Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New You

It's not rocket science, but the attempt to make it seem so -- is the barrier that prevents many people from being in optimal condition and health. It seems unscrupulous to do so but most of the obscene profits are made off of ignorance and misinformation.

Yesterday I was at Sports Authority and was quite impressed that a “bow” resistance knockoff was selling for virtually the same price as a fancy name brand, “high-tech,” rapidly adjustable dumbbell set. I pointed that out to the cashier after he had just rung up a happy customer of the latter, and was amused at his attempts to seem noncommittal and non-judgmental at such an anomaly -- that a highly sophisticated, and really state of the art machine that was formerly priced ten times as much as it is now, had broken below the price level for the lowest tech devices, albeit highly-advanced as far as a primitive idea can go.

Variable resistance apparatus are so much more superior to dead weight apparatus at developing the body efficiently -- and a great reason why, is that variable resistance is caused by greater range of motion in the articulation of the movement. Eventually, every movement has to run into its ultimate greatest range -- at which there is natural resistance to further movement.

All one needs to do is insure that they do not force a movement beyond its voluntary natural range -- by the use of external force, including one’s own. So that is a key concept in developing effective and safe movement -- that any position one can attain slowly and deliberately, is the proper range of motion that the body (musculature) was made to move in -- and the further one moves in that direction, slowly and deliberately, produces a greater muscle contraction (which for people desiring the right motivational metaphor -- is to make the body smaller). The advantage in variable range resistance is that it slows one down -- ensuring that it is a slow and deliberate movement, rather than movement caused by inertia or momentum.

Such apparatus can be helpful for those wondering what exercises to perform to look fit and healthy, which is not an inconsequential and vain objective. What’s really been a crime is that has been made to seem something apart from “real” health -- as can be measured only by the properly certified “experts.” This same kind of usurpation of universal rights has also taken place in a lot of areas of human activity -- that every thinking person has a right and responsibility to determine their own outcomes.

Several years ago, when the "certified fitness professionals" were trying to claim their turf -- they’d be a few overzealous types advising people they needed to consult with their certified professional fitness instructors, brain surgeon or cardiologist, if they chose to go the more arduous route, before attempting to increase their heart rate, breathe deeply, or attempt any movement at all -- with out the proper supervision or permission from the appropriate accrediting agencies.

While claims had been made beforehand and prematurely that their exercise technology was guaranteed “foolproof,” I think the bow resistance machines should allow one to “experiment,” safely and productively with movements -- especially, in doing so with the least resistance that allows and enables the greatest range of movement.

And then one realizes that those great ranges can be obtained even without apparatus when one notices that movement at the extremities of the axes of the rotation as the neck, wrists and ankles effect the greatest changes with the least expenditure of energy -- where most out-of-shape people hardly ever move, no matter how much energy they expend otherwise.

But most importantly, if health as a society is to improve, and it very easily could, it has to be deprofessionalized and decriminalized so that people have the “permission” to improve without having to pay professional self-interests to solve their problems for them. The same is true of many unwarranted professional intrusions on one’s inalienable rights -- to live happily, healthfully and richly. Those are essential human rights -- which many self-interests would like to exploit, to their great profit.

Understanding Conditioning(repeat) FOCUS (Channel 49, Honolulu, Hawaii) 1/2/2007 2:00:00 PM A revolutionary new way of looking at exercise. Environmental/Health

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Understanding Conditioning Revisited

Yesterday, I looked at the the video I used to promote as my introduction and summation of the state-of-the-art in the observation of exercise activities over a lifetime of over fifty years -- beginning with watching my father instruct others in Tai Chi, before I knew what I was “studying.” Early on, I inquired into the instruction myself and became fairly proficient at that “practice,” but was also distracted and intrigued onto other play, and so fell away from that discipline because they required hours of practice to maintain.

If one skipped a day or a week, it was difficult to recall the sequence of movements -- because they required memory to retain, rather than simply insight into the simple and most basic discoveries of childhood exploration. A lot of “traditional” education was of this sort of rote memorization -- that one simply repeated, perfected, and transmitted to the next generation. In this way, it is quite easy to merely repeat everything as taught, as the way it is -- and has to be forevermore.

Other disciplines may be less rigorous, but run along the same methods of instruction and unquestioning obedience. Occasionally, one comes along who questions everything that is taught as the unchallenged truth -- but are usually quickly suppressed, repressed, discouraged from inquiring further. They may even be ostracized and banished. A rare few may then meditate deeply on these matters and come up with rare insight that while encompassing everything previously known about the subject, enlarges the perspective considerably to great universal principles and truths.

That’s what Understanding Conditioning does in its unpretentious way -- of noting that the essential movements, must take place at the extremities of the body, rather than be focused at the core of heart and lung function -- which are autonomic (automatic) functions, which became very fashionable in the latter half of the 20th century, in the struggle for primacy and dominance for jurisdiction of this emerging lucrative field. The medical professionals were very intimidating to the physical education instructors who previously ruled the roost with an unquestioned iron hand.

However, the secret they don’t teach in medical schools is exercise, because it is about health and not sickness, which is the specialization of medicine -- which some would like extended to all facets of human behavior. It’s always nice to be king, or at least regarded as the smartest person in the world, about everything. Very few can resist the temptation to pontificate lengthily about every great concern to humanity -- and have their authority assured. That is every bureaucrat’s (authoritarian’s) Wet Dream -- to be this powerful, all-knowing being who can tell everybody what to do and think, and not be subject to any criticism like other mere mortals.

And so that particular time in history, was also the rise of such technocrats (experts), whose claim to authority were frequently certifications from institutes they were also the inventors (directors) of -- conveniently enough. These august institutions verified that the so named in the document, had certifiably impeccable credentials, by an impressive sounding accrediting agency.

They exploited the reporting media’s total preoccupation and self-absorption with their own self-aggrandizement, and so could not suspect that anything was wrong -- because they were operating in the same manner of manipulation, deception and distortion -- and so could not tell that something was amiss but rather promoted the liturgy themselves, that one should not discriminate the credible from the incredulous anymore.

Naked and ruthless ambition, justified and was proof enough, in that order of things.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Compulsive Activity is Not the End

When people have difficulty distinguishing between the cause and the effect, they will naturally mistake the means for the ends -- and pursue the means as an end in itself. This is particularly true of the regard for the value of exercise -- and activity, or “busyness,” as proof that one has achieved their ends.

But I think most thoughtful people, if they allow a quiet moment to reflect on these things, will realize that if they could achieve the ends without the means, or with less effort and expenditure, would rationally choose to do so -- rather than doing more -- thinking that is the objective.

And so when people are not clear about these things and their relationship to one another, they think that their sheer busyness is evidence of their doing as much as they can -- without regard anymore, for whether it achieves their objectives, which generally, is a higher quality of life.

Many will measure that higher quality of life simply in how much money they make -- while admitting to all kinds of great calamities and catastrophes in their life, including a very high expenditure for health care, and obsession with their health, well-being and quality of life. The currency of exchange is virtually worthless as a valid indicator because the quality of life is what is exchanged rather than obtained. Many people unfortunately become fixated at that level -- but usually have a health event that restores them to the proper path.

That is, they have a heart attack, a car accident, addiction or ruinous compulsive behaviors, digestive upsets, huge weight gain, change in abilities, and mental illness -- as an indication that something is wrong in their lives -- that forces them to a dead stop. Such events are usually the major story of one’s life -- that got them on the path to discovering what their life was about.

Most however, only read or see movies about such people -- never thinking that those are the kinds of lives they could be living themselves, trapped in their cubicles -- doing the only thing they know, as though it was the only thing that could be done. And so they seek endless diversions and distractions away from the reality of their lives -- and their lives are lived through the generalized media events rather than the particulars of their own experiences.

The generalized experience and knowledge become their reality -- and their own lives become invalid, not worthy of paying any attention to. And that’s how people get to the condition they do -- of not caring what it is they do. It is only enough to be seen going through the motions -- faking the involvement.

A few move beyond income to a fascination with consumption as their measure of well-being, and so their measure is not simply how much they earn, but how much they spend -- again failing to recognize the objective. In many cultures, it is thought that whatever creates the most jobs (work, problems), has the most value. But the step beyond, is the realization that it is the end itself of eliminating the problem -- without further and undue effort, that is intelligence at work and manifested.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Understanding Primitive Motivation

In a free market world, people transact and interact with one another on the basis of free, uncompelled choices in their own best interests, rather than being dictated by the will of another.

In reading the letters and editorials in the local newspapers, their offerings are almost exclusively of the mentality that simply presenting the authentic facts and letting people make up their own minds, are not an option or their purpose. The autocratic editors pre-select only those articles that make people do/think whatever it is they want them to -- usually under the mistaken notion that they are more enlightened than everybody else. They are the Boss, “the experts” (bureaucrats)-- so if people don’t do as they say, they get punished and disciplined until they have the right attitude of accepting their proper places and the “right” authorities, which are invariably themselves.

These people have anointed themselves as the leaders because they are “enlightened” -- or “liberal” for short. How one makes such people have an insight into their own behaviors and the understanding of others, is the problem of cultures and individuals dealing with those they presume share the same values of freedom and independence that they do -- and why they cannot understand that it is not sufficient to just insist that one be “reasonable,” to ensure one’s safety and security.

People who believe that it is proper to force others to their own will no matter what, think lying, cheating, and killing others is justified in achieving those ends. Such people have to be controlled and monitored -- but fortunately, they are not most people. They are roughly 5%, who because of their destructive behaviors, have a disproportionate impact on the rest -- and disproportionately highest effect among themselves.

That is to say, violent (criminal) people, inflict the greatest destruction among similarly violent people -- and in that fashion, tend to self-regulate their own influence. While it is true that criminals victimize innocent people, they tend to victimize those who share similar values -- of also being inclined to abuse and exploit the people they fraternize with.

So one of the great and necessary skills, is to be able to discern that manner of motivations and orientation in others -- and remove oneself from that exposure and proximity, in favor of those one can transact and interact in good faith and a high degree of confidence in sharing an understanding. Rather than being “politically incorrect,” this is what all life forms do -- find and create those conditions that favor their survival, rather than allow themselves to be extinguished or live their lives under great hardship, duress and disadvantage equally randomly.

Treating each appropriately, is not having double-standards and being contradictory, as the guilty will accuse, but having one standard for the fair treatment of all. Responses that are inappropriate to the event, is not consistent with the overall objective of creating a “more perfect” (better) life, that should be the right of everyone, and not just the right of a self-anointed few. That is what one is discerning and discriminating for -- and not heed the demands and commandments, that one should not determine these matters for themselves, in their own best interests -- even making it illegal to act in their own self-defense and better judgment, claiming that they voted to surrender those “inalienable rights” -- fairly and squarely, in a democratic process.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

What Does Matter

Discriminating those things that DON’T matter, conserves a lot of time, energy and resources (money); NOT discriminating things that DO matter, wastes a lot of time, energy and resources, and so one should make this discrimination above all else, and not discriminate everything, or discriminate everything as though it mattered -- and then the thousand other considerations fall into place. But not being able to make that first distinction -- that some things matter and some don’t, is the difference between success in life and failure -- at virtually all the things one does.

In the realm of sports performance, or any other kind, for that matter, what differentiates the outcome is seldom how much one does, but how well the individual does it. If one sings poorly, singing the entire program and allowing none of the others a chance, will not make it a superior performance. The same is true for speaking, writing, breathing, walking, running etc. The whole point is not to do MORE badly, but to do BETTER, even once.

That transcendent one, is worth more than ALL the others badly and indifferently done. That is the critical lesson they do not teach in school, or anywhere else -- which really, is the one thing worth knowing. But in failing to teach that, the thousand of other things can be taught with equal validity and fervor, because there isn’t this prime consideration -- does it really matter or not?

That is the failing of all education -- not to make this essential discrimination up front. Instead, they plunge headlong into the lessons as though they are irrecoverably behind and are always playing catch-up to some imaginary lesson plan in which despite the more they do, the farther they fall behind. Therefore, the prescription unthinkingly, is that even MORE is required evermore.

But if in fact, the more one does, the more one falls behind, the observant and intelligent thing would be to cease one’s efforts entirely, and observe the relationship of all things to everything else -- without the interference of doing anything. That is the beginning of science and awareness.

Unfortunately, most of our childhood education is this conditioning in compulsive activity -- that has no time for understanding first and foremost -- and so life becomes entirely the compulsions and obsessions of these programs. Most of these teachers and instructors have not questioned these things themselves -- but dutifully carry on these traditions as though that were the value in itself.

That is the difference between the 21st century personalities of these times -- and those merely carrying on the traditions, going through the motions -- as though somehow they have a magical quality that manifests only if one’s dedication and devotion is strong enough.

As students of exercise (we should be students of everything we do -- always learning), the discussion of MORE and any quantity, is an indication such participants are unaware that the quality of exercise that is transcendent from their past performance, is what matters!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Self-Evident Truth

World champions of any activity very seldom have Ph.D.s in the field in which they are the best at; neither do their trainers and coaches -- yet when they get to that level, they are undoubtedly the best at what they do. So where are the Ph.D.s in all this? Usually preaching to those who don’t know any better and aren’t very knowledgeable at what they are doing -- because that segment of the population has no way of verifying that such experts really know what they are talking about. It is enough for them that they have Ph.D.s, certificates, fancy titles -- that are impressive to the masses who don’t know any better, including and especially those who report on these things in the mass media, and are the “fitness” or “living” expert for their organization.

The reason they are the experts for their organization is that they’ve tried everything, and know for a fact that nothing works -- and they are living proof of that. And since they are the most skeptical, most hardened and embittered by false promises, they should be sent out to disprove and discredit the validity of what they are reporting on -- so only that overwhelming cynicism about everything comes through, rather than any kind of depth of understanding that would require a commitment to understanding and really finding out the truth of the matter -- rather than just seeing what the latest gimmick and come-ons are.

Even on the sports-talk shows, there are seldom Ph.D.s on the program to dull the discussion for everybody else with information that is irrelevant and largely meaningless to most people -- but the handful they are used to having to impress in their academic hierarchies. So while they have exalted status among their “colleagues,” they have very little credibility that is self-evident to those not so indoctrinated in those small circles. Thus, they become increasingly reluctant to expose themselves to those who are not so inclined to grant them their field of expertise -- as a given, with no further self-evident demonstration of the alleged expertise.

It is not that the world of physical proficiency disrespects the world of academic achievements and thought -- but that it demands verification of that knowledge in the truth of that moment, with what is, and not of the past, a claim in the future, or the many hypotheticals people can imagine. The actuality is the only reality.

Undoubtedly, the sanest people in society now are probably the athletes because they have to confront the reality of their performances regularly -- and are a lot less prone to the delusions and illusions of those who live entirely in the world of thought and fabrication -- in which whole groups of people can be misled and mesmerized.

In recent weeks, as a candidate for public office, I had frequent opportunities to witness other people and study them, wondering what was the totality of their message -- what they said consciously, subconsciously, in their appearance and in their body language. People are very impressive when they look like they’re at the top of their game, and not to be so, betrays and undermines them.