Antagonistic action, antagonistic pulls

At present I simply state the great principle to be antagonistic action, perfect employment of which is the forerunner of that control which ensures the correct use of the muscular system of the thorax in its fullest sense as the primary motive power in the respiratory act, also adequate muscular development, non-interference with the larynx and nasal dilatation.

“Introduction to a New Method of Respiratory Vocal Re-Education” (1906) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 43.

3. There is absolute lack of antagonistic action in the use of the respiratory mechanism.

“Introduction to a New Method of Respiratory Vocal Re-Education” (1906) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 43.

The Doctrines of Antagonistic Action and Mechanical Advantage [header]
In the process of creating a co-ordination one psycho-physical factor provides a position of rigidity by means of which the moving parts are held to the mode in which their function is carried on.
This psycho-physical factor also constitutes a steady and firm condition which enables the Directive Agent of the sphere of consciousness to discriminate the action of the kinæsthetic and motion agents which it must maintain without any interference or discontinuity.
The whole condition which thus obtains is herein termed “antagonistic action,” and the attitude of rigidity essential as a factor in the process is called the position of “mechanical advantage.”

Introductory to a reproduced pamphlet of the 1908, “Re-Education of the Kinæsthetic Systems”. This introduction appears in the 1910 edition of Man’s Supreme Inheritance, omitted from later editions.
Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. Matthias Alexander (Mouritz, 1996), page 218.

As a striking instance of delusion in physical acts let us take the case of a man who believes himself to be merely overcoming what he regards as essential inertia, when he is really fighting the resistance of undue antagonistic muscular action exerted by himself, a resistance of which he is not consciously aware.

Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. Matthias Alexander (Mouritz, 1996), pages 113-14.

The specific control of a finger, of the neck, or of the legs should primarily be the result of the conscious guidance and control of the mechanism of the torso, particularly of the antagonistic muscular actions which bring about those correct and greater co-ordinations intended to control the movements of the limbs, neck, respiratory mechanism, and the general activity of the internal organs.

Man’s Supreme Inheritance by F. Matthias Alexander (Mouritz, 1996), pages 128-29.

What this young lady is doing now is a very difficult thing to do. She is directing her head forward from here [Alexander indicates with his hand a part of her back], her knees forward and her hips back, and that is the only way you can get your antagonistic pulls. By physical culture methods you do not get antagonistic pulls, and that is what is the matter.
What interests me is to give her something to do by means of which she will put this head forward, and the knees forward and the hips back, and so to get the antagonistic pulls working.

“Bedford Physical Training College Lecture” (1934) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 177.

The working is all antagonistic. When the head is put forward, the body is pulled back; when the head is pulled back, the body is put forward. That is the way the primary control usually works.

“Bedford Physical Training College Lecture” (1934) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 179.

Again, I ask you to get up, you refuse, giving attention to not pulling your head back, not throwing yourself forward. . . .  When you move forward you are putting the muscles of the back out of gear, whereas if the head goes forward and up and you move your back back, you are widening your back and bringing the antagonistic pulls of the back into play—the lifter muscles, properly called the anti-gravity muscles.

St. Dunstan’s Lecture (1949) in Articles and Lectures by F. M. Alexander (Mouritz, 1995, London), page 188.

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