What is Dexterity?
A book recommendation + videos
Dexterity is one of those ideas you start to see everywhere – that is, as soon as it’s pointed out to you, and you have a word for it.
Dexterity = motor skills + quick wits.
Maybe the single most important concept almost no one is talking about, but yet is central to fitness, education, evolution, even spirituality – plus a bunch of other fields and domains of life.
A book recommendation for you:– Nicholai Bernstein’s neglected masterpiece Dexterity and its Development. This is a top 5 book in the upcoming Psychophysical Recommended Reading List.
Here are some quotes, followed by links to a couple of videos about dexterity.
“The banner of physical culture bears the names of four notions that are commonly addressed as psychophysical capacities: force, speed, endurance, and dexterity.
These four are quite unlike each other.
Force is virtually a purely physical feature of the body. It depends directly on the volume and quality of the muscles and only indirectly on other factors.
Speed is a more complex feature that combines elements of both physiology and psychology.
Endurance is even more complex. It is based on the cooperation of all the subsystems and organs of the body. It requires a high level of cooperation of metabolism among the working organs, transport system (the circulatory system, which delivers supplies and eliminates wastes), organ providers (respiration and digestion), and all the organs of higher command and control (the central nervous system). In fact, a hardy body should satisfy three conditions of endurance: It should have ample supplies of energy to spend when necessary. It should be able, at a proper time, to generously offer these supplies without sparing a single unit of energy. Finally, it should be able to spend the resources with a tight, sensible frugality so that they last for the maximal amount of useful work. Briefly, to possess endurance is to have much, to spend generously, and to pay miserly. Obviously, this capacity characterizes the complex organization of the body as a whole.
The degree of complexity is even higher for dexterity. One can hardly say what prevails in it— physical or psychic. At least, as we are going to see, dexterity is a function of control, and, therefore, the main role in dexterity is played by the central nervous system.
Dexterity stands aside from the other capacities in many aspects. It is certainly more flexible and more universal than any other capacity. Dexterity is a kind of currency for which all other currencies are readily traded. It is a trump suit that beats all other cards”
“Motor skill and quick wits – that is, Dexterity”
“Dexterity is the ability to find a motor solution for any external situation, that is, to adequately solve any emerging motor problem
correctly (i.e., adequately and accurately),
quickly (with respect to both decision making and achieving a correct result),
rationally (i.e., expediently and economically), and
resourcefully (i.e., quick-wittedly and initiatively).|”
Dexterity and its Development
Video 1: example
Video 2: discussion
Here are me and Keith Walkiewicz talking about Bernstein’s book. In this video we introduce the basic concept of dexterity with some examples.
Then we look at a passage from Homer which show Odysseus as the master of Dexterity, according to Bernstein’s definition.
Developing psychophysical dexterity is the goal of the 1 to 1 lessons with me. Reply to this email or contact: firstname.lastname@example.org to book a session.