The sleep you have after a long day of exercising outdoors is the best sleep EVER! You’re exhausted, full of endorphins and a little sun burnt. You’re asleep before your head hits the pillow and the next thing you know it’s morning.

I woke on Day 2 of MovNat Cert III feeling supercharged. Which was good because today things got technical: balance, vaults, climbs and bar work. (Day 1: Part 1 / Part 2)

We also had our first MovNat assessment!

~v~

We descended down the mountains of Hohe Wade to train at the Sports Halle, which was fine with me because I love that place and it was helpful to work in a controlled environment when the skills got technical.

 ~v~

WARM UP: “IT’S ALL ABOUT THE INTENTION”

 We started the day where we always do: on the floor breathing slowly through the belly. Dialing-in our parasympathetic nervous system.

We setting the body up to be alert. To be ready. To be present. To be patient. To be at it’s best.

In MovNat training the warm-up takes on a new significance. Warm-up is not simply an injury prevention practice it’s another important ritual.

Breathing deeply, in the right way, is an important way to locate yourself in your body and your environment. This creates the pre-conditions for good movement practice.

Be here now!

10 simple deep belly breaths will do it.

When we start to mobilise our bodies Erwan reminds us that it’s our intention that matters most. For example, when extending your arm in a lunging stretch you should pretend to grasp some imaginary thing that is just beyond your reach. This is stretching intentionally and it is super efficient.

Any person can simply stretch. Sure! ‘Put one leg here. Reach. Bend. Feel pain. Hold. Move on.’  But if you stretch with the intention of touching a point beyond your reach then you’re combining your mind and your muscle.

Intentional stretching takes your body beyond the place where you are to where you desire to be. This mixture of mind, muscle and aspiration is rarely spoken about by fitness trainers, but trust me, it’s a thing and the gains are HUGE!

 

BAR WORK & BALANCE – GETTING TECHNICAL

The breath work we did earlier, bringing the body into the present moment, was especially relevant when tackling balance and bar work.

Why?

Because stability on a bar is not about tension. Something tense does not balance. Picture the difference between attempting to balance a brick on a wire verses a shoe lace. Balance is ‘relaxed tension’.

Relaxed tension! So very Zen.

And so it should be. Balancing IS NOT simply a strength skill. It’s a mindful practice in the art of tension and relaxation across your whole body. To get balance right you have to be intimately connected with your body and how it functions. You need to relax whatever parts of your body can be relaxed, and ‘turn-on’ only those muscles that need to be on. Anything less ends in a disaster.

I’m loving these workshops. Or Lessons? What are they? It’s hard to tell precisely what the format is and this is not a bad thing.

Each section of the course runs like this: Danny, Erwan, Jerome or Bern will give their take on a skill or movement. They share their insights, which are astute; it’s the kind of knowledge that you only get from practitioners -people who ‘talk the talk and walk the walk’.

Once the technical delivery is done we break to practice the skill. And here is where things get really interesting. Such is the wealth of knowledge within the group that the session naturally evolves into a collaboration among peers, tip sharing and mutual assistance.

Everyone here is supremely competent, attentive and collaborative; natural students and teachers, which makes training and learning among this group of men and women a joy.

Balancing technique morphs into Power Ups, Pull Overs and Safety Leg Hook Falls.

The day is long and after a lunch break we move from the subtlety of balance activities to the explosive power of Wall Climbs, Arm Jumps and Get Ups.

TIMING & RHYTHM

Most skills require strength, power and conditioning for sure, but if that’s all you think about when learning movement skills then you will never become efficient at them. You will never master them in a MovNat sense of ‘mastery’.

To master a skill you \need to identify the most efficient sequence for the movement and practice it often. But much more important than simply knowing and practicing a sequence is to find your rhythm within the movement.

As I understand it, MovNat speaks about rhythm in terms of ‘timing’ but for me (and my background with gymnastics and dance), rhythm speaks to the ‘flow’ of movement in a way that timing does not.

It might simply be semantics or a word preference, but for me the word timing reminds me of a clock, the ticking of time, a causality of events that occur in a mechanical sequence.

Alternatively, the word rhythm speaks to an arrangement of elements that all happen concurrently; like accent, meter or tempo are simultaneously arranged to produce music. This coalescence of multiple things to produce one thing, like sound, is a lot more like what happens when you master a movement skill.

[In future BLOGS I’ll return to this idea of rhythm and movement because it is the one element, perhaps more than any other, that fascinates me the most about the discussion about movement theory and philosophy]

Right now it’s time to test!

 

FIRST TEST

Our first test is a re-introduction to MovNat’s assessment format. It’s the same format as Cert II: you get one attempt to show a level of proficiency suitable to the required standard. Done!

If you mess up you might get another opportunity during the course. Might! If you can’t perform the skill now, or you fail your attempt, you can video submit later. As they say,

“You have a lifetime to master the skill.”

While this is nice to know, everyone here wants to walk away with their Cert III at the end of this course and thankfully the first test was an easy introduction to the format. We all passed. 

LONG DAYS

The days are long and full of movement. What a saying! That could be a good motto for living a full life:

May your days be long and full of movement!

In my view that’s a good motto to live by. But these days, on this course, the long hours of movement are taking their toll. Some of us have suffered unfortunate injuries. Some have experienced exhaustion and all of us are a little fatigued.

Everyone gives 100% effort 100% of the time , and that, over time, has an effect.

So it should! This is MovNat Cert III and it’s is a test of body, mind and spirit!

~v~

The day ends how it started, on our backs breathing slowly and grounding our minds in our bodies. We quietly mobilize again, stretching and reflecting on the day’s events. We’re 2 days in with 2 more to go and there is a lot to cover.

 

TO BE CONTINUED …

Damien Norris is the founder and senior whole-body movement and lifestyle coach at The Wilding Project (LINK), Perth Western Australia.

Recently featured in TEDxPerth (LINK), Damien teaches children, young people, adults and seniors how to move and live a full life!

Olympic Fun & Fitness and The Wilding Project like Rewilding is dedicated to a movement rich life. Programs like Gymnastics, GymFIT, FootyEDGE, Parkour, Workplace Athletes, ActiveAgers and more all follow a simple philosophy, “Learn to move well and then never stop.”

Damien Norris