Problems “beneath” an Overhuman

I didn’t know how to name this post and this is the best I came up with. Problems “beneath” an Overhuman are problems that are so commonplace and low-level and ubiquitous that an Overhuman does not deign to bother with them. (S)he is simply above them and considers them trifles, things not worth his/her time, things that – this is going to sound bad – are reserved for the “ordinary” people.

An Overhuman assumes what might be seen as a condescending attitude toward many things that other people worry about. Fortunately, this condescending attitude is not condescending at all because it is coupled with high emotional intelligence and, thus, empathy.

An Overhuman understands his fellow humans’ pain and suffering and anxiety, an Overhuman understands its causes and the mechanisms why these negative emotions come about, but the Overhuman does not share in their pain.

I shall give practical examples:

You have a bad relationship with a parent. Your parent is very controlling and has bad physiological influence over you. You are stressed because of your parent’s expectations, you are unsure of yourself and you seek your parent’s approval for everything you do.

You can be the best deductionist in the world and also speak 7 languages and be an incredible fighter, but if that is what’s bothering you – you are not yet an Overhuman.

An Overhuman cannot exist with problems that usually come up in normal human affairs. Why? Precisely because an Overhuman is not normal. Merely possessing Overhuman skills is not enough – it’s like having a Ferrari and not knowing how to drive it, or driving it badly, or only driving it during daytime. Skills are nothing without the state of mind that employs them.

Another example:

A war breaks out in your country and thousands of people are starving because the supply lines to your area have stopped. You starve too – primarily because you never stocked up on food in case of such events.

Or another example, based on that very same war I just mentioned: You are forced to take to the streets and because it is cold, you cannot bear it and have to change plans that involved you staying out.

What do these two examples have in common?

Well, generally speaking, the correct answer would be – weakness.

An Overhuman is an Overhuman because (s)he is not weak in any form, neither in body nor mind. For these two examples it is a certain weakness of the mind that has assured us that you are not yet an Overhuman: failure to prepare.

You see, an Overhuman is a prepper by default. Stocking up on food is done as a matter of course. It takes no thinking through – being a prepper, and – nota bene – a good prepper – is just something that goes without saying, something that is so blatantly obvious that it needs not be addressed.

And an Overhuman is also a practitioner of the Wim Hof method – by default. It goes without saying.

Are you starting to see the bigger picture?

Well, if no, I will outline it clearly.

The very foundation of an Overhuman, its base – is a high success level in other disciplines. What some may consider as the pinnacle of achievement in their art, an Overhuman considers as merely a starting point for his/her own art.

Thus fighters will strive to be incredible fighters and will consider it a great success when they become incredible. Overhumans are incredible fighters by default. For fighters, it will be their end-goal. For Overhumans, it will be their starting point.

Thus Zen monks and Stoics will strive towards mental clarity and acceptance of whatever life brings, and they will see this as “enlightenment”, as their final phase. Overhumans are enlightened by default. It’s their starting point.

Thus survivalists and preppers will strive to be as prepared as possible for various events, ranging from bad, to catastrophic to apocalyptic. Overhumans – you guessed it – are good survivalists by default. What the community of survivalists and preppers sees as high capability and preparedness, an Overhuman sees simply as a necessary base for other things.

And so, the problems “beneath” an Overhuman – being too fat or out of shape; having insecurities; not having enough money for strategical investments; speaking only one language; having a bad immune system; having bad people skills; having unresolved family disputes etc. – are truly “beneath” an Overhuman. An Overhuman simply has no time or patience to deal with such matters he or she considers as trifles. Naturally, (s)he will show empathy and give advice to those that need it, but in his/her personal life, such problems simply do not arise. They are just too low-level.

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There is no difference between armed and unarmed combat

When you fight somebody, you use your body as a weapon. Why is it that we differentiate our bodies so much from the objects outside of our bodies? Armed and unarmed fighting are essentially the same thing. If you train only one at a time, you could (and probably will) fall into one of the two categories – thereby limiting yourself in real confrontations.

It’s basically the same problem as being “fair“ in a fight. No eye-gauges, no groin strikes, no biting – that’s fair, right? But if you don’t recognize the potential of these weapons and if you never train them, you limit yourself severely in a true conflict. Granted, they are pretty hard to train. I mean, who wants to get kicked in the nuts? But you can always go for it and stop at the last moment, or strike nearby to the target. You can, at least, become aware of the fact that this exists and that real fights include such stuff.

It’s the same thing with weapons. What’s stopping anybody to take a knife out during your supposedly unarmed fight? Just because you started with fists, doesn’t mean that it’ll end only with that. The same thing goes in the other direction: if you’re sword fighting or doing Escrima or whatever, what is stopping you from kicking your opponent? While his attention is occupied by the weapons in your hands, a fast side-kick is a perfect thing to do to open him up.

In practical terms, I would advise to include weapons in standard sparring sessions. Why not take out a plastic blunted knife when you have the opportunity? It’ll make you much more aware of your environment during training which will translate into a greater fighting capacity in real life. Why not grab a chair and use it to keep a distance? Why not throw sand at somebody? Why not roll a magazine and use it for hitting? The options are plentiful, yet we all train either armed or unarmed, unaware of the fact that this distinction doesn’t exist in real life.

“I don’t like this rail”

“I don’t like this rail.”

“This wall has a bad grip.”

“The branch has too much moss on it.”

This type of statement has become much too often heard in the Parkour community. Not that it would matter significantly to me but for the fact that I hear it in myself.

Look at this fence:

Image

I hate this type of fences. They are never stable and always bend beneath you if you try to vault them. How often do you train around and on such fences? Rarely? Me too. And guess what: it bothers me.

The fact is that traceurs nowadays often become quite anthropomorphic in their approach to training. They try to alter their environment instead of adapting themselves to it (parkour parks are a perfect example). I see it when I go out to train with my friends: there is a constant search for spots. For places that are “good” to do Parkour on. And it is completely crazy how ignorant we have become towards this attitude. It’s a completely normal course of action!

Why I think such an approach is bad:

1. It presupposes a sort of way that you’re supposed to train

As if there is a certain, limited number of moves you can execute and you just need to find the right place to execute them on. A regular vault is a regular vault, but it’s a vault where you use the whole (or the most) of your palms and you have a stable obstacle underneath you.

Well guess what: the real world doesn’t function like that.

If you’re running away from somebody, there will not be much time to lament the shakiness and the lack of stability and room for your hands. You will either vault it or not, and your training will be the decisive factor in this. So why not prepare for it?

Of course that you first learn to vault on something stable that has a nice grip, like this:

Image

But that’s beginner level vaulting. When you master this, you don’t even have, like, 25/100 in your skill score, you’re still a novice. Which leads me to…

2. It doesn’t challenge you to progress towards realistic goals

Okay, you master the beginner level vault. There are two ways of continuing (not exclusive): you can either try to perfect all the possible variations on the beginner level wall, honing your technique, your landing, doing twists and turns, rolling over the wall and so on. Or, you can proceed to train on higher level obstacles, such as fucked-up fences that can’t even support your weight, or those spiky ones that you can’t grab at all.

Both approaches are necessary. But the majority of traceurs I know never deliberately seek higher level obstacles. They drill their vaults and variations on easy obstacles, and frankly, it looks quite esthetically pleasing. But it’s a one sided approach. They may develop their muscle coordination greatly by doing that, but they miss out on a lot by neglecting the other part. In fact, they genuinely avoid this type of obstacles as if it’s not good to train on them. And by doing so, they revel in their mastery of easy vaults, forgetting that, when they first started, these easy vaults were both scary and uncomfortable. And just that had made them progress. If you’re never scared or uncomfortable, you should ask yourself the following question: “Am I doing everything necessary to progress?”

More often than not, the answer will be no.

So I challenge you, reader, to find the worst, most bendy, shaky, slippery fence there is. Go, and train on it, and master it. I challenge you to do your hangs and climbs on moss-covered, slippery walls, and on walls that are with no grip at all. When you hear yourself thinking and saying that you don’t like an obstacle, make it a habit that now, you MUST train on it.

Synergy

Becoming superhuman (overhuman) is all about achieving synergy. A lot of people can have incredible sprinting speed. A whole bunch of people can memorize licence plates of cars at a glance, without even trying. A good number of people can speak 8 languages fluently. There are a lot of incredible fighters out there, that are able to engage several “normal” humans at a time and win easily. Almost everybody reads books about body language. Great tacticians aren’t rare.

And such people are truly incredible, but in order to achieve overhumanity, synergy is what is most neccessary. To be able to put it all into one, to be able to speak to a native speaker without him realising you’re not from around that place while you pose as somebody you aren’t, the whole time monitoring his body language and, prior to the conversation, “registering” the person via minitiae, analyzing details in seconds to get a picture of who this person is. And memorizing the licence plates of his car. While being able to defeat him with one stroke.

That is synergy, and that is overhumanity.

Training the body

Training the body to become stronger, more flexible, agile, fast!

First, you should train anything. You should just use your body, do what you want with it. I am somewhat of a fan of the Ido Portal method: I believe we should move just for the sake of it. I should move. You should move.

It’s not wise to impose limits of what you do to yourself. Limits are just that: limits. They limit your activity and they limit your mind. You learn to think within given frames – exactly the opposite of what you should be doing. Movement is so wide encompassing that it can hardly be called a limit.

Martial arts

In my body training philosophy, martial arts hold a great role. The logic of it is simple: if you want to live (and most of the 7 billion of us want to), it is your obligation to take care of that you live. Maybe not an obligation, but surely the only rational choice. That’s why I call eating junk food irrational. Because it is! If your premise is “I want to live”, and if we take into consideration that eating junk food, or practicing any other kind of a bad lifestyle decision, is something that shortens and/or worsens your health and your LIFE –  it’s completely irrational. It doesn’t follow the first premise. It’s not logical. The same way I believe that if you want to live, you should make the rational choice of ensuring that you live, and one of the ways is learning how to protect your life when you are threatened. I’m not saying everybody should be a Shaolin monk or a Samurai warrior, but everyone that wants to live has to learn at least something to help him/herself with prolonging that life. It’s a logical decision.

There is a lot of fighting within the martial arts community in the world. Very often it is “which art is best” or “which art is most effective”. It reminds me somewhat of the scientific community: people usually don’t identify themselves with science in general, they see themselves as nuclear physicists or molecular biologists or comparative linguists. It’s all the same fucking thing. There is no difference between branches of sciences. It is one world we’re talking about, and one scientia, knowledge. Everything is connected. Language is a biological phenomenon, but biology is nothing but chemistry, and chemistry is nothing but physics, and physics just follows mathematics, and mathematics just follows logic. It’s exactly the same as with martial arts. There are no “arts”. There is one martial art. Just one. The art of fighting. The art of waging war. The art of using your body to fight other humans (and animals sometimes). And all the branches are just manifestations of that one martial art, with different aproaches and different ideas and perspectives. But after all, it’s the same human body they all use in their techniques, and that’s why all martial arts are similar to one another.

The question “which martial art works best” is quite simple: the one that you can test and prove in actual combat. That’s the only point of martial arts. Ok, maybe not the only point, but that’s the main idea. Granting the practitioner the ability to fight and not die. That’s what it’s about. This question produces a test: sparring! This test is ruthles and quite often cruel. It’s often not a test of the art but of the practitioner. Sparring makes you use what you learned in a controled violence situation. It exposes your weaknesses in a blink of an eye. That’s why a lot of people don’t do sparring – they can’t face the truth, and the truth is that they better train better.

I said that it’s often not a test of art but of the practitioner: what I mean is that you can take a highly “effective” martial art such as Krav Maga and you can take a soft, internal martial art such as Tai Chi. You confront the practitioners. Now, I firmly believe that the Tai Chi practitioner would destroy the Krava Maga practitioner with the right mindset. You see, it’s like this: you can have a Tai Chi practitioner with such an unsurmountable battle philosophy, the will to survive and win, the toughness that can annihilate a Krav Maga practitioner with a weak mindset, that trains without actually grasping the essence of the art. It’s not at all about the art. It’s about the practitioner. Regardless of the fact that the one training Krav Maga is training in a battle-proven, fast and agressive martial art, he can still be won by someone training in a mystical, energetic, spiritual art. Does this mean that Tai Chi is better than Krav Maga? No. Absolutely no. Well, then, does it mean that Krav Maga is better? No.

There is no better art. There is just you.

That is, if I am not mistaken, the chief concept of Jeet Kune Do. The “non-labeling”. Using what ever you have on hand, be it Karate, Savate or Ameri-do-te. 😀

Parkour

Right together with martial arts there is parkour. It also follows the same logic. You can’t always fight and win. You can be outnumbered or your attacker can have superior technology (guns). Sometimes you must run, you must get away. Sometimes it’s about saving other people, heroically climbing into burning buildings and saving the children and animals. But whatever the case may be, is it not wise to prepare yourself beforehand? Is it not just that will to prepare in advance what makes us human?

Now, that’s the first motivation, but the fact is that training Parkour is a lot of fun. It’s doing something natural, it’s moving your body, it’s great! It makes you use your body in the most “natural” way possible. It makes you stronger. It tests you as a practitioner and the fact is that everyone can do it! Absolutely everyone. I’ve seen six year-olds, I’ve seen seventy year-olds, I’ve seen a guy with just one arm, I’ve seen a disabled boy. Absolutely everyone.

New skills and conditioning

Parkour and Martial arts are pretty much it, that’s what I do. But I believe that learning new motor skills, new movements, things you can’t do at first, things that scare you: they all build you up as a person. For example, I can’t do flips. I just don’t dare and the questions is if I would even do them correctly. Just that is the reason why I should do them. I’ve read in this article that learning new kinesthetic skills contributes to your overall intelligence and adaptability. So, you’re not training only your body, you’re also training your mind. List of ideas: handbalancing, climbing, acrobatics, yoga, archery, horseback riding, skating, various sports, fencing…

Conditioning is important as a way of rounding your body strength, doing some correctional exercises to equally develop everywhere and it’s also important as a way of strengthening your body for your specific skill. Bodyweigth exercises, heavy lifting, a lot of stretching all contribute to an overall athletic capability.

I don’t care what you train, which martial art, wether you train Parkour or not but just move! Find something you like and try it out today! Move! Go for a run, try some basic breakdancing, roll on the gras, swim – but go move!

Qigong and some updates

It’s been a while. I’ve discovered this great thing: Qigong (also Chigong, Chi Kung, Chikung, Chi Gong…) It’s a type of ancient chinese medicine/workout/meditation. Yeah, I know, in the West, you usually separate all three, but in Chinese culture it’s nothing unusual to have it all under one category, probably something like “well-being”. Anyway, as opposed to classical sit-down-relax-concentrate-on-your-breath meditation, this one is done standing up and isn’t quite as passive as the forementioned. I’m still a beginner (I’ve only been doing it for a month or so) and I know only a little part of it but I already can feel the results.

It’s actually pretty hard to describe because it’s all about feeling the energy, the tightness, the relaxation, the subtle differences in muscular position in your body. It’s really something that needs to be tried in order to be comprehended fully. I recommend reading a book called “The Way of Energy” by master Lam Kam Chuen (I found it on Kickass torrents 😛 ) Eventhough it’s really mystical and doesn’t have that scientific edge to it which I like, it’s still a good book to read. After all, there has to be something in all that “energy” talk, the thing is probably they haven’t explained it properly for today’s standards because they rely too much on the traditional way of explaining, the way when you couldn’t explain things “scientifically” because of  lack or inexistence of science as conceived today.

Anyway, I don’t feel any greater changes in my body (yet!) but I do feel a nice, soothing change in my mind. I’m just much more relaxed and carefree. It’s like I have control over being stressed and not being stressed. It’s still not perfect: I do get angry or sad sometimes because of things I can’t change, but that feeling lets go very soon. This is not to say that I don’t think people should get angry or sad. They should. It’s only natural. But I just want to have control over that. The ability to say to myself: “Not now, you’ll get angry afterwards, there are more important things to do now.” Or: “You won’t get sad because of this because it’s nothing you can influence.” Still haven’t mastered the first one, kind of mastering the second one. As said, I still have a lot of work to do.

But still, I wouldn’t say it is all Qigong. If you want to be more relaxed and more carefree, more focused, you kind of have to accept this philosophy. I think meditation and Qigong helped a LOT! But there is one more thing: accepting the philosophy of being carefree. It’s like this: if you can do anything about it, you should engage the problem, fight it, try to solve it, put your best into it. If there is no possibility of you influencing the outcome then just don’t worry about it. Wait for the moment when there will be something for you to do. Otherwise, shoga nai! Shoga nai, in Japanese, means something like “can’t be influenced” or “nothing to be done”. It’s a cultural concept as well as a lingustic one. (nice article about it all: click me!)

If we’re talking about Japanese, then I would like to mention the influence of anime on my life. Actually, not just anime but anything that’s an input: book, song, movie, series, play, videogame, other people… I have one criterion about it all: what I put in has to change me as a person. I have to get inspired. I have to get motivated. I have to change my opinions. In some way, a change in myself has to be induced. I don’t really watch or read or listen to anything that’s just fun, but not quite change-inspiring. Of course, you can never know in advance about anything so it’s good to be open-minded and try, but keeping this criterion is important to me.

Examples:

Dragon Ball & Dragon Ball Z

What I learned, how I changed? Well, I got inspired to live a more humble and simple lifestyle. I started worrying less and being more positive to everyone. I started training much more. I started spending time in nature more. A great thirst for travel has been awakened in me. I adopted the philosophy of training hard and surpassing my own limits.
The series has brought much more to me: I laughed and I lived with the characters. Still one of my favorite ones.

Death Note

What I learned, how I changed? I started thinking. A lot. I started perceiving other people and analysing things around me. The same way I started experiencing subtle changes in my body when I trained Qigong, I started perceiving subtle changes in my thoughts. I can say with certainty I became smarter.

One Piece

What I learned, how I changed? I learned the importance of living by your dreams and not by what others ask you to. I started worrying less and being even more carefree. I understood the value of true friendship, of being “nakama” to someone, and the fact that such a thing hasn’t existed in my life since high school. I started training more because of Zoro and started cooking more because of Sanji. It’s not like I wanted to be like them, it’s more that they inspired me to do something I already wanted to. I learned how society can be wrong, while you can be right.

There are many, many more. I can’t even begin to speak how all the books and movies and shows on Sherlock Holmes shaped me as a person.

Anyway, updates from my life:
– going on a 500km walking trip in a month or so (told you that Dragon Ball influenced me!) which I’ll try to do barefoot
– started working much more on my Parkour technique, doing new things, things that frighten me 😀
– started doing a bit of calisthenics and applying Ido Portal’s methods to my trainings

That’s it 😀

Getting stuff in control

I’m going to jump straight to the point: I’m soon going to be 21 and that will make a full year of my decision to improve myself onto “superhuman” levels.

Now, there’s no hurry and time is here to be savoured and enjoyed (just like food 🙂 ), not passed or rushed through, BUT I would like to see more progress and I would like to systematize what I’m doing just so it becomes clearer to myself and so that I can measure it.

What I’d like to do the most is apply the SMART system to these goals I wish to achieve.
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-framed or -based. So, for example “I’m gonna be more productive at work” changes into “By 20th October I will have completed 45 sales to customers X, Y and Z”. Quite a change of perspective. The latter sentence obliges you to something, while the former is just vague.

Now, the problem is here that some of the goals aren’t really measurable. What I CAN measure though, is how many times do I “exercise” perception, memory and so forth. So, counting deliberate attempts of exercising, sessions, so to speak.

And so I came up with a plan/program of my exercises which could potentially serve as a draft for others, or maybe just advice, but I plan on sticking to it. The first three month period, or semester, consists of the following subjects:

Mnemotechnics 1

After three months, the student should be capable to remember up to 50 vehicle registration plates, up to 1000 unconnected one digit numbers and 2 decks of shuffled cards. The main topics are:

  • Major system
  • Dominic system
  • PAO system
  • memory palaces (loci) and journeys

Literature:

 

Non-verbal communication 1

After three months, the student should be more aware of other people and their communication, emotions and intentions. The student should also apply concepts to himself and his own communication and be capable of communicating with others while at the same time being capable to perceive and analyze others’ signals.
The main topics are:

  • the FFF reflex (freeze-flight-fight)
  • changes vs. static states
  • pacifiers
  • an introduction to lie detection

Literature:

  • What every body is saying, Joe Navarro

New language 1

After three months, the student should be conversationally fluent in either a new language or a continued language. The choice of language is free, but “big”, widely spoken languages, are preferred. Examples: English, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, German, Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese and so on. The focus is on phonetics of the language and the student should learn how to transcribe sounds into phonetic symbols. The literature is diverse, but various grammars for foreigners are recommended, as well as finding native speakers via Livemocha. This is also useful.

Meditation 1

After three months of practice, the practitioner should feel more relaxed and less stressed, and be ready for deeper, longer and more complex meditations, such as Prana Bindu. There is no literature as it is very simple: find a lonely spot, somewhere where you won’t be distracted, sit comfortably with your back flat and up, do not lie down, relax all the muscles you can except those that keep you sitting and breathe normally. Concentrate on your breath, observe it. When thoughts come up, discard them and focus on the breath. Sessions should last anywhere between 10 minutes and 1 hour.

That’s all for this post, the next one will be more about physical training.