Sunday, August 09, 2009

Closed Systems

Lets talk about flow.
Being aproached countless times after giving a demonstration of Floreio flow and asked 'teach me flow', I started to develop a systematic aproach and methodolegy to flow work.

As I have discussed before, the various stages of true improvisational flow development are:
A. Singular movement practice
B. Sequecing singular movements into small flow pieces
C. Improvised sequencing of known movements
D. Improvised movements and improvised sequencing

Today I am going to describe another important piece of the puzzle, explaining how to create and choose movements that will combine together into an intelligent system that one will be able to work with in stage C - improvised sequencing of known movements. This is the principle of 'Closed System Flow' - a term I coined to describe this principle. (I will use CSF from now on)

Closed System Flow
CSF is a model that describes how to construct a smart flowing system integrating its various parts in such a way that continuous, neverending flow is the result.
The main problem with attempting to flow usualy is getting to a 'corner' or a bump in the flow, a place from where at that particular moment you cannot continue from.
The CSF's main concern is to create a rounded, circular system with no corners or bumps, that the practitioner will be able to continue flowing in, moving infinitly from movement to movement.
In order to accomplish that and for one to maximize his artistic choices I understood very quickly that interaction between all the various components-movements of the flow needs to happen.
Lets use an example of a 4 movement CSF - Role, Au Cortado, Low Bridge, QDR.
When choosing those 4 movements I need to ask myself: can all of the movements flow from one to another in a seamless manner?
Now, lets see - we have explored quite a few sequencing of those movements, so we know we have accomplished that goal.
The reason all those 4 movements interact in such a way is that I made sure they connect in a 'joint connection' or 'transitional movement' - the Squat.

Take notice - each one of the 4 movements are starting in a squat and ending in a squat.

This enables me to flow endlessly from movement to movement, passing through the Squat (but not only - on that later on) and continuing on to the next movement, creating.... infinite flow.

Take a look at the diagram I created below to describe this 4 movement CSF model:

And now, due to the design of the various skill levels I provided over the last couple weeks, I will give three examples of CSF - beginner, intermidiate and advanced:




Notice the way the various elements connect to one another - from one movement into another movement, passing directly or through the tranistional movement (Squat) and on with the flow.

This kind of practice offers great benefits.
It is a compact training piece incorporating mobility work, strength endurance, balance and control, creativity, mental work and more and more, and all in one chaotic segment.
Adaptation to such a practice is a lot more challanging than to the traditional set/rep scheme of linear exercise systems.
It is a great manifestation of the physical abilities you have aquired already, and will further help to develop those abilities.
Down the road this kind of practice will be widened to include more and more movements, fusion movements (a whole other very interesting subject), transitional movements and as the end goal - a true improvisational flow.

CSF workout - beginner, intermidiate and advanced

Warm Up - Mobility
A1. 5 min Joint Mobility
A2. Wrists Routine X 1 set
A3. Shoulder ROM and Stabilization routine X 1 set
A4. Ido's Squat Clinic Routine X 1 set
A5. Scapula Mobilization Routine X 1 set

CSF Work
B1. CSF X 90 sec / 3 sets / 90 sec rest
C1. CSF X 75 sec / 3 sets / 75 sec rest
D1. CSF X 60 sec / 3 sets / 60 sec rest

For questions and more details, join us at the forum for discussion of movement, strength, mobility, skills, flow, artistic choices and more:
The Forum

Keep flowing,


MarkC said...

Absolutely awesome stuff Ido!

Back a few years ago when I was in Brasil and doing capoeira, I had a very long discussion with a talented capoeirista about flow. It boiled down to "it can't be taught". (maybe it was my bad portuguese that go in the way :p )

After watching and analysing the more talented players, I'd see they'd fall back on the same moves over and over in seamless flow.

You're bringing out a systematic approach to the chaos and I'm loving it!

Now i just have to figure out how to get more time to train...

Anonymous said...

Hear, hear, these have been a fantastic series of posts, Ido.

My only criticism of what you are doing here is that you're putting the information up too quickly!

Just when I get excited about implementing this new material into my training, you go and post something else! Brain overload!

Very nice.


Charlie said...


Even though I can do most of the movements, I found myself thinking too much during my CFS reps. I was able to relax more and managed to loosen up a little as I got more into the workout but something still wasn't right. It felt like my movements were off.
I taped myself and found that I was just plain sloppy. I attribute this to me loosing sight of the details. I can easily identify these nuances when I'm watching you or your students, but noticed that I take them for granted in my own applications. It was embarrassing because I'm sure I've seen the word "quality" in your blog and forum a 1000 times but I still missed the message.
I went back to the beginning and re-watched clips of the individual movements to study and understand the details that make it what it is. Well it's back to the basics for me...


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Be the one said...

CSF is a model that describes how to construct a smart flowing system integrating its various parts in such a way that continuous, neverending flow is the result.
The main problem with attempting to flow usualy is getting to a 'corner' or a bump in the flow, a place from where at that particular moment you cannot continue from.

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