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Local Connections - USA => Hawaii => The Islands => Going Natural - Fitness the old school way. => Topic started by: Gregg HIPK on July 09, 2009, 06:35:26 PM

Title: Frank Forencich - Exuberant Animal
Post by: Gregg HIPK on July 09, 2009, 06:35:26 PM
Rafe mentioned some of the WAPK/ Parkour Visions guys doing a video shoot with Frank Forencich.

So today I went on Frank's site and did some reading/ watched some videos. Then I got interrupted for a while, and forgot much of what I saw or read.

My take: Humans aren't designed to live in our current urban environment. Instead of walking 5-10 miles looking for food, we drive to the supermarket and get concentrated, processed food. We aren't in small tribes, where everyone knows each other. Instead, we "network". We've separated the head from the body, elevating thinking, and making physical something lower, and possibly dangerous. Instead of a natural environment, where you feel sand, bark, air, wind, we've replaced it with artificial light, climate control, smooth surfaces, and looking at a computer monitor.
   This leads to health problems - physical, emotional, mental, and social. We get fat, depressed, make bad decisions and isolate ourselves. It's seen in both humans, and in captive animals.
   Instead of "consult a doctor before beginning any exercise program" Frank says it should be "consult your doctor, psychologist, before beginning any program of inactivity."
   His solution is PLAY. Find some cooperative or lightly competitive games using simple or no equipment.

A couple examples:
   1a: Put a rope around your waist. Your partner holds the ends. You try to walk forward. Your partner leans back and provides resistance. [This can also be used with QM]. When you get to a certain spot, switch.
   1b: instead of forward, you run at angles, still heading toward that general goal.

   2: You have a circle about 7' diameter. Without using hands, you and your partner try to get each other out of the circle. As soon as one person is out, someone new steps in. has some great examples. Never mind that it's a 7 minute ad. It's still fun. I can hardly wait to try some of these things in training.
Title: Re: Frank Forencich - Exuberant Animal
Post by: Gregg HIPK on July 09, 2009, 06:36:10 PM

The YouTube site. Seeing it works better for me than reading about it. At least today.

Animal Stick = a 4' stick +/- with a stone firmly attached at one end. Swing it, lift it, move it, and if that's too easy, do it on one foot.

Crawling with mini bands. Using short resistance bands to turn QM into hell.  ;D

Can you get naked? A challenge - use only habitat, terrain, gravity, momentum and the human body to train. No equipment. No numbers. He shows examples of simply making straight lines, circles, and figure 8s with the arms while standing in place.

Inverted food relationship - Good idea, bad video. Forget about the content of what you're eating for a moment. Instead, think about how you came in contact with it. For millions of years, humans and human ancestors moved their bodies towards the things that they wanted to eat. This system served us well; every hunting and gathering trip also served to pump our tissue and invigorate our bodies. But now, we do the precise opposite. Instead of moving our bodies towards the food, we move the food to our stationary and sedentary bodies. This is the true source of our problem.

The heckle series: The idea is to lightly pull and push your partner while they're in a stable or unstable stance. Some times you're both doing it at the same time - try to keep each other from falling, but still heckle them.

Functional drum beat: Get some long sticks and some targets. Spread the targets, stand on one leg, and swing around to keep a beat.

They have a lot of videos. I'm very inspired and am going to change my MN training with other people. With Shiloh, we included some competitive training. Racing, sumo, balance challenges, BJJ training, judo training. That's fine if you're both up to it. The heckle - I could use this idea to "play" with a 3 year old, someone overweight, or in rehab from an injury.
Title: Re: Frank Forencich - Exuberant Animal
Post by: Gregg HIPK on July 09, 2009, 06:36:53 PM

Orbits. I do this with other runners sometimes. I'll start running circles around them, as they're running. It's one way for a fast runner to train with a slow runner. Letting the slow runner heckle the fast runner would take away some of the "shame", and add a whole new level of challenge.

Some of the helmet cam/ stick cam/ FiveFingers videos make me think of Mirror's Edge.
Title: Re: Frank Forencich - Exuberant Animal
Post by: Gregg HIPK on July 09, 2009, 06:37:26 PM
I just had a couple ideas for using Orbit at a jam. If you've got a couple guys who are deconditioned or injured, you could have them be orbit centers. Let's say Ann sprained her ankle the day before the jam, and Bob just got off the couch, and gets tired fast.

A1: Ann can be stationary, and doesn't have to heckle [don't want her to fall or re-injure herself]. Bob orbits Ann at a distance - depends how many people you have - and he can move in any direction, but mostly walks or jogs forward. Everyone else runs a circle around them. It keeps contracting, expanding, and moving dynamically.

A2: Orbit in different directions. Maybe Ozzi runs clockwise, I run counterclockwise.
A3: Everyone else jogs/ runs in a figure 8 around Ann and Bob [while Bob orbits Ann]
A4: Figure 8 in both directions.

B1: Ann's feeling better, and can walk. So now Ann is walking, Bob is orbiting her, and everyone else is orbiting both of them, in any of the 4 variations.

C1: There are obstacles. Ann does what she can. Bob orbits around the course at a comfortable pace. Everyone else orbits around them, doing whatever's required. So if there's a zone where you have to QM from point A to point B and Ann is in that zone, you would

D1: Bob is my partner. Bob orbits Ann in a comet shaped orbit going out maybe in loops of 50 yards in an open area, or 50 yards in front/ behind if we're on a beach or path. I orbit Bob and we heckle each other.
D2: Bob is my partner. While he orbits Ann, I orbit him, and we toss something back and forth. Ideas: A ball, a shirt, a shoe, a backpack, a sandbag: whatever's on hand, that's a decent challenge for both Bob and I.

This could get infinitely complex. The goal would be to keep everyone moving at a level that is comfortable that they can sustain for the time... This way, guys like Ozzi and Ian would be burning huge quantities of energy, while Bob and Ann do what they can, and everybody else does something between the two extremes.

I just had an even more evil idea  Evil However, I'm also getting light headed, and need to get some lunch.
Title: Re: Frank Forencich - Exuberant Animal
Post by: Gregg HIPK on July 09, 2009, 06:38:00 PM
Evil MN obstacle course + using Exuberant Animal exercises...  x:D

Here's an evil thing you could do at the beach. Set up a course with the following zones:

RUN: 50 to 100m sprint.

JUMP: The TANK, and a couple areas marked out with seaweed or shirts that you have to long or high jump over. Or just dig in the sand to make piles and holes to jump over.

LIFT/CARRY/THROW: a pile of rocks or sand bags of various sizes and weights to lift, carry around a marker and back - distance depends on the weight of the item. Not too far. Start and finish at same place. Have [number of people/ 2] items - small ones have to be tossed back and forth, large ones have to be carried. You could also have more items, and just have each person carry or juggle their own item. You could also have some big items that would require more than 2 people to carry [ie heavy log, big rock], or you could make each person fireman carry the other.

BALANCE/COMBAT: a zone where you hop on one foot while heckling your partner and maintaining ankle foot contact with the other foot [see the Judo Heckle with hop video (]. Short zone - I think this is hard enough just on flat. This could also be done stationary as a way to catch your breath.

QM/COMBAT: QM and heckling.  x:D What do you think - 20 to 40 yards?

SWIM: Either a "there and back" or an A to B along the shore. Non-swimmers can either walk in chest high water or try to balance in the shore pound.

CLIMB: would depend on terrain. From strict MN point of view, balance and QM are part of climb, so you've already done climb.

MN RULES: Do this course non-stop [or walking to lower the intensity] for at least 20 minutes. Doesn't matter where you start. A staggered start [different teams in different zones] is probably best. Do it in pairs. If there's an odd number, make one group of three.

 Evil version  x:D  x:D
Teams as before, but 1, 2 or 3 people are "loose".
   If a team catches a loose person in front of them, they can either
1: orbit him for the duration of that zone, while he heckles them.
2: decide that the slower partner will team with the loose person and the faster partner becomes a new loose person, and tries to catch the team ahead of him.
   If a "loose person" catches a team, he can either
1: orbit and heckle that team for the duration of the zone
2: team up with either member of the other team, and have the other person become "loose" [loose person's choice].
3: orbit and heckle the team once, and chase the next team ahead.
   Team catches team? Figure out what works best.

The idea is that the fit people get challenged by teaming with fit people, or get a rest by teaming with someone less fit, and going at their rate for a while. Slow people still get a brutally fun workout...
Title: Re: Frank Forencich - Exuberant Animal
Post by: Gregg HIPK on July 09, 2009, 06:39:14 PM
Greg i love you for posting these man.
Im gonna go try these tomorrow with the crew.
maybe well get a video and post it back here

Love all this stuff man!!!!!!!

See Ozzi being an exuberant animal Grin

These are seriously fun looking. Combining these with MN or MovNat or even conditioning... I really want to try them.
Title: Re: Frank Forencich - Exuberant Animal
Post by: Gregg HIPK on July 09, 2009, 06:41:43 PM
I am doing some of them today at the class.

Lateral QM over/ under targets. This would be so easy to scale for difficulty
Ozzi = raise the over targets, lower the under targets, move at a faster rate of speed

Check out THIS 8 SEC VIDEO ( A great add to a QM workout.

I wonder how you could amp it up for the "coach" who's moving the targets... weighted bars? As long as no one got hurt...

Coach moving on low "ninja" walk, those will get your quads pretty good.

Ninja crouch would work well, especially since the lateral QM is going to be more arm/ core intensive. Good thinking.
Title: Re: Frank Forencich - Exuberant Animal
Post by: Gregg HIPK on July 20, 2009, 06:51:20 PM

Another fun exercise.

"Golf club separators are cheap and fun. In this sequence, simply do alternating “sword tip” touches with a simultaneous stance switch. Keep moving left or right, forward or back as you like, but keep the touch point going with your partner."
Title: Re: Frank Forencich - Exuberant Animal
Post by: Gregg HIPK on July 23, 2009, 10:31:16 AM

"The Antidote" movement sequence. They were supposed to have a write up on their website, but it isn't working. Except for the hula part, it all looks vaguely martial arts and cool. Lucky we live in Hawaii, so the hula part won't get as many weird stares.
Title: Re: Frank Forencich - Exuberant Animal
Post by: Gregg HIPK on July 24, 2009, 01:23:37 PM
Here's an exerpt from "Comic Relief"

The point I’m trying to make here is that our experience of stress is tightly coupled to our interpretation of events. That is, we now know that events are toxic or beneficial in large measure because of how we frame them.

To understand how this works, we need to understand how stress affects the body. Unfortunately, stress medicine can be a torturous, stressful study in its own right. There’s all that biochemistry to learn and then there’s the adrenal glands and the hypothalamus and the glucocorticoids (is it adrenaline or epinephrine?) and neurotoxicity and stress-related brain damage and so on. There are thousands of studies and hundreds of books that will either keep us awake at night or put us to sleep in the middle of the day. We could spend years on the subject.

Fortunately, Robert Sapolsky, the rock star of stress science, has boiled the whole complex field down into a simple list that we can read, or if necessary, share with the IRS. In Scientific American, December 2005, Sapolsky writes:
“individuals are more likely to activate a stress response and are more at risk for a stress sensitive disease if they…

feel as if they have minimal control

feel as if they have no predictive information

have few outlets for their frustration

interpret the stressor as evidence of worsening circumstances

lack social support

That’s it, the entire field in a nutshell. Of course, there are hundreds of animal studies behind each of these statements and miles of supporting evidence to back them up. We can trust Sapolsky. (Anyone who goes to Africa to sit in the bushes and dart baboons with a blow gun to measure their stress hormones is, by my definition, trustworthy. And even better, Sapolsky is a comedian in his own right.) But no worries. This is a list we can live with.

So our experience of stress has to with our perception of control, predictability, outlets, trends and social support. But few of these are absolutes; most are variable and open to interpretation. As they say, “One man’s crisis is another man’s play date” and “My best vacation is your worst nightmare.” The way we frame an event or relationship can have profound consequences for our stress response. In this way, our personal philosophy, psychology and explanatory style can ultimately shape the tissue in our bodies. Mind and body are in a constant conversation of reciprocal influence.

Of course, some stress predicaments are straightforward. If a lion chases you up a tree, this is pretty much a compulsory stress event. It’s acute and non-negotiable. No matter how you spin it, your body is still going to interpret it as a major stress event. You can tweak the narrative all you want, but your body is still going to squeeze itself for every hormone and neurotransmitter it can. Carnivores are life-or-death animals and humans are prey.

But this is an extreme case and, in the course of a typical human life, an unusual one. In fact, most of our predicaments are open to interpretation. That pain in your knee could be a huge stressor if you see it as a threat to your essential running program. Or, it might only be a minor glitch if you decide that it’s really an opportunity to go swimming. In this sense, changing your mind might ultimately be one of the keys to changing your body and preserving your health.
Title: Re: Frank Forencich - Exuberant Animal
Post by: Gregg HIPK on August 01, 2009, 02:56:39 PM 8 sec video.

Lateral creek jumps with a elastic band around your ankles.

Challenge your locomotor ability in the frontal plane. Just set up the ropes or other markers to create a "creek" of the desired width. Warm up with a few lateral leaps, then add the band. Choose your width, length and band strength for the ideal pump!
Title: Re: Frank Forencich - Exuberant Animal
Post by: Ozzi on August 01, 2009, 02:58:37 PM
Wow, that is awesome, I can imagine how much quad work that might be, great to build leg power. GREAT find my man. Have a told you I love you lately?
Title: Re: Frank Forencich - Exuberant Animal
Post by: Gregg HIPK on August 01, 2009, 03:52:29 PM
Yeah. I hope you tell Amanda as frequently as you tell me. Otherwise she might get jealous and beat me up.  ;D
Title: Re: Frank Forencich - Exuberant Animal
Post by: Ozzi on August 01, 2009, 08:44:16 PM
You earn it, she doesnt  ::)
Title: Re: Frank Forencich - Exuberant Animal
Post by: Gregg HIPK on September 03, 2009, 12:42:31 PM

A good post "Anatomy of a Rebound". Frank flew to London for a seminar. UK Immigration held him in lockup for six hours and interrogated him for not having some obscure paperwork in order. Then he was deported.

Frank talks about how we process the crisis that happen in our lives. For him the turn around started to come when he realized "This will make a great story some day."

"... the optimistic explanatory style tends to be transient (”This thing is temporary. It will all be over eventually.”), controllable (”There are things I can do about this.”) and specific (”It was a really stupid situation, but it was a freak, one-off event.”) People who tell stories in this optimistic style tend to be more effective and resilient. Their language gives them a sense of control and possibility."


"The key to a successful rebound is to get some movement into our words and our narratives. Don’t bore yourself or your audience. Keep your language mobile and dancing. If you’re stuck, it might be because your language is stuck. Play with your words and see if things don’t go a little better. Describe your predicament from several vantage points and see what you like. If you’re not getting the result you want, tell a new story from a fresh perspective. This may challenge your beliefs about the true nature of the event, but stories are free and it will cost you nothing to entertain some new ideas."

Two questions that helped him:
1: "Where's the compassion?"
He realized the Immigration Officer had a junk job, being locked in an interrogation room every day, having to pore through the lives of all these potential criminals.

2: "Where's the humor?"
"This was easy because my situation was saturated with hilarious material. I could just see the headline in the morning papers: “UK immigration officials keep country safe from threat of health advocacy and exuberant movement.” And that was just the beginning. Every detail of the event was ripe for comedic interpretation and even now I can hardly keep from laughing. Fortunately, I managed to keep my mouth shut during questioning. Laughter does not go over well with grim, highly-stressed law enforcement officers."
Title: Re: Frank Forencich - Exuberant Animal
Post by: Gregg HIPK on January 12, 2010, 02:51:24 PM
Sci Am ARTICLE ( on how exposure to nature can affect our priorities and alter what we think is important in life. In short, we become less self-focused and more other-focused. Our value priorities shift from personal gain, to a broader focus on community and connection with others.

Read it. What do you think?
Title: Re: Frank Forencich - Exuberant Animal
Post by: naturalninja on January 13, 2010, 06:37:09 AM
liked the article:) but like, im sure there are a HUGE number of benefits to natural living, just as i bet there is an equally HUGE number of disadvantages to unnatural living, some we have discovered and dealt with, some no-one is doing anything about and some we probably dont know about.

imo we have all the research we need,

now we need action
Title: Re: Frank Forencich - Exuberant Animal
Post by: Stacie on January 16, 2010, 05:47:27 PM
Dude..I like this..the separation of the mind from the body, making the mind more important than the body instead of catering to both equally, is a terrible thing..and vice versa. I will definitely keep some of these exercises in mind and work them out..and (chuckle) I'm a killer excited to be getting back to the pool in the afternoons after work!!!
Title: Re: Frank Forencich - Exuberant Animal
Post by: Gregg HIPK on February 15, 2010, 01:31:56 PM

Frank says that "exercise" is abnormal, boring, and not playful. Humans fight against it. His solution:

Look for movement of all varieties. Be a movement opportunist; look for movement at home, in the workplace, in parks, airports and in the parking lot. But most importantly, look for dance. Dance with terrain, with gravity and with other human bodies. Dance with dumbbells, kettlebells and sticks. Dance with imaginary opponents and shadows on the ground. Dance with water, with bushes and with trees. Dance with finger cracks, faces and alpine ridges. Dance with stairs and sidewalks.
And remember, if it feels monotonous and boring, it probably is monotonous and boring. And if it’s monotonous and boring, stop doing it! There are countless variations, combinations and permutations that are engaging and exhilarating. So mess around, play with the possibilities until you find a combination of movement, speed, resistance and frequency that works for you.
You just might find a lifestyle that’s truly sustainable.
Title: Re: Frank Forencich - Exuberant Animal
Post by: naturalninja on February 16, 2010, 09:45:05 AM

i love to dance
Title: Re: Frank Forencich - Exuberant Animal
Post by: Gregg HIPK on February 16, 2010, 10:00:41 AM
That was cool... I'd like a t-shirt like one of those ;D
Title: Re: Frank Forencich - Exuberant Animal
Post by: Gregg HIPK on March 03, 2010, 10:11:21 AM
computers aren’t us from

Triage, skill and discretion are essential, but these are only steps in the right direction. What we really need is to change our basic relationship with the digital realm. Most importantly, we have to stop identifying with computers, operating systems, digital devices or for that matter, any consumer product or corporation. To say, “I’m a Mac guy” is just as perverse as saying “I’m a Windows guy.”
Stand up for your humanity. You are an animal, not an OS. You are a flesh and blood creature, not a brain on a chip. You are a wild and creative spirit, not a batch of code to be run on command.
Get your identity straight.
The computer is a mere tool and a dangerous one at that.
Save yourself.
Stand up for your life.
Step away from the machine.