Below is my write up for my presentation at PrimalCon 2010 which is being held April 23-25 in Sourthern California (learn more here)
The friendly and flowing savage, who is he? Is he waiting for civilization, or is he past it, and mastering it? --Walt Whitman
Well, think about Grok (your primal ancestor). Think about his footwear. Do you think he needed supportive, cushioned, orthopedic shoe-boots in order to make it through his day? Nope. He was born with the best footwear money could buy…his own bare feet.
Grok’s footwear = self-nourishing, self-healing, get-stronger-and-smarter-with-use material, directly connected to the brain, proprioceptive. Good news, you have the same.
Fast forward to today. A world where most people are completely disconnected from their own feet and the marvelous capacity they contain. So disconnected that an entire generation of Americans have grown up thinking that they could not move without shoes. But is that the case?
My own personal journey for finding an answer to this question is best outlined in Christopher McDougall’s best-selling book “Born to Run”. If you haven’t read it, you should. It is perhaps the best evidence available to help understand why humans are the premiere endurance animal on the planet. Our success as a species is connected to an amazing human capacity called persistence hunting.
Our need for meat is directly connected to our growing brain and our fabulous trotting abilities. Grok can out trot just about any other land animal when you add distance to the equation. That ability along with burgeoning brain power turned Grok into an amazing hunter, even before he had mastered some of the weapons that would follow. Grok was able to literally run an animal to death. And some of our ancestors are still doing it today (search YouTube for persistence hunting to see).
Grok was a barefoot trotter. Super efficient movement: fluid, light and smooth…these are hallmarks of animals that can cover territory without waste. Grok was a master at this.
And indeed, my goal is to help you revive this skill sans traditional running shoes. I want to teach you how to reconnect to the very best tools you were ever given for learning how to move well…and it's all about reconnecting with your own body…not blocking out the feeling of the world, but rather tuning in to it…like Grok and all other animals that move with grace and fluidity.
By taking off your shoes or wearing some minimal, non-cushioned shoes, you give your body a chance to reuse some amazing systems to help you move in a way that is not jarring, not pounding. It is counter-intuitive, but the truth is, and studies back this up, the more you block out the feeling of impact in your feet, the more impact you can put into your body. The typical shoe ad has made you think you need more padding to protect your body…and all that padding has often led to more injuries and more pain. Why?
My Introduction to Barefoot Running Clinic is designed to help answer this question. I have had the opportunity to teach 1000s of folks how to move in a way that is joyful and smooth. I have developed a methodology that gets people to tune into the feeling of running well…which has nothing to do with enduring pain, but rather is all about finding and maintaining a sweet spot of efficient movement that is addictive and primal.
My clinic will leave you with the tools you need to self-analyze your own barefoot trotting progress. Indeed, my goal is to teach you what I call the persistence hunt trot, a trot that once mastered gives the Grok in you the ability to cover large distances efficiently and smoothly when needed.
I look forward to sharing with you.
PS. Remind me to tell the story of the photo above. It contains an allegory.