I've been watching Whedon's Dollhouse for the past three weeks. Enjoying it. It's a little slippery to get a grasp on a bunch of characters who are only tangentially related to each other, and whose common link is a girl who changes personality from one episode to the next. By the end of the third episode I realized that Echo is actually not on-screen that much; there are at least three concurrent plotlines developing, aside from the mission-of-the-week, and although they all revolve around Echo and the Dollhouse, the girl herself is more of a McGuffin than a character. There are hints that she will become a character, in time, but for now she's just a Magic Mitten that everybody wants to possess for their own assorted reasons.
Anyway, the SP and I were talking about Echo's fighting skills on the show, and although she is a small woman, not possessed of any superpowers, they program her brain with all these practical fighting skills, and they generally make them look feasible.
The SP said he didn't believe that imprinting somebody's brain with fighting skills would make them automatically able to fight--he says the body has to be trained, too.
I said first that I thought it was possible--the mind, after all, controls the body, and I know from experience that once I figure out a move in my head--i.e. juggling--I can do it with my hands.
But then I started thinking about how a trained athlete's muscles will develop additional nerve pathways to better react to the brain's signals. And I thought about the fine-tuning of small muscles I have seen in my own body. For instance, although I still know how to juggle, I am out of practice and clumsy. And although I still know how to sing--to position my throat and support from the diaphragm--my range will be rusty until I've practiced for a couple of weeks and recovered my old muscle tone.
Calligraphy, too--I've been thinking about it a lot lately, because the frustration I feel with my tai chi skills now is very like the old frustration I used to feel with a pen in my hand--why was it so hard to make my fingers do what my brain wanted them to do? And why wouldn't my brain stay with my fingers as they moved?
What do you think? If the brain had the knowledge, and knew it had the knowledge, would the body then follow? Or do the two have to be conditioned in tandem?