George Hébert 'Being strong to be useful...'
Young Erwan Le Corre was inspired by George Hébert before taking his parkour urban skills and Ironman talents out to structured workshops focused on training and teaching others the lifestyle he put together. Approximately 100 years ago, Hébert's training manual Methode Naturelle was published and can be seen HERE (picture above courtesy Hawaii Parkour/Hébert; last photo credits to Diablo Crossfit my playground). A big fan of 'natural' movements by indigenous and African cultures, Hébert was one of the first advocates for obstacle-course form of physical training and embracing a melding of mind, spirit and body with nature.
Nick Heil of Outside magazine attended one of the Re-Awakening MovNat workshops (along with bloggers Melissa McEwen and David Csonka), survived, and wrote up the experience in a moving essay.
Richard Nikoley attended one of the advanced Expansion workshops which I very very briefly considered. Read FTA for highlights and vids HERE. Bummer. Should've gone *sigh regret*. Playing and hanging out with buff, half-nekkid, hot gals and guys for 5 days and nights... what was I thinking?? Who's going to Thailand?
Functional usefulness from Crossfit... YEAH BABY.
Recently I successfully climbed up and broke into a 2nd story apartment.
Had to be done. Accidentally we locked ourselves out and the 3 year old was cold and hungry. After doing a half-split on the outside stairway to reach the balcony, without clumsiness, I snookered up, scaled around the balcony where it was covered by a bamboo fence, then hoisted over with a light landing in front of the sliding door I'd left open earlier while I was sunning myself reading 'My Dirty Life: On Farming, Food and Love.' Multiple warnings were issued to the pre-teens (my kids and the older nieces) -- DO NOT DO THIS AT HOME. *haa ah* Naturally they'll ignore since I let them climb the toolshed at home. I think functional exercises are excellent because never know when you'll need them, and falling or breaking my leg would've been awfully horrible and traumatic for the children...
MovNat featured in Outside Magazine Jan 2011 article by Paleo-virgin Nick Heil
Click above for full article with pictures from the 5-day Re-Awakening Workshop and several extra features (collage pictures, demos -- kids please do this at home!)
Heil wrote about the final day's activities which included a gauntlet of physical challenges in the fasted stated, "Wearing only shorts and a dark-green bandanna, and streaked with mud as if someone had outlined his muscles with a black magic marker, he [Erwan Le Corre] looked downright feral. 'Adaptability is the holy grail of MovNat,' he told us. 'This is what we have done throughout human history. But we have lost touch with the world that created us.' "
All the best athletes I have come across are extremely limber and flexible as felines. Personally my best athletic performances are when I am doing yoga and more endurance type challenges. If one notices in Methode Naturelle, many of the stretches are inherent to yoga. They translate to fluid and cat-like grace.
Strength benchmarks aren't my forte but I looked at Erwan's expectations and they were all do-able.
Benchmarks for Functional Fitness: Prequisites for the Expansion Workshop
Can you do the below?
Self-assessment criteria for this course:
o You are comfortable barefoot or with minimal shoes. --YES
o You can run 10 kilometers (a 10k) in under 50 minutes easily (an 8minute mile pace) --NO but d*mn good 9-10min mile easily
o You can easily perform 10 explosive pull-ups in a row --NO I SUCK.
o You have some powerlifting and Olympic weightlifting experience and can at least deadlift and squat your own bodyweight and clean and jerk half your body weight --YEEESSSSSSSS!!! 120-125lbs baby...
o You can hold a well-aligned plank pose for at least a minute, you can do 20 successive walking lunges while maintaining your stability, and you can at least vertical jump up to your knee-level and long jump half your height from a static posture then stabilize your body easily. --NOOO PROBLEMO
o You can comfortably swim freestyle and backstroke. --YES
o You can hold your breath at least one minute and 30 seconds. --OF COURSE
o You have no serious health issues that prevent you from performing optimally including injuries that you must work around. --CHOCOLATE, CAFFEINE AND ALCOHOL WITHDRAWAL SYNDROMES???! DTs?