Warning: bit of a ramble below. Long winded too. Maybe even self-indulgent.
I like to find philosophy in the things that I do and like. Blame it on too much time in Asia, too much Joseph Campbell, maybe too much schooling, but I like to find mental and spiritual connections between the passions in my life. CrossFit is no exception. Much of my feelings about CrossFit are influenced by my experiences with other philosophies, such as Japanese martial arts and Zen Buddhism.
Now, don’t worry, no one is going to begin chanting or anything, but let me give an example. CrossFit is highly invested in the idea and concept, as well as the actuality, of ‘intensity’. I find a striking parallel between CrossFit’s intensity and the Zen/Taoist (Zen is mix of Taoism and Buddhism) concept of living in the moment. True intensity demands total absorption in the task at hand, ie the WOD. You cannot do Grace with true intensity if you are wondering what you are going to have for dinner. While doing Grace with real intensity, your mind does not dwell on anything else, you are completely in the moment.
That does not mean that you are narrow minded or that your mind has ceased to function (that comes later when you are panting like a sled dog on the ground). For example, your mind notes if someone walks in front of you while you are doing the WOD. It notes who that person is, what they are wearing, even the color of their clothes; in short just about everything about that person, but it simply notes all these details. It doesn’t dwell or get caught up on any one of them. It just flows from detail to detail while remaining completely focused on doing Grace. That, right there, is a great explanation of the Zen concept of ‘mu’ or ‘no-mind’ so prevalent in Japanese swordsmanship. Yet, here it is in CrossFit. And I really like that.
Lately I have been feeling that my training has been a little off. Too much teaching, a large injury or two, too many little aches and stiffnesses, a focus on growing the business and not on training. Whatever the reason, my times have been a little slower, my weights have been a little lower. And it is frustrating. Of course it is. Especially when black-hearted-Kyle is erasing my name from the record boards with a truly alarming frequency.
But here is one of the beautiful things about CrossFit. It is so multi-faceted. While focusing on WOD times and deadlift numbers and feeling kinda disappointed, I discovered yesterday that I can do a completely–no swing, no nuthin–deadhang muscle up. And I can do it slow and controlled. And with my knees up in front of me like I am sitting in a chair. Where did that come from? I have no idea, but, believe me, I have done a lot of deadhang muscle ups in the last day or two. And I feel great about it.
CrossFit isn’t just about gymnastic tricks, or heavy weights, or fast times, or impressing girls with rippling abs and fancy high kicks. It is about all of those and a lot more… well maybe I just made up the last part. As you are pushing against one door, another opens for your exploration, and exploring that door is probably what you need to open the door you were trying to budge in the first place.
With CrossFit, I am continually amazed at the difference it plays in my everyday life. At the coordination and strength, the body control and stamina, the sheer fluidity of movement, it gives me. At CrossFit you get better at things you didn’t even know you were training for (thanks Cliff).
And here too I find philosophy. The Japanese tradition of ‘do’ or ‘michi’, meaning ‘path’, or in this case ‘life path’, stipulates that mastery of something is conveyed in one’s every movement, every action. Not that I am even remotely claiming mastery of anything, much less CrossFit, but I can see, can feel, the connection.
What do you think? Please post to Comments.
Deadlift 75% 1RM
Do 1 of each movement. Then do 2 and then 3 and so on. When you can no longer do the required number of reps of a movement without pause, stay at that number until you have reached the same situation with all three movements. Then reverse the order of reps until you are back at 1. There is no time component to this WOD.
Post WOD and score to Comments.