Category Archives: Surfing

Complete your session

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This is one of those philosophical statements with layers of meaning.

The obvious one can be “finish your workout”, or finish what you started, even if not in fitness.

The more subtle one has to do with The Natural Method and what Hébert calls a complete session, a session that addresses fundamental movements as well as functional exercises. Mobility, strength, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, agility, coordination, dexterity, harmonious and balanced muscular development, as well as breath work.

Even if they were included in the Functional Exercises portion of his book, and the reason I chose to release those chapters as standalone books, swimming and combative techniques (self-defense, boxing, wrestling) are complete sessions.

By issuing a call to action to “complete”  session, I invite you to explore how you can make a training session include all of the elements to, well, make it “complete” (forgive the redundancy).

A good example because I intend on expanding the work to other disciplines or activities, can be surfing.

It’s not hard to break down the activity and see that it is a complete sport, and see how obvious it is:

  1. Balance stimulation (vestibular and visual systems).
  2. Aquatic training.
  3. Environmental resilience.
  4. Fundamental arm positions.
  5. Fundamental leg positions.
  6. Strength training.
  7. Support work.
  8. Core work.
  9. Agility.
  10. Rescue ability (you are connected to a floatation device that can served to aid you or someone in distress).
  11. Cardiovascular endurance.
  12. Speed.
  13. Power.
  14. Multiplanar movement.
  15. Harmonious development of the muscles.
  16. Corrective exercise elements.
  17. (BONUS): developing the skill of reading elements like water movements (waves, tides, currents), wind patterns and how to adapt to a constantly shifting environment.

One could argue that there is nothing natural about surfing: we do not possess the appendages to glide standing up on the surface of water, and have to resort to man-made devices which also are shaped out of various materials to fulfill the ability to, well, surf the waves, and paddle into them before that. By the way, all those points above can be chapters for The Natural Method: Surfing. And it doesn’t have to stop here, obviously. I’ll go as far as I can with what I know, but I also am recruiting others to complete the collection for the aspects I don’t know.

But so is weight training: we use tools to improve what we have.

So, we use the laws of Nature, physics, our physiology and we don’t even think about how all those systems interconnect: the visual, vestibular, muscular etc. Our reflexes are constantly stimulated and repetition is what makes us better and we get to play and have fun.

Natural, in the end, to me at least, means: what comes naturally over time. Key is in the last 2 words: what may not seem natural at first will with rote. So, cross your right middle finger over your index and slap it on your left palm and go do that. Then, once you’re up on that board and riding that wave, close your fist, extend your thumb and pinky, and do a little propeller move with your wrist.

Update on “what are you training for?”

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Not necessarily an archived post of mine, rather a question that is worth repeating/asking oneself or others.

I am currently reading a book, finishing up actually, by Robert Heinlein called Beyond This Horizon, which deals with a Utopian society, gene selection in offsprings and creating perfect lines. Scary science fiction and the direction of eugenics, trying to get people back to being “natural” through a revolution against the “eugenic” establishment. Without digressing because this is not a topic related to fitness, there is a quote in the book that makes sense when it comes to our training; the paraphrased quote is that we humans, conceptually and practically, have no specialization like most animals do, and by contrast, it’s this general adaptability that places us on top of the food chain.

In that train of thought, I couldn’t help noticing a direct link to Hébért’s Natural Method because in his ideal to help develop a well-rounded athlete through walking, running, swimming, jumping, lifting, climbing, fighting techniques, rescue techniques and general manual labor as well as games, Hébert and Heinlein are dealing with the same topic. Hébert mentions his method as the foundation for all activities and minimum requirements to be an all-around responsible citizen. He doesn’t cover specialization on purposes because that becomes the choice of the individual. It’s also like going to college, where the majority of the units necessary to obtain a degree are actually general education, then personal choices lead the direction for classes geared at one’s major.

I could go on with more details with Heinlein’s storyline, but this is another post, if there is interest. Or you can read his book. This circumventing of the question with this thought process is only aimed at having you answer why you train? Do you train just to go to the gym or do you have an actual end game, goal or testing ground? Remember enjoyment too, not just the hard work without the payoff of the skill.

In my case, I just spent nearly 4 days surfing a cumulative 14-16 hours and feel perfectly fine, not exhausted, not sore, just pleasantly rejuvenated and overhauled. My body looks actually better, fuller, more developed because of everything surfing provided me, as well as the perfect environment (good friends, a warm locale and no work, without any real concern for nutrition other than light day eating and evening fueling for the next day). So, yes, I train myself to be a well-rounded athlete so I can be primed for activity when called upon.