Party tricks and sustainability

For some reason… I’m getting known for my awesome showmanship. I know I can’t get through my whole life by my looks but I will try to enjoy it while I can. I have always loved stand up comedians, magicians and the sheer elegance of a dancer that can captivate an entire room. These people have the power to change my world. If you make me laugh you have my attention, if you intrigue me with something that I can’t figure out, you inspire me and if you move in a certain way that I can see devotion and passion with, you motivate me. Also if you have a nice bum that pretty much brightens up my day, I love a nice bum.

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The issue that I constantly need to keep in check though is: Just because I find someone’s dazzling performance amazing, are they a pioneer or a bullshitter… ? Or was their teacher a bullshitter and now they don’t even know they’re a bullshitter that’s peddling bullshit….?

I think that makes sense, it does to me.

It’s very common in the martial arts world. A student has a teacher that has told them that their martial art is “unbeatable” and because the teacher can throw his students around he is never brought into question. Then, all of a sudden, the student gets into a fight and gets his ass handed to him because he couldn’t centre his chi in time… is it the fault of the teacher or is it the fault of the student? Honestly I am not sure any more. It is a teachers responsibility to educate, but at the end of the day the teacher is still a student – what if they are genuinely passing on all the knowledge they have? That is why I am really into training at other gyms and talking to people all over the world. We don’t know anything, we really don’t, but a certain amount of responsibility has to come from ourselves. If someone says their pizza is the best in town, do you never need to try another pizza place again?

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Oh yes, back to the blog title. What do I mean by party tricks? Well in the world of Strength and Conditioning there are certain limitations for some people. Generally it will be a mobility restriction that stops them from doing a certain movement. Enter the magicians… instant fixes, by detouring your body’s biomechanics and channeling the hippopotamus of Zeus and all of a sudden this person has gone from stiff as a board to a zen yoga master. Hmmmm. Sounds a bit too good to be true, so I researched.

Some people would give you road maps to the body and how if you eat fish on a Wednesday after 3.15pm your eyelids would realign

Luckily for me I have a lot of good friends that are interested in the work I do, so if I show them a few tricks they happily let me experiment on them…. sounds sexier than it is. I started studying many many different forms of alternative therapies (which I’ll not name because there are great practitioners in all fields, just as there are some that are only known for their looks and their “how to” videos…..). What I started to notice very early on is that before even researching into how certain techniques worked, I was able to replicate the results they were producing – without knowing what the hell I was doing. Eventually when I studied enough different points of view, I found they all had different reasonings behind the same method. Some people would give you road maps to the body and how if you eat fish on a Wednesday after 3.15pm your eyelids would realign, and some would say if you stood naked at the top of a waterfall with six and a half coconuts your eyelids would realign. The more and more I searched I eventually came to my own conclusion that:

1. People have too much time on their hands
2. The world has completely fallen victim to marketing
3. Some people really will believe anything
4. Common sense is not that common

Even after explaining that certain party tricks for mobility are not sustainable or controllable and in some cases, down right DANGEROUS, after I demonstrate them people still wanted to know how it worked and want to know if they should try it! The power of illusion is crazy!

tom-michael

Sometimes you’ll be lucky and a simple core exercise or stretch will give you the range of motion you need. But if you’re one of the awesome people like me that takes a long time to make an adaptation, take your time! Enjoy the journey! If you try to skip parts, you will not appreciate the hard work and you will take it for granted. If you take your time building your foundation without relying on quick fixes and party tricks your structure will be more sustainable. Simple.