commented on the same system:

'Playing the Alekhine is like driving a Ferrari without the speed. You're doing way more work than the others and you aren't really doing much better with it. It's tricky in that you put yourself in awkward situations to imbalance things. Anyway I'm sure anyone under master can use it. The real question is whether it's even worth it...'.


This type of insight hurts, as you put investment into this and it could be in vain. Is the solution to try harder and make these positions work for you. In other-words play from these sub-optimal positions as Black and work it .... work it .... work it .... until you are expert?

Or just find positions that are equal in the first place, and then work from that platform, via an orthodox chess defence in the first place. (I do admit to being drawn to Petrov's Defence).

Yet at armature level reading the board is hard. I played white today vs Alekhine's Defence and still I came unstuck - AND I know this system as Black! The shapes are not normal and keeping tabs on the ideal placement of pieces chasing the theoretical advantage in an irrational context of a time-pressured game is not easy. This has happened a few times. I want to avoid the system I know which is 'bad', as I cannot cope with it ?! 

Friday, May 03, 2013

What is the point : ? 'Searching for Bobby Fischer' Master Certificate (1993)

This clip has many meanings. For me it shows why chess sub-culture can relate to other cultures that involve learning 'apprenticeships'.

The novice wants validation of progress. What is 'progress' is the knowledge ... but something physical  is needed to demonstrate that - a 'token'. Here a young Josh Waitskin, when he was a chess prodigy, like many children I suspect wants a certificate to boost his self-esteem and show 'progress'.
The mentor played by Ben Kingsley is trying to show that the token of progress is not the goal ...

This trap to fall into is easy at martial art level. In Josh's book, The Art of Learning, he has an epiphany and later decides chess is not for him and becomes a Tai Chi master. During his 'journey' there, he notices people who become 'form collectors' , people who pick up sequences of moves, for its own sake, rather than the understanding and the slow graft to understand these moves authentically. Belts can do this, too. The desire for belts to show progress can represent tokenism, where the belt becomes the object of desire not the understanding and the graft and the intrinsic merits of the activity. (This relates to process vs outcome orientated goals - in a post I made below, a couple of years ago).

Moving learners to become appreciate of process goals, rather than outcome related goals, can increase their adherence to a tasks, should set-backs occur. They become resilient.

Here in this clip, the trainer - is expelled from the house but he tries to justify his reasons to both Josh and his Mother. He has a point. The McDonaldisation idea of him reproducing the standardised certificates does link to a McDojo, type feel, of the 'token' being meaningless ultimately. The way he dishes out the certificates is like a photocopier, or a machine stamping out beef burgers. There is no craft behind the certificate that way.

Josh does not know that, however, as he is too young to be able to have any experience to judge progress. This applies to any learner, who is new to a craft. How do you know you have made progress, if you cannot judge for yourself, as you are not experienced to judge for yourself? This sea of doubt goes with any learning territory like chess martial arts, starting out on a degree etc. You have to ride it out and over time changes occur, that become visible to yourself. You do things, think new ideas for yourself without being shown. < This for me is an example of validation.