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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.

Diving Conditions


markwAugust 16. 2011

Diving Conditions

by Mark Wallerstein

This diver, like most others, would love perfect conditions on and in the water every day. Unfortunately, this is not always a reality. Not all of us can live in Kona where the water and temperature is perfect year round. For the most part we are all stuck, and I say stuck hesitantly because anywhere you can dive is great already, diving in whatever location is reasonably close to us. For some we are luckier than others, I was able to escape the lakes of New Hampshire and start diving ever day in the warm South Florida waters.

The conditions here could easily be argued as great year round. However, what people see as great has changed dramatically. Many have become spoiled to the point where a little rain means the conditions are no longer diveable. So to you I pose these questions; what is a great day on the water? What are diveable conditions?

8-16-11aI for one say any day that you can get in the water for either Freediving or Scuba and be safe is a great day with diveable conditions. I was out in the Gulf Stream not too long ago working with a class from the FII headquarters in pompano when a rain storm passed over us. Quite often around here you will see divers leave the water and call it a day when rain hits, especially if it lasts more than ten minutes. When that rain hit us the only thing that went through my mind was; “hey… free back massage during my breath up. Awesome.”  It was still a warm day; I had my wetsuit on so everything was still perfectly comfortable. If anything the rain actually calmed the seas a little bit. During the dive it was even better. As I sat around 70 feet and looked up all I saw was a magnificent picture of Freedivers warming up, and the water dancing from the rain drops. I couldn’t have asked for a better view while I was down there.

As for scuba divers, I ask what is the rain really going to do to you? You are underwater the entire time, and don’t be afraid to leave your gear close to the back of the boat out from cover. I promise you, it is going to get wet one way or the either, just because the gear is there doesn’t mean you have to sit in it for the ride to the site. If anything, all diver should hope that it rains a little on the way back to land, you’re getting free fresh water gear wash without having to do anything. Next time you look at the conditions and try and decide to go Scuba or Freediving I truly urge you to really think about it. Ask yourself; is it safe? How will the conditions truly affect me? And will I enjoy myself? If you can answer yes to all of these, then my friend you are diving in ideal conditions already. Be safe and enjoy what you have…


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