Academia Imoto


This article presents a sum up of the fundamental movements that are essential when practicing martial arts (the Three Shapes of Power) gathered in a single universal methodology with a minimalist training approach. Through scientific procedures added to 30 plus years of research and practice of several fighting styles, I was able to identify the human body parts that are responsible for keeping its dynamic balance and then I developed four sets of functional exercises that remodel the nervous system of the practitioner and willingly control important points of support. These exercises are based on the EMBODIED COGNITION thesis and focus on the stimulus of the ideomotor reflex, which is responsible for almost unnoticed micro muscle movements.

Considering that the main goal of martial arts is surviving, then equalizing forces is a must. To accomplish that we need to refine our kinesthetic sensitivity, detecting and intercepting threats, taking the opponent’s balance and striking them with impact and precision. All these actions depend on neutralizing the strikes and maneuvers of the enemy during the combat. This ideokinetic ability that I called the “Synomotor” effect will be cultivated in a “Closed Martial Body” prepared with four sets of special exercises. This is the first time that this martial phenomenon will be explained with a hypothesis and a rational theory for a better understanding.


KEY WORDS: martial arts; self-defense; rational martial method.


The human body develops a mechanism of adaptation and defense against possible threats, inside and outside its organism. Not by coincidence is our central nervous system also a coaxial system that receives stimuli like sound and light, generating and transmitting impulses of electrochemical signals from head to toe, and from toe to hand, regulating and maintaining the homeostasis. These signals go along the spinal cord until its further distances, comprising the anatomy trains of myofascial meridians (Myers, 2001) and then conserving the tensional integrity of its own structure (biotensegrity). And both hemispheres of the brain, besides their huge neuroplasticity, monitor two simultaneous information (keeping one eye on the prey and the other on the predator).

What if instead of practicing the traditional approach of try and error (an artificial and mechanical way of training), we simply rely on our physiological reflexes and instincts to defend and attack? After all, we have already been born with soldier-like cells that detect, intercept, attack and exterminate invader agents and molecules, immunizing us 24/7 until our old age.

So, how can we simplify the essence of all martial arts in a single method of fast and safe learning of unarmed combat being capable of neutralizing several kinds of physical aggression? Which of the several unconditioned and automatic reaction of our nervous system is needed to accomplish the same function of our immune system but outside the body in a violent fight against multiple enemies?

Provided with recent scientific knowledge and studying for three decades the extraordinary abilities of several masters, professional fighters, and violent criminals, I selected the ideomotor reflex to be up for the task.

When I was practicing Aikido, Tai Chi Chuan, Yi Chuan, Wing Chun, and Guided Chaos (www.guidedchaos.com), I noticed in my body subtle involuntary oscillation during slow weight transference between my legs. Those micro muscle contractions are the same that occur on the apparently stationary fingers of the so-called dowser while they move a pendulum. These almost imperceptible contractions were enough to stimulate the CNS (Central Nervous System), preserving the balance of the entire structure.

Torques, turns, and rotations occurred around my vertical axis in front of the second sacral vertebrae (and also sometimes inside the hip sockets and shoulder blades) — the same spot where we can find our Center of Gravity (C.G.) according to the “anatomic position” from the modern biomechanics’ books. Due to several evolutionary adaptations, among them, the fact that we are bipeds and our sedentary lifestyle, this core of mass concentration deforms itself and it dislocates from its original place while we grow up, sabotaging our physical stability causing chronic pain and injuries. Knowing that, I arranged a functional exercise routine that uses visualization and inner sensation to stimulate the ideomotor reflex that stabilizes us and makes us stronger without the intervention of thought (see the Adaptive Unconscious, also called “Mushin”/“Wu Wei” state in Japanese and Chinese martial arts, respectively).

The objective is to control the body’s core where opposite forces meet, like the gravity and the Ground Reaction one. With the practice of these exercises, there will be an increase in body awareness as much as in balance and motor skills.

Later I trigger another postural reflex, establishing a connection between head and hips using the vertebral column as axis and the sacrum as a “keystone” (found in arch constructions).

Bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles are unified in a dynamic living system of compression and tension, folding and unfolding, opening and closing, expansion/inflation and retraction/shrinkage, commonly seen in arches and spirals made by our joints (the anatomical source of the “Origami Principle” taught in IMOTO METHOD). Then the extremity of each body member naturally starts turning and spinning. And thanks to the ideomotor effect, when a part of the body stops, all the other parts stop altogether and when a part starts moving, all the other parts start moving likewise.

Sacroiliac joint in the pelvic area.

To explore the resilience and antifragility of this tissue integrity cultivated in my body I tried to apply the combination of compression and tension in the combatives exercises and strikes. Before performing any martial art technique, I first extended both extremities of my vertebral axis then I turned my head and made bow-like arches in my legs and arms. Thanks to that “mental lever”, without any brute force, I was able to affect the balance of my training partner as the first contact was established. Thus, the body stayed “closed” and interconnected like a sphere, without any leak or waste of kinetic energy.

With this new physical and mind state, I could apply several vectors of force, interfering on the proprioception sense of the opponents, deceiving their muscle-brain communication. This unusual skill I named “Synomotor”, the combination of Synergy + Ideomotor effect.

THE SYNOMOTOR EFFECT: a method of unbalancing the human body that reverses the rotation of a muscular torque which it depends on to maintain its balance.

Here is a brief explanation of these discoveries and later a routine of exercises so the practitioner can develop this interconnected body alone, and s/he can become a living weapon when applying strikes and combat moves making use of the effectiveness of the Synomotor effect.



Certain famous Eastern and Western masters knew how to avoid the extreme pressure application on their skeleton. This uncanny technique of deflecting the adversary force effortlessly remained restricted to a few heirs of that tradition. I also suspected that those ancient martial artists used to hide a physical and mental action to borrow forces in opposite directions, tricking the senses and automatic reactions of their adversaries.

After competing in Muay Thai rings, watching hundreds of violent fights, and practicing the Guided Chaos principles and drills with its founder, the Grandmaster John Perkins, I was able to identify the rare moments that I could recreate the same effects of that technique, and I was able to recognize when it was caused by other martial artists and fighters. Analyzing these experiences in a critical way, along with biomechanical studies of anatomy, I finally was able to identify the Three Shapes of Power that I needed to practice. The synthesis of everything I learned from different martial and fighting disciplines was essential.

That’s how the IMOTO METHOD was born in 2008, with a systematic approach for martial training.



To wield any instrument we need muscle control and knowledge of its basic functions to get used to the weight, the point of balance and the torque produced by it, so we can create support lines from the ground to our hands, until we acquire enough dexterity. Thus, the body is the weapon that wields all the others.


THE BOW-COIL: It was not by chance that the atlatl was the most used primitive tool for hunting big animals. Basically, it extends the length of the arm lever and launches spears over a long distance and with greater impact force. The atlatl, the bow and arrow and the catapult, they all act and work like spring/elastic coils. The same occurs in our bones, ligaments, tendons, muscles and connective tissues thanks to the phenomenon of biotensegrity.

Native American hunter throwing a spear with the atlatl. Illustration by Donald Monkman in Pettipas (1996).
Native American hunter throwing a spear with the atlatl. Illustration by Donald Monkman in Pettipas (1996).

“FORM FOLLOWS FUNCTION”: the bow was made to throw arrows. So, when we bend the muscle-bone levers of our upper body like a bow (without hinges) and bend the ones of our lower body like an arch, it’s possible to connect them in our core making use of the “Serape effect*, in the end we have two “S” shaped coils.

Shot with a Mongol bow
Arch with keystone on the top

THE HELIX: The second shape is derived from the union of these coils. It’s a double helix (like our DNA chain) that are twisted in opposite directions. When there is a rotation in these helixes, with the origin in the sacrum region (the “Focal Point”, as I called) then we have the third shape of power, the Gyroscope.


THE GYROSCOPE: Rotation on the horizontal and vertical planes, followed by a diagonal trajectory going up and down, virtually “close” our body (fixing “openings” and “weaknesses”) and make it hard for the adversaries to access our base while we deceive their contact and negate their forces.

Double helix

Making use of the isodynamic exercises of the bow-coil, I learned how to distribute the forces applied on my body (never allowing any compression on my skeleton), how to harness the forces with the plyometric exercises (the “Dropping Power” and the “Sinking”/“Rooting” principle from Western boxing and Eastern internal martial arts, respectively) and how to make the forces circle around my “Focal Point” (a virtual spot near the sacrum) and around natural and imaginary fulcrums with the twisted helixes and gyroscopic motion exercises.

* The Serape effect already described in the decade of 1970 by Logan and McKinney, it’s possible due to a chain of muscle going diagonally along the human body. The crossed muscles between shoulders and hips are stretched to the max and when the tension is released they shorten accelerating the conclusion of the movement.

120 days of daily practice of these exercises was the minimum period necessary to create the appropriate synapses and fine motor control. The result was the surfacing of a new skill of manipulation and redirection of forces through “invisible” levers.

These unusual techniques of interacting with gravity, redirecting pressure, transform external forces in pseudo-forces, and use them intentionally can also be recognized in some ancient Eastern martial arts.

However, while those traditional arts require years of intensive practice, in a short period of four months a practitioner of the IMOTO METHOD acquires the same martial qualities.

By following this experimental and simply training routine, the practitioner will conquer autonomy, and won’t need to rely on thousands of technical details, third hand opinions/experiences and unsustainable super fitness conditioning.



After a few years trying to perfect the Three Shapes of Power, I noticed that my training and my researches weren’t following an objective sequence of development.

My approach should’ve had a beginning, a middle and an end, then the steps and procedures would’ve been easily understood and depicted in illustration and footage.

Physics explains phenomena using objects with shape and location, without using irrational concepts and/or relying on the authority of others. That’s why I pick this rational approach, learning how to differentiate an object from a concept, without losing myself in fiction but explaining the phenomena on the order they appear instead of only describing it.

The IMOTO METHOD has become scientific when it was rationally ordered. Science explains what is possible and what is not on the interaction of two or more bodies. And to reach a conclusion this requires a hypothesis and then a theory with well-defined keywords.


HYPOTHESIS: This rational methodology helped me see the human body (the object of study) as a group of fibers, layers of connected tissues and cells. Thanks to the connective system (fascia tissues, tendons, ligaments), the nervous system (impulses of neural signals and bequeathed reflexes), skeleton system (bones are biomechanics transporters of load), our body absorbs and accumulates forces (power of bow-coil) and deflects them through micro rotational movements and oscillations (power of the helixes and gyroscope).

Considering that the basic shape of the body is not spherical but cylindrical, each segment of the anatomy and each joint works as a lever and must be trained as such: “form follows function”.

The next thing left to know is how to weaponize those internal structural powers.


THEORY: The more body segments are recruited, the better: the head, the upper and lower parts of the body, the trunk and each of the joints of these segments, including the phalanges, the vertebrae and even the jaw, must be stimulated and activated. When all segments coordinate with each other to create multiple simultaneous movements through the ideomotor effect, the body will better control its own “sphere of influence” (of sensory perception and range within and beyond its peripersonal space) and will be able to divert forces and deceive the nervous system of another human body after immediate contact occurs. This almost unknown kinetic power was called the Synomotor effect.

To incorporate this fascinating and effortless ability it was necessary to create a new reflex on the posture of the head with the hips, the cranium with the sacrum. This demanded the intensive practice during 120 uninterrupted days of four sets of functional exercises selected to challenge the ideomotor coordination. Under this kinesthetic reprogramming, my movements have started to express from the original center of mass on the “Focal Point” without breaking my own balance. Consequently, this allowed me to apply the Synomotor effect like a trigger to enhance any strike and subtle movements. As soon as I’ve finished the first cycle of exercises made up for the Three Shapes of Power, I noticed remarkable improve in posture, on walking/stepping as well as in the martial abilities of my students.


CONCLUSION: If it’s possible or not to store, neutralize and redirect forces in a fight through the Synomotor effect is up to each one of the practitioners to try, test and feel by themselves.

The Synomotor effect has the potential to become the main force equalization technique in self-defense. And the inclusion of such an almost unknown skill in the arsenal of professional fighters also has the potential to renew combat sports.

The “Closed Martial Body” represented by an icosahedron forming a sphere: the largest volume within the smallest area.
The “Closed Martial Body” represented by an icosahedron forming a sphere: the largest volume within the smallest area.


According to the neuroscientist Daniel Wolpert in his lecture “The Real Reason For Brains” (TED Global, July 2011), the brain is an organ of anticipation and production of complex movements, adaptable to the unexpected changes on its surroundings, stimulated by prior memory and similar patterns recognition. To fulfill this evolutionary demand of surviving and controlling muscle contraction the human sensory and nervous systems are always receiving and sending electrical signals till the extremities of the body. Damages on the sensory organs can block these neural pulses.

Also, if the C.G. is out of place, it compromises the flow of these signals as well as the willpower. Therefore, during the execution of the postures and exercises it is crucial to let the muscle relaxed and the joint articulations free from slack. This will avoid mobility limitations and waste of neuromuscular impulses that can hold back the natural body segments oscillations. The only effort is to notice and guide (through ideomotor action) the nervous signal along the body, and keep in mind that the “Focal Point” is the reference of the force transmission and dynamic balance.

Next, a list with the name of the exercises and a brief description. For more information, a sequence of video lessons will be prepared with detailed explanation and demonstration of each set. This long-distance training can be accessed on the website www.metodoimoto.com as well as more information for classes with a specialized instructor on the martial application of the Synomotor effect.


(1st Cycle – 28 days)

1st WEEK: BOWS SET (available to watch at https://youtu.be/QOuaGh-xSLo)

1 – “Scales” with Slosh Piper (identifying the “Focal Point” on the sacrum bone “key stone”).
2 – Leg Bows.
3 – Side, Back and Frontal Bows.
4 – “Fascial Sword”.
5 – Startle Reflex/Fright Reaction.
6 – Dynamic Immobility.



1 – “Sumo”.
2 – “Star”.
3 – “Wall Ball”.
4 – “Kangaroo” (double hops switching between legs).
5 – “Elastic Push-Ups”: stand up, on the wall and on the floor.
6 – Switching Arms Bows holding Dumbbells.



1 – “Spinal Engine” sitting in a bench or chair.
2 – “Central Pivot” and “Circular Push-Ups”.
3 – “Bolt” (stand up and lying down position), going up and down, like winding a line in a cylinder.
4 – “Switching the Bows” handling dumbbells: twisting, turning, spinning, and spiraling legs, arms, spine, and head.
5 – “Folium of Descartes” with palms, punches, elbows, sticks and knives.
6 – “Descendant Parabola” sliding the pelvis to kicks and knees strikes.



1 – “Armillary”: spin the vertical axis clockwise while twisting the horizontal axis counterclockwise (and the opposite): hug the Swiss ball and hold a tire with spheres inside.
2 – “3D Clock”: twist and turn clockwise and counterclockwise paddles, sticks, balls, and rings in six directions.
3 – The Eight Postures Sequence for free ground mobility: the Guard/Bridge, the Lateral Scissor/Helicopter, the Turtle, the Grouping, the Ground Passing, the Butterfly, the Yogi, and the Getting Up.
4 – The Eight Natural Patterns of movement: crawl, walk, run, jump, climb, duck and bend, throw and hit with objects, carry, and drag objects.
5 – “Anywhere Strikes” with arms and legs, standing, seating, and lying down.
6 – “Sleight of Hands”: Strikes and maneuvers with long-range, medium-range, and short-range Weapons.


The initial 90 seconds of each exercise are performed at a normal pace and constant speed, mentally following the joints in their correct order of involvement, first radiating from the “Focal Point” in the lower abdomen to the head and fingers and toes. Then do the opposite path, from the ends of the hands and feet and head back to the “Focal Point”.

To end the exercise, accelerate your movements intensely for 30 seconds. Then, gradually reduce the movements until only their intention remains (ideomotor action). Hold the position, decreasing the compression on your joints, and relax your muscles for 30 seconds. Then, come out of the position, swinging your arms and legs, jump once or twice and rotate your body at the waist and groin for another 30 seconds.

Go to the next exercise.

3 minutes on each exercise are enough to finish a set in 20 minutes. In 28 days the first cycle will be completed. You must repeat it three more times under the supervision of an IMOTO METHOD instructor.

Sketch by Rudolf Laban for the cover of his book “The Mastery of Movement” (1950)


The four sets of exercises from the IMOTO METHOD were created to rescue and incorporate the “Focal Point” in its original anatomic position where the forces converge enabling the “Closed Martial Body”. The high frequency of neural impulses generated by the CNS is channeled through the interconnections of our body managing the gravity force and the Ground Reaction Force in our “Focal Point”. When a “Closed Martial Body” touches a regular one, thanks to its extreme sensitivity, it establishes a link, creating a new structure in which the weight is the sum of both bodies during contact (this is why the locomotive is capable of moving hundreds of wagons, as the wagon coupled to the locomotive pulls the second wagon and so on).

The kinetic chain will extend and then close. The movement will be completed due this physical connection “bone to bone”.

The “Closed Martial Body” will “kidnap” the C.G. of the regular one. It will take control of the Ground Reaction Force and it will redirect it. The regular body will be within the reach radius of the “Closed Martial Body” and its motor control will be overwhelmed.

For a split-second the regular body will lose its spatial reference while becoming an extension of the “Closed Martial Body”. Then you just need to apply a simple pressure on the angle and direction of the central axis crossing the C.G. of the regular body, so the Synomotor effect occurs. After that, a reflex reaction begins in the regular body “unrooting” its base of support once the C.G. was momentarily lost.
This is possible because the “Closed Martial Body” interferes in the communication of the nervous system of the regular one. With micro-oscillation and unexpected torques, the “Closed Martial Body” deceives the signals of the CNS in the regular body, causing twitches and blocking the basic movements like holding itself steady in an upright position or raising an arm or a leg. The nervous system of the regular body will be affected as soon as the first contact is established with the “Closed Martial Body”. The most common reaction is a subtle contraction (myotatic reflex/tetany) followed by an involuntary-instinctive muscle relaxation.

Once frozen in a particular stance/frame/posture, during a blink of an eye, the regular body becomes structurally rigid like a mannequin, and it will also have its Center of Gravity further dislocated. But instead of supporting itself against a large and heavy pedestal like statues do, the regular body, without a gravity center will lose its support and it will be affected by the “Closed Martial Body” due to a momentum transfer. This transfer is caused by a sequenced oscillation of body segments in waves creating a cascade reaction like a whip strike.



The Four Sets are the raw material of the Three Shapes of Power so you can obtain martial advantage while you are safe from impact and harm on the joints. The daily practice will cultivate the “Closed Martial Body” in which you will create and manipulate the Synomotor effect.

With the input of data from other practitioners, this open methodology will keep evolving and consequently the time spent on the exercises will decrease on the process.

Upon completing the four initial cycles, the practitioner of the IMOTO METHOD will be able to experiment his/her “Closed Martial Body” with a partner, later testing in controlled conditions of sparring and contact drills from any fighting or self-defense system.

Soon, the maneuvers and strikes of these fighting modalities will work even more effectively and the insights that the Synomotor effect will awaken in this pioneering generation of practitioners will help them overcome plateaus in their previous training, correct dysfunctions, raise their technical level and make their professional career and health last longer. ∎


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