Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Primal Move: Answer the call

When you were born, you were pure.  Your mobility and flexibility were as good as they would ever be, and your software (your brain) only had a matter of time before it developed into a powerhouse to launch your hardware (your body) into a fully-functioning, strong and supple Soft Machine.  You would start this path by laying on your back and stomach, gazing at the world above and below you and using each of your five senses to make sense of the endlessly stimulating environment that surrounded you.  Eventually, you were meant to explore your surroundings by rocking, rolling, crawling, touching, and feeling everything you could.

The World, however, didn’t wait.

The World, in its impatience, put you in a stroller and a walker, robbing you of your movement birthrights – rolling from back to belly, rocking back and forth, and cross-body movements like crawling.  These things made you strong and resilient, not immature and lesser developed.  They made you human.

When you were young, you were playful.  You learned to run, jump, wrestle, throw, climb, and enjoy life and movement.  Your play spanned neighborhoods, creeks, fields, dreams.  It followed you wherever you went – at home, at school, on vacation, and any place else you could think of.  It included games with your friends, both the standards and the ones you made up.  It included all kinds of sports and activities, and your imagination knew no bounds.  Your surroundings were your playground, and no place was off limits for physical exploration and movement.

The World, however, didn’t wait.

The World, in its insistence to sell something, developed video games and lured children everywhere into playing them – so that they learn to run, jump, wrestle, throw, climb, and enjoy life through their fingertips and a glowing screen rather than through their limbs and minds.  Outdoor play and movement took a backseat to computer programming that made the world only as real as what the start button said it was.

When you were in adolescence, you were an open book.  Sports, competitions, games, and activities became a vehicle for self-expression, and just as you don’t use just one sentence to express yourself, you didn’t want to commandeer just one of these vehicles – you liked playing many of them.  You enjoyed the complex game of human chess that was football, baseball, basketball, dodgeball, tennis, martial arts, and the myriad of other games and movements that comprised the art of expressing the miracle of the Soft Machine.  You wanted to remain a part of all of them.

The World, however, didn’t wait.

The World, in its impatience, demanded that you pick just one, and excel at it by all means necessary.  When the weather permitted, you were at practice, doing repetitive movements and cementing them into your muscles and mind.  When weather didn’t permit, you were given alternative arrangements and made those work instead.  When the season was over, rather than participating in new sports or activities, you were funneled into sport clinics and camps and made to repeat the same movements in the same way again and again.  Your baggage of movements that you would carry with you through life became more and more economical – and unbeknownst to you and The World, this would do you more harm than good.

When you were in college, the World was your oyster.  You were on your own, allowed once again to explore your surroundings.  Only this time, no one could tell you what to do.  You could major in anything, be involved in any club, activity, and program you liked.  The classroom was your window to the world, and you could look as far and deep as you wanted to.  If you felt like it, you could skip class, play catch or Frisbee with your friends, laugh, and enjoy life.  Deep down, something told you and your body to return to what you knew you should do, and now was your time to do it.

The World, however, didn’t wait.  

The World, in its ambition, nudged, poked, and prodded you into ignoring the primal scream within your body and mind, as you spent more and more time in class and in the library, while comforting your decision to now rob yourself of the joy of movement.  You were told you had too much to get done, and playing around would have to wait until you were finished.  If you did find time to activate your Soft Machine, it was in the same sport you played in (and possibly even got hurt doing) as a kid.  Your training for this sport involved your Soft Machine sitting in a hard machine – doing exercises involving pulleys, well-oiled and perfectly calibrated moving parts to “safely” guide you into movements you no longer had the strength and knowledge to do.  Having spent most of your life seated, the open arms of the exercise machines comforted you into having a seat to do all of your movement.  This seemed like a great idea. 

When you were a grown up, you were funneled into “real jobs” where you sat all day, hunched over a computer and relegated to more repetitive tasks – tasks that involved minimal and redundant movement, given importance that comforted you once again into not moving outside of what was required of you, because deadlines beckoned and promotions called from afar.  In your mind, in your imagination, you couldn’t miss any of these things.

Then one day you woke up.  You looked around and, like the child you once were, you realized how big the world is around you, and how much your body and your health have to offer you as a conscious entity.  As important as everything in your life is, none of it is as important as you are, and there is nothing you have ignored as much as yourself.  Your life is a shell of impressive accomplishments and its interior is filled with ghosts of memories of what you could once do effortlessly.  Running to catch a cab becomes an exercise in wheezing and coughing.  Trying to climb a tree to get your family’s cat out of it becomes an embarrassing realization that not only can you no longer climb due to the mobility restrictions that “more important” sedentary tasks have left you with, but even if you had the mobility, you no longer have the strength and coordination that once came to you as easily as breathing.

Primal Move isn’t just a system about movement; it IS a movement.  A movement to return you to your primal nature and your God-given birthright.  We were not born to sit all day.  We were not born to restrict ourselves.  We were not born to be drones.  We were born to play, to move effortlessly, to be both strong AND supple.  Only the World’s deafening insistence that we silence our primal desire to be so abundantly active convinced us otherwise. 

Resilience and unrestricted movement and muscle joy in all sorts of activities is what awaits you, regardless of your vocation, history, or personal background.   You are not meant to merely exist.  You are meant to LIVE.  The living are separated from the dead through movement.  The less we move, the more our bodies start to resemble the dead.  More and more, we are dead on our feet; we die years before we are declared so because we forget how to move.  If we have to be taught how to move again, so be it, so long as we do it. 

For too long, that primal scream has been echoing within your shell of accomplishments, bouncing off the walls of everything you’ve done for decades and decades.  It will not go away; it will only echo louder.  The time has come to answer the call.  The time has come to reclaim your movement birthright!  Unlearn what you have learned and re-learn what you used to know; play, have fun, and enjoy the way you were meant to move!  Whoever you are, wherever you are, and whatever you do, come back to what you were made to do.  Your movement destiny awaits, and isn’t going anywhere as long as you make the return you need to.  Throw off the shackles and joint the movement.

The World can wait.

 Aleks Salkin, RKC, SBS is crazy about kettlebells, bodyweight strength training, flexibility, and nutrition, and he loves nothing more than to connect with people who love the same!
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  1. Well said Hammer. Time to "get some play" as you like to say.

  2. gosh I can't wait to get to a Primal Move cert!

  3. Sharon, get to it! You will love it.

    Ari, gettin' play is all I ever do! See you at Becoming Bulletproof, son!