SOLIDARITY. This word aptly describes the feeling among the participants of this year’s Cert III group. It’s day three and there’s an unspoken unity between us; a like-mindedness born of our collective passion for MovNat and natural movement.

COMMON GROUND

This common ground engenders an easy harmony among us which spills into our training sessions and our conversations. During communal meals we share our stories like old friends. We discuss our professions, our families and homes. We laugh and joke and share whatever comes to mind.

The camaraderie is intoxicatingly welcome.

At this moment in time, and for many of us ‘MovNatters’, our passion for natural movement places us on the fringe of the ‘fitness’ and mainstream exercise world. We all know that we’re onto something very good with MovNat but we don’t feel like the mainstream. Not yet anyways.

We’re the ‘odd people’.

To those not familiar with MovNat our movement practice might seem a little strange. Running around barefoot. Climbing trees. We’re a little counter-cultural. Sure. But here in Austria, with all of us ‘odd-people’ together in one hallwe’re kin!

Here we are family and it feels very good.

 

ERWAN OPINES: “WHAT IS A DETAIL?”

Last night, as I drifted off to sleep my mind returned to something Erwan asked the group during the afternoon session on Day 2: “What is a detail?”

Erwan says that most people think of a detail as something small, something minor, insignificant. As in, “So what! It’s only a minor detail.”

So, “What is a detail?” The question echos in my head. Before I drift off completely I recall the lyrics to an Iron and Wine Song, “… everything looks perfect from far away.”

I don’t know why (or how) that song came to mind but to me the lyric revealed an element of Erwan’s question.

A detail, when viewing something from far enough away, might not seem very important. Sure, all things are part of the whole but from a general point of view a single detail might not seem so important.

On the other hand, for MovNat practicioners the details are paramount. When we move we strive to be the ultimate generalists. From a distance we’re ‘unspecialized’ movers who are masters of EVERYTHING! And when you get up close and start to break down our movement capabilities, you realise that details matter. They matter a lot!

Like the bolt on a spaceship flying to the moon, the integrity of a  single thread is critical.

So to for MovNatters; the choice of the placement of a single limb during a skill could mean the difference between being effective or achieving maximum efficiency.* We are very VERY interested in efficiency.

EFFECTIVE Vs EFFICIENCY

Effectiveness: the ability to produce a desired result regardless of the method employed. For example, being able to hoist yourself on top of a tree branch, regardless of the technique employed.

Efficiency: the ability to perform the same skill faster, without thinking through how to move, using less energy, completely competent, maintaining safety and so on.

Like a surgeons scalpel MovNatter’s dissect every skill; inspect the details, understand and feel it, modify and reduce the movement to reveal it’s simplicity. Then we put it all back together piece by piece.

At the end of all of this, when the skill is performed whole, what you see from a distance is (hopefully) flow, adaptability and maximum efficiency. You see the WHOLE but it’s the details that matter most.

 

MORNING COMBO

After breakfast we tackle a warm-up combo in the rain. To make the combo work our instructors deftly use whatever opportunities they have available to them: a fence-line, a children’s swing-set, a wall, a road.

You don’t need much to explore your fitness. Not much at all. You need a landscape. A terrain with objects of whatever kind. Then, with a little creativity and a small set of basic movements you can turn even the most mundane space into a blistering workout.

Sequence:

  1. Inverted Crawl (along the road)
  2. Fireman’s carry (along a narrow raised wall)
  3. Power Up (on Swing Set)
  4. Hip Hinge Step Under (a fence)
  5. Foot/Hand Crawl (along the driveway)

This sequence is repeated as many times as possible in 7 minutes.

ADVANCED ROLLS

From warm-up to combo to advanced rolls. Dive rolls for the gymnastically inclined. Or Safety Rolls for the parkour enthusiasts.

A roll at speed and with flight is no easy thing. In essence it’s aerial acrobatics and it’s an incredibly complicated thing to get your body to perform.

 Consider these elements:

  • Run at speed;
  • Launch your body into the air;
  • Ensure that the rotation of your body is just right so you can connect with the ground at an angle appropriate to;
  • Roll and recover.

There is so much going on here. To start with your ability to perform a safety roll must be hardwired into the fabric of your body. You can’t learn what you need learn while descending out of the air!

As the group continues to practice the height, flight and distance of our advanced rolls is extended. Small jumping rolls become larger running jumps. Larger jumps become leaps over park benches.

This kind of skills is an all or nothing deal. Once your body is launched there is no reverse and everyone is 100% committed to the task at hand. 

 

TIME TO CLIMB!

It’s time to climb! Horizontally and vertically.

What? You’re having a hard time to finding a horizontal climbing opportunity? No problem. All you need is a a rope, an anchor point and a spare tractor!

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