The Mind/Body Connection At Its Best

Damer

Administrator
DAREBEE Team
Warrior Monk from Terra
Pronouns: He/Him
Posts: 88
This is a clip of Muhammad Ali fighting Michael Dokes in an exhibition match in 1977. Ali was 35 at the time and Dokes, a young, upcoming boxer and future heavyweight contender, was just 19. What is remarkable here is Ali's dodging of 21 punches in 10 seconds as Dokes backs him against the ropes and fires off.


Now you will think this is advanced conditioning and lighting-fast reflexes and sure both men are highly trained with the much younger Dokes having a physical edge in terms of stamina, naturally. But this is not what makes this possible. Ali was a master at the mental game of boxing. He would frequently do shadow-boxing drills, thousands of times, imagining the opponent, imagining his reaction. This kind of drilling reinforces the central nervous system (CNS) that sends signals from the brain to the body but it also creates complex mental models of the real world. These mental models help the body that has only eyes at the top of its head and a fairly narrow, forward-looking field of view, understand where its boundaries lie and how these boundaries fit in the three-dimensional external world around it. This explains why you can squeeze past your dog on the way out your door without bumping on the door frame or even thinking about it, but someone who doesn't know your house, trying to do the same thing, is likely to trip up or stub their toe.

Ali, here, has a crystal-clear understanding of his body and its boundaries in the environment of a boxing ring. But that isn't the only thing happening here. Neuroscience tells us that brains that operate in a similar environment such as those encountered in teams, tightly-knit family groups, Special Forces squads, or the relationship between long-term friends remote or in-person, experience a synchronization of the brain that allows them to mirror responses and predict each other's reactions.

Here we see Ali's finely-tuned brain modelling the fluidity of the situation and his opponents' attacks and countering them by reacting just before the movements are completed. Dokes' in comparison, given his much younger age and relative inexperience is reacting to Ali's movements in real time. But that time is not sufficient to counter the time-lag experienced as his eyes report where his target is, his brain gives the command to attack it and his body obeys. Despite the fact that this complex sequence of events takes place in milliseconds, Ali has already moved (because he is reacting to what will happen) and Dokes has missed (because he is reacting to what he sees happening.)

Amazing, right? I hope you enjoy this and it helps you understand how the mind and body work as one, a little better. Any questions just hit me up here.
 

Fremen

Well-known member
Mercenary from Italy
Posts: 473
"“Keep an eye on the staircases. They like to change.” Percy Weasley, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone."
What has always fascinated me is that the physical has limits but the mind much less, what you do not get to do with the body can be done differently with the mind :)
 

Damer

Administrator
DAREBEE Team
Warrior Monk from Terra
Pronouns: He/Him
Posts: 88
@Fremen right on the button! The body only exceeds its limits when the mind kicks into high gear and aligns with the moment. Case in point this Ali clip. Despite improvements in training methods and nutrition, over the years, there has been no other boxer who could replicate this in this fashion (Mike Tyson comes close).
 
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