Kinesiology Study

29 08 2006

My Judo Class was asked to participate in a Kinesiology experiment for a PhD thesis yesterday.  We headed up to SFU to participate, not knowing what they had in mind. 

First, they had us weighed and measured.  Then the took our reaction time by having us tap on a switch upon seeing a light.  So far so easy.  After this it got a bit harder.  There were two more tests left.

The first involved being strapped into chair and having to extend your leg with all your force to see how high you can get during a 5 second effort.  There was lots of red faces, grunting, groaning, and even some good old Judo ki-ays.  With slightly sore right legs we finished that. 

One or two at a time we were led into the next room and fitted with little IR sensors like they use at EA Sports to record human motion.  We all looked really funny, but we were easy going, not knowing what came next.

We went into the last room one at  a time, as it was important to maintain ignorance of the upcoming test.   They asked you to stand with your feet just less than shoulder width apart and said, “We’re going to perturb your balance.  See if you can correct your balance, and remain standing”. 

“No problem”, I thought.  They’re going to tilt the floor or shake it, and I have to try and stay standing.  “OK”, I say.

“Ready?”

“Yes”

Some woman off to the side then hits a switch and the whole floor goes whizzing off to the side, leaving me crumpling up, looking like and idiot trying to regain balance as I gracelessly hit the floor.  My mind is racing saying “WTF!!! This is NOT ‘perturbing my balance’, this is turning my world upside down!”

“OK, we’re going to do it again”

“Uh – OK”

Whizzz!  This time I stumbled, but I stayed upright!  Hah!  One last time again after that, and I had no problem at all (I had learned!)

The last thing on the agenda included them whipping out my floor from under me, and me NOT trying to regain my balance, just do a break-fall.  Tough to change mindsets 🙂   Again with the Whizzzz! and this time I let it rip my feet off to the side.  I landed with a beautiful break-fall, and was done.

That was it.  It was fun.  Here are some pictures (other than of the falling and stumbling part – being a participant, I wasn’t allowed to see before going, and I was one of the last to go)

http://www.slacker.ca/brian/webpics/showpix.aspx?20060828Study

The study authors also paid for us all to have new Burnaby Judo Club T-shirts (sweet) and paid to have two Judo Gi’s raffled off as door prizes.  I won one!  (Extra sweet!)

All in the name of science 🙂

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