Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 226

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 226

New from OTPbooks.com:With so many exercises available, you likely have a strategy for developing your clients’ hip mobility. But how do you maintain it? Here’s Evan Osar on developing and maintaining hip mobility.

Daylight Saving Time is one of my favorite events of the year. I love sitting at dinner with the sun still up here in Utah. It breaks me out of this long Winter Blues that seems to have enveloped so many of us.
We have had rain and snow, often both in an hour, for a while and I think winter has slid over to February and March. The snow does melt quickly this time of year and the lawns are supersaturated. Ideally, my lawn won’t burn the first day of summer like it did last year.
This weekend is St. Patrick’s Day and it has become “The Festival for the Rest of Us” here in Utah. I try to celebrate this occasion by not making a complete ass of myself. On Sunday, we are gathering people to make backpacks for a local shelter. Lots of people are donating appropriate items and it looks like we have gone from 25 backpacks to 50 due to the kindness of so many.
Certainly, I enjoy and love the parade, but the lunacy that goes along with this holiday seems to bother more each year.
“Old man yells at clouds.”
I’m training well, too. I have been doing a six-week New Year’s Challenge and I have enjoyed it. My recovery is going very well. The nice thing about a total hip replacement is that after a while, you literally forget you had the surgery. I struggled a little, limped for a bit and then seemed to pop out of bed one morning feeling great. It’s such a blessing.
And, I need to share those blessings with others.
This week on the wild and wacky world of the internet, things were oddly positive.
Paul Herzog sent this article and I can’t think of a better piece to start this week’s readings.

See if they can do these three things:
   Catch and throw a ball with both hands
   Do a somersault
   Run backwards
Allow them time to attempt all three. There’s no benchmark to hit here, but it’ll soon be obvious whether they’re capable of picking up the task or not.
According to Chris Schwarz, head strength and conditioning coach for the Ottawa Senators, many of today’s young athletes will find themselves flummoxed by one or more of these rudimentary movements. While it’s to be expected that those in early childhood (roughly 3 to 8 years old) may have some trouble with these tasks, Schwarz is finding many athletes in their mid-to-late teens can’t pull them off. Therein lies the problem.
Young athletes are bigger, stronger and faster than ever before. But are they actually better at their sport than the generations who came before? Schwarz isn’t so sure. He’s been training young athletes for over two decades. In addition to his NHL gig, he owns Fitquest, a private training facility in Ontario whose clientele largely consists of amateur athletes. About 10 years ago, Schwarz noticed that while his athletes were crushing historical averages for tests like the Bench Press and the Vertical Jump, they didn’t seem any better at their sport than the kids who came before them. In fact, they were inexplicably missing out on many foundational aspects of physical literacy—stuff which, in the past, never had to be “trained.”

End quote
I don’t remember when I first was told about Janda, but along with Maffetone, Ilg, Cerutty and John Jerome, his work seems to “always be right.” And…way ahead of everybody else.


    YOU ARE INACTIVE:  Unfortunately, in our modern electronic society, this problem is not getting better. As you’ll see shortly, not only is activity critical for preventing or reversing Lower Crossed Syndrome, but it needs to be the proper sort of activity.  Repeating the wrong sorts of movements over and over again can sometimes be as bad as inactivity.  Sort of like repeatedly trying to drive a bent nail — you straighten it out but every time you hit it, it bends again.
    YOU HAVE BAD POSTURE:  While sometimes this is a chicken and egg sort of thing (for instance, some people have genetic predispositions toward things like ‘sway back’ or horrendously pronated / supinated ankles) mostly it’s laziness and lack of effort.  I spend a lot of time telling young people that their POOR POSTURE will end up haunting them as they get older. Are they listening?  Some do and some don’t.
    YOU SIT TOO MUCH:  This is not surprising considering the insane amount of research that’s come out in the past decades on the detriments of sitting.  Stick around and I’ll show you some simple remedies for this that you can do throughout the day (for instance, ‘The Founder’).  Sitting is another reason that EXTENSION THERAPY can be such a huge benefit.
    SPORTS AND TRAINING:  I already see the indignation on some people’s faces and hear it in their voices.  How in the world can sports (lots and lots of activity) cause problems if too little activity is one of the reasons people get Lower Crossed Syndrome?  By their very nature, most sports tend to be very repetitive, as are their training regimens.  GET INTO A RUT and you essentially spend all your time straightening and re-driving the bent nail I talked about in the first bullet — over and over and over again.  This is why poor technique and imbalanced training (for instance, neglecting core strength or doing THE WRONG KIND of training) bends the nail even further, making it impossible to ever drive it into the board.  It may look OK on the surface, but for all intents and purposes, it’s not functional.

End quote
This short blog piece makes a few simple points that seem like gold to me.


Smells are important to me and work either for me or against me. I got rid of all food smells in our home and there were many. I had sugar cookie candles and apple pie wax melts. No wonder I was always hungry. I still love good smells in my home and office, but now I use them to stimulate the healthy side of my brain. Lemongrass, Lavender and mint smells seem to work in my favor.
I eat fresh fruits every day. For breakfast blueberries and banana. Later on, during the day kiwis, oranges, pomegranates, and apples. I have relearned to enjoy the healthy fruit sugar I grew up with, and with it, the cravings for refined sugar have disappeared.
My kitchen is no longer a warzone, but rather a relaxation retreat. I realized quickly that the key to my success lays in the planning and preparation of meals. What I did before wasn’t working, so why go back to it? New and altered recipes replaced many of our favorite meals. Come to find out, I had a rather limited cooking repertoire. I cooked the same dishes and family favorites over and over. I got my husband involved in the planning of meals, and now we both study new recipes and try them. Many have become new favorites.

End quote
Changing candle smells makes a lot of senses to me at some level. This article, in my mind, is a nice follow up to that blog. I have never read an article that so clearly shakes my foundational beliefs in free will or willpower.


Doing so would rid us of some considerable moral baggage. Notions of willpower are easily stigmatizing: It becomes OK to dismantle social safety nets if poverty is a problem of financial discipline, or if health is one of personal discipline. An extreme example is the punitive approach of our endless drug war, which dismisses substance use problems as primarily the result of individual choices. Unhealthy moralizing creeps into the most quotidian corners of society, too. When the United States started to get concerned about litter in the 1950s, the American Can Company and other corporations financed a “Keep America Beautiful” campaign to divert attention from the fact that they were manufacturing enormous quantities of cheap, disposable, and profitable packaging, putting the blame instead on individuals for being litterbugs. Willpower-based moral accusations are among the easiest to sling.
In the end, believing in willpower is often simply not necessary. Now, when I hear the word “willpower,” it’s a mental red flag that prompts me to clarify further.

End quote

This is a hard-earned lesson from my time as an administrator. I remember being at meetings and realizing that “If it is going to be, it is up to me.” Everyone has opinions at meetings, but no one seems to like to follow up.


Steve Jobs insisted that every item on a meeting agenda have a designated person responsible for that task and any follow-up work that happened. He called that person the DRI—the Directly Responsible Individual. He knew the public accountability would ensure that a project or task would actually get done, and he wanted to set clear, organized instructions for his team to follow.
It sounds simple enough, and yet the majority of managers and leaders completely fail to do this. We’ve all left meetings feeling good about what we discussed only to later wonder why so little happened as a result. Where did the momentum go?
There are a number of reasons why the productive conversations in a meeting seemingly go nowhere. Attendees are often immediately running to another meeting where their attention shifts to a new set of issues. Or people leave the meeting without clarity about what was agreed upon.
To make sure productivity doesn’t slow after you walk out of the room, do two things after and in between meetings: Quickly send out clear and concise meeting notes and follow up on the commitments made.

End quote
One could probably take these articles this week and weave them into a book. There seems to be a fair amount of wisdom here.
And, so until next week, keep on lifting and learning.

Greg Dea: Feedback and Cueing – Reliable Strategies, in which Greg details his favorite visual, verbal and tactile cues, including examples of scientifically reliable and valid feedback strategies.

The Sword in the Stone, Part 82

They drew their breath through their teeth and for the moment hurried secretly on, storing the majestic vision of terror in the chambers of remembrance.
They were close to the castle at last, and it was time for the outlaws to halt. Their captain touched hands silently with Kay and Wart, and the two went forward through the thinning forest, towards a faint glow which gleamed behind the trees.
They found themselves in a wide clearing or plain. They stood stock still with surprise at what they saw. It was a castle made entirely out of food, except that on the highest tower of all a carrion crow was sitting, with an arrow in its beak.
The Oldest Ones of All were gluttons. Probably it was because they seldom had enough to eat. You can read even nowadays a poem written by one of them, which is known as the Vision of Mac Conglinne. In this Vision there is a description of a castle made out of different kinds of food. The English for part of the poem goes like this:
A lake of new milk I beheld
In the midst of a fair plain.
I saw a well-appointed house
Thatched with butter.
Its two soft door-posts of custard.
Its dais of curds and butter,
Beds of glorious lard.
Many shields of thin pressed cheese.
Under the straps of those shields
Were men of soft sweet smooth cheese,
Men who knew not to wound a Gael,
Spears of old butter had each of them.
A huge cauldron full of meat
(Methought I’d try to tackle it),
Boiled, leafy kale, browny-white,
A brimming vessel full of milk.
A bacon house of two-score ribs,
A wattling of tripe—support of clans—
Of every food pleasant to man,
Meseemed the whole was gathered there.
Of chitterlings of pigs were made
Its beautiful rafters,
Splendid the beams and the pillars
Of marvellous pork.

End quote

Gluttony, of course, is one of the Seven Deadly Sins. White seems to swing these Seven throughout his books. Certainly, Lust is going to be the theme of the three or four later books (whether one includes The Book of Merlyn is always a decision). The Oldest Ones of All are pre-Christian, so perhaps they didn’t learn the Christian Virtues based on Greek Philosophy.
The story behind this poem is interesting.
MacConglinne, a former scholar and now a poet, visits Cathal, King of Munster, who has issues; he is possessed. MC (MacConglinne) visits and stays at a local, and poor, monastery. The monks get mad when MC makes fun of their meager fare and want to crucify him…literally. But, MC steps up and deals with the demon that possessed Cathal. MC describes an angelic vision:
The fort we reached was beautiful,
With works of custards thick,
Beyond the loch.
New butter was the bridge in front,
The rubble dyke was wheaten white,
Bacon the palisade.
Stately, pleasantly it sat,
A compact house and strong.
Then I went in:
The door of it was dry meat,
The threshold was bare bread,
cheese-curds the sides.
Smooth pillars of old cheese,
And sappy bacon props
Alternate ranged;
Fine beams of mellow cream,
White rafters – real curds,
Kept up the house.
The monks relent and MC deals with the demon.
The demon is pulled out of Cathal in the same way I was told how they used to entice tapeworms…fast the host and then wave food in front of the mouth until the worm/demon comes out to eat. I have no idea if this is true, but it made me, like Wart and Kay:
“They drew their breath through their teeth and for the moment hurried secretly on, storing the majestic vision of terror in the chambers of remembrance.”
When the demon is subdued, it announced:

“I have been three half-years in Cathal’s mouth, to the ruin of Munster and the Southern Half besides, and if I were to continue three half years more, I should ruin all Ireland.”
This line:

“They stood stock still with surprise at what they saw. It was a castle made entirely out of food, except that on the highest tower of all a carrion crow was sitting, with an arrow in its beak” was an attempt by White in the rewriting of the 1958 version to connect the story when Wart first met Merlyn a long time ago. But, in the original, the arrows were from a very vicious band of cannibals. I discussed this earlier, so let me quote:
“In the original British version of 1938, we meet the anthropophagi later in the book. These are mythical cannibals that make fine (dangerous) creatures of the night in Greek and Medieval stories. We find this note in William Shakespeare’s Othello:
And of the Cannibals that each other eat,
The Anthropophagi, and men whose heads
Do grow beneath their shoulders.
When we do meet the Anthropophagi in the 1938 edition, we will learn more about the poisonous arrows. We will also meet other forms of ancient evils. Later versions soften the stories and eventually eliminate much of the fun, frankly.”
Well, that’s my opinion anyway! It’s time for Wart and Kay to go inside to face extreme danger.
Until next week!


The story of the origin and evolution of Dan’s Hip Displacement Continuum will give you the understanding you need to move powerfully in a much simpler, safer and sounder way.


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