Conor McGregor and Gunnar Nelson learning with Ido
11 Nov, 2015
Recently i've had the pleasure and honor to work and teach UFC fighters
Conor McGregor and Gunnar Nelson in preparation for their upcoming
fights in Vegas on December 12th.
What a great experience...
These guys are into movement, I tell ya. It's a 24/7 obsession - it's
the main subject in conversations, dinners, drives and of course on the
mat. We were geeking out on it totally.
We hit it off right away- I took them through a few good hours of
movement drills, body prep, tactical games, locomotion and some beginner
corset protocols. Their bodies are quick to adapt, react and crave the
challenge. Their mind is strong in development and desire.
Many who are only exposed to the UFC fighters from the media would be
surprised to discover these men are honorable, respectful, filled with
gratitude and walking the martial arts path and code. They are also
showmen and confident but most confuse these different layers and cannot
see beyond the entertainment.
Conor was repeatedly thanking me for sharing my knowledge, showered me
with gifts, great meals and generosity. Very strong character, smart and
powerful but also gentle, thoughtful and delicate.
Gunnar - obsessed with the animal kingdom, a passion we share and a very
special mover and person. Gunnar does things 'his own way' and does
I made it a point to expose these great fighters to a few subjects not often discussed within their field:
The importance of softening the body up again and again to combat the undesired side effects of their hard training.
What is allowed to harden will ultimately crack and break, the hardening
nature of getting hit again and again will produce side effects such as
slower reactions, movements and will make offensive action limited.
The Softening Protocols that I use are not 'stretching' or 'flexibility'
mind you. They lead to incredible speed and effortless transmission of
force inside your kinetic chains and body.
2. Playing ALSO outside of the technical box
Limiting one self to fighting and sparring other fighters with similar
skill set and similar techniques will lead to stagnation in reaction
It is of course the main practice and a required one to pass through and
maintain but at a high level, there is a great potential in 'breaking
the mold' and throwing one self into different environments.
I had Conor and Gunnar react to sticks, different scenarios and under
different rules. They immediately assumed the 'Child Mind' and were able
to re-pattern themselves to the new requirements.
This left them fresh and activated and I've received from them
constantly comments on how sharp and loose they were feeling post
I took the guys through a shaking session to show them the potential relaxation, recovery and regeneration potential in it.
Shaking is done by most animals to remove stagnation, trauma and injury.
From cultural reasons we've stopped and blocked this practice and treat shaking and tremor as indicative of disease and illness.
Seeing their bodies respond to it was amazing. Fighters on this caliber
are walking scar-tissued traumatized bodies essentially. Multiple
conditions can arise from the amount of stress and injury present and
their bodies calcify, fill with adhesions and harden in response to
their life styles.
Shaking the way I teach it is an invaluable resource for every person and twice for the modern fighter, warrior, soldier.
Supporting Conor and Gunnar and teaching them some fresh angles on movement was simply... a great time, an honor and a pleasure.
I hold my fingers crossed for them in their upcoming fights, I have full confidence they will do very well.
Dear traditional martial artist,
I am here to save your life.
Or at least - your ego and a lot of wasted time sunk down to your neck in delusions.
I myself love the traditional arts. I still practice them and devoted many years to practicing them. I've gained great insights.
You have a beautiful practice. An artistic practice. A tradition. Full of wisdom, movement qualities, skill sets and real unique abilities, many of which definitely have combat applicability.
Modern fighting is standing on the shoulders of giants - your traditional arts!
And yet - don't mistaken that world for a REAL laboratory of fighting. Your dogma is obviously different if you don't engage in chaotic, realistic sparring practice regularly to test your assumptions of a fighting scenario.
Sport's and limited sparring like boxing, Judo, Wrestling are definitely BETTER THAN NO SPARRING but it should not be mistaken as well for a more complete sparring practice where points of failure can be observed quicker and easier - out of the realm of isolated discipline sparring.
YES. We know.
Its not 'the street'.
Its not the same with protective gear, with rings and octagons around you, with padded floors and with regulations. And its still as fucking close as you can get while minimizing injuries and allowing regular exposure to 'Realistic Chaos'. Its as close as we can get and it produces.... REAL fighting ability while eliminating delusions.
Here are some early moments of realizations, broken delusions and a developing understanding of the so needed AMALGAMATION and EVOLUTION. Those traditional fighters and sport's people were 'jumping from the stratosphere without a parachute' and putting their lifetime practice in the test of fire.
None of them would probably last much with the current fighters we have now- only 20+ years later.
Don't get me wrong - it might be that your life's aspiration is not to develop a REAL fighting ability. That's understandable in our modern world.
Then - the traditional arts are a great fit, an excellent movement practice.
What is not working well is spreading delusions of 'deadliness', 'techniques so dangerous we cannot spar with', 'street effectiveness' and other LaLa lands.
If you continue on that road - you might not discover the truth so quickly as in our modern reality - 'talk is cheap' and one can spread wobbly assumptions as... conclusions and perhaps without paying an immediate price but it will ultimately lead to other problems - as the gap between your untested beliefs and reality grows and grows. Personal problems.
And all this is so unnecessary. You have so much to give to people.
You even have so much to give to modern fighters!
If only you align your true dogma and your talk - all will be once more in place. All will make sense again.
SAVE YOUR LIFE.
SAVE YOUR PRACTICE.
TALK MOVEMENT - NOT FIGHTING.
I am really enjoying watching MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) once again lately.
was very much in tune with the field in the early days of UFC - 1990's
and even before but as most developing disciplines, my interest waned
off as the field became more and more specialized and the wide
laboratory of martial arts eliminated ruthlessly many many things. This was both MMA's great secret of success and progress but also a serious drawback.
early days were exciting. The only issue was that in some cases the
baby was thrown out with the bath water and things that *could work but
DID NOT work from this reason or that - were dismissed prematurely. Its a
rough game and conclusions must be made - that's the nature of the
For me the closest
to the moment of creation we stand- the more exciting the field is,
since I am examining it through the eyes of a generalist mover
and not via specialist - sports performance and technical evolution points of view alone.
same phenomenon reproduced itself a number of times in my head - breakdancing,
Parkour, Capoeira, Crossfit. My attention always is highest during
those early post-creation phases and/or the beginning of the
high sophistication/complexity phase. (in Capoeira - the sophistication phase happened centuries after creation)
As the whole thing becomes super
specialized and performance increase - my boredom sets in. (even though specific performance continues to increase!)
was excited to be excited again from MMA and it is all thanks to a
phenomenon that is happening under our noses and manifesting through
some interesting new fighters that are also.... Not only great fighters but
good Movers as well.
First - lets have a look at the very popular and outspoken Conor McGregor:
What more can be said about Conor?
outspoken but very exciting fighter to watch. Conor has mentioned
countless times now that his approach to the game of MMA is highly
MOVEMENT related and not just fighting related.
He has been following my work and mentions often various concepts and ideas I've popularized in interviews and media work.
And Conor is above all.... Applying.
is moving around and out of the box that is modern MMA. He is applying
techniques, positions, postures, footwork and offensive/defensive
movements that might be viewed as 'unorthodox' but that is exactly the
reason he is rising above the orthodox fighters.
more than anything a fighter with a great grasp of principles - timing,
distance, leverage, rhythm, etc. This goes beyond techniques.
always viewed principles as 'master keys' vs techniques which are
simply A key. (a concept I borrowed from my martial artist friend and
teacher Strider Clark) When you encounter a specific scenario, most
fighters start to browse through their set of keys but the best of the
best use these 'master keys' to resolve anything and immediately. No
wasted effort, versatile and immediate solution. In essence - principles MANUFACTURE
instant, scenario perfect and original techniques but techniques without
principles are guns without ammunition.
Conor is also known
as a 'big mouth', a 'cocky bastard', etc but I believe those
offended/angered are those who either do not understand show-biz, the
need to 'sell' yourself or get a serious 'ego response' to characters
like Conor. He is an entertainer and understands the value of being your own
On the subject of 'Loud Mouths' and 'Big Talkers'
let me share with you a point of view that is not common but I enjoy playing with none the less: (instead of
the same old same old fucking boredom)
Slick talkers who cant back their big mouth up have exponential decay when future unfolds.
souls who don't talk much but then outperform the expectation even just
by a little - benefit from exponential growth of their stocks.
most - better talk small - you might still disappoint but at least you
will be perceived as 'modest'. If you positively surprise - even by a
bit - you will be perceived as 'great' with MINIMAL performance to back
I suspect this is the source of much 'modesty' out there.
The real lions are the big talkers who outperform their big talk. (Ali, Churchill, Dali, Serge Gainsbourg, Jordan, etc)
approach requires some serious backing up due to increased expectations
and a pair of kahunas to deal with the risks. They can make their life
much simpler and decrease risk by talking smaller but their nature does
not support this.
Big talkers with big backs. Bigger than life.
They make things interesting and colorful and they sometimes bounce
their field in leaps and bounds forward using their belief, fire of
passion, obsession and most importantly their BIG MOUTHS, following the
strong rule of imagination-creation:
FAKE IT UNTIL YOU MAKE IT.
And Conor might have faked it but he is definitely MAKING IT.
exciting fighter but in a different point on the path I got to meet
last week in my workshop in London - Michael 'Venom' Page.
fighter to say the least, check it out:
What a great display of movement and principles: the footwork, the sense of distance, the use
of peripheral vision, (looking away but keeping the most movement
sensitive part of the eye engaged in the opponent...) the stamina that
can only come from looseness and relaxation and the great broken rhythm offensive work.
is very successful with straight blast KO wins one after the other and a
rising name in the field of MMA but above all - I appreciate his
innovation, contribution, originality and courage. This guy is leaving
his mark and changing dogmas often prematurely solidified in stone in
the field. ('Keep your hands up!' comes to mind as his moto is 'fighting
with hands down')
You'll have to catch him if you intend to put him away, no easy task!
type of movement that we see by the likes of Connor Mcgregor and
Michael Page stems from the GENERALIST MOVEMENT perspective that I've
been promoting for years now. How far can they go against the highly
specialized 'one technique 10,000 times' kind of fighters?
Hard to say but great strides are being made already.
And still - even if the specialists will eventually prevail - who do you truly enjoy watching
more? Who is contributing to the movement culture and the mma culture?
who is adding to our collective knowledge? who is examining, taking
risks, pushing the limits?
is certain, the entertainment value is high. New crowds are being drawn
to watch MMA - these FREE FIGHTERS are of great service to the industry
and community of MMA.
Conor McGregor, Michael Page - you have my respect!
Movement Camp 2015 is around the corner and you are now invited to send in your registration for this year's event.
The Movement Camp 2015
Dates: April 3rd (arrival), 4th-10th (camp), 11th- departure
Location: Phuket, Thailand
We will have this year an amazing combination of workshops and activities:
Our approach to dealing with gravity, obstacles, centrifugal and
centripetal forces, heights and fear management, balance and environment
aspects as well as 'death-bed artistic choices'. (the best kind of
Borrowing, digesting and offering our own unique
approach, style and methods while utilizing research into parkour,
military obstacle courses as well as natural and urban surroundings. Taught by the Ido Portal Team.
2. Flirting with A(le)XIS
Continuing development and latest research into the substantial body of
work Ido created - the movement language of Locomotion, (with over 1200
patterns so far) this time - new elements, new linking ideas, research
and use of a variety of modalities implementing improvisational work as
well as the study of inverting and hand-balancing through out of axis
flirting and error management application.
Taught by the Ido Portal Team
This workshop will focus on movement research through three main
layers- movement vocabulary, movement quality and movement concept.
Coming from the world of contemporary dance, Shai will be guiding the
workshop through specific patterns, principles, restrictions and
limitations and will expose the participants to a mobile, fluent and
refined way of moving that will follow by different ways to combine the
three layers mentioned above. The aim of this work is to open the
participants minds to the ability to re-compose, re-discover, re-organize things in new constellations and re-search, through
Taught by Shai Faran
4. Out There
directed martial play and guided improvisational work to develop our
systems - joints, musculature, nervous system,connective tissue and
minds in search of adaptation and expansion.
Participants will get a glimpse into a Ido's daily practice and latest research.
An examination of internal body architecture resetting, non-epithelial
breaks, CNS reprogramming and wire, whip, spiral bio-mechanics will be
presented and practiced.
Taught by the Ido Portal Team
5. Lectures, performances, round tables and discussions as well as other surprises!
6. Some of the best sports facilities in the world in the form of
Thanyapura Phuket - a 23-hectare sports, health and educational complex
on the island of Phuket in Thailand, featuring the best sports
facilities and coaching expertise in Asia, two resort hotels and an
award-winning organic restaurant, a unique mind training center, a specialized medical centre, and an international school.
7. The event will include full board with luxurious hotel rooms and full breakfast/lunch/dinner provided.ֿ
Cost: Single room- 3850 USD (full board with food, participation and accommodations included, but no flights and transfers)
Double Room - 3450 USD (full board with food, participation and accommodations included, but no flights and transfers)
For details and registration please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line 'MC 2015' followed by your full name.
Make sure to include in the message body:
Country of residence:
Movement Background: (in 30 words or less)
Room Type: Single/Double
(If sharing) Required Room Mate:
Bonus: attach a youtube/vimeo link (no attachments will be accepted) of you moving. (optional)
* Make sure you are ready to perform immediate bank transfer for the
sum required. You will receive in a reply from us details about transfer
and finalizing your registration.
* Unfortunately we can only allow one payment in advance for this year's event.
* In case of Cancellation up to Feb 15th we will only refund 60% of the
total cost of the camp. Any cancellation after Feb 15th is not
possible.ֿ From ANY reason.
* The Iportal company and Ido
Portal as the Movement Camp organizers maintain the right to change
curriculum, teachers and outlined schedule at any time prior to event
due to constraints that might arise
* The Iportal company and
Ido Portal as the Movement Camp organizers maintain the right to refuse
registration to any person that does not match our criteria for
We are very excited to have you moving and
studying with us in what is going to be the best Movement Camp so far
and a unique educational movement experience,
the Ido Portal Team
The Ido Portal style of rehab: we don't rush into surgeries, we are not big believers in total and extended rest. (You read it right)
We replaced the letters in the R.I.C.E Protocol (Rest-Ice-Compression-Elevation) with other essential four letter...
Movement- best therapist, biggest healer, most scientific (Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand) and often successful where other methods fail.
I've rehabbed my students from car accidents, broken backs, knee and shoulder surgeries, spinal fusions as well as the common small stuff. I've always used common sense (not so common any more) and lots of movement while avoiding pain but using discomfort in controlled levels as a gauge. You can only truly do this with someone you can work with personally and closely.
Is this for everyone? MOST DEFINITELY NOT. And still - those who can trust their judgment, work with their bodies and are used to deciphering its signals can recover faster than ever, avoid big surgeries, (many of whom you never truly recover from) and continue to move in and around injuries.
I hope this inspires more movers out there to research, investigate and discover a path to recovery, please share with your friends and close ones,
* Nobody screams in China EVER. They just speak. The last time a scream was voiced here was during the Xia dynasty. Yeah.
* It's a common habit to present two or three prices in China: one for
mainland Chinese, second for Hong Kong people. Third and most expensive -
for foreigners. Makes you feel equal and most welcome.
* Driving in China - extreme sport. Statistically, there are less
casualties in any war-hot-zone in the world than on Chinese roads
daily. In my first two days here I witnessed five car accidents.
* The number of improvised vehicles is immense. Anything between a
bicycle and a semi-trailer is available - from a motorcycle to a motor tricycle to a 'tok tok', etc,etc in
all kinds of mutated, home-garage made variations. They are big on the electric
bikes now. These are super cheap here but very dangerous and mostly to
save up on battery life they will drive them at night with lights off.
I found a charming thing here (yeah!!) - the Chinese will point out shyly if someone is attractive in
their eyes. It's somewhat charming. They will simply say: 'this woman is
beautiful' or 'you are handsome' and giggle.
* Throwing cigarettes at each other and banging glasses filled with
liqueur multiple times around the dinner table - common Chinese pass
times and signs of honoring someone. Try to decline. Just try... One of
my biggest accomplishments here during my visit was that I didn't smoke
and never sipped any alcohol. Actually - I never do and didn't plan to start here
but at times it was rough.
mysterious and misunderstood practice of Bagua Zhang - kind of reminds
me of coffee - strong, awakening, filled with hidden tastes but also
addictive, can be overdone and become central dogma in a practitioner's
approach. I enjoyed the daily discoveries dipped in pain of circle
walking and other Bagua drills. This was only a small part of the
movement vocabulary I was exposed to here.
* Many approaches inside traditional practices have been severely distorted and are misunderstood.
use of various functional, physiological, historical and cultural
prisms increase your chances of understanding what, when, if, how much
and who. (that was, at least, my attempt at approaching this)
Many training exercises that were developed to enhance a certain attribute were mistaken for actual end goals, I suspect. Simple deductive work, really.
Other drills and practices took on their own culture, central dogma and stage where perhaps it was never intended to be so.
* We traveled to a Daoist monastery on Sunday. I was introduced to a 94 year old Daoist teacher and a Xing Yi master. I could not verify his age, of course, but the person who introduced me to him was my teacher - a man I trust and believe in. Mind you, in China, age is a big thing and is often exaggerated - taken out of proportion.
Still - this man was MOST impressive.
He was very sharp and moved well. He had a set of perfect teeth (a rarity in Industrial/rural China even for a 30+ year olds) and seemed to be very involved in all that is around him.
At a certain point one of the local Daoist students of this teacher asked me to 'bang arms' with the master - a common demonstration of martial aptitude. I must say - I was very hesitant.
After all - this is a 94 year old man....
I approached him carefully and as he offered his out reached arm went in to strike it very softly.
I met iron.
The student seeing my hesitation encouraged me: 'stronger!'.
I tried again stronger this time and again met iron. We repeated the hits 10-20 times each time increasing the force but in the end I was fearing my own arm will break. It was a most impressive demo. Not because of the iron forearms (common practice in China - various forms of conditioning for various body parts, using very simple stimulus to induce the adaptation) but because of his obvious bone density (a big thing with older population) in his advanced age, on a very limited protein diet, etc. But here it was again - Movement Practice COUNTS. Even in the face of age. Even in the face of restricted diets.
Right after us hitting arms together, the student suggested: 'feel the master's Dantien'. I put my hand on his lower abs and he projected the part below the belly button out. It was a somewhat abnormal manipulation of musculature but I've seen stuff like this before so I wasn't taken back by this demo.
Final thoughts for this week:
A very interesting week indeed. A week of hard work, a week of discoveries and insight. A week of discomfort but one that is manageable.
I started to feel my energy levels declining this week, mostly due to the almost unavoidable veg oils that I have removed from my diet for some time now. (with the exclusion of coconut oil)
Some plans for next week: wrapping up the knowledge base I acquired here, clearing up last questions that formed in my head, devoting more time to repeating certain basics in order to extract new question that might arise from them and resolve them. My plan for eating next week is to sneak into my pocket some New Zealand butter packs from breakfast in the hotel and incorporate them into my food, boosting up the saturated fat and taking in as little PUFA as possible. I am already sticking to the most hypo-toxic foods here as it is, relying on sheep meat soup, (MSG free) white rice, cooked veggies and thick skin fruits.
The fact it is somewhere in your plain sight does not mean it's easy to get, even once you can spot Waldo in the scenery.
Some of the good things hide as simple grayish concepts but require ridiculous
amount of repetitions to unveil. But... In order to perform so many reps -
one needs to have faith in a concept first.
Suggestions for self development:
1. Learn to be observant. Then, some more. The seemingly mundane is
filled with diamonds in the rough but... A lot of misinformation is
inside there as well...
Stay humble - you can always get better at
observing and discerning.
2. When testing - give a concept a chance at enough exposure/repetition before you make up your mind.
How many reps exactly?
It's been my experience that the number of reps should be exactly: your
age multiply by the skill neuro complexity level (from the Portalus
chart of neuro complexity) minus the co efficient D in the power of 6.
No one can tell you how many. It depends on factors such as prior
experience, neuro complexity of the skill, predisposition for generating
new motor programs and erasing old ones, end goals, etc.
That's where the 10,000 hour rule is bullshit. We need a number, we WANT one but there is really... None to be generalized.
* I've been stripped down from many comforts I'm used to here. Most of
my comforts revolve around health, optimal energy levels and are
movement related, but still, practicing from the optimal point vs
practicing PERIOD, unrelated to state, is very different.
This past year was a year of changes for me and this research visit
allowed me to test new habits in the shitstorm that is China.
So far- so good...
I did not get sick here, yet, even though I'm forced to eat with the
locals food that is far from 'clean' or up to my usual standards of
hygiene, quality and purity.
I had the chance to feast here for example on...
Fresh Water Crabs... They are like an eating puzzle but are delicious.
When on prior visits to Hong Kong, Shanghai and
Beijing I felt almost immediately down, this time I was much better.
Also, energy levels are good and I'm able to stay on top of the
demanding training, with no rest days and long intense practice hours.
I've made it a point to be more resistant to impurities vs just
improving the quality of my fuels. This is an approach I've worked hard
at - both from research stand point and application. It seems to work
well, as long as a fine balance is maintained. (Heuristics)
* Chinese current obsession with money is a phase. The Chinese cannot
currently see beyond making more money but they will. Some already start
to. Some always did, of course.
What do you do when you have enough money to get anything money can buy that you wish for?
Your interest goes into where money cannot help you.
I just hope the planet survives this phase.
More on my Chinese connection - later on. Stay tuned,
I've been training and researching in China for over a week now (out of a total month I will spend here at industrial/rural China) and wanted to share with you a few anecdotes:
1. The term 'Over-training' translates to Chinese as... 'training'. 8-10 hours a day of training is nothing here. A common thing is to repeat ONE action for 2 hours. I've spent here 8 hours a day pushing another guy. Another day was spent 8 hours in various footwork drills, etc. No rest days as well, just half a day of training on Sunday.
2. Chinese table manners = ________. No such thing. Smelly burps in your face, spit out bones on the table.
3. Chinese movement culture is perhaps the richest in the world. Its the direct result of OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER TRAINING joined by INHUMAN WORK CAPACITY joined by MUTANT PAIN TOLERANCE joined by THOUSANDS OF YEARS OF MOVEMENT RESEARCH joined by THE BIGGEST POPULATION COUNTRY IN THE WORLD joined by COMMUNISM.
4. It just melts the heart when some guy declares to you: 'You are my good, good friend!' in an act of friendliness, love and connection and just after a week of knowing each other as well as a huge language barrier between us. Like a child and with no complex ways to express himself - I loved it.
Another golden moment: 'Would you like to eat some fruit tomorrow after lunch? I will buy you one!' ... Out of nowhere but so so cute.
5. The Chinese most substantial health promoting medium is not Qi Kong, ancient herbalism or acupuncture, it is the result of a consistent and regular consumption/exposure to the following:
A. Pollution. You can often hear someone say here: 'close the window I cannot breath'.
B. Consumption of shit quality, pesticide laden, heavy metaled, MSG filled basic products. Mind you - its BASIC products i'm talking about here- impossible to avoid! recent reports have shown dangerous levels of metals in potatoes, the beef that most people eat here is already MSG added in the factory, etc.
C. EVERY man smokes. Now the women are also starting to catch up.
So - what you get is very resistant, durable survivors that get to reproduce. If you can take that stuff regularly - you deserve to have children and live, riddled with diseases to a certain age, of course.
Me? I'm trying to survive a month here, while doing my research.