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External and Internal


catOctober 19. 2011

External and Internal

by Cat Fiztgerald

As we try to squeak every last iota of quantity out of ourselves we run into the realization, “I cannot stay who I am and be better. In order to improve I must change.” Internal and external; yin and yang; quantification and qualification; these seem to be dichotomies, mutually exclusive, but they are inclusive and dependant where we are concerned and the key to our change. Sometimes we find ourselves living too much in one world. There is usually a feeling of stagnation, frustration, feeling lost, or “searching,” when we are too one sided. That is a great time to start to look to the other side for a hint. In competitive venues things are quantified; how deep, how long, high, fast. We take the quantification of these as measurements of our success, since those are the goals. What do we do when we feel like we have squeezed every drop out of our system? We have to change it. In Freediving, you train your breathing, practice the art by diving, strength train for more powerful kicks. When we see decreasing returns on our quantifiable efforts it’s time to look at the other side; qualification. How does your body feel? Where is your tension? Where does your mind travel? There we learn to make the body more relaxed and demand less to create more room. If we are resilient, pliable, flexible and springy then we have an efficient system. It is by looking inside that we can then improve the outside (the clock, tape measure, etc). Do your Bladder Meridian (stress, anxiety associations) stretch again this month – it’s fantastic for the kicking; will save you effort and oxygen which translates to more underwater time (possibly more fish) and a quicker recovery time – and, going internal, try to be aware of what and how you feel.

In summation; want a better performance: look at your externals (clock, tape measure, etc), train, reexamine the externals, and, as you start to get diminishing returns for your training efforts look at your internals and create a new “You” to train.


Quantity vs. Quality


catSeptember 26. 2011

Quantity vs. Quality

by Cat Fitzgerald

This month we are going to do an exercise. I was trying to figure out how to discuss two topics that will follow in the next two segments. Doing this exercise is the intro to those topics and will allow us to delve into them much more deeply and effectively. Normally we add and add to what we already know simply increasing the breadth of knowledge. 9-26-11aNow I want to look at our depth of understanding. So let’s get to it.

I am going to ask that you only do one leg so that we have a control to compare to. First you are going to lie on your back and draw your right leg across your body and up towards your left shoulder (fig 1). What I want you to do is hold the stretch and feel it: where do you feel the stretch, which muscles, do you feel it closer to the knee or the glutes. You want to feel the stretch in the Lateral Hamstring and in the belly of the muscle – the thickest part between the knee and glutes.

Start with those questions and then after a couples sessions come back to try this next part. I think most of you will either skip the whole process or skip to the next part. Those of you who do the process as designed will have a welcome outcome and those who do either of the other scenarios support what I am saying about the “more, more, more” mentality of quantity in lieu of quality. Ironically working on the quality aspect becomes the base for quantity later.

9-26-11bSo now I want you to do the same stretch, but really be in/with the stretch. Now that you have done the quantification of the stretch I want to work on the qualification: how deep into the tissue do you feel the stretch, where else do you feel tension (neck, shoulder, back, etc). Release any unnecessary tension in the body – yes, you now have to figure out what is and isn’t necessary tension. How is your breathing, has there been any change since you first did the exercise. Now deeper, how did you know when you were done with the stretch, what did you feel that let you know, was there any change in your stress levels before and after, did the room seem brighter when you were done, and of course, how is the quality of your movement at the end of the month?

All of this talks to how we approach learning and being. Are we interested solely in the external end product (a trophy – fish, medal, or otherwise) or do we let whatever our passion is become a training method for life learning and becoming, truly, more than who, not what, we are today. Next time we will get into anxiety and the body.

In health,


Turn Around and Look


markwSeptember 18. 2011

Turn Around and Look

by Mark Wallerstein

Lately I have been noticing more and more Freedivers and Scuba Divers alike coming out of the water stressed or aggravated after a day of diving. I understand with the way things are time spent in the water has decreased for many. In turn this has made hitting those new depths, spearing the big one, or even bagging the limit that much more important on each dive. Unlike before, it may be a week, 2 weeks, or even longer until you’re to get back in the water to catch that bragging rights fish, or a full bag of lobster.

09-18-11If you have noticed that you’re one of the people coming out of the water stressed I ask you to truly look at what you are doing. You have just spent a day out on and in the water. Instead of sitting in a cubical, doing paper work, or staring at a computer you were underwater living one of your passions. In a world that not many people get to do what they truly enjoy and love you are. You are lucky enough to be spending time in a world that most others will never be fortunate enough to even visit. It just so happened that on that day you were fated to be unfortunate and not get what you were looking for, it happens to all of us. I can pretty much guarantee that the water you were just in will be there the next day, and the day after with plenty of fish in it.

I myself became a stressed diver at one point. Through the entire lobster season in Florida last year, which is a long time, I bagged only two lobsters. It just so happened that I was either working or not able to get into the water entirely for weeks running. The few fun dives I was able to do, I either couldn’t find them or bag them. It ended up taking one of my good friends to point out to me that I was leaving the water in a negative mood. It was a rather big eye opener for me. Now if I am out of the water for an extended period of time, or if I start leaving unhappy because I didn’t reach my new depth or catch anything I will leave my lobster or spear gear on the boat for the next dive. I will enter the water with only the basics and take the time to really relax, look around, and think about how lucky I am to be able to live my passion. I have actually noticed that if I do this I will be much more relaxed on my next dive. It will sometimes make my next breath hold easier and help me reach the new depth. If lobstering I also tend to bring out more dinner on that next dive.

So next time you find yourself aggravated exiting the water, turn around and look behind you. Look at that body of water you just spent the day in, and think; do I really have any reason that I should be aggravated right now…?


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