Recently I attended the Freestyle Connection seminar with Carl Paoli, author of Freestyle and GymnasticsWOD.com. It was a day-long session with Carl Paoli and his colleague Daniel Peterson. In this session, myself and 59 others were challenged and changed. Not just in our application of gymnastic movement, but also our general perception of movement. We covered techniques and progressions in regards to hollow body holds, head stands to handstands, muscle ups and pistol squats, and burpees. In fact, if you are interested in a full disclosure of Carl Paoli’s method you simply have to look in his FreeStyle Book. As Carl said, “everything is in that book, this seminar is just an excuse to connect”. So what can I share with you that isn’t already (very well) said in his book?
Like many others, I originally discovered Carl Paoli through his short and simple progression youtube videos. It was in 2016 I discovered Carls programming and education available in Gymnastics WOD. That was a very exciting discovery for me as I am rather passionate about pursuing gymnastic movement. Yet what I discovered from the seminar was outside of Gymnastic movement, rather a mindset was revealed to me. Hopefully, it will also resonate with you too. Note that this is my interpretation, or epiphany, from the seminar, I truly believe this mindset is one worth considering.
I have broken down this mindset into 3 stages.
Assume Responsibility: This was the first concept made known to us at the beginning of the seminar. We are responsible for choosing how we participate in the experience. We are responsible for making the experience meaningful.
- We are responsible for questions we seek to explore and answer.
- We are responsible for being aware of how we feel.
- We are responsible for being aware of what we want to learn.
- We need to assume that responsibility in order to hold ourselves accountable to our experiences.
This is your life, assume responsibility for it, it's yours to make the most of. Once we realize that, the feeling is rather freeing. You can enter a situation, such as a CrossFit class, and make it your own. Ask yourself, what do I want out of this situation? This is not to be confused with expectations being fulfilled. We should no longer assume that other people or things are responsible for fulfilling our expectations. Rather it's about identifying what you want to experience for yourself and being actively aware of it. That way you can then make the situation meaningful to you. From a perspective of a coach and athlete relationship, I think Carl summed it up rather well; “I can’t make you celebrate your wins, we can only inspire a space.” For example, if I was running a disco I cant force you to dance, but I can do my best to provide good tunes.
Feel: Your body is the only one you get to experience - do you feel that?. Are you just moving through the motions or are you really feeling it? Sometimes we need to have it pointed out to us in order to think about it. As your reading this, can you focus on your pinky toes. What sensations can you feel in that little appendage, how does that sensation change when wriggling them a little. Now consider applying that focus to your whole body, particularly when moving, how aware can you be of how it feels to be YOU. This is part of being an active participant in your life. Being aware of your body, this one body you get to enjoy. Who cares what everyone else can or can't do, this is what you can do, and that's effen awesome! Enjoy it.
Share: Finally, whatever new found knowledge you gain, share it. Light bulbs are not meant to be kept in a closed room, they should light the way for others to see. You give back to the world what you have received. Create space in your life to have a teacher impact your relationships. This is not about finding people to inspire you, you are your inspiration. Be passionate about yourself and your wins, help other people to see that in themselves.
You guys are all amazing and I am grateful to Feel, Share and Connect with you all.