Thursday, April 26, 2007

What About All Those Other Guys?

Most people do what they’ve been “taught” to do -- rather than that they’ve discovered for themselves, what they want to do because they understand the purpose of what they are doing. In exercise, it is usually about “hard work” and “pain,” which is the opposite of what one hopes to experience and enjoy in their conditioning. So that kind of conditioning, is “negative” conditioning -- or making a person not want o do it, but forcing themselves to. It’s a very primitive and erroneous understanding of human motivation -- in which everything is exactly the opposite of what is intended, and eventually, one is hopefully confused about their intentions.

The only way one learns to move and appear gracefully and effortlessly, is to practice moving in that manner -- and not to make every effort as difficult and laborious as possible. For a lot of people, the effort and struggle is the entire purpose of any work they do -- rather than the end objective, that they never get beyond. And the beyond, is where they want to be -- and not caught up in the maze and treadmill -- preventing one from being there.

That is the most difficult thing to convince many of -- that they don’t have to do it the hard way and the bad way -- to achieve the good. The good can be accessed directly. One of the interesting observations of one of the pioneers of innovative thinking on exercise was his observation that many people considered to be fit, and well-conditioned athletes -- were really not fit by (his) objective standards, but were instead, merely well-shaped fat, he dismissed contemptuously.

But the implication here, is that fat need not be poorly conditioned to be flabby and poorly shaped -- and that at whatever level of fat composition, there is tremendous variation in whether it is perceived as out of shape, or in condition. Before fitness became regarded as this "permanent," invariable condition, teachers of exercise regarded the physical condition rightly as a variable condition. In fact, the old strong man shows would feature a person who first presented himself as a less than imposing figure who transformed himself before everyone’s eyes, into a impressive, formidable figure.

It was “modern” bodybuilders who first earned the impression that they were always in the conspicuously "flexed" position -- and one sees that in many giving testimonials and instruction on exercise, moving in this very contrived, stiff rather than relaxed, natural, free-flowing manner. So a lot of people’s impression of “fit” people, are actually of those who are constantly tensed, moving unnaturally, exaggeratedly -- with great effort, which is very tiring to witness for prolonged periods, as well as to maintain.

Such people seem to be obsessed with their “condition” or fitness -- which is a drain of energy from the more important things one has to do. And so many don’t have the time and energy for this kind of activity -- rather than building up their reserves of energy. So that conditioning paradigm has the opposite focus and objective of what one would hope to achieve from these conditioning activities -- which is to build reserves of energy, rather than expend them at the highest rate possible. No other animal would ever design their lives on such a strategy for survival -- which is fitness.


At April 26, 2007 2:02 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Obviously, a very important component of "fitness," in the real world, would be the ability to change momentarily, and not only as a process over time. In moments of great stress and challenge, one has to be able to tap those reserves (everything one has) momentarily -- and not just in six months or a year, as many conditioning programs promise.

This is the problem of conditioning (learning) brought about by institutionalized learning -- as a process of time, conveniently to fit a standard schedule, rather than as it so often must be in a real world situation -- driven by urgency and real need.

While such learning programs are good for job security for the teachers, they have little to do with actual learning -- and actually learning. That is in fact, not how people learn. So doing it that way, creates great and increasing problems in the education institutions.

They need to learn as quickly as possible -- rather than as slowly as possible.

At April 26, 2007 6:57 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

One of the great lessons in life, is to learn from everything -- and everybody, and not just those self-designated experts and "professionals." There are actually health clubs that institute rules in which nobody but their own personal trainers can instruct or talk about exercise to anybody else. They might give you some convoluted explanation about liability and insurance requirements -- to herd people towards their own profit centers.

This is the major reason for declining health in the population because in healthier times, every individual had primary responsibility and freedom to learn all the alternatives -- rather than being forced into one.

The present diversity of training methods and approaches, are due to the successful resistance a few of us made against the hegemonies of control in the 80s of professionalization and specialization of all aspects of human activities and concern, which caused the current need for integration and holistic approaches.

Fitness as dogma has thankfully lost its grip on the current culture -- but largely leaving a void because too many were burned early on and forswore intelligent conditioning strategies that truly made sense.

Whenever one can talk about these things, that is more important than another mindless, repetitive workout -- and that is the exercise one should engage in. The most important aspect of any conditioning activity, should be to take in as much information first -- before proceeding with a course of action, and not just going through the motions, thoughtlessly.

What those designing rigorous programs in the 80s failed to consider, was that the wishful-thinking that they remain as active and energetic as young people, are not necessarily what defines health in more mature individuals. Those people will sense declining recovery abilities -- and the need to conserve their energy.

Overconsumption problems and patterns are usually not a lack of physical activity but a lack of better things to do -- because the behaviors are compulsive. Being able to change at will, as needed, is not in their repetoire of responses -- but are personalities that have a rigid idea of who they are, and how they can (must) be.

That kind of personalities, are produced by those whose conditioning are directed by others -- rather than those who are self-directed. That is a skill that people have to learn is simply possible -- which many instructors have no intention of doing.

At April 27, 2007 12:29 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

The bottom-line measure of fitness is one's ability to change -- or adapt -- appropriately to the challenge. That entails FIRST taking in all the information about that situation before formulating a response -- rather than just going ahead each day, doing what one thinks needs to be done mechanically, routinely, unthinkingly, and with increasing insensitivity to everything else.

So the very concept of denying the pain, or doing what one wishes regardless of the context, is not an indication of fitness as a response to the environment one lives in. Such individuals have actually cut themselves off from the life-sustaining environment -- which one interacts and draws sustenance from.

The old paradigm of operating in the world, is as entities existing in its own world apart and in competition with every other -- as though nothing is related to everything else. But the person who regards everything as who they are, has a greater resource to draw upon.

This is particularly advantageous to those who regard their intelligence as being the total intelligence they can access ratherr than simply the information residing in their own heads. Likewise, physically, the person aware of such factors as pressure differences, wind velocity, slope of the terrain, the attention and availability of all the others around him, and who fully understands the problem, is much more likely to have a greater fitness in their response.

That, ultimately, is what "fitness" is about -- and not these petty measures trying to approximate the whole. Even intelligence tests, are not the measure of total intelligence -- if it requires one only to use their own limited understanding, when the greater intelligence is to access everyones'.

In games and sports, it's not just enough to be individually brilliant and "in the zone" by oneself. The best athlete transforms and transcends that event for every other too -- even if they are not aware -- as most won't be but have to go with the flow regardless.

A few will resist even the most obvious -- and live their entire lives struggling against the wisdom of all of life -- and those are the people who are unfit, and that is what their bodies tell everybody else. That is the body language of every discussion, forum and event -- that transcends even the ostensible purpose of the event.

Oftentimes, the most impressive athlete at the event will not be the winner of the contest -- but everyone will recognize that individual as the winner of whatever it is they do -- even if it is just walking towards the platform. At the highest level of achievement and proficiency, such individuals are just the best at who they are -- and that is what everyone should strive to be.

At April 29, 2007 5:14 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Not being able to change and not cultivating the ability to change, is why individuals, species and cultures have become extinct. Life is change -- and growth, and there is deterioration and death. Death, of course, is the ultimate "no change" state.

Deterioration, is the failure to adapt appropriately and optimally to any challenge and stimulus. Such cultures promote the ideal that not changing is the ideal -- rather than as successful cultures do, become the best at changing and adapting, creating the successful models for everybody else to replicate.

Otherwise, the ideals never come into being, if they only remain as "ideals," that nobody is expected to achieve or even attempt. That creates the fragmentation of being from doing, and there is no expectation that they can be one. There is a lot of useless talk about "living up to ideals" -- while doing something else entirely.

This was the world of thought apart from reality -- that is obviously a great problem. It becomes less of a problem the healthier people are. Health is the absence of these problems -- created by the fragmentation of our lives, which becomes the hypocrisy of our being and doing.

But that is not inevitable human nature but only a flawed and diseased view of human nature and being. Admittedly, there is disease, death, deterioration -- but not to the extent that there is simply dysfunction when everything else is otherwise healthy.

The major cause of death and destruction is not because of uncontrollable mechanical defects -- but humor error and misunderstanding.


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