Evacuation Order

Hard, stressful, weird couple of days! After three days of continuous rain, the Big Thompson River flooded on Thursday (Sept. 12, 2013) and we had to evacuate. We left and stayed with a relative in Broomfield.

Between Thursday night and Friday morning CDOT closed ALL highways between Denver and Loveland due to flooding. We spent a STRESSFUL night Thursday night, imagining all kinds of terrible things about our house, neighbors, and friends all over the state…

In the morning we found out about the highways. About 2pm – after a much needed nap, we found out two of our neighbors had gone back home. They checked our house out for us (NO DAMAGE!!!!) and we decided to come home. Using the Internet we found that 287 was mostly open, except for a couple of detours in and around Longmont. We made it home after a 2+ hour trip (normally 45min.).

Found our house intact (YAY!). Also found out that several neighbor’s places were broken into and robbed (Boo!).

About ten minutes after we got home, we were watching the river, standing outside on our deck, completely floored by the new reality of of our redesigned terrain. As we were standing there watching, a 40ft. Cottonwood was undercut by the river and brought down. It took, maybe, three or four seconds. Crazy scary… I sometimes joke that I can “bench press a bus,” but this kind of power was beyond anything I’ve ever seen. It was truly one of the most humbling moments of my life.

After chilling out for a few minutes, and unpacking, we spent some time hanging out with our neighbors, then spent some time watching and fretting about all the “looky-loos” endanger their lives crossing police lines to get close to the crazy-fast, torrential, flood waters…

There are times I fear for the human race. Natural Selection in action.

I have some more pictures and video on my Facebook Page:

Broken-Trail

 

 

Movement Spectrum

I am a physiology, neuro, movement geek. I am a student of Physical Culture.

There are things (within physical culture) that I am good at, there are things that I am working on to get better at them, and there are things I either haven’t tried yet, or things I don’t care about enough to try.

After an off-line discussion with a friend about movement, I had a thought that I would try and write down some quick thoughts on “all things” movement.

First off, understand that this is far more a note to jot some ideas down than a Magna Carta. As I learn, re-learn, grow, un-learn and discard practices, tools, techniques, etc. I amend my thinking.

Secondly, understand that I am no movement “guru.” I have trained with a few over the years, and want nothing to do with any of that kind of thing.

So, onward into the breech…

Simplistically, there are three categories of movement: there is movement that you do alone (keep it PG-13!), movement done with a partner (PG-13 damn it!) and group movement (sigh…).

There are several types of approaches to movement: play, studious, progressive, segmented, flowing, and professional (as in, you get paid for it). All of these approaches can (and do) overlap. There are most probably other approaches I don’t know or haven’t really thought about. Remember, this is a note, a jot, not a manifesto.

There are a number of fields of movement study: martial, dance, gymnastics, group sportive, acrobatic, climbing, arboreal, locomotive, individual sportive, performance art, and about a humpty-gazillion more.

Environment plays a huge part in the types, ranges and “rules” of the play. The things you might do in a forest are going to be different than what you might do on a beach, in the water, on a cliff face, or in an urban setting. Though, as in most things, there will be cross-over.

A person can either be more of a generalist – in terms of study and acquisition, or a specialist. This line – from generalist on one end to specialist on the other is not two single points on a graph. It is a spectrum. Though to be fair, IMO, most people fall more on the specialist end than the generalist side.

As a student of movement, a person has to understand that most movement disciplines can take months, years, decades, or a lifetime of study to master. Also, that any specialization carries with it the chance of over-specialization, movement compensation and limitation.

A student of movement should also know that generalization, is, to a HUGE degree, a myth.

There is NO WAY possible to be a TRUE generalist, because the fields of “play” are simply too vast. A person might “master” a small handful of “tricks” from a few of the fields, but never the field itself – as that would make him a specialist. You want to master hand balancing? There are something like 30-50 different hand balances in yoga alone (maybe more). Now add in the hand balancing work of gymnastics. There will be a little crossover in places, but a lot of distinct movement. Now add in acrobatics. B-boy, or interpretive dance, etc. Get the picture?

Love grounded flow-locomotion? Unending possibilities. Now add in high-level rugby play. How much time for practice would you need to do both? And do them well?

From “generalist” to specialist is a spectrum with many stops and levels. Movement play is a matrix of possibility, interest, and commitment.

Personally, I love martial art, especially those of Judo, submission grappling, boxing and Muay Thai. I love flowing ground based locomotion, tumbling and yoga. I enjoy Olympic lifting, strength training, kettlebell play, basic gymnastics (ring and floor), basic Parkour. Though, while I enjoy and play them, I won’t claim any particular expertise with them.

In my youth I was a decent amateur fighter. I played baseball, volleyball, tennis, and some track events. But just because I did them in my past doesn’t mean that I am a volleyball player, a hurdler, or a javelin thrower now. And while I sprint, and am pretty fast – at 51 – I am nowhere near what I was at 16, 18, or 25. Same goes for fighting. I train, but no longer compete. I keep my skills as high as I can, but am coaching more now than banging away in a ring or cage.

I play with arm balances, and handstands, but, compared to a lot of the “big name movement gurus” I freely admit to being barely passible at them. And, realistically, and without ego, I most probably move better than 95% of the people in the world. The top 5% move like butter over a hot skillet.

And that’s okay. It is time and process. I am as good as the time I spend playing the movements. This should be obvious, but I’ll state it: the more time I spend, the better I am at those things. The inverse is also true. This will be true for you as well.

Which brings me to interest. I personally have an interest in combat sports, but no real interest in “traditional” martial arts – though I’ve played more than a few of them in my past. Upon occasion, I “dance,” but don’t have much interest in learning the nuance of jazz, modern, tap, ballet, or B-boy.

As I said before, I love ground-based, flow locomotion, but with a family, full time job, teaching schedule, etc. I only have limited access to teachers of say, Capoeria, Parkour, or Ginastica Natural. So, access also limits interest and thus the possibility of acquisition and mastery.

Interest – or lack of it – then plays a part in whether I am more of a generalist, or more of a specialist. As it will for you.

It’s relatively easy to be a specialist. In sport, look at powerlifting, olympic lifting, marathon or ultra running. In life, look at an office worker, lawyer, banker, or baker. And while a person can be more of a generalist, and there are examples from life, movement methods and sports with large palettes, no one can be a true generalist, no matter what is claimed.

Where are you on the spectrum?

Back from Texas

Back from a few days off in Texas, hanging with family for nephew Zach’s graduation. I had an excellent time (except for the heat – I generate enough of my own, I don’t need help 😉 and getting in a fender bender coming out of Lady Bird Johnson’s Botanical Gardens)…

Now back at it… After a slow start to the day, I did some mobility work, arm balances, a little locomotion body flow and some yoga. Followed it up with a light Jiu-jitsu session – working on positional flow and some light rolling… Feeling groovy… Strength work sometime later today, either before or after chores…
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A couple of cool things:
This made laugh and shake my head: June 2, 2013 5:33pm

And this. A highlight reel of Ramon “the Diamond” Dekker – one of the best Dutch Muay Thai/Kickboxers – who just passed away earlier this year.

Resurrection and Redirection

WARNING – WILL BE LONG! 🙂

It is time to resurrect this blog. Some might say past time (and some might ask why I don’t just let it die a peaceful “death”). Hopefully, all will be explained.

A lot of things have transpired in the intervening months since I wrote last (was it really back in November? Sheesh).

What’s Been Going On

I went to Spain with my family over the holiday weeks. We were gone for a little over two weeks and had an up and down trip. We all got sick the first week we were there. I got a respiratory infection (when we got back I went to my doctor for a lingering cough and was told it looked like I was getting over pneumonia – ugh, and go immune system!) My wife got both a respiratory infection AND a digestive tract bug. We almost took her to an emergency room on Christmas eve, because she had strained abdominal muscles coughing and was dehydrated. Luckily she got better, quickly. My daughter also got a lung bug… If we could have flown back early I think we would have – we were all so miserable. But we persevered and by the second week were on the mend (except for my cough).

We got to see a lot of cool things while we were there, the artwork at the Prado Museum was awesome! I got to see the original works of some of my favorite painters: Goya, Picasso, Velázquez & Salvador Dalí, as well as others… Toledo was awesome as well – it may be one of my favorite places in Europe that I’ve ever visited… Barcelona was also a very, very cool city! I could go back just to visit it (though it would take a lot of doing for me to visit the rest of Spain). I have put up a bunch of photos on my Facebook page – for those of you living under a rock and haven’t seen them…

When we returned home, I started coaching at Seraphim MMA, working for my friend and head coach Bob Gilstrap – teaching a youth class in MMA 101 – which keeps me in the “game” and hits my MA training buttons. The class is small, but growing. Along with it, I hopefully will start teaching yoga there soon as well…

I have been teaching a yoga class at least once a week for almost three years now (at Gold’s Gym in Loveland), along with a bunch of yoga privates throughout the week… And I’ve started branching out a little and following in the footsteps of some of my friends and coaches – I’ve taught three workshops in the last few months. One on the KB Swing, another on “unconventional” training – where I taught a yoga/ma gymnastics flow progression as well as a muscle up progression and finally the goblet squat as a weighted mobility drill, and finally a TRX suspension workshop… While the classes were small, I had a great time doing them, and got some fantastic feedback and new clients out of them. I hope to do a lot more of these in the future!

My clientele as a trainer has grown the last few months. I was busier from Sept. 2012 to the present day than I was for almost the two previous years. I guess it took a while to get my name out there – not just as that trainer who can do all that “freaky” BW/Yoga/KB stuff, but as a trainer that can ACTUALLY help a person meet their goals…

Funny how the wheel turns…

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About the blog

It’s interesting (to me at least) that when I started this blog/website back in 2005-2006 I built up a readership of approx. 8-10,000 hits a month. Then I moved to TypePad and it dropped. Then the move to WordPress and that dropped by another two thirds… Last year I took a marketing class from a fitness “guru” and changed my website content to something like what he recommended and it dropped yet again – significantly…

And I hated it. The loss of contact. The loss of affiliate sales. And especially the content.

Hated it.

It’s one of the main reasons for not writing for the last few months… Or consistently for a lot longer than that. I hated it and was completely bored by it…

So, I am going to retool it – back to something that I’ll enjoy. Because, if there’s one thing I’ve learned building my reputation as a trainer, it is, if you don’t like what you’re doing, if you don’t know what, how, or why you’re doing it, no one will pay attention. No one will want to work with you.

If you know me personally, you know that one of the things that differentiates me from a most others, is that I’m a polymath-in-training. And I am “into” a lot of different things and wear a lot of different hats. Art, writing, training, martial art, anthropology, physics, psychology, nutrition, endocrinology, comparative religion, mythology, meditation, yoga, pop culture, comics, etc… And back when I actually had a readership, this blog reflected that…

It’s time to get back to the things I love.

And share them.

Training

My own training has been very good the last couple of years, though, lately, finding the balance between my own focus/needs and those of the MMA class has been interesting – especially at 50. Most of the time I can’t just demo something and get out of the way. More often than not, there aren’t enough team members for me to sit out, so I have to perform – at least at some level. And I have one student who is almost my size and weight – and is STRONG – that wants SO BADLY to submit me he can taste it… So on drilling/sparring days it can get on the intense side.

For my training, I have been working a lot of gymnastics (work) for the upper body, along with some targeted lifting for “problem” areas, while doing some weighted work for the lower (deadlifts, squats, Oly lifts) … I occasionally do some BW work for my legs, but really, once I “get” the balance/depth/neural drive thing of single leg squats (for example), they don’t do much for me anymore. I still do some – but they become more mobility drills than anything else (not that I can – or would want to – do a plethora of them – a la Steve Cotter).

I do mobility work and yoga every day – at 50, mobility work is where it’s at – to keep everything moving right and to keep injuries down. If I had to choose one aspect of training to keep – discarding the rest, mobility work would be my choice. It is the foundation of ALL my training (and life!).

My martial practice is mostly satisfied by teaching at Seraphim, but I get in a few extra sessions a week – beyond teaching, drilling, and rolling with students. During those sessions I work on learning and refining my Muay Thai (stand up), Judo (standing grappling/clinch), and grappling (ground). Occasionally I get in some stick, staff, knife, and gun work…

Looking at what I wrote above, it looks like all I do is train all day, but the truth is, I train two, sometimes three times a day, but never for more than 3hrs spread out over the day (and 80% of the time it’s only 90mins to 2hrs – including MA). Never to failure. And I’ve made more – and consistent – gains in the last couple of years than at any time since I started on this journey. Strength, skills learned, work capacity… And all it took was throwing ALL my training on the floor, taking a look at it – and taking some advice from some REALLY smart coaches to understand how to put it together the right way…

Live and learn.

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So, welcome – if you’re new here – or welcome back, if you’ve been here before… Welcome to a new chapter of this exploration…

Comments, as always are welcome.

Onwards and Upwards!

New Cycle

For the last month my training consisted of daily yoga. I did a challenge where I had to do at least thirty minutes of yoga a day (most days I did between 45-90min). I didn’t report it here, just because of the boring-factor. “Another Sun Salutation/Arm Balance/Triangle Pose done…” Meh.

I love yoga (though for balance I also do a lot of pulling exercises like chin ups and rows, because yoga doesn’t contain many pulls), that being said, yoga (for me) is terrible for things like muscle building (especially in the lower body) and weight management… Stretching, body/breath control, balance work (expressing strength) – that is what yoga excels at!

So, it’s onwards to a new cycle – stepping up the strength and conditioning – using yoga as a part of the cycle – as play therapy, expression, exploration and compensatory movement…

Onwards and Upwards!