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Thread: The Theory of Physical Intelligence

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    The Theory of Physical Intelligence

    Or more specifically, Howard Gardner's http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_..._intelligences.

    Very interesting read. Basically Gardner feels that humans are capable of processing intelligence not just with their brains. It might be a stretch but I feel this could explain certain fighters' (such as Jon Jones and Conor McGregor) seemingly inhuman fighting acumen (or "visual-spatial intelligence").

    This could very well be a load of shit but I think it's at the very least worth a gander.

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    I think there's a legitimacy to it. As it pertains to fighters the explanations of how a particular person moves may sound like a very simplistic way of attributing skill, but it's one that is often as easily discarded as well. The "bodily-kinesthetic intelligence" he's alluding to basically. I'm sure people have heard Conor Mcgregor say "I'm looking for all ways that the human body can move...I'm not even a mixed martial artist, I feel like I'm a master of movement". That's no small statement.

    I was reading an article about brain development in sports once and it mentioned something along the lines of how Roger Federer has an aptitude to sense the tennis racket as less of a tool and more of extension of his own arm. Fascinating really. An exceptional fighter would be similar, but in terms of spatial awareness and bodily-kinesthetic processes that require multiple limbs functioning at very high factors of input and output information.

    It's ideas like this that I think the sport should highlight. Guts and courage have their place, and should be respected, but to tailor coordinate one's brain and body to out maneuver another highly skilled combatant is such a ridiculous mastercraft and should be a real selling point.

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    This is a subject that I'm incredibly interested in, but its one where the credibility of the theory fades with the fighters. There was lots of talk of Anthony Pettis being in the same camp as the likes of Bones and McGregor in this regard. Students of movement and balance, distance and timing...then he got smashed by RDA and now he looks very much like every other top drawer fighter, ie that all those skills mean nothing when someone has a different skill that can control yours.

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    I actually thought of Pettis after I made this thread... but before RDA embarrassed him. Same could be said about Anderson Silva prior to the first Weidman fight. So I don't know. In theory it makes sense; again I point to Jones and McGregor, two fighters who make their fights look like genuine works of art. But of course as soon as someone beats them hindsight will become 20/20.

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    This seems like an interesting topic, but I know so little of sports, so forgive me if it seems silly, but isn't this just another name for muscle memory? What is the 'intelligence' component? Obviously there's some degree of inherent skill and capability that varies in individuals, I'm never going to be a ballet dancer no matter how many times I practice a pirouette, but I get the feeling I'm missing something more than just 'practicing lots and being good to begin with'.

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    Speaking of Weidman, he's another good shout. I mean his form doesn't look particularly fantastic but it is certainly effective. As awkward as his striking appears and he was still able to beat Silva and Machida on the feet... I think there's something to be said about that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Mike View Post
    This seems like an interesting topic, but I know so little of sports, so forgive me if it seems silly, but isn't this just another name for muscle memory? What is the 'intelligence' component? Obviously there's some degree of inherent skill and capability that varies in individuals, I'm never going to be a ballet dancer no matter how many times I practice a pirouette, but I get the feeling I'm missing something more than just 'practicing lots and being good to begin with'.
    I think muscle memory can be categorized here. I'm going to butcher this with my explanation so I'd like for you to check out the link but the "intelligence" aspect explains how some people have (relatively) superhuman reaction speed and mastery of distance and timing. Crucial aspects to being successful in any form of sport and things that cannot be taught/learned, which is basically what you were saying with your ballet analogy.

    Of course it could all be bogus, it is a theory, but I think it's at least worth looking into.
    Last edited by Mark Hammer; March 17th, 2015 at 11:52 AM.

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    I think that Ronda Rousey absolutely comes under this category too, especially when compared to the other female fighters. The way that she was able to completely switch balance and stance, use momentum, change her timing, measure the distance everything within one charge from Cat Zinago demonstrates that she has an innate understanding of how her body works, very much like the kind of things Connor McGregor talks about.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Mike View Post
    This seems like an interesting topic, but I know so little of sports, so forgive me if it seems silly, but isn't this just another name for muscle memory? What is the 'intelligence' component? Obviously there's some degree of inherent skill and capability that varies in individuals, I'm never going to be a ballet dancer no matter how many times I practice a pirouette, but I get the feeling I'm missing something more than just 'practicing lots and being good to begin with'.
    Haven't you known anyone who is just a bumbling clumsy oaf? No matter how much attention they try and pay to a task or effort they put into practicing a physicality they will inevitably fumble it? This "intelligence component" speaks to an innate sense of spatial awareness, deft of physical touch, and manipulation of coordinated energy that some have and some do not.

    It's "intelligence" that comes from the brain just like knowing 2+2, but it differs in that it's outward expression isn't written of language or sets of numbers, but of physical movement.

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    JJ Watt, a superhuman athlete, is one that we can all agree has "something" that your average joe doesn't:


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    palestine
    wrong thread

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    I thought this was going to be a black QB vs. white QB thread that I see on sports forums all the time

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    While reading a book by Annaka Harris about consciousness I come across the mental process called binding, which summed up is how we take all the many inputs from our senses and sort of coordinate their arrival into our brains. Problem with these sensory inputs is that they all have their own routes which aren't going to necessarily arrive at the same times, eg your fingers are farther away from your brain than your eyes so how something feels will take longer to begin processing upstairs than what it looks like. So this binding process is a bit like an air traffic control tower in your noodle for the coordinated arrival of your several continuously ongoing senses.

    Immediately this reminds me of this thread and how there must be a correlation to how this process must work more efficiently/effectively in elite athletes.

    Quick google search and I find this paper (it's a pdf for those not wanting to bother with them).. From Vision to Decision: The Role of Visual Attention in Elite Sports Performance

    tl;dr - what we traditionally think of as hand-eye coordination has a much more expanded version called binding covering all of our senses and this process impacts athletes tremendously and I believe can be something that we can discuss/think of as a sort of form of physical intelligence.

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