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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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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New Video for LIFT PERFORMANCE APPAREL Portraits feat. Harry Cloudfoot | Episode 1

At least 3 months of hard work, multiple site visits across the UK, and dropping a lot of verbiage in an intimate, #vanlife interview, led to this inspirational piece of footage.
Episode 1 of LIFT’s ‘Portraits’ series takes an in-depth look into why LIFT’s athletes do what they do. You can check the episode below.
Read on and find out more about how we created the video and why I’m so stoked with my involvement with LIFT.

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What is a Drill? And how can I make my own?| The Cloudfoot Diaries #15

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training continues through this week, remaining as my cardio method of choice. This morning we trained the first technique from this video, first in a drill scenario, then during ‘live’ conditions, where I tried it and it really worked!

It’s important to isolate a skill from its context when you are trying to learn it thoroughly.
“A drill, we agreed, is practicing a skill you’ve learned in a setting that replicates a particular section of the game.”
This quote comes from an interesting article I read this week entitled ‘How We Build Drills‘ taken from Daniel Coyle’s (Author of The Talent Code) twitter feed.

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Self-Experiment | Learn how to Snowboard in 4 hours instead of 3 days | A beginners’ guide

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I’ve just returned from my first snowboarding trip ever, with massive success. I managed to  get cruising on my board in a mere 4 hours, compared to the average 3 days.
In those 4 hours, I managed turns, carving steep, intermediate runs and even a couple of tricks, despite never being on the snow before.

By the end of this post you’ll have a bombproof Cheat Sheet on how to hack your first time snowboarding, to yield the best results. I’ll include 80/20 analyses on how to prepare for your first day efficiently, what to focus on during your slope session, and I’ll even throw in a post-shred breakdown for efficient muscle recovery and memory retention for the skills you just learnt.

Is 4 hours realistic? Most definitely, and I’ll explain how you’ll be using Parkinson’s Law to master the basics of snowboarding in such a short time.

Note: I am assuming that you already have your snowboard gear sorted. This is a skill-based tutorial, with a couple of gear tips thrown in.

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Self-Experiment | Does Slacklining really improve your Snowboarding?

I want to address one question I get asked, a hypothesis I set out to the French mountains with recently:

Does Slacklining really help with Snowboarding?

I was a complete snowboarding beginner, and with an interest in learning skills super-fast, I wanted to see if my slacklining balance really was transferable to the snow.

Here’s what happened…

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Self-Experiment | LEARNING HOW TO CLIMB| PART 6 | CONDITIONING: How to get strong for climbing, FAST

How I got really strong, really fast

This post is going to look at the most effective strength and conditioning routines and exercises that I used to get as strong as I could in 16 weeks whilst learning to climb. I included a video, too, showcasing my handpicked favourite brutal exercises.

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Self-Experiment | LEARNING HOW TO CLIMB| PART 4 | LET NATURE DO THE WORK

When it comes to learning a new skill, training or just transforming into a BEAST in general, I like to let Nature do most of the work. After all, she’s a much stronger force than I could ever be, so why not let her take most of the load?
A little confused as to what I mean?
Read on and allow me to explain how I use Nature and the subtle, but very powerful force of Reflex Action to my advantage, whilst on this journey of learning a fantastic and complex new skill: rock climbing.
And bear in mind that this trick can be applied to learning anything new….

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Self-Experiment | LEARNING HOW TO CLIMB | PART 3 | WHY YOU NEED A TRIAL

So the first 4 of my 16 weeks learning to climb are up.
I have used this time as a trial period for testing ideas out, noting my body’s responses to the abundance of new stimuli and using the results to set up the next 12 weeks properly.

As with any new goal or target, you’re going to increase your likelihood of success if you incorporate it into your lifestyle. This essentially forces you to look at lifestyle design; specifically, how to design your own.
If you’ve been following my LEARNING TO CLIMB series thus far, you should have already figured out your goals list. Part 2 showed you how to get your secret formula in place if you’re goal is to learn a new skill, thanks to a heroic influence of mine, Tim Ferriss, who much to my delight, actually posted part 2 on his facebook page.
Now in Part 3, we’re going to look at the importance of a 4 week trial period, how you can use it to increase your chances of success, and have a laugh at some of the lessons I’ve learnt during mine….

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Self-Experiment | LEARNING HOW TO CLIMB | PART 2 | HOW? WITH THE SECRET FORMULA

Alright, so it’s not really a secret anymore. But it’s still a formula, and it’s been used to achieve amazing results. This is part 2 of my LEARNING HOW TO CLIMB series. If you haven’t already, go back and read Part 1 to get an idea of why I am doing this and some tips for setting goals to be smashed.

This post goes over the formula I am using to learn how to rock climb, taken from uber-man-machine Tim Ferriss. The video below gives a brief intro to this formula, but placed in the matrix of learning how to cook, instead of climb. Have a watch, specifically from 1 min 30 onwards:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZ7378IMAR8&w=560&h=315]

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