When Play Becomes Fierce
Updated: Apr 14, 2020
How tough are you on a scale of 1-10?
How did you discover your strength?
Do you wish you were a little bit more of a badass?
"If anything, I'd like to be a little stronger...because strong people are harder to kill."
- Dr. Eric Cobb
We sit at desks most of the day. We rarely move, and when we do, it's a walk to the kitchen. We vacation on cruises, where we can lounge at the pool, and everything we need is a few steps away. This is how we live, yet we are surprised when our bodies break easily: bones fracture, muscles stay sore, and sickness settles in for a long term lease. We can't seem to recover.
Unfortunately, we tend to dismiss the crystal clear reality, and write it off as the cost of growing old. I recently had dinner with a couple friends I hadn't seen for a long time. Steven started to list his ailments, like war wounds, except he hasn't been in battle. Cindy, not to be outdone, gave a thorough report on her injuries, poor health, and chronic pain. "I guess we just have to chalk it up to getting older", Cindy summarized.
Well. Hell no!
While this might be true for some of us, often it is not. It is an excuse. The reality is that our decrepit, fragile state is a direct result of our training. Too many times, we blame age, knowing there is a greater truth. We've trained for nothing. Our bones are brittle because we have not needed them to be strong. Our walk to the kitchen has not required a powerful heart. We give up too easily, physically and mentally, because we have not stretched our boundaries.
Most of us started "fragility training" when we stopped playing. Remember how you used to move when you were young? Remember the exhibitions of explosive strength and athleticism at the playground? Swinging, jumping, dancing, spinning, swirling, and sliding were natural. When and why did these movements become unnatural?
I have always loved endurance sports, because they offer a place where I can explore and push my boundaries. The combination of endorphins with the sense of accomplishment after training often makes me feel unstoppable. It is a good feeling; a fierce feeling. Some studies warn of health risks associated with endurance sports, but I take these with a grain of salt. It seems unwise not to "frame" the risks of endurance training in the context of something far more dangerous: not moving at all.
If you haven't moved powerfully in 20 years, it's time to start training again, because PLAY IS THE FOUNDATION FOR FIERCE.
Play is where we playfully experiment with our potential. It is the appropriate training ground for MORE. Play allows you to explore movement: new, novel, fun movement that informs further movement, and lays the foundation for MORE. In MORE movement, we begin to grasp powerful movement, and discover competency for mightiness that humans share.
In mightiness, we remember what we are. We are fierce, unstoppable, powerful beings, and we ARE HARD TO KILL!