Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 40

Well, I've read Christopher McDougall’s Natural Born Heroes a couple of times. I didn’t know the story, but when I mentioned it to my neighbor, Nick, he said:
 
“We stole the General!”
 
My neighbor is a proud son of Crete, and he was able to give me a lot of insights about the island and the people.
 
So, when you know the story inside the story, it makes a great read. The criticism of the book is that McDougall keeps withholding the “secrets,” and the secrets are Phil Maffetone, Anatomy Trains and fascia. If you have been to a Perform Better event in the last decade, you have heard the bulk of it. Having said that, this book got me to reread The Iliad and The Odyssey…always a win in my life.
 
The sections on self-defense caught my eye, as most of early lifting books, likeBodybuilding and Self-Defense, always had paragraphs on tumbling and fighting. I picked up a few books on Kindle and I discovered something interesting: if you have situational awareness, you might not need a lot of fighting skills. This article is a good foundation:
 
“When I look back at my own experience, separating the way things are supposed to work from the way they actually do, my personal foundation for successful self-defense is a simple one:
 
1. I was in shape.
2. I was street smart
3. I could hit hard
 
"That’s pretty much it. Sorry if you were expecting something more profound and mysterious, but if I had to do it all over again, I would (and will) stick to those three things and I’m optimistic that I’ll come out at the other end just fine. I’m suggesting that it will do the same for you.”
 
Let’s go in a different direction. Here's an absolutely interesting article about social life and the truth that most of us discover in life: don’t peak in high school.

“To be truly mature as an early adolescent means you’re able to be a good, loyal friend, supportive, hardworking and responsible,” Dr. Allen said. “But that doesn’t get a lot of airplay on Monday morning in a ninth-grade homeroom.”
 
I usually like to highlight a paragraph or two in articles, but this one is a jaw dropper.As in “what?”
 
Jon Berardi has a better approach, overall, to answering diet questions. I liked this list:

“Contrary to popular media, most clients are best served by eating good quality whole foods in reasonable amounts, without having to focus on specific workout nutrition products or protocols.
 
"However, very advanced, hard-training clients and athletes have more unique needs.”
 
This page links to a very interesting series of articles on situational awareness and OODA loop. There is a massive live and sport application to this, but this sums what you will find:

“Because speed is a relative term (how fast good guys can do this compared to bad guys) we have to reflect on the fact that the enemy has a much easier job at orienting on us because we constantly stand out from the crowd.  Marines, Soldiers and police officers are wearing a uniform, which makes it easy for the enemy to figure out exactly who and where we are.  Executive protection teams have to defend well-known public figures, making it easy to identify them. A criminal does not have to strain himself to identify the corporate security officers who not only has to wear a uniform but are also standing at the building entrance near what is a clearly marked security desk.  The enemy can orient on us with much less effort, providing him with opportunities to take the initiative and develop detailed plans of attack.”
 
This article sums two less-than-stellar books I read last week (don’t bother asking about them!). Classic lines here:

“A child can do it.
 
"A novice can make it happen the first time out of the box.
 
"Nor is it a skill that requires talent or genius.
 
"You don’t need an IQ of 138 or a degree from Stanford.
 
"This skill has three components:
 
1. The negative. This is the ability to NOT do what you know you shouldn’t. It’s the capacity to say no. Alcoholics Anonymous is built on this component. “I will NOT take a drink.”
 
2. The positive. This is the flip side of #1. It’s the ability to take action, to DO what we know we should. This is “Put your ass where your heart wants to be.”
 
3. Duration. The third component is the ability to enact #1 and #2 over time.
 
"Have you heard of Mussar (pronounced moo-SAHR)? Mussar is a spiritual discipline from Jewish mysticism. It’s like a mental version of yoga or the martial arts.
 
"The first two principles of Mussar are:
 
1. Identify the sin.
 
2. Cease engaging in it.”
 
The three-part Hobbit movie series sucked the life and story out of one of the great stories of the last century. This would have been a good guide for the movie.
 
“J.R.R. Tolkien agrees. 'Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to; palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling anyways.' He is saying that a life of good ease is a boring one. It’s often what the American dream aspires to, but the reality is that personal growth, and even enjoyment, are things that come out of some kind of challenge. Whether it’s huffing and puffing and groaning your way up a mountain for the view at the top, or getting laid off and finally realizing you don’t want to be in a cubicle anymore, joy is often found after a bit of trudging. Don’t shy away from challenge. Embrace it, and know that someday it’ll make for a great story.”
 
Finally, two great articles from the master himself: Marty Gallagher.

Let me sum it all for you:

“It took five years of dues paying before Kirk won his first national title.”
 
Let’s pay those dues. Until next time…

Dan
DanJohn.net

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