Movement inspiration 1/5/14: Climb a Tree

Climbing is one of the basic motor skills of a competent human being. Our closest relatives are incredible climbers and our last common ancestor with them appears to have been primarily arboreal. We have developed towards bipedal walking and running as our major means of movement but climbing has always remained a vital physical skill and a major part of the human movement adaption.

Modern hunter foragers frequently climb to get honey and fruit, and to scout game, and small children take up climbing around the same time they can walk. Climbing trees is a favored past time of kids worldwide and yet most adults can not climb at all anymore, and many movement disciplines completely ignore climbing. Even in parkour where climbing is obviously necessary for overcoming any obstacle too high to jump on top of, it is largely ignored in favor of the more visually impressive jumps and flips.

There are a number of climbing-derived disciplines I admire highly; bouldering and rock climbing of course, but also gymnastics’ rings and bars, and circus aerials, however all of these later disciplines are very derived from the basic primal patterns, and tree climbing which is so attractive to children everywhere seems strangely underdeveloped.

I think everyone should climb, and climb like a kid; climb trees whenever possible and any thing else that can be found and will do, you should not have to go to a rock climbing gym or drive hours to a crag to feel like you can climb.

I grew up climbing trees to build forts, climbing trees to watch sunsets, climbing trees to sway in wind storms, climbing trees to get away from it all and climbing trees just because. To this day a walk in the park for me more frequently than not involves a few tree climbs.

So today I challenge you to climb a tree as part of your training; if you can’t find a tree, use anything you can find.

Your inspiration for the day is this beautiful tree climbing video from England’s lakes district:

and this very innovative child showing us the creativity and physical vitality that being free to play can develop:

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