The Crossed Extensor Reflex
The crossed extensor reflex is also known as the Cross-body Motor Reflex and is one of the Somatic Reflexes we discussed previously.
Let’s look at a practical example of stepping on a nail with your right foot. Naturally, the right leg will contract, via the flexor muscles, to withdraw the foot from the source of the pain. Ouch! At the same time, the right leg’s extensor muscles will relax to facilitate the process with minimal resistance.
Meanwhile, the left leg will experience the exact opposite function and the leg will lock via the extensor muscle extension while the flexors relax. This is done to allow the left leg to maintain complete body weight. This is known as a contralateral reflex since opposite things happen on the opposite side of the body.
This is possible since branched of the afferent nerve fibers cross from the stimualted side of the body to the other side via the spinal cord. It is there where they synapse with interneurons and excite or inhibit alpha motor neurons on the opposite limb.
Of course, there are other stimuli occuring which cause the center of gravity to shift, but let’s not think we are neurosurgeons here and get too complicated!
Now, let’s apply this to CombatiXâ„¢. When we apply a joint lock to the fingrs of the right hand, have you ever noticed that the other arm will often swing away from you? As the flexor muscles of the right arm are stimulated, the cross extensor reflex causes the extensors of the left arm to engage and it typically swings in the opposite direction.
We use this natural reflex all the time to cause the opponent to rotate his body away from us and take the other arm (and fist) out of the fight to keep us from getting hammered with it!
Hopefully by now, you are starting to see just how much science there is involved with CombatiXâ„¢! For many years we have focused on teaching the Eastern side of the art and thus in these training reports I have decided to spend a fair amount of time revealing the Western side of the art as well.
Hmmm, I wonder if I can stimulate this response enough to make the opponent smack himself in the back of the head? Time to go find a training partner…