Strong but not that powerful

Dan:
I was delivering a level one course in Essex where his gym is based and I went there to do some formal testing for the end of my training program, and one day we just did some max tests for some lifts. My deadlift’s okay, my bench press is horrific because my arms are really long because I’m a gibbon. Sorry everybody. Then on the second day of testing, which was after a rest day, we measured what’s called my dynamic strength index, and we set up what we called a mid-thigh pull, which is a static barbell set into a rig, that is just above the height if my knees, and that you cannot move. On the floor is a force plate, and you set yourself for the deadlift position where the bar is just above your knees, and you just pull on this bar as hard as you can and what it essentially does is it measures how strong your deadlift is from that position because you’re pulling yourself down into the force plate.

Craig:
Right.

Dan:
You take this number and you compare it with a bit of maths to the standing counter movement jump, which is like the acute sports science jump where you put your hands on your hips, you bend down, you jump as high as you can. We did three readings on each, just going for maximum effort, you compare the two and you see how balanced you are. The mid-thigh pull tells you the maximum force that your body is capable of producing, your maximum strength, and the counter movement jump gives you your maximum power. The relationship between the two shows you if you’re strong but not powerful, powerful but not strong, or balanced.

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Hero Forge, Episode 51: Rafe Kelley

Rafe Kelley is the founder of ‘EvolveMovePlay’ – an organisation dedicated to helping all of us to learn to move like a human and create the most heroic version of ourselves. Through a combination of parkour, dance, tree climbing, rough-housing and direct engagement with the natural environment, Rafe and his team invite those who train with them to become more joyful in their movement.

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Hero Forge, Episode 52: Matt Langdon

Not many of our listeners will probably know this trivial fact but I paid my way through university by working as a close-up magician and as such I spent a lot of time with playing cards. I mention this only because this is episode 52 of ‘The Hero Forge’ and so this conversation completes my deck of heroes and those working in heroic training. There will be plenty more to come of course, but it seems somewhat fitting therefore that for the first time since the launch of this show, I have a returning guest. This gentleman was the first person I interviewed back in March – in fact on March 5th 2017 and today is precisely 15 months on, today being 5th May 2018. I am talking of course about Founder and CEO of the Hero Roundtable and the Hero Construction Company – Matt Langdon.

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The Fianna

Rafe:
eah. So, it’s hard to say in some ways because I feel like it’s emergent from my life and my character and what I’ve experienced. I just happened to have grown up on the end of a dirt road in a hippie community. I had some really formative experiences around rough and tumble play and how that helped me overcome learning disabilities. I started martial arts very young. And I had this really deep interest in human nature that started at a very young age.

Rafe:
So, part of overcoming my learning disabilities when I was eight years old was falling in love with epic literature, starting with The Lord of the Rings, and then The Iliad and The Odyssey, and then the Norse mythology, and then lots of other fantasy novels. And that actually led me to starting an interesting in first history, I read the lives of all the caesars and all that stuff, and then anthropology.

Rafe:
And so, by the time I was 13 years old, I had read every anthropology book in my local library. And then I found a mentor who was a professional anthropologist who worked in local government who lent me his library. And I read something like 30 ethnographic monographs before I went into community college at 16 years old.

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The Perennial Problem

Rafe:
So, I wanted to touch base on that idea of combinatorial explosion because it’s very important in understanding the perennial problem and how we have failed to address that now. We tend to think about problems as things that maybe have a very specific solution, or we’re really excited about … We talk about algorithms. Right? Algorithms are everywhere right now.

Craig:
Right.

Rafe:
Theoretically, an algorithm is anything that allows you to derive a perfect solution to a problem. Right? But there’s actually two classes of problems. One is what you could call a well defined problem, which is one where you can search the entire problem space. You can look at every possible solution and find one that is correct. And then there’s ill defined problems that have problem spaces that are too large.

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Psychotechnologies

Rafe:
That’s the likelihood of that path. Or I can try to take care of myself and follow what’s really meaningful to me, and I can rebuild my body and become healthy. And then maybe I can get something out of this sport for the rest of my life. So, that’s what I did.

Rafe:
I don’t remember when I ran into this, but I heard years ago some say that in mountaineering they say it’s not what the man does to the mountain. It’s what the mountain does to the man. And that was the key idea that started really generating around my practice. If parkour isn’t about me jumping further or isn’t about me winning a competition, it’s about how it transforms me. Well, how do I make that work as well as possible?

Craig:
What’s the optimum version of that practice, right? What does that look like?

Rafe:
What does that look like?

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Donald Trump

Rafe:
And so, recently my daughter has been complaining all the time about Donald Trump. She’s seven-years-old. It’s like I’m not trying to defend Donald Trump, but I’m like, “You shouldn’t be caring about Donald Trump. You’re seven-years-old.” It’s like, “Tell me a policy of Donald Trump’s that you think is bad, and tell me why you think it’s bad.”

Craig:
Right.

Rafe:
And I’m like challenging her. It’s like, “You can have an opinion about things as soon as you can do that. Right? You can tell me how Donald Trump is the worst president ever as soon as you can tell me what his policies are and why they’re bad and what the comparison is.” Right? If you’re just going to reflect the animus that is held by the people around you about somebody. Right? Maybe in this case it’s deserved, but that’s how witch hunts start.

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On Growing Wings

First of all, it really itches. All the time, very deep, where it’d be too gruesome to try to scratch. It’s like the inside of the spine, a sharp, electric kind of itching that nothing but patience ever relieves.

Then there’s inflammation, everything surrounding the scapulae tight and hot and angry.

–Sometimes it’s only one, the other side just hanging around aching dully, but mostly they flare simultaneously, creating dread with every arm movement, always expecting the sharp, dense pain that will cause you to catch your breath.    

This goes on for weeks.     

Then it’s almost like the itching begins to float up through the layers of soft tissue, broadening as it becomes increasingly sub-dermal, suddenly pinpointing one day in the middle of each scapula, right there on the surface.     

This, you scratch.      

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Hero Forge, Episode 50: David Geffen

David Geffen is the founder of ‘Loving Classroom’ which is an educational programme designed to guide teachers, students and parents towards cultivating a lifetime of positive relationships in all areas of life – David’s ambition is to empower all of us to effectively ‘engineer love’ so that it might ripple outwards to have a global impact. This might seem, at first glance to be a lofty aspiration for a grass roots movement, but with successful initiatives already in place in the UK, the Middle East and South Africa, David might well turn that dream into a reality!

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Hero Forge, Episode 49: Rodney King

Rodney King is one of the world’s foremost martial art and self-protection coaches and is the founder of Crazy Monkey Defense. Growing up in the South side of Johannesburg, South Africa, he learned all about the challenge of interpersonal violence the hard way and went on the immerse himself deeper still in that abyss by working some of the toughest nightclub doors in the city. Rodney’s journey from hard man to ‘anti-hard man’ is inspirational and a true example of how we need not be defined by our past. Author, entrepreneur, Leadership consultant, philosopher and a man who walks his talk, he is a true renaissance man and I am delighted to welcome him to The Hero Forge.

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