Dynamic Movement Of Infinite Possibilities Part VI - Deconstruction
Jul 15, 2020
"The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them."
- Albert Einstein
I’ve discussed this sort of thing before but what I didn’t do or at least I don’t think I did, was provide a method of how to what is called “Deconstruction” of a skill to develop a method to practice it. I want to point out and bring this series to a close and that it is my intent to present information in a way where people regardless of what they train, can put it to use and bring out the best results in their personal training. Learning is learning and how we do it doesn’t change for the most part no matter what it is. As I’ve stated over and over one of the most critical areas where we can attain the level of skill we desire is in the training we do is when we practice on our own. As one of my old football coaches used to say, “Character is who you are when no one is looking.”
Nowhere is this truer to the martial artist than when they are training on their own. This, in my view, is crucial to anyone’s development and that is not that they just practice but specifically what they do when they are alone and training on their own. Where there is no one to guide you except you and your thoughts, your intent, your ability to focus, how you talk to yourself through your self-talk, and your will to improve. This to me is where the Warriors separate themselves from the posers, from those who follow The Way as Musashi would put it versus those who only want to dip their toe in the water and call it good.
“Wars are serious affairs.”
- Sun Tzu, The Art of War
In order to understand and develop the skill of Deconstruction, there are a few things you need to get straight in your mind upfront.
“. . . we must learn to understand the ‘out-of- awareness’ aspects of communication. We must never assume that we are fully aware of what we communicate to someone else. There exists in the world today tremendous distortions in meaning as men try to communicate with one another. (p. 29)”
- Edward T. Hall, The Silent Language
Obligatory editorial comment: the reason people train with you as their instructor is to take advantage of your years of experience, knowledge, and wisdom. So while you may have 20 or 30 years’ experience the truth is they are not looking to train for 30 years just to be able to fight. Sure they may continue to train and aspire to attain your level of skill or surpass it which in my view is the goal every instructor should have for the people they train. More to the point they are looking for you to get them where they need to be in the shortest time possible. They are not there for any nonsense and neither should you be, Have fun? Absolutely! But your focus and purpose should be steadfast on providing them with the skills to win the fight of their lives.
More Red Pill Action
(Note: Much of this comes from our internal training document, “THE WARRIOR FLOW METHOD - BECOMING A PEERLESS FIGHTER IN 20 HOURS”)
So as you proceed developing the skills I'm going to lay out here. Proven methods of skill development, There are some things upfront you need to keep in mind in no particular order. So here goes…
Forget everything you know about fighting…
Forget everything you think you know about training for fighting…
Forget everything you think you know…
Suspend your disbelief, but not your common sense…
What I’m going to share with you is based on my experience and training and my belief about martial training that I believe transcends what we think is possible.
Now, some of this may even seem to contradict things I may have said or taught in the past. Well… I’ll be the first to tell you that some of my assumptions about things in the past and the way I taught them were wrong.
I’m not interested in changing the past I’m only interested in helping people develop what they want right now, from this point forward. Much of what I’m going to share here is based hundreds of if not thousands of hours of research and over 30 years of practicing, teaching, and training people in self-defense. It is a culmination of much work and research in not only how the human body moves and functions under dynamic conditions but also based on what I believe are the most effective methods to learn how to become a peerless fighter in the shortest amount of time possible.
This, of course, provided you are willing to make the commitment in time to put these steps into place and work them for the next 30-days, that’s 40 minutes a day over approximately 4 weeks.
You see, as I’ve said in other blog posts over the years, I have a theory and that is that 90% of what we’ve been taught about body movement dynamics for fighting and how people learn especially for fighting is flat out wrong. I believe that due to incorrect understandings in how people learn many people have had their abilities “hobbled” due to people incorrectly teaching them and a total misunderstanding of how people learn, how the universe works, and how humans interact with each other within it.
I believe that due to a lack of understanding things in the proper context, the proper perspective, mindset, the proper framework, the proper use of language, the definition of words, the false assumptions about how long it takes to develop skills. We have done many, many people a disservice in the martial arts.
I believe that in order to develop a skill if, framed in the proper fashion, done from the right mindset, and with the proper instruction, you can learn the skills of the most skilled fighters for real self-defense in a fraction of the time people think it takes. I’m talking in many cases hours and not years to develop a base level of certain skills. And if your sufficiently talented all it may take is for you to just have a mental shift, and epiphany an “ah-ha” moment and you’ll be on your way. So while the title of this may seem like hyperbole I believe, no correction, I know for a fact that what I am saying is correct!
Now does it mean that you’re going to develop into a top-level pro fighter overnight?
Probably not, because that’s an entirely different thing requiring a certain level of genetic physical talent due to the rules that govern sport fighting and the limitations imposed on the fighters for safety. Only a few people in the world can perform at that level and even they can only maintain it for a relatively short period of time. My point is that even the best of them have a very narrow window where they can be great.
But for the purpose of self-defense for what the average person needs I believe at least in skill, this guidance can get you there. Of course, there are other intangibles such as moral will, innate ruthlessness (Ruthless Intent), etc., but I believe that a person with average physical ability and a reasonable level of fitness can get there even with no martial arts experience whatsoever.
Bold claims I know but I’ve seen over the years many people overcome many obstacles too include people with physical disabilities to become in a fraction of the time through this understanding I’m going to impart. Develop fighting skills to levels where they are even able to deal with people with decades of training under their belt.
Now, this guidance isn’t about any specific technique or skill rather a method of practice, a way to practice, in order to develop the skills or a specific skill you desire whatever it is. I also want to point out because this is the way that we as humans learn this method can be applied to anything but since I’m a self-defense guy I’m going to stick to what I know for a fact.
Fair enough? Okay, here we go.
The Hero’s Journey, Should You Accept This Challenge…
"Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence"
- Vince Lombardi
This is the stuff of the movies, or what is often referred to as “The Hero’s’ Journey”. Where someone goes from humble beginnings, sometimes total incompetence, they’re often reluctant, who through trial and error overcome the odds, and develop themselves to become the Hero. Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, The Matrix, and of course The 36 Chambers of Shaolin (aka The Master Killer) are all examples of this. It is these stories and stories like them that in many ways inspired many people to seek out the fighting arts from the start because for the most part. Many of us could in some way identify with the main charters of these epic movies. In my view, the martial arts is all about the Hero’s Journey.
If you will recall in one of my previous blog posts I discussed how President Teddy Roosevelt developed himself from a sickly child to a larger than life figure, how he "made his mind" and then "made his body". His exploits are the stuff of legend and he had the kind of experiences that would even today make lessor men wet their loins. Teddy Roosevelt epitomized the Horacio Alger Mythology in his rise to greatness, the Hero's Journey.
In a way that is what this training is all about recapturing that ideal in your training and turning and burning on developing the skills, you’ve desired at least on the most basic level you want right now! Overcoming whatever is holding you back in skill and advancing the ball, becoming the Hero. Maybe not a hero in terms of Batman, maybe just for your family, your kids, but whatever the reason at the end of the day you’re not in this for no bullshit. And that alone my friend is reason enough.
Okay, you really need to read this because it is going to set up the framework, that should you take up this challenge this personal journey, for how you’re going to practice over the next 30-days, (40 minutes a day over 4 weeks). Now, in my opinion, the process of learning is not difficult per se, painful at times but not difficult. People just make shit hard for no reason. The key when learning “a skill” using this guide is to focus on removing all of the frustrations and obstacles that get in the way of us digging down and doing the work. Focus is key! The reason I’m going to get a little long-winded on this is that we have lots of distractions throughout our day and because of them what we really get good at is being distracted! So you need to put aside some time for yourself where you can eliminate as many distractions as possible and focus on getting good at the task at hand and not become an expert in being distracted, make sense?
The idea is you’re focusing on shaping your behavior in such a way where you will actually see results from the time and attention you're spending improving on something. It is common sense but not common in practice. We already do it in other venues, so we have a choice we can do it the hard way or the easier.
In order to learn something new and be good at it requires (from all the research I’ve done as well as learned through training people and myself) a focused strategic effort invested in something you care about (such as kicking that ass) and doing something that is going to be rewarding to yourself and to your life. For us, it is martial skill.
Learning is a uniquely human activity we do it all of the time and if you can learn one thing, then you can learn another. Think about this, at one time in your life whatever it was you learned, you didn't know the first thing about it, and then you knew. Then you learned the next related thing in the process, and knew the next thing, and so on. But also, and this is extremely important repetition is key, I’m sorry but doing something over and over consistently in a progressive manner is a must and vital to any learning because you need to train the muscles, the body, and the mind. You wouldn’t be reading this or know how to count and a million other things you do every day if this were not true. Repetition and focus, but the right kind, are essential!
The key is and what people screw up all of the time because they don’t know how to teach, is it must be as I want to emphasize progressive in nature and must increase in difficulty in very small increments of no more than 3-5 percent. Otherwise, we become overwhelmed. How long it takes depends but it doesn't happen any other way. Generally speaking, and you can find all sorts of books on this saying it takes about 21 days to form a new habit. Now, whether it takes 21 days, 20 days, 24 days to me it’s a moot point, the main thing is you need to put the time in because what we are talking about here is building in a habit or what one of my masters used to call “purposeful habits”.
So, in this guide what you are going to do is commit to at least 20-hours of practice or 40 minutes per day for a month. You can even spread it out and do the training for less time and just extend out the number of days you practice or you can do an hour per day but, I recommend no more than 40 minutes, since human concentration and focus wanes after 20 minutes for passive activates such as sitting in on a lecture and 40 minutes when we’re active. This is why even in sports there are breaks not just for the body but for the mind as well.
Remember, the body and mind are one so it’s all the same thing. Get it in your head right now, no matter how frustrating, the greatest leap in your ability is going to be in the first 20 hours. By pre-committing towards 20 hours of practice, you are guaranteeing you're going to make it through those frustrating early hours. Trust me nobody, I mean nobody, is good at anything when they first start out. I’ve been training people for over 30 years and I have yet to see someone develop without making a lot of mistakes, any of the concepts I teach the first time out. It is not possible because I’m talking about a complete rewiring of their body and how it moves on the micro-movement level.
By the way, 20 hours is not magical it's just a line in the sand a marker to guarantee you'll commit to practicing long enough but not so long that it's a barrier to that practice itself. By doing this you're guaranteeing you'll push past the hard part and if you follow this method I guarantee you’ll see dramatic results. I know this for a fact because I have done this for myself numerous times as well as with students and continue to do so for different skills I desire.
My point is this is extremely important especially when it becomes challenging. Also, because it realty needs to be said. Do not “dabble” or you'll cheat yourself. Do not be like these folks who I used to train who were not happy with their lack of progress but when I would ask them about their personal practice they would tell me that they didn’t do it on their own. My answer to them was like, “Well no shit!”
Once you’ve developed a skill you desire whatever it is, then do something else but related to it that you want to learn for the next 20 hours, and the next 20 hours over and over to continue to build skill on top of skill, piling effort on top of effort. By this method and way of thinking you can learn basically anything. But you must layer it over and over in a progressive manner.
As Yoda would say, "Do or do not do, there is no try..."
One more thing we learn by doing, even when we are thinking about it we on some level are doing because you have to know what it is to a degree if you are to practice it.
Also, “fail soon and fail often” in other words, don’t be afraid to fail, the faster you fail the sooner you learn what doesn’t work for you in the process and the faster you can self-correct, and learn faster and faster.
Do not be afraid to go fast as soon as you can. This is a major misconception and one that I even once taught and that is you must always remain slow. Ah... No!
At some point, if you are to learn how to do something fast you have to train your muscles how to do it at full speed while controlling the over travel and learn how to decelerate and correct yourself if necessary.
True you have to go slow at first in order to train the muscles, body, etc., but once you have a reasonable level of smooth movement and skill you want to start increasing the speed until you reach for extremely brief moments full speed or the optimum speed. Speed changes all things and the movement in the body. This forces the part of the brain that controls speed to develop and learn faster as well as control the over-travel in your movement.
Speaking of speed, remember there is both acceleration and deceleration and they both work off of each other and the two for proper dynamic coordination cannot, I repeat, cannot be separated since there is a plurality of movement that must always be considered. There is no control without the ability to decelerate. Period.
When you train your body to move in as smooth a manner as possible no matter what you do, never move to the end of your natural range of motion in any direction. This will build in the proper movement habits right upfront to prevent you from reaching the point where you cannot change direction or move your body freely. This is a terrible mistake people make all of the time in martial training.
Again, never move more than 90% of the range of motion for your joints to include the rotation of your joints in any direction. Your joints should always feel free, unencumbered no matter which direction you move. This also forces you to move your whole body all of the time. There is no smooth movement without using your whole body it is not even possible. So when you train to be fast also give consideration to learning how to control your over-travel by learning to decelerate your motion.
Five Steps to Learning to Be Good
- Decide whatever you want to do and be good at - The more clearly you look at it the easier it is to learn and determine what that performance looks like. And define it in "minute detail". This is key down to the micro or quantum level of movement. You must look at even the most minute movements and understand them in order to help yourself develop the more salient point of the skill.
- Deconstruct the skill - most things are not just one skill but a bundle of smaller skills. Break it apart and focus first on the most important parts first and practice them. That allows you to focus on the elements of practice that give you the performance that you're looking for. So you're breaking it down to the smallest parts you possibly can and practicing the individual sub-skills. One easy way I’ve found to do this is to, First, start at the end of what you want to be able to do; next figure out within the skill starting at the end result what that has to happen before that end result, and then what comes before that; and before that; and so on working backward until you reach the initial thing you have to do…
I’ve discussed this before where it is called Future Sliding (no attribution Professor) or reverse planning but this is more focused than the way I described it before. You can get as granular as you want but the idea is to go through this process so that you put some thought into the steps you need to accomplish. (Note: with deconstruction if you feel like you're doing it too simply well… you're doing it right.)
- Research so you can identify the most important sub-skills involved - in whatever it is you want to do you need to identify what the thing is and name the thing if you have to so you know what to practice. But also develop an understanding and being able to self-correct as you're practicing. Find whatever resources you can find to give you those sub-skills you want to do to help you get as good as you possibly can as quickly as possible. But... Don't allow that research to become a form of procrastination in itself. Focus on maybe 3-5 related things at the macro level, you’ve identified like say wanting to develop better balance or coordination, and begin working on them. What you're looking for at this point is how things are inter-related and the common threads because it's those concepts and techniques that are important. Those are the hints you should know so you can self-correct as you practice and are the sub-skills you should know and practice first. This will also begin the process of you learning not only how to model but develop a level of self-discovery through the modeling process and later on creativity. This is what I’m talking about when I discuss structuring intuitions and adumbration or drawing logical inferences.
- Remove barriers to practice- okay because this part is really important, make it easy to actually do the thing you want to get better at. We have thousands of distractions in our lives, like “literally”. You want to make sure you are not distracted by outside forces that can take your focus away from what you want to do. Anything you can do to make it easy for you to practice do that! Also, screw will power! You need to create the environment conduces for learning, put aside the time and make your practice tools accessible (i.e., like playing guitar the more accessible the instrument is the more likely you'll pick it up and play it. If you have a Bob striking man dummy and you have to pass it in your basement all of the time when you’re down, there or in your garage. You’re more likely to want to strike it since it’s readily accessible. I do this with many of my training aids which I keep in my garage since I’m always passing through there. Use your imagination but use common sense). In other words, remove friction from your practice. In some cases, people have found creative ways to practice by making it a part of your everyday activity. I highly recommend this by making it a part of your everyday activity you are always doing it. Remember the 20 hours is just a line in the sand. You can do more just don’t over-train by training to the point of injury.
- Pre-commit to at least 20 hours of dedicated focused practice before you begin - (see the above stuff I wrote on this) Once again, this is very important since
- deciding to do this is a check upon yourself;
- The early hours of practice are frustrating because we all suck at it in the beginning. We're horrible and we know it but that’s okay, and;
- Understand that it is a fundamental departure to how we’ve been taught how skill acquisition works so stick to the process and to hell with conventional wisdom and other forms of groupthink.
To reiterate, by pre-committing towards 20 hours of practice you are guaranteeing you're going to make it through those frustrating early hours. Especially when it becomes challenging. You're guaranteeing you'll push past the hard part.
20 hours is not magical it's just to guarantee you'll commit to practicing long enough to see dramatic results but it's also not so long that it's a barrier to that practice itself. That it’s really just focused strategic effort invested in something you care about doing.
A final point on this before I move on, have fun, stay light, stay loose, give it everything you’ve got and do not dabble, but have fun as you focus. Don’t be afraid to play around with things and as you develop later on play around with the skill to see where it can go.
Sample Skill Regimen
Solo practice is key to your development because it is also the place where you learn not only how to do things but how to self-correct yourself until the ability to recognize when you made a mistake becomes so much a part of you that you are able to do it without thought. An essential skill for combat. You train to win the fight period. There should be no ambiguity about it. The purpose of all of this training is to give you a way to practice on your own to give you your edge in battle and ensure your sword prevails.
I’ve added this to give you an idea of how to do this by picking a particular skill that people often want to learn in Warrior Flow. The truth is you can do this with anything. The key is this is something that you can practice over the next 30 days or 20 hours that will radically change the way your body moves. I have also chosen this because it goes to the core of everything you need to do if you are to develop your body to fight on the level you desire. Follow the guidance above and practice this for the next 30 days or 20 hours (40 Minutes a day). Start slow and do them right from the start as smoothly as possible for each exercise. Follow the order I’ve laid this out (highly recommended) and make the commitment and find the time.
Developing Internal Dropping Power
In order to develop this skill since I am using it as a tool so you can develop a method for teaching yourself something within 20 Days, it is assumed you already know how to strike or drop strike on some level as well as have some semblance of balance and decent control over your equilibrium. If you don’t? You will after this!
First I identify in reverse order the things you have to accomplish in order to achieve the desired end state.
- Penetrate and strike with bone-crushing force within the movement where the strike is a part of the movement itself from virtually any position with any weapon (and with utter ruthlessness)
- Need to feel the contraction of the essential muscles at the right moment upon impact as you root or step on the ground
- Need to be able to slightly sink within the strike in any direction
- Need to move smoothly once you begin to move to strike
- Need to feel the gathering of the muscles without any unnecessary preparatory movements as you begin toward the target
- Need to feel the relaxation in the muscles
Once I have identified the essential skills required I then rack and stack them in the proper sequence starting with the first thing I have to do all the way through to the end.
I would start off by practicing each skill a few times first as I knock them down in sequence spending more time focusing on my weakest skills. If you have to spend pretty much all of your 40 minutes on a few skills at fist that’s fine but you don’t want to delay practicing the other skills otherwise, you never learn how to put all the pieces together in a smooth fashion. Me personally I like to start off taking small bites but covering most of the skills in the first session or two, just to get a feel of where I am weak and then prioritize my time to spend more time on the skills I'm especially weakest at working in sequence all the way to the end for each training session.
Moving Forward in Sequence
- Start off standing with your knees slightly bent, and feel the relation throughout your entire body. Feeling the relaxation now instead of suddenly dropping as you would with a full drop strike you’re going to sink feeling the contraction in your legs. You need when starting out to do what I call a "slow drop" first on the "Internal dropping" it is the only way to practice it where you can hone this skill until it becomes a part of you. Try not to sink more than one-half inch to an inch. Once you have sunk ensure that all motion in your body ceases and hold that position for at least two seconds at first, then one second, then one-half second. This will begin the process of you training yourself to control your body and control any over travel as you do this. Repeat as often as necessary and focus on feeling how your weight smoothly sinks into your feet. Do not make the mistake of rising up first when you sink. Only rise up after you’ve completed your first sink to reset your body position come to a complete standstill and do it again, and again and again.
- Next, as you sink as you gradually sink with your arms raised slightly extend your arms without straightening your arms all the way out as if you are striking either with a palm strike or a fist. It really doesn’t matter what the weapon is it is all about coordinating the timing of your strike with the sinking of your body. When I practice this I sometimes like to close my eyes and focus on the internal feeling of my muscles and joints properly aligning as I do this. You don’t have to do this but I find closing my eyes when I do this prevents me from becoming distracted until I can do this without thought. As before once, you have sunk now while striking, ensure that all motion in your body ceases and hold that position for at least two seconds at first, then one second, then one-half second. Repeat as often as necessary and focus on feeling how your weight smoothly sinks into your feet.
- Next stand with your hands out in front of your arms, shoulder height, and slightly bent with your wrists relaxed. As you sink start slow and then as you feel your muscles gradually contract begin to do this faster and faster but with less sink. It should feel like more of a sudden muscular contraction. Perform a punch, palm heel strike, side chop, hammer fist, or whatever strike you want, focusing on timing your strike with the sudden contraction of your muscles. Your arms should go from a state of total relaxation or liquid to a solid-state like that of iron. Feel the contraction of the muscles with the hands "snapping" into the strike. Your hands should strike outward from you with no more than three to four inches of movement and with a slight bend in the arms at all times. Ensure that the hands assume the proper position at the point of extension as if you were striking for real, focusing on hitting with the proper ridges of the hands and not the fingers.
- Next, begin to strike in the same fashion starting from a state of total relaxation in every possible direction. It’s okay to turn or contort your body to strike on different angles. As long as your hips and shoulders remain aligned with each other, but do not move your feet since your trying to develop the feel of striking in this fashion with the proper coordination from various positions first, moving your feet comes later.
- Now, you want to Internally Strike meaning the sink and contraction are built into the movement itself. Stepping forward, to the side, and forward on angles, etc... Striking with whatever weapon you chose. Now pay attention because this is important. You want to “time” the strike and contraction as your foot lands on the step or within the step as smoothly as possible. Do not stomp when you do this, this should be a “smooth” even yet “sudden” transition. Control your equilibrium as you step and focus on avoiding any over-travel in the body and practice as you do this moving as little as you need. Start slow and then begin to do this pushing from your root as fast as you can, building up speed and efficiency in your striking. Focus on ensuring that as you step your body remains relaxed and that you avoid any unnecessary preparatory movement before you step. Do this over and over and over-focusing on polishing your movements in the body.
- Next, if you have a heavy bag or a slam bag or even have a partner with a focus mitt you now want to do this striking them. I would start slow feeling my body moving and touching at first then slowly penetrate as I repeat the previous steps above upon making impact. Next again, starting slowly at first from a stationary position feeling the power as you strike extend into the object you are striking. You can even eventually graduate doing this or on a balance board and then gradually build up speed and power in your strikes focusing one penetrating and not pushing. Avoid winding up or any unnecessary preparatory movement before you strike. A good way to do this is to practice feeling the body align internally before you throw the strike. With enough practice, you will actually feel those micro muscles begin to align and prepare your body to do the thing you’re going to do before you do it or what we in Warrior Flow call Anticipatory Movement. Same thing.
- Next, as you probably guessed you now want to do this as you step into the object you want to strike repeating all of the steps as you did before. Start slowly then build up the speed and power. Focus on polishing your movements and remaining as smooth and efficient in your movement as possible controlling for any over travel.
- Finally, but not the least, as you practice this you want to remain conscious of how your body feels all throughout from an internal perspective. You want to feel the fluidness of your body the smoothness. Now here is where you need to use your imagination. As you move and practice this on a heavy bag or fighting man dummy. You must as you move make each strike a focus of your will. In other words, as you step, turn strike, or whatever, your mind must be in a state of focus where you intend with utter ruthlessness crush anything that you lay your hands on. You must summon all of the pain, hate, and discontent in your body and focus it on whatever you strike. The ability drop strike has now become internalized a part of your, just something you do without thought, winding up etc... You need to train this to where you should be able to do this from any position within whatever movement you are doing at the time without again having to wind up. Striking anywhere within the natural range of motion of your arms, body, etc. this should be as effortless as walking.
When I do this the truth is it is just a focus of my will. I do it for all sorts of things such as stopping people in their track or when I try to cut people in half. For me, this is an effortless thing that I can just do. The truth is while I wrote out a lot once you read through it where you understand it you’ll find it’s actually simpler than it sounds. It’s just hard writing about something that is difficult to see or visualize until you’ve felt it in your body.
Some folks ask me when I train this what about my breathing?
Do I exhale on the strike, inhale, do Wim Hof breathing exercises (by the way I’m all about the "Ice Man" Wim Hof), etc.?
Here’s the answer…
I don’t give a crap…
No, really I don’t give a crap, I’m only focused on crushing from beginning to end. And frankly, you shouldn’t either, what is important is that you train it to the subconscious competence level where it is something that is just a part of your where it is a focus of your will.
This will provide you with a good foundation on how to develop this skill of Deconstruction in your approach to training. I’ll probably begin to cover some different stuff in my blog posts in the future unless I get called out again on some stuff that my instructors are always getting on me about.
P.S. for those who want to learn more about how to develop this type of movement.
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