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

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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

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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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Talking Funny – Top comedians reveal practice and strategy | The Cloudfoot Diaries #76

Louis CK, Ricky Gervais, Chris Rock and the veteran, Jerry Seinfeld sit down and have a good ol’ raucous chat about how they do what they do best – splitting sides.

A fascinating look into each of their four minds and how they differ in their definitions, understandings and methods.

Eddie Cummings and his ghetto-chef formula for making weight | No Gi Reflections #9

I fucking love Eddie Cummings. Not only does he look like a serial killer but he has the work ethic of one, too. In the few interviews I have seen with him, he comes across as a gentle yet supremely intelligent sapien. As far as I know, his background is in the science world. He mentioned that he used to travel hours to training after working full days as a lab technician so he could pay his bills. These were the days before he turned pro.

Sacrifice: Eddie Cummings living the life of the dedicated professional athlete. Making weight for EBI 10 the bantamweight tournament. Nothing comes easy at world championship level and Mr Cummings shows his usual dedication to his craft here with meticulous preparation that began weeks ago and peaks tonight here in Mexico City. This ability to get the details right and stick to a disciplined and well thought out routine that trades current discomfort for future pleasure is the essential feature of every championship program. Here you can see the strain of a harsh weight cut. Mostly done now 😊 Tomorrow will be recovery followed by our contest preparation drills and then on stage. Looking forward to the change in venue and putting on a show for our Mexican audience. 😊😊

A photo posted by John Danaher (@danaherjohn) on

It’s fantastic to see that his work ethic has not left him since crossing the threshold from hobbyist machine to full-blown limb reaper. Check out the image above. Sat on his hotel room balcony, no doubt with his mini-grill that he would have packed or picked up locally, cutting weight on a diet of lean meat. Not quite a private chef cooking up your macros in your marble and gold kitchen, is it? Eddie understands probably better than most the importance of, and appropriate way to approach sacrifice.

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Hacking the Optimal Performance State with Steven Kotler | The Cloudfoot Diaries #75

One of the most fascinating Rogan talks this year, without doubt, was with guest, author and flow state engineer, Steven Kotler.

If you’re even remotely interested in optimising your own performance, be it in the movement and sporting world, or cerebral domain of intelligence, you really ought to give this episode a listen all the way through. These guys cover some fascinating topics and much what I write below is in relation to what is discussed.

Enjoy the ride!

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No Gi Reflections #8 | Structuring your training feat. John Danaher

“So often I see people engage in training with no plan as to what they are trying to accomplish.” TRUE THAT MR. JOHN DANAHER!

I see it all the time, too, in pretty much every physical endeavour I undertake. The most common arena I see it is within the gym world, an area that you could argue places the most emphasis on following a programme to get results and yet nobody seems to do it! Blows my mind. And even those that do log their progress, only around 20% of them actually have an idea as to where they are heading and what they are working towards!

Structured training: So often I see people engage in training with no plan as to what they are trying to accomplish. This will always limit your ability to improve over time – the whole reason why we engage in practice. It is critical that someone in the room have a clear idea as to what we are trying to improve and how we are going to do it. In a beginners class or a general class, it is enough for the coach to know what the plan is and run the class accordingly. At elite levels however, I like to make the athletes part of the discussion as to what we are trying to achieve – they have the knowledge and insight to add to the discussion and we can make adjustments based on their input. Here Garry Tonon, Gordon Ryan and myself outline want we want to go over at a local gym in Poole England just prior to Polaris 4 – once the plan is set, words get replaced by action and the room heats up accordingly.

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Who the fuck is Bear Grylls? Meet UCLES | The Cloudfoot Diaries #74

I grew up watching Ray Mears on television and thought he was always a bit of a legend. Calm, methodical and tubby, like a real outdoorsman should be.

Then Bear Grylls came along and to be honest, annoyed the shit out of me. Something just wasn’t right about him; an Etonian education, over-zealous cadence and staying in Hilton hotels whilst filming ‘survival’ content.

Well, Edward Michael Grylls can fuck right off because there’s a new badman on the scene who appears to be as legit as they come. Andrew Ucles. A cross between Steve Irwin and the Grizzly Man.

A friend of mine showed me some of his videos very recently and to be honest, it blew my mind. This guy is literally a superstar and has a pair the size of two nebulae.

Ladies and Cavemen, I present to you, UCLES.

Settle.

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