Edward’s new book has just been published

What do evolution, thermodynamics, information theory and Bernstein’s degrees of freedom have to do with Crossfit, Suzanne Somers’ Thigh Master and Conan the Barbarian?

Click here to link directly to Edward’s new book, The Mass Psychology of Fittism:  Fitness, Evolution and the First Two Laws of Thermodynamics(For those in the UK and Europe, click here for Amazon UK link or here for Book Depository)

Learning to learn begins with a beginner’s attitude

Learning Taijiquan means to educate oneself. It is like slowly advancing from primary school to university. As time passes, more and more knowledge is gained. Without the foundations of primary school and secondary school, one will not be able to follow the seminars at university. Studying Taijiquan requires starting from the very bottom, working one’s way systematically and step by step towards the more advanced levels. Someone who does not accept this, thinking that he may take a short cut, will not be successful 

-Master Chen Xiao Wang

Click here for a humorous personal account of what it means to learn with a master (in this case, Master Chen Xiao Wang).

What do Bill Evans, Miles Davis and Floyd Mayweather have in common?

“It’s better to do something simple, which is real… something you can build on because you know what you’re doing…. Over a long period of time you have to be aware of what is really accurate and what is not.”

                                                                                                          -Bill Evans

Legendary jazz pianist Bill Evans, revolutionary trumpeter Miles Davis and boxing great Floyd Mayweather are all known to be masters of improvisation. Many think of improvisation as being an easy, stream-of-consciousness type of outpouring that requires little in the way of preparation. Yet, just as with producing superior works of art, dance, architecture, literature, science, engineering, or social science, producing a good improvisational piece requires thousands of hours of painstaking attention to the bare fundamentals–fundamentals that once better understood or even mastered, allow the artist/athlete to move in unexpected directions. Perhaps it’s no accident that boxing is called, “the sweet science.”

What are constraints? (And why are they essential for learning?)

“So many witnesses observed the utter freedom of his flights of thought, yet when Feynman talked about his own methods he emphasized not freedom but constraints.”

              -James Gleick (in reference to Richard Feynman’s use of constraints in physics)

Watch this video to see a highly imaginative use of constraints applied to the game of basketball (Apparently the Belgians are not only innovators in the world of soccer!)

Humanism, European Football & Feldenkrais

“Perhaps what really differentiates Bruyninckx from other coaches is that he is not only interested in creating better football players, but also wants to create better human beings…”  (from the article)

Click here for a fascinating look into the highly imaginative and humanistic approach of Belgian football coach, Michel Bruyninckx. Bruyninckx’s innovative use of constraints along with measures for cognitively overloading players provide an excellent model for learning and integrating a myriad of complex patterns while removing the unnecessary self-judgment. I call it the Feldenkrais-Erickson-Inner Game (Moshe Feldenkrais, Milton Erickson, W. Timothy Gallwey) approach.

What if we’re being conditioned in such a way that we can no longer read anything in depth? What if the way we read influences the way we think?

“In the world of 2001, people have become so machinelike that the most human character turns out to be a machine. That’s the essence of Kubrick’s dark prophecy: as we come to rely on computers to mediate our understanding of the world, it is our own intelligence that flattens into artificial intelligence.” (from the article)

Click here to read Nicholas Carr’s insightful article in the Atlantic on how technology has changed and continues to change the way we live and think.

 

A nice look into some of the biomechanics, physiology and emotions in the 100m dash

Look for the metatarsal-tibia-femur connection as well as the metacarpal-ulna-humerus connection in the super slow motion sequences (5:50-6:00 and 11:50 to 12:24). Both connections work in spirals. Also listen to the role of emotions, trying too hard and the resultant “co-contractions” (or what Feldenkrais would call, “parasitic contractions”) in Asafa Powell’s defeat to Tyson Gay  (35:26 to 26:15)