There's a wealth of information in Bruce Lee's book, "The Tao of Jeet Kune Do" - the first time I read it, I was impressed. Now, sometime later and with better training, I'm even more impressed. Little details and nuances stick out to me.
I'd like to do a larger post looking at his philosophy sometime, but for today I want to put down something very practical. That is, you can and should incorporate movement, motion, and a basic "training" into your everyday life, no matter who you are or what your goals are.
"To become different from what we are, we must have some awareness of what we are."
That's the quote that starts the "Preliminaries" section of his book. Personally, I believe your body and mind work in harmony, and that this is inescapable. If you wish to be a scientist, philosopher, writer, or any other academic pursuit, you still need to train your physical condition. Your thoughts will be clearer, more lucid. You will have more energy and less distress. All things being equal, you'll live longer, and the years will be of higher mobility and quality of life.
"Training is one of the most neglected phases of athletics. Too much time is given to the development of skill and too little to the development of the individual for participation. Training deals not with an object, but with the human spirit and human emotions. It takes intellect and judgment to handle such delicate qualities as these."
Indeed. Training of any sort - and especially physically - helps you cultivate yourself spirit and emotions. What a magnificent quote. It takes intellect and judgment to train well. There is a terrible stereotype that physical training is not meant for thinkers, that is just the domain of men who use muscles and not their mind. This is false. Mind and body work in harmony. Training physically will help you harness and unlock more ability in your mind. The highest forms and quality of training require sharp intellect and judgment to reach.
"Training means not only knowledge of the things that will build the body, but also knowledge of the things that will tear down the body. Improper training will result in injuries. Training, then, is concerned with the prevention of injuries as well as first-aid to injuries."
Another important quote. I tried to go gung-ho macho whne I was younger, lifting heavy weight with bad form, and ripped some cartilage as a result. There was a time I could barely walk - I had do a long rehab and took massive amounts of anti-inflammatories, and I still have to be on a stretching program every single day or my legs start to hurt.
Training should be first and foremost about prevention of injuries. It's not an all or nothing affair to be jumped into - start small, light, and build up. Push your limits, but don't worry if your pace is slow - if you build habits of training and motion into your life and gradually improve, you will gradually see an increase in your health and mental ability.
The next part is a simple concept, but very insightful for me -
"Everyday opportunities for exercise
# Take a walk whenever you can - like parking the car a few blocks away from your destination.
# Avoid taking the elevator; climb the stairs instead.
# Cultivate your quiet awareness by imaging your opponent attacking you - while you are sitting, standing, or lying down, etc. - and counter the attack with various moves. Simple moves are the best.
# Practice your balance by standing on one foot to put your clothes or shoes on - or simply stand on one foot whenever you choose."
After I read that, I started consistently taking the stairs. I'm not stupid about it - if I'm going to meeting or in a hurry, I'll take the elevator. But otherwise, I take the stairs. If it's under a couple miles and I have the time, I'll walk instead of taking the subway or a taxi. If I'm at a bar or nightclub, I'll usually suggest walking home to whoever I'm with instead of taking a taxi. This gives an opportunity for good conversations as well. And I probably save $50 to $100 per year as an added benefit - saving money and getting exercise, and potentially getting in a good conversation. Win/win/win.
I'd recommend you slowly become the kind of person that loves moving and motion. I wasn't when I was younger, I liked reading books. But becoming the kind of person that loves moving and motion doesn't require a hardcore training regime. Just the opposite, actually. Start slowly building a little movement into your life - take the stairs, take the first parking spot you see even if it's far away, walk instead of taking the train, walk home instead of taking a taxi. Start adding motion and movement to your life - it'll train your mind and body.
What I recalled most from visiting Gandhi's ashram in Ahmedabad was that he cleaned the toilet too -- not just his, but public ones.
The same guy who met with the King of England.
Lots of people get out of shape, don't think about it, and then one day hit rock bottom or have a realization and go crazy to get into shape.
I'm not sure that's the best way to go about it.
I was pretty significantly injured in March (described here), and my fitness probably hit a low point in May. Now it's interesting - I actually haven't been on any sort of hardcore program since then, but I see my fitness levels improving.
I started working in movement and motion into every day. I tried to go for a walk, at least 15 minutes but ideally an hour every single day. No matter how busy you are, you could find time to do this.
I multi-task the walk. At the very least, I listen to an audiobook. This seven hours of walking time each week means I get through lots of audiobooks, which is great. I'm learning every day.
I was asked by a fellow coach the other day if I do any mobility work before training. I think my reply would be of benefit to some lifters, so here it is along with some elaboration.
Mobility work revolves around two perceived benefits: pain/injury prevention and preparing the range of motion for load (either to increase it or just work through the range about to be used). So really, we’re looking to avoid future pain and improve imminent performance. Here’s what I say to that: phooey.
If you want to warm up the range of motion you’re about to use, do the movement. Taking squatting as an example, this would mean empty bar squatting. For snatching, I use snatch pulls, overhead squats, drop snatches (because calling snatch balance drop snatch really annoys Giles) and empty bar snatches. If you can’t get your full ROM with an empty bar, something’s wrong, and you need to seek and destroy that problem. Except you should have done it before you got to the gym, which brings me to the other perceived benefit: injury prevention.
So you walk into a gym, and you know full well you can’t hit your positions (and will hurt yourself) if you don’t perform a bunch of band and soft tissue work, you messed up. How bad did you mess up? If you’re at this point, you’re already on the brink of injury. There’s nothing wrong with training injured - you work around the problems and do what you can. But if you have to rely on all this mobility crap just to get through a normal training session, you have issues that you’re ignoring. Worse still, you think your mobility work is helping these issues. If that’s the case, why do you have to do them every single workout? And why do you still get injured anyway?
It’s because mobility exercises are short term triage. It’s like a tourniquet on a gaping artery wound - it’ll do but it’s not going to solve the problem! The mobility work addresses the symptoms, but as soon as you finish training your body goes right back to how it was. It’s possible your form is a contributing factor, but most likely you walked in a wreck from computer work, driving, sitting too much, an old injury, or a combination of stress factors that chewed your movement up.