Internal Versus External Freedom

Ido Portal has popularized the idea of self-dominance, the ability to be able to move into any position with your body that you can imagine. What’s the inverse though?

Freedom

The inverse is the ability to move through or move the world around you, to project yourself into the world, to externalize your movement capacity, parkour, object manipulation, and combat.

This concept crystalized for me while visiting Amos Rendao in boulder last November.

Amos is one of the most impressive movers I have had the joy to train with. He is fast and fearless in overcoming obstacles with a really exceptional ability to solve complex sequences of movements on the fly.

These skills have allowed him to be a consistent top five finisher in all the major national parkour competitions of the last three years.

He is also a well trained martial artist and a dancer, and yet he is not especially strong. His reactive strength is good but not great, he has poor overhead range of motion, poor squat flexibility, he can not do the splits or press to handstand, or rotate through bridges or do tons of gymnastics strength skills.

Is he then not a good mover? Would you rather have those things than the ability to run and climb boldly across rooftops, to feel confident taking big falls, to defend yourself in a fight, to roll painlessly away from getting hit by a car, or side flip over a wall to scare of a group of muggers, or to be able to easily pick up dance choreography and dance freely across a variety of styles?

The ideal in movement would be to have both, but in the culture of people pursuing the concept of movement, I see far too much focus on these internal skills, and too little on their capacity to apply movement in the world around them.

In the culture of parkour the focus is to external a balance should be sought, strength and mobility help our bodies survive the things we want to ask of them, too much focus just on the prerequisites will not gain you full freedom, though.

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Rafe

I’ve been a movement teacher for 12 years. Beginning as a child, I practiced various martial arts, started gymnastics at age 15, and parkour at 23. I was also lucky enough to grow up at the end of a dirt road surrounded by woods. I spent my childhood climbing trees, hiking up creek beds, swimming, and throwing rocks and sticks. Learn more.

Comments (3)

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    Ruppert

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    Rafe, this is a great thought to explore, thank you. Coming from “Fitness” over the course of the year I have been more and more intrigued by “Movement” and studied mainly Ido Portal (everything I could find).

    No matter how much GST or mobility work I do, I still feel this lack you describe as the inability to project movement capability outwards.

    I hope to catch one of your seminars in Europe in 2016, take care.
    Ruppert

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    Rafe

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    Thanks Ruppert Glad you enjoyed the post I hope to catch you in europe this spring.

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    Dr Chris Frykman

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    I agree – both would be best. I don’t value what you label as internal over external or vice versa. I feel both have value. I see what you mean though. There is an odd imbalance in that which is sought, at least in the media, and thus in the dabblers. People that are in this for themselves will eventually find the right equilibrium for themselves. Love your work Rafe. Keep it up.

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