just loaded up a new video, filmed during two afternoons last winter. We don´t see that much snow here very often, so I grabbed the opportunity and took my camerea with me to capture this great expierience. I highly recommend this to everyone not afraid to expose himself to natures beauty and harshness.
The first day I went without gloves and after two hours my fingers couldn´t work the little knobs on my cam anymore. The second day with gloves was much easier, but to get a glimpse of real nature I decided to take of my shirt and shoes. And it was...cold. Very cold. Damned f.cking cold...
The woods in wintertime are great, and the training regime varies a lot from the other seasons. What I found most interesting is the level of focus, which is low when it comes to childish outbursts like sliding down a hill, and alters when your´re balancing on an icy log. At some point those levels kind of overlapped and it was like becoming "one" with the movement and the landscape. Very exciting, very tense, very funny...
So, don´t lock yourselfs up at home next winter (or even worse: join a fitness club!)
primal movesPosted by Mark Wed, May 27, 2009 16:00:25 After a long winter I opened up my 2009 barefoot season at the beginning of May. and I hope to be able to stretch it till November, when low temperatures (and the stupid comments of my fellow citizens) are getting to hard to take.
From year to year the time gets shorter to get my feet used to training unshod, and I was able to run about 3 km in a row after only a few minutes walking. But, like every year, my first thought was: I have to start from scratch, press the reset button, all I had done through the winter was completely useless! Of course it was not, but training without shoes is so incredibly different. You´re much slower, you understand the meaning of "being aware", you are way much more "in" your surroundings, you are really connected, not only through being barefoot, it reflects on all your senses. You don´t feel like a bulldozer anymore, breaking through the forrest, no matter what is in your way.
This feeling is worth the few scratches and bruises on my soles. They will heal and leave behind thick leather-like skin, which is so sensitive that it´s like a new pair of eyes, which see things before your real eyes do and react, before your brain can think.
And thats where the training starts: Trust your feet, trust their sensetivity, trust their strenght. It´s not about getting used to sharp stones, that´ll happen either way. It´s about trust in your own body awareness.
primal movesPosted by Mark Tue, May 26, 2009 10:43:18 So, it has been quite a while since my last entry, almost a year has rushed by. Many things had happen in the meantime, winter passed by and spring is in bloom round here. I developed great plans for the future, first of all keeping my blog updated more regulary, making a new video, which will be online in September at least, put up a homepage which contents some basics about primalmoves training, to name but a few.
Natural training methods are on their way to the minds of more and more people and I would like to share my expierence and provide information on that fascinating topic. For those who can´t wait, I would highly recommend Erwan Le Corre´s MovNat (http://www.movnat.com), which I consider as the most inspirational source for my own training.
please stay tuned and have a look from time to time...
I now will write a little about the theoretical backround of "primal moves".
That will lead us way back in history to our ancestors which lived a life that can only be called natural. 60.000 Years B.C. the world appeared quite different from now: No buildings, streets, farmlands, cars, cable wires, straightend rivers, but lots of woods, plains, rocks, and only a few human beings roaming this landscape as nomads, collecting plants, fruits, nuts and berries, hunting and fishing. They wander with the change of seasons and food offers.
Here are the first two things to remember: 1.Those people weren´t apes, they were humans as you and me, homo sapiens. So they were moving like us, straight up on two legs. 2. They were moving barefoot.
Walking barefooted or in shoes is a big difference, try it and you´ll see. It has a great impact on how the body moves, how it reacts to the ground and the whole environment. Later on more about this topic.
And of course they didn´t travel on straight, flat asphalt roads, but cross country, over rocks and fallen trees, sharp edges in great heights, through rivers, all that in all kinds of weather. So to the normal kind of walking straight up we can add a wide range of motions, which required very good coordination, flexibility, strength and duration. And this in everyday life. I´m sure they were as happy as we are to lay their bodies down at the end of the day, but I think it´s obvious that those primal people were in much better shape than we are today. Simply because they had to be. It was their life.
Let us hear Georges Hébert, the founder of the méthode naturelle, about his observations in native tribes while his travels in the early 20th century: "Their bodies were splendid, flexible, nimble, skilful, enduring, resistant and yet they had no other tutor in gymnastics but their lives in nature."
This photography was taken at the end of the 19th century showing an australian hunter. It´s one of my favourites because it shows a human being scarcely touched by modern civilisation, living in a culture which was at least for 60.000 unchanged. Note the way he is standing straight upwards, how he holds his head. And of course his muscles.
Switching to today, we observe a quite different environment and also a different way of moving. We may be happy these days to live in houses with heating, air-conditioning and electric light, to move comfortable with elevators, cars and planes, to get food at the supermarket. But what has this kind of living done to our bodies?
I am not saying, that we should return to some "good old times" (which is not possible, even if we want to), but thinking about the above, I asked myself: What kept those people in shape?
I think they adapt their bodies to the environment, that was given, as we do today, but without all this technical supplements, that lighten up our lives, but weaken our bodies. They had to walk and run, while we drive by car, they had to climb, while we use stairs, they had to throw a spear, while we simply pull a trigger. Their life was more demanding than ours, but at the same time more simple. They spent their time moving instead of sitting in front of and using technical devices.
So, is it possible for us to get this "primal" fitness? In terms of body capacity, it is. The biggest obstacle is in our way of thinking. Once we had captured the idea of the primal moves, we know what to do, how to train.
I hope, I´m able to sketch this idea on these pages.
At first I want to say that, though I am from Germany, I will do this blog in English, just for the simple reason to get more people involved. So if anything should sound strange you know why .
So, what is this about?
Five years ago I decided to do a little for my bodyhealth by going jogging. I was in my 30´s and I guess it was some kind of "midlife-crises-stuff". I never did sports activities before in my life, except in school years way back. I was always the kind of "brain guy", spent my time sitting and reading things about all sort of topics, mainly about history, philosophy, religion and geography.
So I went to the woods. I couldn´t hardly breathe after a few meters, my legs were aching and I realised, that there was a lot of work. But soon my level increased and I began to enjoy it.
But as I got better over the months I discovered a sad thing: It became boring. Something was missing.
During a visit, my younger brother showed my some videos on the internet, where people were jumping from rooftops, vaulting rails and fences and climbing walls, all fast and elegant. Parkour, a movement art from France. I was astonished and began a research about Parkour and what it was about. A door opend in my mind.
Many things impressed me about this disciplin: Humans seem to be capable of doing amazing things with their bodies, of course. All the athletes and acrobats proofed this since ages. But Parkour was different, it begins in your mind: What is the fastest, easiest, most efficient way to get to where you want to go? Without equipment, only with the use of your body.
But what struck me most was the idea, that there is an activity without competition, where you measure your efforts only by comparing them with those you reached the day before. If someone is better than you, can jump further or run faster, then because he had trained it more than you. He is not better by nature. So go out and practise. For and by yourself.
For me, sport was always combined with competition, and I guess that was the main reason why I never was interested in it. I was never eager to proof that I´m better than someone else in whatever disciplin (most of the time I wasn´t anyway...). In addition to that I was never keen to join team sports like football. So here was Parkour, and it was kind of a green light which said: it´s not necessary to join a sports club to become a good sportsman.
So I started favouring my wood sessions with practising jumping, climbing, balancing. During my research about Parkour I became aware of it´s roots, the Methode Naturelle, developed by french physical education practioner Georges Hébert, and his ideas fitted quite well in my approach of physical training. I managed to get a book of him and studied his method, which consits of an outdoor training program including 10 groups of activities to perform (marching, running, jumping, balancing, climbing, moving on all four limbs, throwing, lifting, defense and swimming) in order to become strong, flexible and enduring. A special point in his teachings is altruism, the ability of being help- and useful for the society.
All that made me thinking about why and how I wanted to train. Because of my age it is very clear to me that I will never be a great athlete like David Belle (founder of Parkour), simply by lack of training expierience in the past. And because I have a job which requires a lot of time, I´m not able to spend lots of hours each day with training (sad but true...)
But I´m glad to say that I found ways to cope with that, and I´m quite satisfied with my forthcoming in physical fitness. I combined my knowledge to an individual practising concept which I called "primal moves". It´s an concept "in progress" and it´s not aimed to be perfect. Almost every week I discover new aspects to work on and so I started this blog to write about my progress. And of course I hope it will be helpful to someone.