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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…?

FII: Crossing borders and spreading the word…. Spain 2011


ErrolSeptember 7. 2011

FII: Crossing borders and spreading the word…. Spain 2011

by Errol Putigna

I took my first class with FII in February 2009 not knowing what to expect. I come from an education background and understand what education should be. I found an education system that was pretty much flawless and I knew I had to be a part of it. There are few things in the world where everyone wins. These are what I like to call “win, win, win” situations. Everyone walks away happy. FII is one of those things.


I travel to Spain every year (my wife is from Spain) and I mentioned to Martin that I would really love to teach a few classes in Spain. Well, opportunity came knocking thanks to Himar and Regina, some great freedivers that  live in the beautiful Canary Islands located off of the west coast of Africa. You have to understand that freediving is nothing new to Spain. It has been with them forever. There are several other agencies that teach freediving in Spain but they were looking for something new and exciting. I knew that if I could at least get the chance to teach one class, I knew they would be hooked. That day came!


All travel arrangements were made and they picked me up at Las Palmas Airport on the island of Gran Canaria. In typical Spanish fashion, they treated me as one of their own. They took me around to do some sightseeing. We had a great lunch, got to eat some great local fish and got to chat about freediving and FII. Right from the beginning, they saw the professional structure of FII and what it represented (not to mention the costly expense to translate everything into Spanish!!); how the materials were presented, the structure of the class and most importantly, the professionalism of the instructor. Never had they seen this from any other agency. What really sold them on the whole FII program was the absolute and unwavering importance given to freedive safety. I knew that this would hit home… no matter where you’re from.


Himar and Regina made sure that I had everything I needed from the classroom and the projector to the floats and the carabineers. They definitely were on top of things! The best part (just as in any class) was the students. Each student was there for a different reason. Himar and Regina were there to check things out and to one day become FII instructors in Spain (they are well on their way!) Then there was Juan, a 56-year-old man, world traveler, just looking to gain knowledge about himself through the wonderful world of freediving. Lorea, a great young lady looking into learning how to be more comfortable in the water and perhaps one day spearfish with her boyfriend. And there was Gonzalo, a 17-year-old “young gun” with a burning passion for spearfishing. All these individuals had their own different goals and I was going to fulfill each one.


9-7-11bI have lived, worked and been traveling to Spain for quite some time so I know how that Spanish mind works. Normally, the Spanish student is timid and shy… at least in the classroom. I knew this would be a cultural hurdle and one I would have to overcome. I made sure that they were very comfortable and that we were all here for the same reason… to learn about freediving. I cracked a few jokes and made sure that they knew that I was not a foreigner to their way of life. This gave them a sense of comfort and reassurance. They started to ask great questions and the class was on!!! They ended up doing things that they never had dreamed of (statics between 2:30 and 3:00 and depths of 20m). Most importantly, they were doing it safely!


At the end of the two days of class, we had lunch at nice local restaurant by the marina in the city of Puerto Rico. Lorea’s boyfriend (Samuel) and his colleague (Raico) joined us and are some monster spearfishermen (shooting fish consistently at depths between 30-40m!). These guys are recognized on a national level and compete quite often. They started to pick at my brain about FII and I shared a few things. They were quite curious and said that they want to take a class next year……. Yes, we’ve already started to plan for next year!


Long story short, FII has yet crossed another border and spread the word. It may sound arrogant but I knew that once they took the class and saw how it was structured, FII would be there to stay. I cannot thank Himar and Regina enough for giving FII the opportunity to teach in Spain. This is a huge step for FII and Spain!!! ¡Muchísimas Gracias!

Brain and Body


catAugust 26. 2011

Brain and Body

by Cat Fitzgerald

"In order to make a leap in consciousness a soul must match appropriate behavior with a harmonious point of view”

I can’t remember who said that or where I got it and some quick searches rendered no answers.

A theme has emerged over the last month; Internal and external, Yin and Yang, Om and Yom, Brain and Body. Solely living in one world or the other happily is unsustainable and unsatisfying. Our bodies and our minds have to be in harmony or there comes a break. In assisted stretching I express the external and you the internal. Through our communication we identify, train and achieve the goals that you set. The clearer, better communication we create the quicker and more profound the change and attainment of goals. When solo stretching we have only ourselves to converse with; to both listen and speak. Too often we are only adept at one of these.  This often creates a break where we treat our bodies like a taxi cab for the brain (all brain no body) or train our bodies to be like Camelot however trapping inside little of any splendor (all body no brain).

Any sport, mirroring life, works best when the mind and body are one. It makes sense then to train in a way that actually trains our ability to develop, experience and live like that; connected, whole, one. We practice and train for events all the while living a lifelong Event where there are no mulligans, do-overs, etc. Like sports there are punctuated times considered to carry more weight. Let’s remember that we improve the qualification and quantification of those events not in that moment, but in all of the “mundane” ones leading up to the event. We want to be able to go into the events ready, relaxed, excited. For the most part, it should be a foregone conclusion as to how we are going to perform. To develop this we need to be conscientious in our training. Actually train the mind-body connection not just a better taxi cab.

I8-26-11an martial arts I talk about a training methodology: Coordination, Application, Flow. With arms straight, push lightly down on the chair with palms emphasizing drawing the elbows to your hips – this is an isometric exercise, there is only contraction no motion. Take a few reps (contract, relax, contract, relax) to simply be inside feeling the targeted muscles (see picture). Go slow and with little resistance the key is to really feel and activate the targeted muscles. This is the info that later lets you know if you are doing the exercise correctly. This is your control. The temptation is to want to skip past this phase or speed through it to get to the “good stuff”, but this is the good stuff, this is where you first exercise, train, develop discipline and listening to yourself and create the mind body connection. For that reason, I am going to leave you with this and make you wait until next time for the Application and Flow.


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