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It's Contagious


markwOctober 28. 2011

It's Contagious

by Mark Wallerstein

The popularity of freediving is continuously growing and at a rather fast rate. It seems like more and more people are trying to find a buddy to be a safety on a float rather than throwing on a tank and going for a “regular” dive. To me, this is amazing. What gets an even bigger smile on my face is the fact that the people looking to go out are not just looking to spearfish anymore. I am seeing people interested in freediving for the marine interaction, training, or simply for a relaxing day. This means one thing and one thing only, the word is spreading.

10-28-11aFreediving is expanding into entire new markets. It was only a week ago that I was helping represent FII at surf expo. In only a period of three days freediving went from the odd cousin sitting in the corner to the new guy at the party where everyone wants to get to know you. Towards the end of the show surfers were coming over to us not only interested in our new Waterman Survival courses (see forums for more information) but also to simply give freediving a chance. They saw the benefits of understanding how to hold your breath if one was to be knocked off a wave and pulled under.

When I talk to people about the benefits of freediving I will often go quickly past the spear fishing aspect. I always start with safety issues because; when people get the freediving itch they can’t help but try even if they haven’t had proper training from a certified instructor, and move onto the health benefits or the marine interaction. It seems to draw in a larger crowd. It shows people that freediving is not only holding your breath and shooting a fish.10-28-11b Freediving has become a lifestyle and a lifestyle improvement. The shear fact that you learn how to breathe properly through a certified class is a step in health improvement. It is also unknown to many that the marine interaction is infinitely better while freediving compared to scuba diving. When freediving, the fish are curious about what you are and will come over to you. They start to feel that you are part of their natural environment and that there is no threat (unless of course you have spear guns, then you’re just a hungry part of the environment).

Above all else I feel the best way to share freediving is to actually have the experiences. I talk about the feeling of floating through the water on a single breath of air watching the sky slowly move past above me, I talk about the relaxation and the feeling of all the tension in my body drifting away with the current. So to all the readers out there, I urge you to do the same. Talk to your friends about your experiences and help those who are interested sign up for a course to become a safer diver. Who knows, maybe they can be that buddy on a day when you’re looking for a relaxing dive through the beautiful water.

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,



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