Ido Portal

This man may be controversial and sometimes a bit contradictory. But for the most part, he is inspiring. I believe that what people call his philosophy is rather than a philosophy the natural range of human motion. It is the context of which evolution has shaped our bodies and how it has made so many different displays of complex movement possible. If you don’t know who he is, here is an introduction.

Don’t be frightened by the clichés. This video is easy to frown upon at first glance. He makes some fancy capoeira flips, some eloquent quotes and thats that? The way I see it after watching countless interviews with him is that there is a whole other message at play. He is an impressive “mover” as he puts it, but the point of his mindset which he tries to spread is that we have lost some aspects of what it means to be human. I think that we use to take advantage of our own bodies in a larger extent. With all the modern lifestyles most of us have today, that mindset is not obvious anymore. We sit in chairs disband our hip functions, we exercise for aesthetics instead of capacity, we pursue movements too specific for our own good and many of us are almost never even in the direct need of moving in our everyday life. We stop using our muscles and joints frequently in our natural ways. We forget about our core physicality.

I probably still don’t grasp all of his teachings but there are some things on which I don’t really agree with him. He always takes examples of the more elegant physical sports from which he has experience himself to be the way to go. They might include some of the most wide range movements but I think most sports has a very special way of handling your body that incorporates humanity. Most sports require a lot of precision and practice. Most intelligent movements are impressive in their own way and I find that interesting.

Ido claims we just need to remember our fundamental body functions and preferences before we specialize too narrow. I do agree with him pointing out some training guidelines to be skewed, like those which strives only for aesthetics or those that sacrifice underlying mobility for unnatural goals. Like body building for example, I personally have some contempt for this ideology. I think the point of training should be to get healthy and strong, to form a versatile physique and prevent injuries. Not simply to look ridiculous. Appearance will come naturally. On the other hand, working out with typical gym equipment is also effective in many aspects.

When someone is so passionate about something like Ido is, it is encouraging in itself. You put your trust to that kind of teacher, regardless of what he or she has to teach. This is something he also talks about. He expresses that everything is about your own dogma. The methods you use for your well being is not what defines you but rather the context in which you want to be, the goals you want to set for yourself and so on. He says this can be applied to everything in life, not only your physical training.

I am not saying this guy is some kind of messiah. Although humble and intelligent, he can sometimes sound a bit arrogant. He is human and has opinions like everyone else. But he has put his finger on something that I think is very spot on. I think also that the reason he influences me on a great level may have something to do with how I fascinate about so many different types of movement. I find everything from weightlifting and bouldering to ballet and gymnastics impressive. I get absorbed observing, acting or reflecting on the limits of human physicality. I think for me as for Ido, movement is the attraction.

Here is a link to one of the better interviews with him.