Creators of our own destiny
Being less "monkeys" to create our path
If you stop to think for a moment, you will realize that we are more “monkeys” than we think and, consequently, not as much creators of our own destiny as we would like. I realized this with 15 years old thanks to Joan Cortés, a source of wisdom that has greatly influenced me and his insights will cause the same in you too.
Have you ever heard the story of the five monkeys, the banana and icy water? The one in which every time one of the monkeys ate the banana, all of them received a bucket of icy water. This created a violent response whenever one of the primates ate the fruit causing no one to approach it. When the researchers started changing the monkeys one by one progressively, each newcomer took the traditional beating from the others and quickly learned the aggressive behavior towards anyone who approached the banana. Once all the monkeys were replaced, there were 5 new monkeys in the room, that they hadn’t even touched the banana, having an aggressive behaviour just because… “that is how it has always been done”.
“There is no favorable wind for the sailor who doesn’t know where to go.
Our beliefs are dependent on where we are now but, above all, on where we have been in the past. Have you been in a room full of aggressive “monkeys” that have prevented you from thinking why you did things? Or have you been one of the aggressive monkeys defending ideas –which could be correct– without any reasoning? Our future path depends on where we have been and where we are now. If we are not conscious about it, something that seems normal to you today may have begin with a choice that made sense at a particular time in the past, and survived despite the eclipse of the justification for that choice.
There are many things that have been done one way for centuries. Don’t go against it just to be cool or rebellious, don’t follow them without questioning anything either. Be aware and win the freedom to decide. We have done many advancements with a reductionist, categorical and dualist thinking. Has it been good? Yes. Enough? No. We need more tools to be a little less “monkeys”.
Ignaz Semmelweis received hundreds slaps from his colleagues when he observed –and provided statistical data– that deaths from puerperal fever could be prevented by a simple measure such as hand washing. I guess they opposed him because he broke with the “that is how it has always been done” of that time. Nobody believed that people could get sick from the invisible corpse particles that were found in the hands of doctors. Many people put their hands to their heads with the invention of the print in anticipation of disaster. A bit like what is currently happening with artificial intelligence.
“Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay.
Same applies in training, fitness and health… among many others.
The WHO and ACSM continue providing exercise and health recommendations with a model one-fits-all assuming no need to consider different individual preferences or situations, personal and environmental conditions; that there are similar realities or universal and closed models that fit everyone. The university continues to talk about 5 daily meals –they don’t even mention the intermitent fasting– and not more than 3 or 4 weekly eggs to be “healthy”.
People complained that FC Barcelona “doesn’t train” just simply because they don’t lift weights in the gym but integrate that work in the grass.
Professionals sell that the best method to prevent hamstring injuries is an exact amount of sets and reps of the exercise “Nordic hamstrings” while, since 2001, hamstring injuries have doubled and sick days have increased. Could it be that what is sold as preventive is not so much? Something goes wrong. Evidence shrinks. Could the same thing happen to current prevention methods as it does to food and cancer? There have been associations with cancer risk or benefit with most foods.
We continue with the sick obsession with “technique” in sports with high levels of variability –such as football, basketball or padel– instead of being concerned about how to deal better with this uncertainty during the different competitive scenarios. It has become clear enough –inside and outside the sport– that the key is not to repeat closed and perfect movements, but to be prepared to adapt to the changing conditions of the game, of every moment. To embrace dynamism, not static conditions. At the end, “technique” is a human invention because we can’t stand uncertainty. If the rules of the sport does not detail, incentive... the “technique” to be executed –such as gymnastics–, to continue talking about it is to see the trees and not the forest.
As Joan Cortés says, we will always go behind sports and “technique”. It is not coaches who decide. Saarinen and Roberts revolutionized motorcycling by themselves from the motorcycle with his knee. Later it was Rossi who started removing his foot before the curves to take advantage of the weight. Nowadays Marquez leans on his elbow, instead on his knee. There are no perfect “techniques” but dynamic ones. The person self-organizes according to his capabilities and the possibilities of action that the situation that he is involved offers. Current training methods, motorcycles, the team that each one has… are not the same as those of the 70’s, each motorcyclist is different... and this offers a very wide range of new possibilities.
It is well said –or not…– that if science advances, it is because its greatest representatives die. There is always a natural resistance to change.
“Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.
Fosbury Flop sweeps away the ashes and preserves the fire. We are not afraid to question tradition –our security– in order to keep moving forward.
Fosbury Flop is not going to provide you what this “monkey” factory that is today’s world characterized by immediate and simple answers –instead of complex and difficult questions– is giving you. We are not looking for the best fitness program, the perfect drill for football training or the key of happiness; we ask ourselves why have we not yet managed to understand complex processes such as fatigue, why do we not consider the state of health as an individual and non-generalizable concept, why do we keep talking about technique, physical or psychological skills without taking into account the context of training or competition. We don’t want to play this game, we don’t even think about competing.
Fosbury Flop wants to reformulate everything, to break your mental patterns so that you can build new and better ones. Fosbury Flop is not going to make you dependent with simple models, recipes or answers. Fosbury Flop will impact on your criteria to make you more autonomous helping you to reply your own questions and doubts.
“You are under no obligation to remain the same person you were a year ago, a month ago, or even a day ago. You are here to create yourself, continuously.
Here we are moved by the spirit of Dick Fosbury or Debbie Brill –the true creator of the Fosbury Flop–. The spirit of those who break with what is “correct” and, overnight, they innovate jumping differently by breaking with what is accepted and standardized. Those that question the established, the status quo, and, with knowledge in hand, decide. We are moved by those who are not afraid to search, to try, to make mistakes, to get lost, to fail, to dream, to leave comfort, to move forward, to find, to be themselves... The spirit of those who are not afraid to live.
This is the most honest act we can do with ourselves, the people surrounding us, the players we coach or the people we design fitness programs for: to be less “monkeys”.
I accept that blows will fall on me in life from other "monkeys" who have received many before me. I guess it must be the price to pay for having the power to decide. I invite you to walk this path together and –with every step we take– be a little less “monkeys” and more creators of our own destiny.
Martí Cañellas | Fosbury Flop
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