The magic of Muscle Memory

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Over the weekend Mrs Hazmat reminded me why we are married.. she set the DVR to record a very interesting new show on Discovery Channel (My Favorite Channel) because she thought I'd like it.

The show is called "Human Body: Pushing the Limits". If you haven't seen it yet, I recommend you do.

Human Body..Nifty computer animations..

The essential premise is as follows, the Human Body is amazing, it's capable of truly astonishing feats when pressed to the limits.

While the episode I watched covered the adrenal response that comes when the body senses immediate harm (great section on a true life story of a Police Officer escaping a fire storm!), it also covered something much more mundane but nevertheless very important to the white collar grappler..

Muscle Memory.

In the episode they talked about the process of muscle learning. While no, your muscles don't have memory as it were, the brain records the action and reaction of each movement, the subtle nuances of the action the resulted in the proper or desired outcome.

Essentially with each successful repetition the brain becomes more efficient, better able to achieve the same outcome with less "thinking" or cognitive processing.

So what does this mean for us?

Drills baby! Lots and lots of drills.

Again however the answer just results in more questions.

How do we get more drilling time without taking too much away from the family, work, etc?

Sure when I was younger and had 1/10th of the responsibilities I have now I could have trained as often as my body would allow, but those days are long gone.

So what have I found that gives me the opportunity to drill techniques early in the morning before the family wakes up or late in the evening after the baby is in bed?

Let me introduce you to "Harvey".

Submission Master Grappling Dummy AKA "Harvey"

Why do I call my Grappling Dummy Harvey?

Well for my older set of readers, old grandma Haz used to watch "Harvey", a 1950s film about a guy whose best friend is a 6ft tall invisible rabbit. When I was little I can remember watching the film with her. Harvey was the name of that "invisible rabbit". Somewhat fitting when you think about it..

"Harvey".. Takes a decent portrait.

For the more geeky readers...

Farscape lead character John Crighton and Scorpius (aka "Harvey")

The entertaining SciFi Channel show, Farscape, featured a character that existed as a figment in the mind of the lead.. his nickname? Harvey. As you'll see in the above picture, perhaps this Harvey and my new grappling dummy Harvey are distant cousins. :)

Anyway, all kidding aside I couldn't be more happy with this dummy. I'm going to put together short review on it soon, however in the meantime head over to Submission Master and check them out for yourself.

Also, check out "Human Body: Pushing the Limits" on Discovery, I think you'll enjoy it.

Until then, it's time to go knock out some reps.


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10% said...

So, you have to tell me how you ran this one past the wife. "Honey, i'm going to spend a little over $500 on a grappling dummy. OK?"

hazmat said...

Funny you should ask, here's how I did it.

Like all people who work in the IT field, friends and family hound me for Tech Support whenever they choose.

So I instituted a small fee for support, stuck the money in an envelope, and when I tallied up enough for the dummy I bought it and deposited the cash.

Everyone was happy. I didn't take anything from the "family" coffers, and got exactly what I needed.

But more to the point, sure Mrs. Hazmat thought I was nuts, I'm convinced she thinks I'm crazy 90%+ of the time, why should this be any different. :)


Jason Struck, CSCS RKC said...

a dummy is one answer...

one of my friends that teaches BJJ is working with me to incorporate more motor learning theory in his classes;

structuring the training to reach a broader spectrum of learning styles, doing less block practice and more single repetitions, more reviews, more cognitive effort etc.

We can't wait to see the results.

David said...

i plan on getting one of these pretty soon - i'm kinda in the same boat as you are with responsibilites and all. i was wondering how the turnaround time was for recieving one of these submission masters. the site says 2 to 4 weeks but could be sooner.


hazmat said...


Sorry I can't say.. Mr Submission Master lives about 45 minutes away from my family in South Florida.

So I picked up Harvey over a holiday weekend.

It was a trip driving him back to the house, he was buckled in sitting next to my daughter.. you should have seen the looks we got on the highway!


David said...

ok, i made the plunge and ordered one of these last weekend. now i sit and wait for arrival...

hazmat said...

Good for you Dave! I hope you enjoy yours as much as I have enjoyed mine.

I find the best way to use it is to rep out a few dozen the morning after a class with new material.

Regardless, Good Luck!


Unknown said...

Thinking about getting one of these. Was wondering if you still find your self using it. Is it worth the money?

Thanks !

hazmat said...

Yes, I still work out with Harv, in fact I think the value is about to go up big time as I've got some more serious injury news to report soon...harv should be heavily involved in recovery.


BJJ Dummy said...

The money is worth it. I had been using my own submission master dummy for over a year now. It is still good.
It had suffered a lot from me but it had really withstand all my submission techniques.

It is really great.