Yesterday I was fortunate to once again host the Irish Movers Group for a movement class.
This is new group that hopes to introduce the idea of “Movement” to a much wider audience.
Each month it is hosted by someone different who teaches their own interpretation of the topic, look up the group on facebook and come join us for a play.
The conversation at the end that I’m referring to was about the value of individual drills or exercises.
You see i grew up in the martial arts community before I became a fitness coach. During my time in Martial Arts i travelled a lot and trained in many different clubs covering many different arts. But one thing was always present.
Outside of the full contact ring sports (Muay Thai, Judo, Kickboxing, BJJ) many of the martial arts seemed to place a greater value on performing drills than actually being competent in a fight.
And that seemed to defeat the purpose in my mind. Why spend hours training drills that were never applied during the sparring part of the class?
Similar things happen in the world of fitness.
Fitness training was always meant to improve a persons athletic performance. To make them run faster, throw further, hit harder, jump higher.
These events were the application of the drills practised in the gym.
Successful training was measured not by the weight on the bar, but by the performance in the field.
In other words the training had a true and proper purpose.
These days people train to replace the manual labour we used to perform, or they exercise because they think they should.
Wouldn’t it be better, both physically and mentally, if we went back to attaching our fitness training to a grander purpose?
We don’t need to be competitive athletes to go to the gym. We don’t even need to play a sport.
But we all age.
Maybe our gym time can be spent working to slow down the decline of our physical health?
To ensure our muscles, bones and connective tissues are kept strong (read THIS post), to ensure our heart & lungs keep pumping and to stimulate the brain.
When I see regular gym goers who can’t lift their arms overhead or squat full range it bothers me. When I see people who attend fitness classes walk with their knees buckling on every step, it bothers me.
When I look at other dads of my age who can’t chase their kids up and down the slide or show them how to climb a tree, it bothers me.
To me it says their efforts are in vain, they are practising skills but failing to reap the benefits, just like our martial artists who spend hours drilling techniques but still can’t fight.
The human animal is supposed to be a well rounded, adaptable creature.
Train to keep it so.