Day 64: Questioning the Answers

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October 31, 2012 by D Loeven

Albert Einstein during a lecture in Vienna in 1921

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein.  

Alright, so I’ve extended my holds to a happy length.  Especially with cloud hands and I ran into problems.

1. Measuring progress.  I’ve been measuring on a purely time-based approach. This is a mistake. My stance at the moment is between middle to high range and I can hold it for a happy length in cloud hands.  To go lower is to decrease the hold time, but to do so will increase the strength of my legs, the difficulty of the stance and the overall ‘efficiency’ of the exercise.  Which means to continue measuring the time gained in a held stance, I must keep up a relatively similar, higher stance for the sake of record keeping and ultimately ego, or sink into a more challenging stance and watch the progress measurement plummet, though the overall strength of the legs would, theoretically, increase.  This means my entire strength measurement system is garbage.  My concerns were confirmed by my teacher the following week in a comment to the class.  Satisfied I was ‘beating a dead horse’, I decided I needed a new plan.

2. New Plan.  The length of time in a held stance is easily measured with my watch. To account for the varying heights of a horse riding stance,  I need equipment I doubt I have on hand.  Save for a yardstick taped to the wall and some very precise unwavering holds on my part- which would be difficult to monitor- I was out of luck.  An outside measurement would be needed. A leg press machine perhaps.  One is available in the gym and could be used to measure leg strength simply by noting the amount of maximum weight lifted both before the start of the challenge and then again at the end.  This would allow for varying heights and time held in stances, and show results in an easily and quickly measured number.  It’ll do.  Maybe even add a couple of participants and find an average percentage of increase instead of a single response to the challenge.

3. Changing the length of the challenge.  I’ve heard that at least one nei kung set requires a 100 day dedication to an exercise format.  I am changing this challenge to 30 days because I will be adding new participants and do not wish to confuse my silly challenges with any type of serious nei kung work.  Nei kung work culminates in ‘internal strength’ and I have not learned those exercises yet.  Everything I do here as of yet is strictly training games.

4. Research or Fun? So, it’s a bit of research-like fun.   Professor David W. Martin‘s lectures on “Experimentation As A Research Method” from Psychology of Human Behavior both discourages and enlightens the listener about how difficult it is to come to a definite answer involving human beings in experiments.  Myself and any person involved in this plan will be pursuing their own exercise regimes and lifestyles, eating habits and emotional courses.  Time of day measured notes are taken, illness and fitness level before and during the experiment can change results.  These variables could be reduced or eliminated by demanding everyone eat certain foods, refrain from all but these exercises and be physically and emotionally well throughout the course of the plan.  In other words, it’s not going to happen in research-like fun.  But numbers are numbers.  And I hope to have some better measurement this time around.  If not, only a handful of weeks will be spent instead of over two months with insufficient numbers gathered.  Above all, a month of training, and interesting training at that, will be tucked into memory.

Results

Since the beginning of the challenge: Information invalid.  Varying heights in horse riding stance lower the hold times significantly.  This leads the information gathered on lower stance days to prove a decrease in leg strength, when in fact the actual leg strength may be an increase, decrease or same result.  It is frustrating to see my paperwork go, but more so to reject progress in favor of pretty percentages.  Luckily, I keep the knowledge and results of physical work.  New plan will continue in this challenge’s place.

Changes:  New plan will be implemented November 1st.  Will use a leg press machine to measure leg strength at start (heaviest weight able to lift), as well as once a week during and once at the end of the challenge.  New plan shortens the challenge to 30 days for reasons listed earlier.  May involve new participants at different times for 30 days as well.  May provide results charts this time around for scrutiny.

Thinking RFID

“Doubt is the beginning not the end of wisdom.” – George Iles

Happy Practicing!

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