Sunday, April 17, 2011

How to move

Brazilian/Gracie Jiu Jitsu is a sport that required agility, balance, and strength. It's basically a form of submission wrestling, for those who don't know. I was at the 2011 New York Open Tournament for most of the day yesterday, and I had a bit of an interesting observation.

While one of the heavier divisions of blue belts were competing, I noticed a 5 year old kid climbing and running around in the bleachers near where I was sitting.

I watched as 2 very muscular, clearly strong 200+ pound men, who looked extremely limited in their flexibility, and were basically pinned head to head trying to push each other harder than they were being pushed.

The 5 year old was leaping from row to row in the bleachers nimbly, landing on a single foot without hesitation.

The human body is extremely adaptable to stimuli. If you get a chance, look up some power lifters and compare how they look to body builders. Look up some of the guys who have videos on you tube doing sets of 20+ muscle ups. As a function of his size, I have to say the 5 year old had the far more useful body than the adults to which I was comparing him yesterday. It's easy to think of strength as just getting bigger, stronger muscles, but that neglects range of motion, flexibility, not to mention the more utile nature of fast-twitch muscle fibers for certain applications when compared to slow-twitch...

Next time you're in a set of bleachers, see if you can hop around them fearlessly, landing on one foot, scrambling up and down and changing the position of your body in as many ways as possible. If you can't, I suggest you work to change that.

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