The Positivity of a Thrash Metal Show | The Cloudfoot Diaries #82

For some strange reason, the last two big metal shows I’ve had tickets for have resulted in me hurting myself just days before the gig.
June 2016 I took a friend to Download festival to see Black Sabbath, managing to get my left elbow hyper-extended and dislocating my radial head just days prior.
Fast forward to Jan 2017 and I’m booked for a double bill of Municipal Waste and Suicidal Tendencies, and I separate my shoulder 3 days before!

The one plus; I had become accustomed to the limbless protocol needed to go to one of these shows and come out intact. Thrash gigs are known for being full of people who don’t give a fuck, socially, outward appearance or otherwise. As soon as I’d entered I felt slightly intimidated at how packed the fucking place was. Numerous people to my left and right, barging their way past one another. My arm was in a sling but it was so dark in there no one could see a dark blue arm-hammock on black attire. Body positioning became key, as did standing location.
I explained explicitly to my compadres that they would have to mosh twice as hard at this show, partly to make up for my absence and partly to stay alive. It was one of the biggest pits I have ever seen, taking up three quarters of the standing space of the venue. And there were some giant carnivorous sapiens in there!

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How I have been training around my shoulder injury | The Cloudfoot Diaries #81

Training around my shoulder injury

Last episode I harped on about the importance of embodying the principles of adaptation and awareness. So what kind of training have I been doing around my shoulder injury?

Week 1 of Injury – Just surviving and resting where possible. Survival was a workout, in and of itself and it’s not too sensible to start training when you’re in serious pain.
I had tickets to a thrash metal concert just 3 days post-injury and it was terrifying for the first 30 minutes. People everywhere, none of them giving a fuck who they bumped in to. An admirable quality if you’re in full health and ready to headbang but it was a real lesson in intra-personal navigation and space occupancy for me! I did well. Only one person gripped my injured shoulder as to gesture ‘Let me by,’ and he pretty much dropped me to floor. Closely followed by a half-pissed apology when he caught a glimpse of my sling under the flash of a spotlight.

Learning how to use the legs to change my level was important. Man, I’m so grateful I have been putting in time learning how to squat. For example, I had to adapt various sexy lunge and squat patterns in order to get in and out of my car, without aggrovating my shoulder. This would not have been a favourable time to discover my legs were weak as piss. Fortunately, they’re quite strong.

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2 key principles for training around an injury | The Cloudfoot Diaries #80

I’ve been injured numerous occassions with various grades of severity and as time goes on, I’m discovering more and more what are the useful mindsets to employ whilst recovering and what thoughts and practices should be discarded.
All too often, people let injuries snowball into excuses for stopping. Stopping their training, stopping their goal-hunting, stopping their positive attitudes etc. And I’ve realised that thinking this way is not useful because it’s the “I’m a victim of circumstance” attitude instead of “I am going to seize this opportunity!”.

It might not be obvious but if you’re injured and it’s not life threatening, you actually have a set of real opportunities you must capitalise on.

I’d like to share with you some of the useful mindsets and principles I have discovered. Perhaps they will assist you in overcoming whatever injuries you currently have.

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People are nicer to you when you’re injured | The Cloudfoot Diaries #79

11 days ago I landed badly on my right shoulder during a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class. It was part accident, part poor technique and the result was a grade 2 seperation of my right AC joint; a predicted 8 week recovery time.

Every facet of my life was going quite swimmingly until the injury, and since slinging my right arm up and out of action, I’ve had to narrow down my focus to what is critical right now; Sleeping (the most important factor out of ‘Home Living’; eating, washing etc.), Earning Money and Training around the injury.

Sleeping

Althought the first night was so brutal that I didn’t sleep at all, since then I’ve been sleeping with my torso elevated to 45 degrees, lying on my left side only. I don’t adapt to new sleeping positions easily, unless I’m so exhausted that I have no other choice. This case was the latter, and it seems to be working. Thankfully a friend put me up for the week so I didn’t have to endure the pain of the first night that I spent in the van.

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Slovenia Snowboard Trip – The REAL Middle Earth | The Cloudfoot Diaries #78

4 years ago I made a pact with myself that I would snowboard at least once a year, after how much fun I had first time round. Trip one was all about learning to snowboard in 4 hours instead of the forever mentioned ‘3 days’; I didn’t have time for the norm.
Trip 2 was the first time I hit a kicker on my heel edge, crashing and smashing my head into the unmerciless ice beneath. There was more soil than snow and I discovered an invention known to most as ‘The Helmet’.
Trip 3 was with my girlfriend to Verbier, coming off the back of a popped-patellar tendon just 3 months prior, and battling chronic patellar tendonitis in both knees. I made it to the end of each day, but only just.

Recently, the time came for trip number 4; Slovenia. You may be wondering where on the continent that is but I don’t want to show you. It’s currently a well kept secret and I don’t want to be responsible for opening the flood gates.

I was in great health for this one; good knees, good leg strength, better than before mobility and a probably tighter than ever budget. A set of cheap flights plus a too-good-to-be-true rental car deal, and two hours later from London we’ve landed with our lives. In -16 celcius.
The landing was one of the spiciest I’ve ever experienced. Every time I board a plane, I always prime my conscience with the possibility that this could be my last few moments alive. But for the Slovenia flight, there was a moment when I thought we were really going down. The captain had warned us about high winds and turbulence. Normally, I can’t wait to take my seatbelt off but for this trip, all I wanted to do was sleep, so I left it on. Just as well. The whole capsule had their belts on, too, apart from one woman.
WHACK!
We suddenly dropped what felt like to be 100ft in the air, falling so fast that this woman in question left her seat and smashed her head into her air conditioning and lighting control panel above her! Quickly followed by her hands holding her now newly battered brain as she fell back to seatsville and assumed a position of pain. Hopefully thereafter, putting her belt on.
I’d never seen that before in over twenty years of flying. Belts, kids. Belts.

Lock, stock, and 2 smokin' gunz. #snowboarding #snow #nosnow #guns #chairlift #mountains #italia #threemusketeers

A photo posted by Harry Cloudfoot (@harrycloudfoot) on

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Floatation Tank Session III – The 90 minute mega float | The Cloudfoot Diaries #77

90 minute float tank has worked its magic… #float #sensorydeprivation #tank #isolation #amsterdam

A photo posted by Harry Cloudfoot (@harrycloudfoot) on

To some the above image looks reminiscent of a soviet torture pod. To others, a blissful option for switching off that one struggles to find elsewhere in life’s busy-ness.

I had returned to the ever fantastic Koan Float  in Amsterdam for my third float tank session of 2016, this time, booking myself in for a 90 minute mega sesh.

I arrived at the centre donning the optics of the X-Men’s Cyclops, so saturated with the Dam’s delights I was really not quite sure how to operate the door to get in. My always so very polite receptionist gently smiled, asking ever so softly “Have you been to the shentre before?” as to not disturb a lady also sat in the waiting area, reading her paper. I replied to her compassionate ask with a subtle, eyes-closed nod, partly to maintain the atmosphere and partly because I had temporarily lost my ability to speak.

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REVIEW | Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee (As seen on The Tim Ferriss Show)

Testing, testing! @foursigmatic #coffee #mushroom #nootropics #shrooms #awake #chaga #cordyceps #foursigmatic

A photo posted by Harry Cloudfoot (@harrycloudfoot) on

For the last 3 weeks, I have been skulling a bizarre concoction of coffee and shrooms. I heard about the magic potion on an episode of The Tim Ferriss Show podcast. I rarely listen to advertisement roll outs but my ears pricked up like an alchemist when I heard buzz words like ‘productivity’ ‘shrooms’ and ‘zero crash’.

A few days before Christmas and I open a present from a friend to find 10 sachets of ‘Good Day In A Cup’.

Would it live up to the hype?

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No Gi Reflections #11 | “Learning how to learn is absolutely one of the keys to success…”

The great John Danaher is back, this time with some nuggets on the importance of learning how to learn and why it is such an important skill.

Juggling was the medium that first shone the light on the process of learning for me. From there, I transferred my methodology from learning to juggle, to learning how to slackline. Next, rock climbing, where I used Tim Ferriss’ “D.S.S.S.” method to progress from a grade 5a climber to completing a 7a sport climb in just 16 weeks, a feat that should have taken on average 2-3 years. And since then, coming full circle to developing and exploring my grappling skills.

Danaher breaks down the skill of learning into three techniques that can and should be used;

1. The Trial and Error method (“Phrasing it as an experiment gives you permission to fail” – A.J. Jacobs)
2. The Great Person method (known as “modelling” in N.L.P.)
3. The Organic Nature of Skill Development (Gradualism is the pace of Nature)

The greatest skill of them all – learning: Every jiu jitsu athlete is in a constant quest to improve current skills and learn new ones as a means to performance improvement. However, there is one skill that stands above all other skills that one might acquire on the long road towards mastery – the skill of learning. Every day we have people telling us how to learn a given skill, a new move, a new concept. Yet it is rare to have someone tell us how to learn. Learning how to learn is absolutely one of the keys to success in life in general and jiu jitsu in particular. Most people take a very passive approach to learning. They learn from their teacher and practice when told to practice what they are told to practice. This is fine at recreational level, but if you wish to go further you must take a proactive approach to learning. This is a huge topic, but let us talk today about three key methods of learning that we can use to improve our understanding of the learning process so that we can make better progress. The foundation of my coaching program is always THE TRIAL AND ERROR METHOD. This simple method of taking ideas and subjecting them to rigorous tests to determine their value. We spend countless hours on the mat testing our theories and ideas through sparring and competition until we put provisional faith in them. The second is the GREAT PERSON METHOD. I am a big believer in the idea of using great athletes in the sport to inspire and enlighten. If a given athlete is having tremendous success with a given move, that's a very clear sign that he is doing something right and important. By studying this, you are very likely to improve some aspect of your own game – even if your own method ends up being significantly different from the athlete you studied. The third is THE ORGANIC NATURE OF SKILL DEVELOPMENT. Skills are like life forms – they are born weak, naive and vulnerable; but if nurtured and cared for, can grow eventually into something strong and confident and capable. When you learn a skill, give it a chance to grow. Don't start using it on world champions. Start small and work your way up with it. In time these three principles can transform your game

A photo posted by John Danaher (@danaherjohn) on

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LIVING IN A VAN | PART 5 | “DOES IT EVER GET COLD IN YOUR VAN?”

In short, yes. Fucking cold.

But since my first, extremely naive year of soapbox dwelling, I’ve come a long way.

I hadn’t anticipated the winter of 2012 to be such a savage one, otherwise I probably would have prepared far better than I originally did. One sub-par, synthetic sleeping bag and a tatty wool blanket were the sole contents of my anti-freeze kit. All I can say with 20/20 hindsight is naivety really can be a life saver.

I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, nor did I know that 2012 would drop to -7 degrees celcius. That meant frozen hair, ice-capped balls and perma-stuck windows. Oh, and zero company because no one is going to sit through that with you just because you’re fun to hang out with.

I stupidly thought I could beat Mother Nature, that somehow I was tougher, more resilient than what she could bring to the british, winter table. Well, she served me and served me good, because I suffered like a bastard that year. Fluid started to build on my lungs, with regular, staccato coughs slipping into my sentences to replace what used to be punctuation. My bottle of olive oil became my thermostat. When that froze, which it has done on numerous occassions, I knew I was in for a tough ride. Silly boy. Nature always wins. Do you recall a time she has ever lost?

It wasn’t a complete thrashing, though. I was working in a rock climbing centre at the time and in their car park, outside the front of their industrial building, they had a large transformer-type unit, presumably owned by the National Grid. You know, the ones that say ‘Danger of Death, Keep Out’ on them.

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No Gi Reflections #10 | UFC on FOX 22 – How to submit someone who’s trying to kill you

I was SUPER impressed with the fights on the latest UFC on FOX 22 card this past weekend.

In the prelims, the Scottish beast that is Paul Craig, making his UFC debut against an undefeated Brazilian, Luis Henrique da Silva in their light heavyweight clash. Craig is a tank of human and tapped out Silva with a mint armbar that had me shouting at my screen all things No Gi!

Paul Craig

Freedom!

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