Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Conditioning Natural Method

Along with resistance training, I do conditioning. Call it cardio if you like, but that's not really what it is. Cardio is the stairmill, the treadmill, bike, some group exercise class.

I used to use the stairmill quite a bit, and since December I have only used it once, I started taking kickboxing class on Saturday's with Jerome Turcan and have incorporated his conditioning into my routine. I do this conditioning on my own 3 to 4 times a week.

I really have enjoyed it and I like how I can change it. It can also be done anywhere really, as long as you have the space.

Saturday I went into the gym and lifted, it was quad day and I felt good and strong. I was there an hour and 20 minutes then on my way home I started feeling like I was coming down with something, my stomach started churning.

I ate then laid down and fell back asleep. Kickboxing would start at 10:00, hopefully I would feel better by then. 

I don't get sick often, I started thinking maybe it was psychological. I have had a really rough two weeks and not only was I emotionally drained, I was physically exhausted. Perahps I was using this as an excuse to remain curled up in a ball on my bed....That's all I needed to kick start myself, I got out of bed at 9:45 and asked Cooper to wrap my hands, I was in a hurry to get to AKA.

I ran in the door and Jerome was shouting "run Kristy, run!" I pulled off my pants and jacket, grabbed my shin guards and gloves and hit the mat running with everyone else, I was glad I came.

We went through the 30 minutes of conditioning, and this time I was the one creating the pools of sweat on the soft blue mat. It felt good, I felt alive again. I was the leader! Ha, in the past I struggled to keep up with the guys and this time I was done first. Jerome looks at me and says "Where are you Kristy?" I say "10" and he shouts to everyone to stop, come to the center for a change. We went through the floor exercises, and as we transitioned between conditioning and kickboxing I stopped to say hi to the only other female. She said she was just trying to keep up with me, I advised I may not be the best to watch and we both laughed.

Then 30 minutes of kickboxing, Steve volunteered to be my partner- he was at Jerome's on New Year's Eve too, we sat next to each other at dinner. I struggled with the combinations, Steve would smack me with his glove once in a while and say "Can I at least see one part of the combination he asked for?!"

Jerome said they were easy- things like low kick, jab, cross, hook, upper cut, elbow, knee, high kick, hook, low kick. I was having a hard time remembering everything. I need to practice on my own more.

The conditioning is what I love so much, after class I talked with Jerome about it, I asked what made it so different, so special. Jerome explained it was a style of training developed by Georges Hebert called the Natural Method. Hébert was born in Paris. While an officer in the French Navy prior to the First World War, Hébert was stationed in the town of St. Pierre, Martinique. In 1902 the town fell victim to a catastrophic volcanic eruption. Hebert coordinated the escape and rescue of some seven hundred people from this disaster. This experience had a profound effect on him, and reinforced his belief that athletic skill must be combined with courage and altruism. He eventually developed this ethos into his personal motto, "Être fort pour être utile" ("Being strong to be useful").

Contrary to the widespread belief that his approach was exclusively based on his observations of the natural movements of indigenous people, his method is a synthesis of various influences, including but not limited to:
  • The work of his predecessor Francisco Amorós, who published in 1847 Nouveau Manuel Complet d'Education Physique, Gymnastique et Morale and which encompasses already the full range of practical movement aptitudes
  • The work of German Prussian gymnastics educator Friedrich Ludwig Jahn (August 11, 1778 – October 15, 1852), which has also probably influenced the early physical training of the United States Marine Corps
  • The classical representations of the human body in Graeco-Roman statuary and by the ideals of the ancient Greek gymnasia
  • The naturist (although strictly rejecting complete nudism) lifestyle principles of his friend Dr. Paul Carton (1875–1947)
  • The influence of Georges Demenÿ (1850–1917), a French inventor, chronophotographer, filmmaker, and gymnast who emphasized the progressiveness and the scalability of the training
Hebert's system rejected the sclerosis of remedial gymnastics and of the popular Swedish Method of physical culture, which seemed to him unable to develop the human body harmoniously and especially unable to prepare his students with the practical and moral demands of life.
In the same way, Hébert believed, by concentrating on competition and performance, competitive sport diverted physical education both from its physiological ends and its ability to foster sound moral values.

Here is a great video that shows a bit of what the Natural Method might be if you were to train outdoors. (Email readers will need to navigate directly to the blog to view this video).

Jerome includes most of this in his conditioning, including the jumps and back crawls (I guess our own sweat is the water!)

My first kickboxing experience