MovNat Day 3: Not Boot Camp

My previous posts have somewhat emphasized the rigorous nature of the training. It has been, and today was no exception; just different, less, avoidance of burnout. While we kept active from morning to 7:30pm, we also did a lot of liesurely fun stuff.

First up in the morning was training in getting up & over a horizontal bar that you must pull up to, hook a leg and swing yourself up onto. Only, it’s not a bar but the equivalent of a tree limb, rough bark & all.

Then we did various jumps of all sorts trying to perfect a landing on a 3.5” beam (4×4) without falling off. Some of these jumps are 6’ and more and practice makes perfect. In my best effort I stuck the landing in a squat from 6’ three times in a row.

Shortly thereafter, Erwan got the sense that people were getting a bit fatigued, so we broke for lunch and got a bit of a speech from him on how this isn’t boot camp and that training for Natural Movement should be a natural pursuit; vigorous & disciplined, yes, but not Boot Camp.

We had a great salad with chopped figs & Brazil nuts and for those who wanted (me), prosciutto.

After lunch we just lounged around for a good while, maybe an hour before heading off to the lake for more water training. The hike is about 2.5 miles through jungle, tropical like terrain. Thorns, hornets, bugs, twisted wood and various obstacles of all sorts abound.

On the way we did some activities and took some photos.

Barefoot in the Jungle
Barefoot in the Jungle
Stream Crossing
Stream Crossing

It was so glorious to finally arrive at the water. I was first in. Barefoot Ted had gone a bit ahead but found some wild blackberries and had picked a bunch. Good -n- paleo. I knew of another wild berry patch with some sort of blueberry — that Ewan & I feasted from the day before while pursuing a photo op — and after the water training he was taking the whole lot of us up there.

First we had a good amount of time to just enjoy the water, a real break we all took advantage of. I just swam around, did some dives off the rocks and really had a blast cooling off and chatting with the others. I haven’t talked about it but the social aspect of this experience is quite a pleasure; good. It basically started when 8 of the 12 of us met at the airport and hasn’t let up yet. Everybody is super cool to everyone else, there are no big egos, no annoying people at all. Barefoot Ted is a real riot, life of the party guy and Erwan & Vic have great humorous personalities (with lots of French banter between them that I sometimes translate for the others). As demanding as this pursuit can be, at times, you always know some joke is right around the corner. We Laugh. A. Lot.

After the long period of free time in the water it was back to training. Firs thing we did was to swim for some good distances on our backs with both hands out of the water, a skill necessary for lifesaving. Second skill we practiced was to dive from the rocks, remain under water and swim to locate a person who had already sunken beneath the surface, simulated by Vic treading water. We began at about 25 feet away, which everyone successfully accomplished and kept increasing to about double that. Quite a lot of fun; good, mutually encouraging competition and some real surprises from Maggie and Elizabeth who both made the longest distance along with a good number of the guys (I and Barefoot Ted did not).

Next it was a climb to up the cliffs via a circuitous route to feast on wild berries.

Wild Berry Find
Wild Berry Find

Then we did some more self-defense training in a wonderful setting and took a group photo.

Kick Training
Kick Training
Group Photo
Group Photo

By the time we hiked it back to camp very worn out it was about 7:30 and time to call it a day. Dinner was ribs, so had to cook a while and we had a great meal around 9pm, in the dark.

BBQ Ribs Slaw
BBQ Ribs Slaw

The slaw was red cabbage & pears with some sort of sweet tasting sauce. The sauce on the ribs was a puree of caramelized onion and fresh oranges. Way good.

Well see you back here tomorrow night.

Here’s a list of links to all the posts in this series.

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  1. Bay Area Sparky on July 15, 2010 at 20:15

    Great post. Almost feels like being there. Sounds like a good day, maybe the best of the three. Glad you’re having fun and that you have a good group.

  2. JP@PrimalJournal on July 15, 2010 at 20:36

    What a great experience this must be. I really enjoyed the fact that you took the time to update us about how it is going. I was wondering about how a movnat session would look like and you did a great job of explaining it. I would love to go to one of those in the near future.

  3. Dr.BG on July 15, 2010 at 21:49

    sh*t looks like TOTAL FUN!!! :)

  4. Success Warrior on July 16, 2010 at 11:52

    It all looks like so much fun. I’m not a water person but the rest of it sounds like fun. Thanks for journaling it and sharing pictures.

  5. Tim Starr on July 15, 2010 at 23:34

    OK, so, I have to cope w/ my jealousy by one-upping you on the self-defense part, because that clearly was _not_ a kick in the “kick training” shot. It was a knee.

    There, I feel better now.

  6. Jmac on July 15, 2010 at 23:39

    This looks absolutely incredible.

    I think it’s interesting that practical skills are being learned. especially the “life saving” swimming strokes and the self defence lessons (Which look awesome, especially in Five Fingers).

    Come to think of it, self defence is something I’ve not really come across in the Primal/Paleo blogosphere, other than SOG talking about shadow boxing in one of his body weight drills.

    Does anyone else practice martial arts/ boxing etc in a primal way ?

    • Tim Starr on July 16, 2010 at 09:42

      All martial arts is “primal,” if done properly (i.e., hitting something other than air – preferably something that hits back). It’s based on quick bursts of activity, functional strength-building, etc. I’ve been studying martial arts for 12 years, because conventional aerobic exercise both bored me and and was impossible for me due to my asthma. As long as you don’t get caught up in silly stuff like board-breaking and choreographed combat scenarios, it’s quite practical and healthful.

    • Joseph on July 17, 2010 at 06:48

      I got into martial arts as a kid and have not looked back since. It is a really primal way to train, since the scenario you are constantly drilling (a fight) is random (but not without order) and requires natural movement (if you try to use techniques that your body does not like, you will notice very quickly: feedback is much quicker than with most team-sports). Being a martial artist saved me from all kinds of neolithic training traps: I knew instinctively that I would never be a bodybuilder, because adding and cutting body-weight drastically compromise fighting ability; I knew to avoid over-training unilateral, uni-dimensional movement, because in a fight you need all parts of your body in as many planes as possible; more importantly, I was alert to the possibility of injury: how many athletes hurt themselves because “the record” or “the team” demands something that the body cannot handle? Of course some martial artists go too far and hurt themselves, but in my experience injury is less and recovery better when people expect to get hurt and try to avoid it than when they crash into it blindly because “Coach said to”.

      Easily the most primal thing about martial arts is the fact that it lets you use your body, all of it, in a creative, active way. It’s kind of like Grok gymnastics, especially if you do it MovNat style, jumping, kicking, and wrestling in the woods or on a beach.

      • Jmac on July 18, 2010 at 23:57


        I think this is something I may look into.

        It’s also not something talked about on these sites too often (if at all).

  7. Carla on July 16, 2010 at 05:41

    Oh man, this looks soooo awesome!
    I am officially jealous!

  8. ben on July 16, 2010 at 16:10

    every day i follow your posts and read…and im telling you man, im that much closer to signing up. To me, it kind of looks like our jitsu warmup, but out in the forest. with swimming:) rad!

  9. Melissa on July 16, 2010 at 17:48

    Indeed- those blueberries are good! I don’t know what kind they are and we first ate them not knowing if they were poisonous. But none of us died…hehe.

    The people in my session were AWESOME too. I am so glad I met them all! It was wonderful to work hard with them and then enjoy a good social meal.

    • phil on July 17, 2010 at 12:02

      Those are june berries. They are not poisonous if they have what looks like crowns on the berries. They are sweeter than blueberries if picked at the right time. wish i was there.

  10. MovNat Day 1 | Free The Animal on July 20, 2010 at 11:09

    […] MovNat Day 3: Not Boot Camp […]

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