I’m back from three weeks in Southeast Asia. Between the chaotic streets of Bangkok and sobering reality of Cambodia, I took a MovNat course on primitive movement.
So, how was it? Gritty.
On an island in Thailand, we studied how to lift large logs, climb trees, balance across high branches, swim in the ocean, run barefoot, defend ourselves, and much more.
Our tropical, outdoor “gym” didn’t present flat terrains, measured weights or handles designed to fit our hands. Instead we traversed slippery paths, found heavy rocks, and developed broader grip strength.
Sand adhered to every available inch of sweaty skin during a crawling lesson on the beach. Each kernel of discomfort offered an immediate reason to give up. I could stick it out (mostly) for two reasons:
First, our patient and gifted instructor taught each skill as a step-by-step process. For example, if you want to lift a log, start by squatting at the light end and walk underneath to its center of gravity. The exact steps provided perseverance when the entire task appeared overwhelming.
Second, while we lacked the typical, litigious version of “safety” we had plenty of emotional safety. It’s much easier to risk failure in the presence of an encouraging and playful team.
I endured bug bites, bruises, sun burns and scrapes- nothing that actually harmed me. The course presented a series of intimate encounters with the uncomfortable and unfamiliar. Moments I could have thrown in the towel without support and know-how.
Fitness is the ability to overcome obstacles- many the size of grains of sand. I still have sand emerging from my suitcase and many bits of my internal resistance to face. Luckily I also returned with a renewed vigor to handle the nitty gritty.