The last day of camp brought a feeling of satisfaction that I have made it this far. Some did not, mostly through injury and probably a bit of heat stroke! I only had 1 training session to attend today and that was Odelia. Like the other final sessions, we brought the various things we did during the week together with Odelia today. Of all the 4 types of training sessions that we had with our various teachers, Odelia’s was the most physically and mentally challenging in terms of the complexity of the moves, and the variety of things we were doing. Locomotion, and handstands were mostly what we covered, and bringing the different movement combinations together in a smooth way was high on the priority list.
Our key focus today in the last session, was making the glue that binds different types of movement ‘disappear’, to create a smooth and transition-less flow of movement. I felt like I made some pretty good progress with Odelia’s material throughout the week, with plenty more to work on, but the teaching and coaching was just awesome.
In the middle of the day we had a pool party, and everyone let the hair down. We brought the ‘Chopstick game’ from Ido’s class to the street, or to the pool to be more accurate. We ended up with about 10 people connected to each other by chopstick and moving together. In this game there is no winner or loser, but just cooperation and fun. Coconut ice cream and smoothies were on tap, and the craic was great. Its funny what results when you put a big bunch of ‘movers’ in one place and tell them to have fun. There was handstands, keep ups, pool volleyball, a challenge to run across the pool using the lie-lows as lillypads, and an international game of water polo that turned into more of an international game of water- wrestling!
The last scheduled event of the Movement Camp was a roundtable session with all our coaches, and I got to ask a few questions that were answered really well by the guys. I came out of the roundtable tonight with over 8 pages of notes. This camp has been about way more than just training. It was also about learning from great teachers, building bridges with other movers, and absorbing the mindset of those around me who have achieved great things. There was much mention of using ‘Projects’ as the vehicle for testing out new training methods, or applying certain techniques or sessions to achieve a desired goal. A set protocol, for a set period or time, to see if it elicits the desired result. Documenting the process along the way, looking forward to the practice sessions, and drawing some conclusions at the end were all on the top of the list in
the answer I got to my question on projects. The teachers also gave us insights into their current projects, and also projects that they undertook in the past.
Being a good student, ,and the definition of being a mover were also discussed by the teachers and audience, and gave a fantastic insight into what is really required to be successful. In movement and training, but probably also in anything that requires commitment and hard work to achieve. Ido spoke about the definition of being a ‘mover’ and described a mover as seeing things from a general perspective, who uses the ‘movement terminology’ in their approach. The initial perspective of a mover, is from the point of view of having good movement terminology. Ido didn’t discuss this, but its pretty easy to see that improving and expanding your movement vocabulary (the moves that you can perform), would improve sporting performance in just about anything. Shai had a great analogy to explain where ‘movement’ fits in, or rather where the specialist disciples (dance, and sports etc) fit into the work of movement. We have the Universe of Movement, in which there is a planet called Dance. Within the planet of Dance, there is a country that is called ‘Technique’, and another that’s called ‘Teacher’, and so on and so fourth. The same can be applied to all sports and activities. They all form a part of the Movement Universe. Therefore getting to know the Universe before deciding to settle in a tiny little section of a town (i.e. specializing deeply in a particular activity) if a no-brainer if you want to build a versatile, functional body that will last the test of time, and support health and performance into the future. Specialization without due attention to being Universe of Movement will result in eventual catastrophe in accordance to the perspective of a ‘mover’. The movement camp was attended by people from many different worlds in the Movement Universe. Dancers, Boxers, Martial Artists, Yogi’s, Performers, Parkour, and Team Sports. `In reality, we are more similar than we are different, and the cross-pollination of different interests and expertise, along with the common thread of improving the movement skills results in something beyond what could be comprehended by a ‘fitness teacher’, or a coach who is a specialist in just one area without walking the walk in the Movement Universe. The movement perspective isn’t a fad, or a fashion. It’s an approach that just makes sense on so many different levels.
If we have Movement teachers, then we must have movement students. I suppose that any god teacher, once must have been a good student in one shape or another. Having an awareness of the ‘student mindset’ can open up much more than simply the ability to learn some arbitrary skill. It teaches how to respect, gather knowledge, practice, how to communicate effectively, and it teaches how to have an open mind, and to respond with action rather than words. The consensus from the teachers present at the Roundtable discussion, was that the best students are hungry for the thing that they are studying, responding to the planning, they take recommendations from teachers as OBLIGATIONS, and they bring a part of themselves to the practice to leave their own fingerprint on matters. To make it to the top, and go from student to teacher, resilience, being a survivor of the process, hard work, being ‘anti-fragile’, being non-stupid, and not being afraid to be comfortable when the process is not necessarily fun were all mentioned by Ido as being among the most important traits. For me, this teacher-student discussion was one of my greatest take-aways from the Camp. It is striking how clear this is, yet how seldom followed the ‘good student rules’ are. Probably because everyone things they know best, maybe due to the ‘information’ rich era that we live in. It might also be due to the fact that its just damn hard work to get good at something worthwhile. It got me thinking about an experienced electrician that I got chatting to a few weeks before going to the Camp. He said “the problem with electricians these days, is that most of them are trained to be a specialist in one aspect or another. A young electrician may get a lot of training for a certain type of fitting, and as soon as you ask him to do something else, he is useless.” Think about how much training an apprentice blacksmith would have done 100 years ago. This was a vocation involving years of a tough apprenticeship to learn from the master Blacksmith. Now, you can do a course over a weekend or a few weekends and
get a certification in whatever you want. Have we all of a sudden become able to learn vast amounts of information to an expert level in warp speed? Do we have so much information that we no-longer need the expertise of the masters? The answer is no. If anything, our ability to learn and focus on developing expert skills has been diminished with the dilution of our brains with so much junk information. Too many aim to specialize, and start getting paid for providing some kind of service straight away. Too many cash in the knowledge they accumulate in formal education, and put learning on the backburner.
The electrician’s example also draws great comparisons to the philosophy of being a ‘mover’. Specialization will limit you, and eventually break you. Generalization will make you better at everything, and make you more resilient. In sport, this may be a fine balance between ‘mover’, and ‘athlete’ owing to the specialist nature of the training required to succeed, but in the right hands, they work in perfect tandem.
As if that was not enough for the day, tonight we had the night time off from training and lectures etc. A few of us decided to take off into Patong to see the sights. Just as we were about to load into the taxi, Stephen Jepson decided to jump in with us. The 40 minute bus ride out to Patong was just an avalanche of wisdom from Stephen, and we had a good laugh too. As soon as we got off the bus, it was like we were given day release from a mental institute. All we have done for the past 6 days was train, eat, and sleep, all within the training compound. Now we were free! We walked up and down the bustling streets of Patong having a laugh and wondering why they have such an affinity for Ping Pong in this area. The bus journey home was just as fun, and after a quick dip in the pool back at camp, I got to bed around 12.30, ready to get back to it in the morning!