The real mover

There was, however, a big difference between what he did and what we “real movers” were doing. The baseball player did not perform this moment just to perform it. The player did it to solve the problem of having to catch a screeching line drive, probably traveling over 100 mph. He then rapidly returned to a strong throwing position and volleyed that ball to first base. His movement solved a problem, and a very difficult one at that.

~ Rafe Kelley from, https://www.evolvemoveplay.com/the-4-primary-movement-problems/

A blog post from Kelley is more rare than his Evolve Move Play podcast. He’s definitely someone whose ideas resonate with me. His through-line, not just in this article but in all of his more recent work, is definitely the right way to look at things. I like the phrase “fit for purpose” and that’s a line of enquiry Kelley is often chasing down.

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Models models everywhere

Building models is a fundamental part of trying to understand the world in any systematic or organized way. The world has too many details and complexities to be taken in all at once. In order to really understand a particular phenomenon, we need to focus on certain essential details while ignoring others.

~ Todd Hargrove from, https://www.bettermovement.org/blog/2016/are-models-of-pain-accurate

I often remind myself that all models are wrong, but some models are useful. Maps, metaphors, similes, and even some storytelling are all models.

Two things top of mind: Why oh why!? doesn’t similes pluralize via -ies? (Say the singular and plural forms of smile and simile… wth English?) And second, I use a related-to-models test for what I mean by, “I always tell the truth.” (To tell the truth, I always say the thing which helps the other person build an accurate model of reality.)

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Movement

We all have a duty to look after our physical health. The body is your vehicle through which your mind and spirit travel in and act through, throughout your life. We’re lucky to have abundant information, resources, and teachers to help us for caring for our body, but without personal responsibility and action, progress is left to chance. Ancient medicine taught us to be active participants of our own health, modern medicine encourages us to be passive recipients of health. We can make the best of both by placing more attention and energy on observing our body, environment, and taking daily action to create energetic surplus through moderating stress, practicing movement, good nutrition and quality rest.

~ Soisci Porchetta from, https://www.humanpatterns.net/blog/2018/6/22/what-is-movement-practice

I suspect that a lot of people reading my musings are already steeped in the wisdom of movement generally. It’s simply nice to find things like this on the big ‘ol Internet; A large article written by someone who’s clearly thought a lot, moved a lot, and thought a lot about moving. There’s a wonderful quote that feels parallel to this article’s sentiments:

No citizen has a right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training … what a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which is body is capable.

~ Socrates

slip:4a342.

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Growth versus competition

With every government initiative in education there are unforeseen consequences. The current drive to build character through sport (and other activities) is having, in my opinion, an unforeseen negative impact on curriculum PE. Staffing, finances, facilities and time are being redistributed from PE provision to school sport provision. Now this might not necessarily be a bad thing, but it has to be provision beyond the current narrowness of school sport which tends to be traditional team games focused on winning competitions for the purpose of bringing prestige to the school. This reduction in PE which focuses on movement for all in favour of school sport which focuses on competition for some worries me.

~ “Sporticus” from, https://drowningintheshallow.wordpress.com/2019/06/16/the-physically-educated-person/

It’s always nice to see someone else talking about sport as a subset of movement. “PE” is so entrenched as a thing; does anyone still wonder what should physical education even be? Apparently, fortunately, the answer is “yes.”

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The why

People think of that complexity as an expression of our capacity for abstract thought. We believe our brains are so complex because of the wonders we can build in our minds. Make no mistake, we can build wonders in our minds but what we have neglected is that those wonders are boot strapped on top of motor control. The first purpose of the brain is to guide movement.

~ Rafe Kelley from, https://www.evolvemoveplay.com/the-why-of-movement-practice/

And the second purpose it to solve problems in the physical world. (How do I go over there? How do I avoid that danger? How do I get food?) To solve problems you need to be able to define what the problem is. You define any problem by imagining some desired state (I am over there. I have avoided that danger by running. I have eaten that food.) and then looking for options that can get you from the current state, to the desired state. So it turns out that the better your imagination is, the better you can be at solving problems. Faced with endless options, you mind turns out to be really good at heuristics—making estimations in advance with limited knowledge (prejudice can be a good thing; assuming snakes are not friendly is an excellent heuristic.) All of which makes possible the beauty and diversity of our lives. Fortunately, we have a capacity for reason atop all of that which enables us to make choices so the possibility of beauty and diversity can be our a reality. I digress.

Back to Kelley’s point, if the entire edifice of our minds is built upon that first purpose, what happens if we starve the mind of the physical engagement?

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Somatic movement

A somatic approach to movement can help us get reacquainted with ourselves. This is our home base after all. It’s our guts and tissues, our thoughts and perceptions. It’s our subjective experience of life. […] When we cultivate self-awareness through movement, we come up against the boundary of self and other. We recognize that we don’t live in a vacuum.

~ Chandler Stevens from, http://chandlerstevens.com/blog/2016/11/9/connection-relation-and-somatic-ecology

The word “reacquainted” leapt out at me. Every time I truly pause to pay attention, I’m immediately confronted by my physical self. There’s the inevitable settling towards senescence, and frankly that doesn’t bother me. I enjoy looking back at the things I was once capable of and thinking, well, that was nice! No, the confrontation I’m talking about is the stuff that I know is my fault… and I’m not going to list physical metrics. Suffice to say: All I’d have to do it remove the stress and everything else would settle back to a wonderful baseline that I’d love to return to.

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Take a seat

A simple way to start moving your body more is to swap your sedentary seat for “active sitting.” How much of your body’s work are you giving to the chair? If the back of the chair disappeared, what would happen? Would you collapse backwards? If yes, then the chair-back is doing the work of your core musculature. And obviously, if the bottom of a chair dropped out we’d fall straight down because the chair is also doing the work of the legs.

~ Katy Bowman from, https://www.nutritiousmovement.com/53-ways-to-take-a-seat/

This is a terrific example of Bowman’s way of looking into human movement. A huge amount of what I do involves computers. Even though have all the various physical types of computer, sedentary is still sedentary. Short of abandoning my entire lifestyle, the best I can do is to change things frequently through my day and this delightful little article has “a few” variations.

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Geometry of thought

It’s really structure that I keep circling back to (note that word: circle). How do we structure our moving, changing thoughts and how do we structure the world we design and move and act in?

~ Barbara Tversky from, https://www.edge.org/conversation/barbara_tversky-the-geometry-of-thought

This article is a delightful deep dive into how movement and thought are interrelated. This is a topic near and dear to my heart. I once had the sublime experience of having a podcast guest say that he used to think to figure out how to move, but now he moves in order to think.

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Bonding through movement

Today, a growing percentage of people find themselves alienated from any particular community, without strong bonds to any discernible group. Loneliness is on the rise. More people live alone, remain single or childless, move to new geographical locations on a regular basis, and otherwise fail to develop close ties. This is a shift that is unprecedented in human history.

~ Shane Parrish from, https://fs.blog/2020/04/muscular-bonding/

My pull-quote feels pretty obvious. What’s interesting is where Parrish goes in this article. There’s a lot of research and discussion around what happens to us—mentally and physically—when we move together. It’s not simply, “hey that was fun.” There’s a durable bonding that happens when humans move together.

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There may be something to this

Research now demonstrates that neuronal sensory integration actually happens much earlier in the sensory processing pathway and is actually optimized or heightened with multi-sensory stimulation, or what we call sensory stacking.

Sensory stacking is to bring in as many sensory input systems during an exercise or movement for the purpose of enhancing cortical stimulation and neuronal pathways.

~ Emily Splichal from, https://barefootstrongblog.com/2021/05/06/sensory-stacking-the-integration-of-tactile-visual-and-auditory-input/

Our entire schtick—whether you self-identify with Art du Déplacement, Parkour or Freerunning, or whatever—is moving in a visually complex environment. That turns out to have a physiological, brain altering affect.

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