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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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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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.

A photo posted by John Danaher (@danaherjohn) on

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No Gi Reflections #7 | Class Quality – the difference between hosting and coaching

One of my biggest influences in the coaching world; John Danaher.

One of my biggest influences in the coaching world; John Danaher.

I’m going to try and refrain from turning this post into a rant and the reason for that can only be due to the fact that I have been spoilt. Yes, spoilt in the realms of high quality coaching. Instead, I will try to form this post into more of a published discussion that I had with a training partner of mine recently, in the hope to shed some light towards the current holes in the BJJ club format here in the county of Surrey, UK.

Over the last 3 years, I have carried out much of my own research, self-experimentation and learning from others at the ever amazing Locker 27 Strength and Conditioning Gym in Surrey, UK.

However, it is perhaps only in the last few months since attending No Gi classes twice a week that I have come to appreciate a core element of the Locker’s ethos more than ever; quality coaching. I have been exposed to some of the best coaches in the country at this place, many of whom work for the Harlequins rugby team, some being ex-professional athletes themselves and others just very passionate coaches and scholars. By default, my mirror neurons have picked up on the importance of quality and I strive to apply it to all of my clients’ sessions, be it via strength coaching, mobility assessments or submission grappling.

The flip side to that coin, though, is the fact that I have somewhat re-entered the outside world in the form of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu clubs and classes and have fast come to the conclusion that there is a LOT to be desired with; the class format, coaching quality and (lack thereof) syllabuses.

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Review | Methods of Modern Mobility Seminar with Emmet Louis

I first came across Emmet’s work on Youtube via his videos on the illusive topic of Loaded Progressive Stretching a couple of years ago and since then have seen various other clips on his approach to gymnastic movements, progressions and protocols etc.

Since starting my own service of providing mobility assessments and programming to clients, I wanted to continue my personal learning around the realms of mobility, flexibility and all things stretchy. Partly for myself and partly for my clientele.
Cue Emmet’s Facebook advert; Modern Methods of Mobility Seminar in London.
His ad caught my eye for two reasons; the cover photo of a partner stretch which looked pretty intense, and his name attached to it. Immediately I was interested but price would be the deciding factor for me. How much a seminar costs will usually turn on my bullshit detector, as I know when someone is milking it in this industry. I was pleasantly surprised with Emmet’s Early Bird pricing option of €300 for 12-14 hours of instruction, split over two days. (Note; if someone is charging over £400 for a weekend seminar in the UK, on subjects relating to physical training, ask yourself seriously if it is worth it and what you are really going to learn in those two days.)

Emmet demonstrates a Pike fold partner stretch

Emmet demonstrates a Pike fold partner stretch

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First day of Wheelie School; when your instructor crashes, too! | The Cloudfoot Diaries #73

The Yamaha RXS 100 has been praised in my circle as the only bike you’ll ever need to become a baron on the back wheel. My sensei has owned 7 of them in his lifetime and has struggled to kill pretty much all of them. Their legacy is diverse; from escaping police through the local woodland multiple times, to performing helmetless stand-up wheelies for half kilometer lengths. And when you ride one, you can’t help but feel exactly like John Connor from Terminator 2.

Yes, this is the face you will pull upon riding one.

A 98cc, 2 stroke engine with an esoteric Powerband Induction System means that once you hit 3000 revs, this bastard wants to lift faster than you can say Eddie Hall.
My sensei and myself went halves on purchasing the RXS back in July and due to her being somewhat of an old fart (1986 she was born) it’s taken us the best part of two months to get her running smooth enough to start risking our skeletal health with her.
These old bikes run on a single carburetor, arguably the linchpin in the whole combustion system. When they get dirty and clogged from years of fuel being pumped through them, they really need nothing better than a good clean ‘n’ reset. Just ask Jenna Jameson.

Day one of Wheelie School would commence at a nearby abandoned airport with very little street furniture to crash into other than old tyres and the odd line of shrubbery. Far better than practicing on the main road, as we were about to find out.

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