Monkey that fights. Child that plays.

I am reasonably fit, however I am efficient at my sport which reduces its ability to develop cardio I would think.
After attending a Fighting Monkey workshop my “standing game” as I refer to it was found to be lacking, the games and practices showed my lacking cardiovascular fitness on the land.

My group (I was resting during this clip)

The day after the course I had a day off in Barcelona before I flew home, I went and had a massage and on walking back through the city I heard a cacophony from a side street, I wandered over and there was a school playground and the kids were out playing, the age group was under 10 years. Multiple games of tag, tick, football were being played and you know what, not one child was bent double out of breath, not a single one.
What I came to realise that the less training we have the more we self-regulate, these children ran and slowed when they were tiring and walked, spun and stopped. When recovered they then started again. Whereas as we gain facts about training we then fit ourselves into these training plans, programmes or whatever. I think if we noticed more we could make more gains, by following a reasonable practice. Play would be a good practice or even Fartlek type play with external governors if we didn’t have a partner/play mates.

Link: Fartlek

Finding someone to play with who is devious and tries to test you but is also kind as you don’t want to break a playmate. Chase other runners in the park and then switch when you catch them. Play hide and seek, I can still remember being giddy with excitement when hiding, and a friend being so close you could touch them and they haven’t a clue you’re there.

That said I sort of knew what would happen at the workshop in as much as my “standing game” would be poor but I wanted to be exposed to the data and then ‘know’ as people often confuse data with knowledge. Knowledge should be based on experience.

Richard Feynman’s videos discuss this knowing the name as opposed to knowing the thing, this can be applied to anything and in this case movement. Over and above the reflexes we were born with ie grasp, suck, swallow etc we learned to roll, crawl, stand and run all without knowing the name of a single muscle, without a rep scheme and without someone to copy as how many parents you see rolling or crawling.

We expand and explore.

Unless we have a specific abstract activity aka sport our “fitness” could maybe best served by this explore, notice and play mission statement.

I will leave you with the thoughts of Richard Feynman, what do you know and what do you just know the name of? Data vs Knowledge.

The state we are in.

The state you are in, be it pain or body composition is just a manifestation of the current state of your system.

Let us look at the two maladies that affect the modern human separately to explain further:

– Pain
This affects many of us and in the midst of a painful episode we think of this as a permanent state, how will we ever be out of pain and not recalling a time when we were not in pain. Here are two points to think on, the first is that pain is an output from the brain and the second is that pain is recreated every moment.

– Body Composition
This basically what people refer to in layman’s terms of being too fat or too skinny or not enough whatever. The body as a we see it is merely a manifestation of the system, if we are sick, stressed, consuming too much or too little of certain foodstuffs. The body isn’t a fixed form, everything changes cells, bones remodel, skin renews, hair grows. In fact thats a good point, in much the same way you can change your hairstyle and have to wait for it to grow for some styles we have to wait for the our body to change to new inputs be they food, movement (loaded or otherwise).

So do not look at yourself and think ‘I am fat’ instead see your body for what it is, you have an excess of calories and your body is storing it. Remedy is to alter consumption and maybe alter your movement.

With pain, look to these facts have you an injury, illness or what is covered by the term  red flag if not and have been cleared for movement then is the pain an old pattern being held onto such as a limp which aided you getting around but the injury has long since healed and now the limp is causing issues on the non injured leg.

So composition of ones body can be changed and pain can be often reduced or stopped it is a case of seeing us for what we are, we are systems not statues set in stone. Are poor eating habits and levels of movement unchanging and are old ways of using ourself keeping us in a painful state, in other words how is your nervous system holding you?

The strongman and the small bird – Books & Covers

I have been thinking about books and their covers and the judging that may occur.

Assumptions based on structure and appearance are probably best avoided, why? because structure does not always determine function, be that a book cover, a person or animal.

In my past I have had the following statement delivered to me in a hushed tone “…you have premature degeneration of the spine..” if i had believed what the medical imaging said it may have become a self fulfilling phrophecy, however i sought better ways to use myself, the result was then having no pain for the following 10 to 15 years since. Heres the thing I had pain and was scanned and the structure was seen to be worn and that was deemed to be the cause. In due time I changed the way i functioned the pain disappeared never to reappear despite no change in structure and able to lift heavy weights and paddle kayaks.

In a similar vein people see small people and do not expect them to be strong and see big people and not expect them to be sensitive. The linking of traits to the size of the animal is flawed to say the least.

Regardless of the size of the mammal they have innervation and feedback. Those mammals do not feel big or small to their brains, their nervous systems just sense and don’t judge their own size.

These cultural expectations of size to sensitivity can then lead to those who are big or small to act out and accept these roles.

A case that bucks this trend is that of Geoff Capes, listed below are some of his achievements:

1. Worlds strongest man twice.
2. Highland games world champion six times.
3. Commonwealth Games Shot put Gold medalist twice.
4. Deadlift-454.5kg (18”deficit) Squat-380kg Bench-300kg
5. Height 1.97m Weight 150kg (competing weight)

Now all the personal statistics be they height or weight match with the sporting performance and choice of activities.

Now heres the thing, I recall the press shock when they discovered his hobby, it always came up on chat shows and in interviews. The hobby in question was the breeding of Budgerigars at which he had some success also.

Geoff Capes

Thinking on it what did the journalists think would prevent him from handling small birds, did they think he could only apply massive forces through his hands and that delicate touch is the preserve of the smaller human?

So think on that.

“Size matters not, look at me” – Yoda

“Shannon Technique”

Excuse the advertising but I saw the above video of Bill Shannon a while ago and his movement is wonderful, I read somewhere he has a degenerative hip condition, however he moves with grace and with his crutches he can do things those without cannot.

In the lecture below he brings up the interesting, enlightened and funny phenomenon of naming of techniques and accepted movement. At 12min 50secs he discusses people watching others, however not from a admiration point of view but as if they were helping or acting out helping. This is akin to when I watch rugby or other sports and my body kicks or convulses in response to the action or the action I wish the player had made.

Interesting that some people see him move and think he faking, and so what if he was, just highlights some movements be it fidgeting are frowned upon and people feel the need to judge.

When I attempt to teach people to kayak, to me its not about static postures and strokes but flow.

Regarding staring, I think there are many layers. You are seeing something which is nice, its human nature to do so and human nature to wince and look away from other things.


Wikipedia Entry – Bill Shannon

Bill Shannon Website


"Yawning" - Vinoth Chandar
“Yawning” – Vinoth Chandar

So called civilised people inhibit their movements yawns or otherwise, I would however argue that inhibition is not the sign of the civilised but the sign of the repressed.

Don’t stifle a yawn and notice what ways you move. But don’t analyse too much just gently notice.


I have been thinking on priorities.

The title of this post is the order that a lot of persons prioritise their lives. With credit available and more stuff in general we can get distracted by the easy. By easy I mean that obtaining stuff is easy compared to the really important things such as changing ourselves and our reactions to things.

A diagram may explain this a little clearer.





Improve ones mind/outlook and the choices you make will result in an improved diet/life/training. Dealings with others and our reactions to stimuli will also benefit.

Its not a case of thinking more and making up negative stories/being judgmental but reflection and noticing. Noticing is the sign of a deliberate life, but yet we can fall into the trap of buying a book or running shoes (see diagram ‘stuff’) and not using them which in turn means we may beat ourselves up over not using said items. A remedy is to align thoughts and actions.

Think and do aligned, or say what you mean and mean what you say.


Chimp Paradox


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