Rest in Peace Dean Potter, you Wildman.

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5 years ago I was sat behind a computer surfing YouTube for whatever life-inspiring, risk taking madness I could find to ease my lack of direction in life. It’s a process one finds oneself in sporadically when motivation is low, senses dulled. I was in New Zealand at the time. I had the shared house to myself, leaving me to plugin to the web, searching for answers. That’s when I stumbled upon a 5 part documentary called ‘SkyWalker’.

It was part of a Channel 4 series called ‘DareDevils’ and the leading star on this episode was a wild man named Dean Potter. That show presented to me the art of balance taken to the extreme, as Dean would free solo (walking a line so high, you would die if you fell, with no protection) a variety of insane highlines, pushing it even further to wearing only a parachute and indulging in what became known as FreeBASE.

I didn’t know it at the time but watching SkyWalker was the first instance of slacklining lodging itself in to my unconscious, only to manifest in the form of actually stepping on to a line only months later. Years later, I would turn the art of balance in to my own divine practice, a part-time business and a way of life.

So I guess, Dean, this is my homage to you! I’ve never met you, but thanks for pushing your own limits to the death, so that I have been able to recognise my own limits and dedicate my time to superseding them. It’s possible without seeing you do it first, I would have never had the courage to try.

Yesterday I was sat on the train and noticed an image that would only catch the attention of the peripherals of a slackliner. But attached to it was the sad news that a Wingsuit jump accident had claimed the lives of two people in Yosemite National Park, Cailfornia, the home of slacklining. One of those lives was Dean Potter.

To be perfectly honest, it always sat in my mind the surprise of one day hearing that Dean Potter had turned 50 years old. I was skeptical he’d ever make it that far. He’d channeled every ounce of motivation, every segment of life force into staying alive in the most perilous of situations. I was sure he was using his quota up faster than the norm.
And good on him, too. Bollocks to living an uninspired life, waiting to die.

The chase of the ‘high performance state’ – something I didn’t even know existed before I had learnt to highline – cost him his marriage. It cost him his societal status and sponsorships. Fuck, it even cost him his life. But I would go as far to say it was worth it. The temporary realms of Nirvana that the Wildman reached is only experienced by a few psychologically advanced anomalies on this planet. And within his sacrifice of worldly, title-holdings, he gained more than the world will ever know. And inspired me to hunt after a fraction of the same grail.

I don’t know the details of Dean’s accident. But really, it doesn’t matter. He was on a path to exit this world doing what he loved – it was just a matter of time.

I wish you all the blessings possible in your next chapter, Dean.

Like you said, this life is all we’ve got. You saw people go, and there was no evidence that anything ever came after they went. You made the most of it, and for that, you will never be forgotten.

Fly High, my friend.

 

Combining Weightlifting with Gymnastics; Weeks 5-12 | The Cloudfoot Diaries #62

fitnessweightsThe second block of combining weightlifting with gymnastics is in full effect. Some changes had to be made; the tendons were getting spicy from too much work and the neural fatigue was setting in. Time for a reconfiguration. And if you’re wondering what the above picture has to do with any of this? It doesn’t.

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Taking 5-HTP and Melatonin for sleep | The Cloudfoot Diaries #61

Since noticing a significant reduction in sleep quality from pushing my training limits a little further than normal, I did a bit of scouting on the internet to see which drugs were out there that would fall under both the legal umbrella and the sleep inducing one.

5-HTP and Melatonin were the two culprits that came to surface and I managed to get hold of them far easier than I had originally anticipated.

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In terms of dosage;
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Praise Shiva, it’s DeLoad week | The Cloudfoot Diaries #60

After burying myself at the end of week 3 with a good old dose of overreaching, I couldn’t have felt more relieved to begin seven days of deloading nirvana.

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Now’s the time to start the recovery process….

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Week 3 of 12 – Everything Hurts | The Cloudfoot Diaries #59

Only 3 weeks in and I’m now in a lot of pain. My joints are aching. My tendons nagging. And my energy levels nowhere to be seen.

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Hints towards the flavour of overreaching are present. My appetite has decreased significantly and I’ve resorted to behaviour matching that of an insomniac when in bed. To be honest, it’s been a rough week. Time to reassess the programme some more. Training used to be fun!

A quick rundown of week 3;

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Combining Gymnastics with Weightlifting; Week 2 of 12 in review | The Cloudfoot Diaries #58

The second of the twelve week, gymnastics and weightlifting combo-experiment is complete. Rather than post each day separately, I’ve compiled the training log and lessons learnt in to one post.

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I had the privilege to sit down with master stuntman and all-round nice guy, Mr Kai Martin  (click the link and check his showreel..Holy Shit!) at the beginning of the week, to pick his brains on programming and the like. If there’s a goal I’m trying to achieve, relating to strength, hypertrophy or some for of gymnastic skill acquisition, Kai has probably done it – it’s his job to get in shape to match the actor that he’s doubling, and they include famous actors of all shapes and sizes.

Here’s what he had to say relating to my programme…

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From Weakness to Strength – New Snatch PB! | The Cloudfoot Diaries #57

Day 6 of 6 has been and gone for week 1. Here’s me harping on how weak I am towards the tail end of the first week and yet today saw me hit a new PB on the Snatch – 70kg, the very weight I missed on my third lift at my first weightlifting comp.

Then my coach suggested 73kg, followed by 75kg. Well, I was pretty shocked and surprised from hitting 70, and my CNS felt pretty fried so I didn’t hit 73kg as shown below…


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Why are Front Planche progressions such a mission? | The Cloudfoot Diaries #56

I don’t know if it is the illusory, effortless nature that planche masters seem to exude in the photos I have seen, or my inflated ego that leads me to believe I can hold a front straddle planche, but either way I’m still deflated and confused at just how much of a mission it is to hold this f*!*in’ thing!

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If you’re ready early, GO! | The Cloudfoot Diaries #55

Briefly carrying on the theme of life’s interventions…

I’d finished work and had an hour until the scheduled time of Weightlifting club started. I felt energised and knew if I went to sit down and rest, my feet would elevate, my relaxation phase would kick in, and it would be over. Day 4 of the programme brought about a lesson in readiness;

If you’re ready early and ahead of schedule, don’t wait, GO! 

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When life gets in the way | The Cloudfoot Diaries #54

Day three of training and already life has gotten in the way. I could lie and tell you I crushed the schedule. The reality was I felt weak as piss, sore as hell and had a whole sandwich of life issues to get in the way of focusing on getting the job done.

I’m a firm believer of the power of our three centres; physical, emotional and spiritual. I can attest from my own experience that if any of the three centres are significantly out of whack, your training is going to highlight it. For me, Day 3 saw all three areas significantly tarnished due to life’s ups and downs and I found it very difficult to do even the most basic of drills.

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