Spud had put his journey out there. Going back to his quad tear under 1205 lbs and leading up till now he explains what happened to him both mentally and physically. There is a lot of personal trauma in here, but there is also how he has recently come out of a brain funk that he has been stuck in for close to 10 years.
Been on the go for a couple weeks now so I won't really even try to post any training shit. That is really okay as the title says, i was boldly going where no man has gone before, scratch that, plenty of people have been there. It was more like Frodo and Bilbo at the end of the Lord of the Rings where where they board the ship to go to the land of the Elves for eternal life. After you have saved the world, what else is there to hold you there , right? . Ok it wasn't like that , but it was sorta like I was hearing that sad music and there disposition of sadness. Okay maybe just the sad music for a minute or two. There is some very pretty and bright lights, shit sorry, that sounds like the fucking end too. It all turns out good and you can really think of Guardians of the Galaxy at the end when they combine together to defeat Ronan and Ronan says,"How are you doing this!??" and Peter says," You said it yourself bitch, we're the Guardians of the Galaxy, !" Sorta like that in my head.
Alittle back up here. For several years now , I have been beating myself up. This is all self imposed stress and physical torture. After the quad tear, geeze I know, I keep bringing that dead fossil up. It was 2007 and it changed my course and of which the course changed many times after that but I bring it up as somehow that bitch circles back in this story. Just when you think that it is dead, hello, we aren't quite finished yet. Sort like those letters from puppy love along time ago when every second was a eternity and life was actually felt although it is more hormonal torture and no actual fucking knowledge of the world. But you read those letters many years later and even though you be growed...some of that nonsensical emotion rises to the surface as you magically go back there.
The clif notes of the past nine years is this for the people who are new here.
-Tore quad off trying to squat 1205lb. Rehabed myself
-Lost 110lb and got in my undies for a bodybuilding show over next 10 months.
-Final realized I was broke and bought a going broke supplement store and opened three more stores over three more years while simultaneously guiding the growth of the Spud Inc strap line. Oh and don't forget the two contract postal units opened in two of the stores during this time and last but not least old faithful, my first love and sweet heart , the gym. Many children to spead the love to.
-During this years, tore out superspinatus and infraspinatus in left shoulder, surgery-nothing to reattach. Twoish years later, busted out right shoulder but thanking someone in the quantum world, I was able to have that repaired. Rehabbed both of them.
-Countless tears and rips to the body while training.
-Too stubborn to seek help running stores so managed all of this for several years. Realized in 2015, management of people and stores was a futile effort. All i did was hire , train and fire/they quit people. Towards the end, employees and managers lasted 3 to 6 months. Money was okay and we were profitable but at the end of the day, the stress was more then its value. Plus I suck at managing people. We tried really hard every way(yes every fucking way you can imagine) but in the end I closed two stores.
-Praise Jesus right?. Finally some freedom and parole from my own self imposed prison? I can really work on some shit now-get back in the game. Well , no it didn't go like that. 2016, saw a slightly brighter light till April when I got diagnosed with HPV neck cancer that originated in the tonsil. We caught it pretty early. Six weeks of daily radiation and three sessions of chemo. Two scans later, the cancer shows dead and clear. Fingers are crossed the rest of yourlife..ah,,breathe deep
Now alittle closer to the point here. Over these years, the accumulated stresses of all these events took their toll. I am guessing the cancer was the final straw or the line in the sand as you may say but in reflection I was shutting down way before that. It just took the cancer to bring it all to a screeching fucking halt. When you have radiation and chemo it affects you physically and mentally. I had never heard of chemo brain but it is a mental fog. You don't remember things so well. It is hard to recall things. You need constant reminders or mega notes just for normal day to day shit. The list goes on and on with symptoms but the bottom line is you feel like a invalid or very elderly person who is loosing their physical and mental abilities. When you are mentally confidient, you are physically confident. I was neither.
With the face punch of cancer, that battle and all the other battles over the years. I was in very bad shape. All of my badges of honor(injuries, surgeries, general suffering of a powerlifter) reminded me daily of how much I didn't like training anymore(I still trained though) I disliked helping people or even talking about training. It grew old as fuck when people want where you have been but don't implement a fucking thing you say or think 'cause you did that shit a decade ago, you don't know what you are talking about or that it has no relevance to their training in this day and age. Not bitter at all here. This is part of the shut down process for me. Just the state of mind I am presenting. In general, I could not shut off the negativity and absorbed it from all angles.
The only person I wanted to help was the wife, Susan, as she wanted to improve her powerlifting and used everything I asked her to do. This was pretty much the only beacon of light and sanity I had for a period of time. I enjoyed so much the constant improvment of her training. Along time ago she did some meets and did okay but at the time we were all Westside training and had only begun to tweek it. That style didn't work for her(good base of strength but not a match for her physically) and she was into my lifting career at that time and then got swept up in helping me run the businesses and helping them grow. When she wanted to do meets again, I began fusing Sam Bryd's routine in with some Westside, some of the tricks we learned after pulled away from pure Westside(it just ran its course in its basic format at that time) and many of the things I had experimented with over the years. SIde note.After a Boris Sheiko seminarin August 2016 at Donnie's place I fused some of his philosophies in as well for her next meet. The result was alot of success in her training. She got really strong over a couple of years. She got super close to her goals at her last meet and I think realized what she can really do, As you can see and feel, this was about the only thing that brought me joy. Although, she likes to know ahead of time what she was doing for training and I purposely never told her. I had a general outline but never anything in concrete. This was nothing but pure fun to torture her with that. Ok, the boat is way off course here(or is it?) TIme to reel this shit in. I promise it will make sense.
In a time before the Cancer, I had begun to realize all these shutdowns. I think it is fair to say I was depressed too for a long time.... I told everyone we were going to the SWIS symposium this year . I don't know how I missed this for 16 years but last year(2015) when Donnie Thompson was a presenter along with JL Holdsworth , Stuart Mcgill and many many more great people,I wasn't missing this year. The bottom line was I had alittle epiphany that even though we were successful in alot of things, we weren't growing mentally or training wise-a directless direction. I always felt alive when I was learning and doing things. I was determined to get that back. Commiting to this was the first step. It was a ways off but gosh darn golly geeze we were going. Luckliy it was many months away at the time so when the cancer news hit in April we were still optimistic about going. A wait and see moment.
The painful reality of the cancer treatments and recovery presses you into another reality. A more present reality. You ain't got no choice but to face the grind of that shit. It is here and it is a now thing. Around this timeish, chemo brain is alittle bad at telling time, I saw a post of JL put up about helping Dave Tate fix a bunch of physical issues he had for along time. THey are well known by the way. I know JL as a straight shooter and when he said he learned some game changing techiques I was instantly in. No question asked, no researching that shit. I was signing up right then and there. I knew the second I read the post I was going to do this. He and a couple of other guys who were doing Reflexive Performance Reset(RPR) were putting on a workshop. It has its base in Douglas Heel's workshops and philosophy-Be Activated. So signing up I was until I realized that I might not be physically able to perform the work as the RPR workshop was shortly after radiation and chemo ended. Up until the Friday before the RPR workshop I was trying to get there constantly having the wife check flights and fighting the recovery battle and weighing my ability to not only do the work but also survive the work that would be done to my body learning this. I could not go. Just wasn't ready for it. This turned out to be the best thing for me and the wife as I talked her in to going to Douglas Heel 's Be Activated workshop in October. Of course the very week after the SWIS Symposium and two weeks before her major powerlifting meet in Baton Rouge, La.
October is here and off we go to Swis. I was still very foggy and mentally not back yet. Chemo brain can take up to five years to recover from and sometimes not at all but normally it is back in some months. My recovery from neck cancer was and is a very slow process. I was back to training and doing cardio and was adding weight back on from a low of 205lb at the end of June to October at about 220lbs. My taste buds and saliva production are about the only thing lagging but beer started tasting better and better and that is enough for me. Anyhow, I was still tiring quickly and still felt dusty in the head when we got there, but the adrenolyn and excitment roused me. The atmosphere is filled with anticipation of learning new things. The hardest thing was picking speakers to attend as some conflicted with others I wanted to learn about and hear. Some were old friends like Donnie, JL and Dave. Luckily Dave's topic was opening a gym/facility which I did not give two shits about so getting out of that was easy. JL's I knew i would do a week later so out of that. Donnie's I can get anytime and knew alot ot it already so off the hook there and not hurting any feelings. I would say it bothered me some but the reality is I wanted to learn and absorb so I picked the ones that interested me most. Dale and Susan picked theirs too but some overlaped.
I had heard this before but if you can get one takeaway from a speaker that makes it worthwhile. Well, we got that and a whole lot more. I get into some weird shit and some of it is out there and I believe there is some way to apply things to any training and life.
Our first day was a full day with Stuart McGill. Pretty much, one of the top back guys in the world. We got a full lecture and a great hands on workshop covering his essentials of eliminate pain first and build a painfree foundation second. I enjoyed both parts with him. What was interesting was he was a big Pavel Tsatsouline fan and had worked with him alot. Part of the workshop was utilizing Pavel's techniques that we had learned back in 2004-2005 going to RKC school and helping as assistants later on. They weren't new then either but new to us at the time. Just goes to show how timeless some things are. Other things learned were bracing, mobilty, stiffness/strengthing, and static exercises. By the end of the day, I was exhausted but excited to implement some of these ideas.
Day one of SWIS is like a school you actually want to go to. The recess between classes is about 30 minutes so you can catch up and actually talk to the presenters which is a plus for this type of event. Of course whatever you get in the class, there are plenty of books to further your interest and we grabbed a few. What was funny was I was walking down the hall and look over at Christian THibaudeau's booth and because I am old and my vision is going bad I misread one of his books "The Black Book of Training Secrets but what I saw was , " THe Black Dude Book of Training. At first I said that is weird and kept on trucking but honestly I didn't even know whose booth it was till later after his presentation when I actually was close enough to read the title. Just goes to show you I was notseeing well or comprehending things clearly.
But back to Day One. David Leaf and Peter Jalliet both spoke on topics I had always had interest in; diagnosing ailments in the body. These involve muscle testing , eye light therapy and different supplements to bring things back in line. Mostly these are brain based techniques and diagnosis to determine muscular and mental imbalances in the body. Dr Jalliet was doing some testing on Bill Kazmiaer which was cool to witness.
The afternoon was spent with Christian Thibaudeau and the SWIS panel on steroids which included Dorian Yates, Eric Serrano, Scott Stevenson and several other people. I can't remember everyone's name. Back tracking a little, I will say I thoroughly enjoyed Christian's presentation. He presented some new takes and additions to eccentric and forced contraction work in a loaded stretch position. Although nothing new here, he presented ways to incorporate these into any program, be it bodybuilding, powerlifting, weightlifting-any sport. Application depends on what you are after in training. He talked about recovery and what happens in the muscle. It was a energetic and passionate presentation. Got a lot of useful information so I would recommend his books and if you have a chance to see him in person, please do.
The steroid panel was also very interesting. As was stated at the panel, they wanted to address the elephant in the room about PED's. I think half the people just wanted to hear Dorian speak. I know I did. But I also wanted to see if there was really going to be an open discussion about these things and it was as long as I stayed. It was a educational experience for those not familiar with the subject. This ended Day 1 which was great and tiring.
Day two got cracking at 830am with Karim Dhanani. I had already picked this guy based on his presentation title-Advanced German Biological Treatment for Metabolic Disorders. I know, sounds cool, right? I was told by a friend when I mentioned who I was wanting to see as , "He is one of the smartest guys in the room. " Well as a weirdo, it is for me, his discussions involved EMFs and how they affect the body. Like for example, he talked about the studies linking your cell phone in your pocket all the time to sterility in males. He talked about Blue Zones (EMF free area). He talked about quantum mechanics and quantum biology (this was weird as I have been listening to a couple of books about both of these topics as they both interest me greatly). I like training and all the ideas of training which to me include how cells interact and function with each other. How it all works together. So this was worth it by itself. But still plenty of time in the day here.
Sat in on some of Chris Duffin's section. Picked up a couple of tidbits on foot cueing there. Then it was Meadows and Stevenson. This was a productive time as well. Both of these guys discussed cellular mechanisms and functions for muscular growth and some strength aspects. This too was a open discussion on what happens and what you can do to maximize all aspects of recovery and growth. Another couple of guys I would highly recommend if you get a chance if you really want to understand how things work with diet and growth.
Last up was Dorian Yates. Being around for along time he is the guy I admired for his work ethic and humbleness about what he did. He talked about his career, his training philosophy and what it actually took to get to the top. Hearing the stories of shows, what he did for training and how he handled things was fantastic. He didn't pull any punches and you got whatever you asked about. Probably one of the best presenters in my opinion.
So if you can go to SWIS next year, it is worth every penny to go. It will be action packed and the sad part is you have to make decisions on who you can see. I think I could have sat in on just about everyone who presented. There were over 36 presenters. Venue was great. Ken Kinakin put on a hell of a show and continues to improve it yearly. You can get the DVDs of the presenters as well. Just too much information for anyone in this industry or who just wants to learn and continue to make progress.
So super excited when we left. I was still a train wreck physically and mentally but I was recharged again-adrenaline high as I would find out. I bought lots of books from the people I saw like the good attendee I was and dove into them on the way home and all week before we left again for Chicago with Douglas Heel's Be Activated and what would turn out to be a pivotal change in how I felt and also how I thought about how the human body works and performs.
A little SWIS story before we get into that. On Friday night I think, we went to dinner with JL and a few other people. JL was drinking a shitload of hot tea. I don't know the name of it but they bring you a dispenser with hot water in it and the tea below so you can make several hot tea beverages. JL was not alone in this tea drinking party. Personally, by the end of the day, I was ready for a beer and some eats. He had some work to do so he was just drinking his hot tea. This amused the shit out of me and I did my usual make fun of the little tea drinker in a powerlifter body. May I have a cup of tea, please in a terrible British accent. He then asks me to pass the menu. He is on my right so I pass the menu using my left arm which as you know does not have a infraspinatus or supraspinatus. I basically have to shrug up to get some leverage to pass the menu. He notices this and asks me if I want to do some RPR on it (Reflexive Performance Reset which is just the technical side of Be Activated-I will explain this later) My answer is always yes to this. I wanted a taste of what was to come next week. Just to give you a picture, I could not reach my face to touch my nose. My bicep and elbow and lack of rotators would stop me about 6 inches from my face unless I leaned in some to narrow the gap. So half buzzed up he is telling me to breathe into my belly and then he hits three or four spots on my front and back side around the shoulder and mid back. When I say hit, I mean dig in like a savage animal ripping some meat off the bone (well not quite that but you get the picture, painful) All this while trying to breathe into belly. We powerlifters are not know for subtlety. When he got done, he said touch your face. Not knowing what to expect basically slapped myself in the face pawing like if your arm went numb and you are trying to get it working again. But it wasn't numb, it just was not binding up or grabbing like before. For the first time in a very long time, I could touch my face easily and raise my hand over my head. He asked how it was and I joking said, "Great, I haven't been able to pick my nose with this hand in years" I literally jammed my finger up my nose to prove my point. Then over my head like I knew the answer to a question in class and was going, "Pick me, pick me..!) Not that I wasn't sold on this already just based on JL's word but that sealed it up. In less then one or two minutes, I had my arm and shoulder back. This was just a small teaser as I would later find out of what was to come. I was happily telling and showing everyone I could stick my finger in my nose. It is gross but when you haven't been able do simple things like pick your nose for years , it is the little things that make it better.
We arrived in Chicago on Friday for both Level 1 and Level 2 Be Activated workshops. We could have just taken Level 1 but being the over doer that I am I went for both. The wife who loves the learning too and sort of jumped in without knowing anything about it. She is the one who remembers the details, I just remember the generalities. I know she loved this as much as I did but had she known ahead of of time what the first day would end up as , she may not have went without knowing the end.
Day One we are there. I would not say bright eyed and bushy tailed but there. I was still struggling physically and mentally-lethargic but excited on adrenaline again . The first part of the day is introductions and what you are there for. I HATE THIS KIND OF SHIT. Never had enjoyed that kind of thing. I am the type of person who spends the time before figuring out what I am going to say and how I am going to say it, trying to mentally have the conversation rehearsed in my head. It never goes that way. Just anxiety and nervousness. This isn't the quick intro and you are done. We had 40 plus there and this took 3 or 4 hours as each person launched into their speal , some laying out their street creds and what they have done etc. Often this is just a posturing thing done by people to deflect why there are really there. As he went around the room, if he thought you were bullshitting he called you out on it. Some reacted poorly to it and they got blistered more. By blistered, I mean he dug deeper in the situation. You feel a little defensive out the gate so the room was awkward and uncomfortable at times as his conversations to people struck cords that maybe they didn't want struck. At first, I thought he was just an "arrogant ass know it all and I am the only one who has the keys to the universe so you have to play my game" guy. So it was tense during this time and I personally thought, fuck he is wasting so much time when he could be teaching. But the method to the madness is there and this part of the game helps to enhance the productivity of the course and how much you really get out of it. But not taking it personally is very very hard to do as the wife and I found out before the end of the first day. It really wasn't personal, just prep for what was to come.
Part of the deal is after each section, you have to work on a partner but also after each section you also have to get a new partner. So he separated the wife and me quickly. Nothing wrong with this but it is always easier to work with someone you know then you don't. You do get to meet new people and if you remember from earlier, I was really not into that at all. The fuzzy brain and shutdown was high so it required some focus and getting people to help as my note taking is absolutely shitty as well. I do better and learn more if I just listen and write down the minimum or I get caught up in the what did he say and did I miss something. I hadn't really worked on someone in a long time so my sense of touch and feel was way off. I fumbled for the first couple of sections. As we went on, it got better and with each completed section I felt personally a little better and better. Not awesome yet. It is sorta like when you go out drinking but the details evade you. General shit is fine but putting it all together was harder for me. That is another way to kind of frame my state of mind at this time. More aware but still not out of the coma yet.
So we finally get to the end of the day one. We have been working on people the rest of the day after introductions. Trying to keep up and learn this at the same time is difficult. His words at the beginning were, "We are going to fill your bucket up, then we are going to keep throwing water at it." There is no doubt this was happening and would happen for the next three days as well. We get ready to call it a day and I look at Susan and notice she is mad and tears of anger. We pack up and take off. I keep trying to find out what went wrong and don't get much till we get in the shuttle back to the hotel. Normally, she is always talking to the drivers, especially if they are foreign and talk back, but once in the van and the firestorm let loose with a f-bomb party all the way back to the hotel. There is a whole backstory leading up to this, but the gist is he invoked some really strong emotions from her past that she had tucked away nicely to deal with. With the activations and tissue releases from the day's work, these things can come to the surface so along with some things Douglas said and did, this fury came up and unleashed itself. We aren't sure if this was on purpose as he seemed to nail a lot of people this way but never with the same actions or words. Maybe the shit is just on the surface and no matter what it is coming out. Either way, I was not sure if I was coming by MYSELF for the next three days or not. I did tell her that I had no problem if she said I am "Gone Daddy Gone" (Violent Femmes song) but I would continue on. I was still funk-ta-fied meaning I felt better but I had not seen the light yet so I did for a brief second think we could both jet but then I knew I would miss the magic. My opinion was still the good was yet to come so I was staying no matter what. She told me she was going to return the next day but I thought it was a 50/50 crap shoot.
Morning rises and so does she. I am a little surprised that the house didn't win this one and we are heading in. She says she is just here for the techniques and to get it down. The walls seemed to be back up but not really with her. She was prepared if there was a battle it seemed. I was not. I think we both started to feel much better and the armaments of war would not be necessary at all on Day 2. Douglas was immediately off into the techniques and Day 1 hostilities seemed to be gone on everyone's part.
Gotta back track some to Day 1. Susan was one of the first ones to get tested. In his system or philosophy as we would come to be part of, the main idea and goal is for the body to: to breathe and to move. Without these you are dead, especially the breathing part. So you learn to breathe correctly first from the diaphragm. The vast majority of people do not do this including us. This also helps to bring your body into a less stressed and more parasympathetic state which I had not seen in a very very very long time. His first example was a baby breathing. They do not breathe from the chest but from the diaphragm (little tiny bellies expanding-funny to think about) so my point is that is how you start and simply that is where the breathing should try to go. Undoing decades of shitty chest breathing requires a constant thought on it. Then you have to get over your tum tum hanging out like a fat bastard. I am hoping this doesn't take decades.
The second part is to move but moving here means the right parts doing their job. It all boils down to compensations and before you think that is all there is to it, it ain't what you think here. In the Be Activated world, which this part is solely Douglas's creation, is his 123. Zone 1 basics are psoas/glute. Zone 2 is quad and abs. Zone 3 is tibia, arm, jaw . More to it then this but the main focus is everything movement based should originate with zone 1 firing first, then zone 2 and finally zone 3. This is how we started and how we are suppose to move. PS: muscle testing is the method used here to see what is working and to what degree if so. Before you get puffy chested and take a dump on this as some of you are, understand it is a way to see how parts function not the ultimate or defining way function is seen.
Most people are Zone 2 , Zone 3 with other connections or big fat 0s. Zeros mean nothing is really used effectively, you just don't activate it . Back tracking to the back tracking, you probably figured out what the wife was, yep zero. Douglas did her tests and I figured from the introductions where she told everyone she was a powerlifter with a meet coming up in 3 weeks that was his reasoning. Not to make fun, but because his curiosity was peaked. After testing zeros across the board, Douglas then began to ask me questions about her lifting and how I coached her. This is also a major part of the philosophy, listening to the client/patient and getting to the bottom and root of the issues. I told him I give her cues on various lift like "UP" on the squat or hold the bar, etc. Up to the front, man, then. He sets up her test again and has me give the 'UP" cue for the squat. I say it in a medium voice and he tests her and gives it up right away. He screams at me to give her the command louder again and I yell "UPPPP!" like I would in a meet while he tests her and she locks down hard. He says ahh, you need adrenaline to make the connections in his South African District 9 guy's voice. This may have been the ground work for the meltdown later in Day 1 , who knows, but nobody wants to be a zero at anything especially someone who going to attempt to squat 400lb plus in three weeks. He worked with her breathing to show her how it shores you in the squat and roots you to the ground. This was not the usual small breathe into the belly, let your abs push out on the belt on the descent I have used and dived out for years. Nor is it bracing in the sense McGill talks about or others. It sort of becomes all of that without relying on anyone thing. The only difference is the breathing is independent of the movement. It is a rhythm that flows with the movement. Completely counter to all things but so is this course. The wife practiced this up to the meet with great success but with the heaviest weights it is not natural yet. I don't know if if can be fully utilized with a G/Rack/1000lb on your back but I do know there is a way to incorporate it into really heavy training-well training of any sort period.
So my Day 1 was not as tragic and I am not a volunteer guy but in my hazy desperation I knew I had to get more involved. I complained of the lack of rotators in my left shoulder and not being able to do some of the work so he brought me up , asked me to think of a very negative person in my life and a mentor/positive figure. He demonstrated that the negative person clearly influenced performance. My positive character was Rocky because he always has to get up and fight. Well he said it has to be a real person. This is how foggy and shutdown I was. Rocky was the best I could do at that moment. After I got someone real and positive in my brain, it was also clearly evident as I flapped both arms up and down like a bird that my rotator-less flight was very possible. Just shows how much the brain gets in the way of performance, not matter what level you have been at.
So for the rest of Day 1 and Day2, I had to hear my negative person's name over and over from Douglas. Slightly annoying as the person I had picked was and is still super negative but not life draining as she used to be. Still the performance point was obvious in the beginning of Day 1 but by Day 2 the charge it had left and is no longer there. In the old days, I would tell people I had a invisible shield I could put at any time and not absorb the negative energy. Over time my ability to thwart off this dwindled down to zero. But after this work over two days, I don't know if I will need a pretend shield.
Day 2 ,I got more personal time with Douglas. He talked about tennis elbow and bicep tendon/forearm tendonitis. I raised my hand and got to get hammered. Now when you think about these problems -lats , ribs and pec work don't come to mind. He worked these areas until they were activated and loose. When I stood up, my bicep/foreman tendonitis was gone and the bottom of my lats and back had dropped out and looked much larger and fuller. The tendonitis and tightness including muscular had gone away without any forearm massage work and trust me I have had thousands of dollars of massage to help battle this and many other things and in 20 minutes it was gone and the muscles looked better, larger and fuller.
By the end of Day 2, we were both exhausted again but this time it was a feeling of accomplishment and a reward for making it. This sequence began to make more and more sense but also at the same time still baffled us and both of us have seen a lot of workshops, seminars and presenters speak. This was also the end of Level 1 and we still had two more days on Level 2 but there was zero dread of the actual long days or thinking we would have to weed through it and find what we needed. Normally when I am gone from the businesses and home this long I freak out (unless it is vacation) but I really didn't think about work much. I just thought about how good I was feeling mentally and physically.
Eager for Day 3 and Day 4. Level 2 was a smaller class but still plenty of people. A few new faces including JL who was here to make sure he had this down pat but overall the majority had done Level 1 as well. As you can guess, Day 3 and Level 2 started out with introductions around the room. This time I was not agonizing about this. It was more just plain I wanted to get into more of it. Apparently the complete physical and mental change had occurred. Everyone of the instructors helping Douglas all remarked about the awakening which honestly that is what it felt like. I thought about the DeNiro movie "Awakenings" briefly but that does not have the greatest ending so out the brain it went. That look they had seen many times before with the changes that happen. Some are just physical and people just feel and move better-some like me have a large emotional release along with the physical. Actually most have a emotional release as well that is not easy to comprehend or accept at times. But I am not afraid to say it. I have no idea how it happened and if I had not been through this, it would have been much more difficult to comprehend. It is still very difficult to explain, well sorta impossible. It just works. You get reconnected again and not in the Matrix way either. The comment from Douglas was and remember he is a surfer from Cape Town, South Africa so District 9 voice is invoked," Two days ago we couldn't get you to talk, now we can't get you to shut up!" It was exhilarating true and I did not and still not care. You can also attribute some of the high from toxin release and forcing myself to constantly breathe using the diaphragm-oxygen high. A way I can describe it is, like when you are young and you vibrate with energy and enthusiasm and actually WANT to do things. The main difference is that you can understand it and comprehend the feelings and connections better. When you are young you don't know any of the life shit yet and how to deal with it. Now it is "hocus pocus" I know but I did say it was near impossible to understand it. Part of this is also you aren't suppose to totally understand it, you just get to enjoy it if you want. I haven't even got to the best part yet! That is the crazy part. If you have ever read anything on quantum mechanics it is hard to explain, comprehend and basically at this time can not be physically proved. As Einstein has said about the quantum world,"It is spooky action at a distance." That is Be Activated and what happened to me except the distance part but I can't disprove that either either mathematically or anecdotally.
As I was telling you, JL and a couple of other guys are working on a technique based workshop so he and Douglas apparently met about that on the night of Day 3. So Day 4 I came bouncing in still high as a kite and nothing fazing or bothering me ready for another day. The previous night he told Douglas about my cancer earlier in the year and my 1205lb squat accident. He asked me briefly why I didn't mention it. I didn't think it was relevant to the class at the time and I didn't want the sympathy or pity from it. But the reality is that it goes back to giving all the information to help make the best diagnosis possible and understand the mental stresses the person you are trying to help. So that was the small talk before class started.
Level 2 is a few more activations to learn, diagnosis tips, etc but mainly it is visual field blockages and other traumas stored in the body both athletically and from life in general such as accidents. Athletically it can be things like why a athlete doesn't play a particular side or direction well. It can show weaknesses or vulnerabilities in their visual field. You can think of it sorta like the keeping a negative person in your mind and going weak or the positive person who connects you and makes your performance stronger like with my flapping rotator-less flight I spoke about or if you have a player who if you hit them in a particular spot or block their vision in a certain way, they are very weak on that side. It can also explain why they keep ripping things and injury prone after many years of successful lifting. You guessed it-me! PS: any athlete anywhere, not just lifting related.
Day 4 rolls on and we learn all kinds of new things. All spooky action at a distance techniques. Perspectives you may heard before or thought of but just never put together as a way to analyze and help a person. At a point in the day he calls on the three instructors to pick people for the next round of visual tests and activations to help with this. The first two pick people and the last instructor is in the back. Remember I said i wanted as much as possible done on me. I lean out the aisle and look backwards towards her hoping to get picked. She in fact picks me. I later asked her about this and said I intentionally looked back towards her hoping to get picked. She tells me she didn't even see that. Universe talking right? Not that I needed more help at this time as I was still flying high, but this picked turned into one of the biggest ah ha moments and releases I have had in my life.
I can't really remember what he was working on with the other two. I thought I would get some of the same just meant for me personally based on my issues. The other two take a really long time and I begin to think that I was gonna get passed on as the day was getting away and thought there was more to cover techniques. But the reality of Level 2 is that this is pretty much what the last day is. Case work and diagnosis. At the moment I think we are done he has his arms crossed and begins to stare at me and stare at me and stare at me. District 9 voice comes on, "Marc tell me about your squat accident."
I am taken aback slightly as I did not expect this at all. But I launch in to the story. The day, the time, the atmosphere. The whole kit and kaboodle. I tell the story, the weight I was trying, what I felt on the way down, the rips(yes plural) , the crowd's dead silence after it happened. He asks me a couple of questions. "Where did you end up?" and "Were your eyes open or closed?" I ended up face down with my eyes closed waiting on the pain to happen as I screamed in anticipation of the pain. Now, are you ready for the voodoo?
Here we go. He says okay, lie down in that position with your eyes closed. Everyone in the room comes up and circles to watch and support. I am in that zone again. I am down on the ground with my eyes closed. He says now try to stop me from flipping you over anyway you can. He proceeds to grab me by the arm and flip me easily even though I try to turn in and stop him. He grabs me in a couple places and continues to flip me easily. I asked the wife what it looked like from the outside. She says it looked like a fish flopping on the ground when he pulled on me. Literally tossing me around.
He then asks me again about the very moment after I shot forward and laid on the ground screaming thinking about the pain to come. At that moment he reaches up under me and rubs the shit out of my sternum which is an activation breathing point for the diaphragm. He continues to rub but hold it in my mind. He tells me several times I am safe during this process. The wife was reliving this moment as well and was a little overwhelmed. Both her an JL broke off some tears. He was there too at the meet. I am literally cutting some tears as I write this now. This moment is very powerful. Douglas continues to ask me to hold it my mind and rub the sternum until I take a huge breathe into my diaphragm and he stops. I continue to lie there and breathe huge breathes, so much so that the air expands into my back as well. As I laid there I am just limp, relaxed, breathing not thinking of anything. I am just there. He then says okay , let's redo the test where he asks me to stop him from flipping me over. He says on the count of 3, stop me. This time he grabs me a pulls much harder then he did before or that is what it feels like. He can't move me at all. He anchors down to get better leverage and then says we are going to try it again. This time as he counts down from 3, I feel myself tighten and grip down. This ability was not there during the early test. All I can say is I felt like my body was gripping and literally digging into the ground and I felt like I had two or three more gears I could hit. The result was even straddled he couldn't move me a inch and he was turning red trying to move me. I couldn't see or believe so I asked the wife and she described it to me. Literally felt like I was growing into the floor as he pulled.
As I get up from this. He asks me how I feel . I am overwhelmed with what I feel as release. I tear up and heave some trying to get it under control. He says this is part of it. I tear and heave a little more. I settle down. It is hard to talk at this moment. He says, "Maybe it's not that the pain never came, maybe in that moment your body shut down and has never turned back on?" He is referring to me lying on the ground right after the squat accident. I had never thought about it like that.
Upon later reflection, I understand why the squat accident happened in the first place. It was not the partial quad tear leading up to this meet. It started in my shoulder when the infraspinatus tore off completely during the descent of the 1205lb squat. At the time I thought it was the rear delt, which at that moment under the bar, I made the decision to continue on with the squat. Now I understand that ripping the infraspinatus off left my quad open with no support. Without the connection from my arm to the rest of my body, the partially strained quad gave way. I can explain it this way too. Up until this point, I had PR'ed all during the training cycle-1300lb box squat with bands and bar weight, reverse band with just briefs around 1100 , doubles with 1050 and 1005 in the same night and several others. The sprain was early in the cycle or right before the cycle began. So the strength was there the entire cycle . It won't make sense unless you understand what is functioning in the body to help you perform work with this system. I tested out at a 333 arm so I believe that was also the case back then. Not a 100%, just my hunch.
Now, some more what the hell are you talking about. The squat accident which shut me down led me to further shutdown over the years. This my opinion after a lot of thought. My body shut down and never came back online except under extreme stress which I added to with the bodybuilding show 10 months after my quad tear, buying a failing supplement store and raising it back from the dead, opening 3 more stores, helping build Spud Inc Strap line, finishing off the left shoulder and then ripping off the right one and so on and so on. Staying in a highly stressed sympathetic state for close to 10 years and never really coming down led to my physical and mental shutdown leading up to my desperation and hunt to find what I thought I had lost with SWIS and Be Activated helping to fill these voids and point me in a direction again.
My intentions before SWIS and Be Activated were just to get back in the game and learn again. I had spent so much time building things over the years that I neglected what I felt to be the most important part-my passion for doing things. I was so tired of being stressed and not enjoying life. SWIS is the part where I found some of what I was looking for. The learning part, the part that leads to other things. The curiosity to get better and see what else is out there to help people and in turn drive my own passions. Like anything else you like, one thing leads to another. SWIS is a awesome experience and I will go again and again.
Obviously if you have read this whole thing, you have realized that the Be Activated is the most important and life altering experience for me in a very long time. Besides the quest of powerlifting, nothing has changed me this much. I can honestly say that if I had found this during powerlifting, I would NOT have torn a fraction of what I ripped and strained. The only surgery I would have had was the bumble move I did falling and partially tearing the triceps in late 2006. This system is so simple and easy to apply to anyone. Once you roll someone through the process they can do it themselves-except a few on the backsides. Every person can get benefit from this-mentally and physically. The applications for training in any sport is another article altogether. At the end, I asked why doesn't everyone know about this. I can't believe all the surgeries people would not have to have-I am not just talking athletics either here. I am a anxiety driven person with constant adrenaline release because of self imposed stresses both real and perceived and I am easily the least stressed I have ever been in my LIFE. I now look and people and ask them if I can do some of these activations in the moment. These are what I call rough house activations without the testing you need to do. The testing gives you a baseline and also allows people to see and feel changes almost instantly. But when I do these rough house activations the relief is immediate. You see the changes in their faces right way. They relax visibly in their faces and their muscle becomes loose. Their bodies seem to flow easily like they are suppose to with way less joint pain. It is really amazing to see. If a person keeps up with the activations, these changes will stay. I have found the super high part from Day3 for about two weeks after goes away but I stay calmer now-way calmer and certainly more lucid.
Be Activated is a philosophy because it can not be explained. You must go through it. Part of it is newer and part of it is very, very old(Trust me, I have chased it down the rabbit hole, what is funny is one of the guys doing RPR techniques said that was all there was too it when I asked, I keep chasing and found out a whole bunch more). It is melted together in a way works simply and quickly. It follows its creed for the body to do what it is suppose to do-Breathe and move freely. It is also a philosophy because it ain't about glory, it is about helping people live and function better. It is something that if you know it, you have to pass it on. I started going through the activations with a old friend of mine when i realized something. I looked at him and said, " Cedric, this is a gift given to me and now I give it to you."
PS: If you can't get to one of Douglas' workshops or just want the technique side, make an effort to get with JL, Cal and Chris on their RPR (Reflexive Performance Reset) seminars based on Be Activated. I can't thank JL enough for giving this gift to us.