Saturday, May 10, 2008

Ranai – Chaos into order

So, we saw in class today that once two vibrating objects (uke & tori) are coupled together, they may either amplify each others’ motions or they may damp each others’ motions out depending on how they are synchronized and how they are coupled. Here’s the cool physical example of this principle that I mentioned in class. And here it is done with three metronomes… and with five metronomes.

So, who all out there can say they've seen this type of phenomenon happen between two people in a martial arts setting?


  1. When I first read the post, I thought about the "earthquake" escape from hold-downs, where you essentially vibrate/bounce until it is untenable for the bad buy to maintain the pin. The cool counter for the person executing the pin is to earthquake back in sync with the guy on bottom.

    But then I saw the video... how interesting. Two things then come to mind: one is the "empty gi" judoka, who just keeps in step with his opponent. The other is the somewhat bad habit of ukes (when doing repetition drills) to find their tori's rythm and then assist the techniques rather than letting tori make it happen. The most common example is with the deashi drill where, after a few reps, the inattentive uke will just be walking backwards sweeping his own foot off line, even if tori doesn't touch him.

  2. here's a cool experiment along these same lines, chad. take a partner in a regular lapel-sleeve grip and begin moving around slowly, just walking here and there. each time each partner puts a foot down they give the other guy a little random push or pull - not much, just a bump.

    initially even though the game is deliberately slow, it seems like youre moving fast because of the chaos. but every so often, without even trying, you will find that the two partners' feet synch up and all of a sudden it is slow and orderly again.

    just like what is happening with the two metronomes. Did you notice that they would be nearly synched for several beats then they would be out of synch again, then they would synch up again.

    nodes of calm within the chaos.


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