The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Exanding the 5MM

Expanding the “Five Minute Miracle” concept: the Synaptic Facilitation thingie that Scott brought back from Russia, is a interesting thought exercise: Several short exercise periods spaced over the course of a day. About all you CAN’T do is work serious strength/endurance or Cardio—both of which require working under fatigue built up over a minimum of about 14 minutes. And you can’t get through the Neuro-Immuno-Endocrine response barrier, necessary for the Fear Removal technique. I may be forgetting something…but most other fitness components can be addressed. I went over this earlier, but it’s fun to repeat.
1) Skill. Guru Plinck considers that working Djurus in short bursts during the day was the best way to learn.
2) Speed. Well, optimal speed is probably best developed after warming the tissues. However, any kind of speed that is necessary in an emergency would be BEST developed WITHOUT a warm-up, dig it? Can’t ask a mugger to wait while you do cat-stretches, now, can you. This invites a side corollary: any technique requiring warm-up is useless in the street. An exception: there are times when you’d be happy to pull a muscle to save your life.
3) Strength. Limit strength is probably best developed while fresh. I’ll never max out on this, in all likelihood. Fooled around with max deadlifts and squats once upon a time, and a little alarm went off in the back of my head. Something said: “No.” I listen to those voices. But if I don’t go for limit strength, I can work…
4) Power. Which is strength exerted over a short time. The Clean And Jerk is a good example. And if I’m going in the 1-5 rep range, I don’t get that light going off. It feels good.
5) Flexibility. Those who see flexibility as a physical thing would be right to warm up. Those who see it as primarily mental, on the other hand, can profitably explore this area in short sessions during the day.
6) Meditation. While you can’t get to the deepest levels, by training yourself to center FAST and NOW, you can really accomplish something powerful. Using the “Be Breathed” protocol during 5MM, then hooking it into longer meditations at other times, and practicing it during the day during drive-time, or when you wake up in the middle of the night…you’ll start noticing that you just don’t get upset any more. Flow state? Great! Need to write in short bursts because you don’t have much time? Using 5MM for developing this is the BOMB. You can train yourself to just drop into flow on command.

There’s more, of course. Just a brain-dump first thing in the morning…
Over at Rory’s blog, there was discussion of the “Bad Boy” phenomenon, and how girls can be attracted to them. I don’t personally think I ever had much “Bad Boy” allure. Any ladies who have opinions to the contrary can disabuse me of that notion if you wish. I was talking to a friend recently, and he expressed surprise when I said that I never had any ability to “pick women up.” Never did, really. If you dropped me into a new social situation, nothing at all would happen for about four months: job, school, club, whatever. And then, suddenly and without apparent warning, my social calendar would fill up. POW. It was bizarre, and pretty predictable. I most certainly made up for lost time, but always envied the guys who could walk into a bar and walk out with a girl. Probably silly of my to have envied them—I no longer do. Meeting people in bars guarantees just two points of commonality: they want to screw and they like to drink.

Anyone with an opinion about the “Bad Boy” allure thingie? My personal opinion is that the optimal reproductive pattern for males and females varies kinda like this:
1) Guys: screw everything in sight.
2) Girls: get knocked up by the “Bad Boy,” then get the “Good guy” to marry you and help you raise the kid.

That’s hind-brain stuff. Social rules are at least partially designed to keep these urges in check. Maturation also calms those urges.
I have a strange thing going on in my hindbrain. Once upon a time, during a dating life nowise tame, I noticed that I never, ever, ever caught a venereal disease. Wondering if there was any kind of selection process going on, I realized that there were people who didn’t…smell right to me. Not body odor. It was something else. And I noticed that when I wasn’t well, my own saliva didn’t taste right. I could tell when I was getting sick by my taste and smell. And I always wondered if my “luck” in avoiding disease had something to do with this.

Still don’t know. But what I DO know is that now ONLY Tananarive smells “right” to me. Bizarre. I don’t think I could cheat if I wanted to. I really, really wonder if this is what being “mated” feels (smells?) like, as opposed to being “in love” or “married” or “committed.” It kinda weirds me out. Other women can look great, and give great hugs, and their voices can be sexy as hell…but…they don’t smell right. This is a completely new experience for me.
In two weeks I want to be finished with “Shadow Valley.” I’m still searching for the right “feel” to the text. There are passages that have it, but too much feels stiff and stodgy and like a puppet show with all the strings showing. And there’s a major plot point that turns on a drug state. Don’t like that: it sends the wrong message. More work.
Incorporating more Yoga into my life feels great. Had a stressful day yesterday, but did a little Ashtanga yesterday morning, for the first time in quite a while doing it without the DVD. Just following my breathing. Then I 5MM’d different poses during the day—chiefly my worst poses, ones that demand flexibility, balance, and strength all at the same time. Woke up this morning feeling oddly solid and strong. We’ll see how I feel tomorrow, but I remember that 15 years ago I did yoga daily, and felt great. Why in the heck wouldn’t that be true now?
Nicki’s home this weekend. We’re taking our family photo at 1pm…I think this may be the first one with all four of us. I’m excited. Jason and Nicki miss each other so much, and it’s great to see the bond between them maturing. Nicki will watch Jason next weekend when I’m at the M.A. seminar, thank goodness! Strange how our old teachers can still inspire us. I want to hear Steve Mohammed say something nice about my movement and ability. I really hunger for that. Sigh. I guess I still haven’t grown all the way up…


Anonymous said...

From my experience a certain percentage of women tend to confuse pugnacity and downright thuggishness as signs of manliness. Sometimes they are right too but most of time it just means they have a poor selection criteria for men.

Its kinda like the way some women choose men only by their income, height and hair. Sometime it works and sometimes they get a monster in a 3piece suit.

As far as raising the female's mistakes a lot of guys are smarter than that nowadays. Most know that all you are getting are someone elses headaches and given the availibilty of single girls there's no reason to get tied down with some bimbo with baggage.


Anonymous said...

Which Ashtanga DVD do you use Steve?

And how is the BKF stuff coming you feel it is adding anything to your self defense arsenal that you didn't have before?

Anonymous said...

There's another theory for why some women like bad boys--it's a self-sustaining system. If enough women like bad boys and bad boyishness is inheritable, then a women who has children by bad boys is passing a reproductive advantage to her children.

Alternatively, young people tend to like danger. Maybe young women like bad boys for the same reason young men like motorcycles.

Steven Barnes said...

Re; BKF...the fitness aspect, in other words the specific explosiveness necessary to play their game, is interesting. It's more like an opportunity to get through their guard to the range where I can play the game I want. Their athleticism is impressive, but their use of rhythm is even more so. I'd forgotten just how strong that aspect of their game is. That said, I don't think that the typical street encounter starts in a stance and proceeds from a measured distance. What happens once you're all the way committed, or as the opponent seeks to find a way across the critical distance line, had BETTER not have much to do with "athleticism" or you ain't doing your job. Approach me from a distance? That's why God made furniture and ashcan lids. Up close? Teeth and thumbs and headbutts. But the knowledge of leveraged angles from Silat, the weaponry and speed of BKF Kenpo, the sensitivity of Tai Chi...nice set of characteristics. It's all just part of the sphere of motion. At this point in my life I'm looking to unite it all with the energetics of yoga, MA and Yoga as Ida and Pingala, and see what that does to the Kundalini channel. It's just good fun. Most of what I want from the BKF is unfinished emotional business, not "skill." It's like Rory said to me a few weeks back: at this point in my life, I'm looking to simplify, to pare away, not add more "technique." I'll leave that to the younger pups. I'm just looking for where this all started.

Steven Barnes said...

The Ashtanga DVD is the "Yoga Short Forms" by David Swenson. Sweet: 15 minute, 30 minute, and 45 minute versions. Ashtanga is the most impressive of the formal Hathas I've seen: the rigor of Iyengar, but some really awesome sequencing. However, I'd bet the best yogi's come out of something with more freedom. I suspect that Krishnamatyara gave Ashtanga to K. Patthabhi Jois because Jois was a bit rigid in perception. Iyengar is a lion. Never knew much about V. Deskachar (who created Viniyoga) but between the three of them, that's about 50% of all the yoga out there. MAN, Krishnamatyara must have been brilliant!

Unknown said...

I'm never sure what, operationally, the "bad boys" some women are supposed to like are supposed to be. Guys who actually treat you badly? Guys who may be perfectly nice to you, but are for sure not going to settle down and marry you? Guys your parents would never want you to date? Guys who are annoying enough to other guys that they can't see why women would like them?

AlanL said...

"Several short exercise periods spaced over the course of a day. About all you CAN’T do is work serious strength/endurance or Cardio"

Steve, since you also mention ashtanga: there's plenty of stuff in the middle of various asthanga series that I personally couldn't even think of attempting safely if I hadn't done all the rest of the series up to that point as a warm up.

Take Marichysana D - that really hard half lotus twist thing in the middle of the primary series. No way I would consider attempting that without 45 minutes preparation. I value my knees too highly. But in a life with a job and a family, finding the continuous one and half hour chunk that's needed for a full ashtnaga series on a daily basis gets difficult.

So I have to settle for doing other things and then, yes, there's a lot to be said for five to ten minutes of mobility-based warmups followed by a few sets of kb snatches or chin-ups or whatever. Apart from anything else, it avoids making too much of a big deal out of the whole thing.

Steven Barnes said...

Absolutely right. But then it's ALL safe if you follow the breathing, and consider the external pose just a Platonic ideal. In other words, if you follow the breathing FIRST, then if in the middle of the day I drop into an advanced pose, however deeply I can get into the pose without sacrificing my breathing IS that pose, today. The trick would be learning to "tell" my body to relax HERE and tense THERE without that 45 minutes of prior "conversation." It's a little like having an old friend who you argue with, but after an hour or so, you always come to see things in a complementary way. The more in tune you are with your body, the less "warm up" time you need. That said, using the breath as the "Canary in the coal mine" is pretty sane. In general, without the previous 45 minutes of "grooving" you can forget those advanced poses, unless you want to hurt yourself.

Pagan Topologist said...

I can certainly relate to the "doesn't smell right" reaction. I cannot say that my partner is the only woman who smells right, but the ones who do are very few and far between. By orientation, I am polyamorous, but this reaction means that I am de facto mostly monogamous.

LaVeda H. Mason said...

"… Wondering if there was any kind of selection process going on, I realized that there were people who didn’t…smell right to me. …"

I thought that I was crazy when I noticed this type of stuff… no one else I know seemed to notice things like that…

I spotted this in my feed reader today, and thought about your post here:

A snippet from the summary:
"The acute sensitivity of human olfaction tends to be underappreciated. “In general, people tend to be dismissive of human olfaction and discount the role that smell plays in our everyday life,” said Gottfried. “Our study offers direct evidence that human social behavior is under the influence of miniscule amounts of odor, at concentrations too low to be consciously perceived, indicating that the human sense of smell is much keener than commonly thought.”