Recently, during a visit to Israel for a cousin’s wedding, I visited the Ido Portal Method Israel movement clinic/gym.
Just past the entrance where the logo of the monkey hangs on the wall, the following quote was painted on the white wall:
“Move. Find little excuses to do so. Play games with yourself.
Squat to wait for someone instead of sitting.
Climb the stairs two by two and don’t take the elevator.
See that bus you’re about to miss? Sprint to it.
Even if you know you are going to miss it…
Stretch – all the time. Like a cat does.
Carry some 8 packs of 1.5 liter water bottles back to your place.
Hold your breath under water in your hot tub and time yourself.
Hang from stuff that you can hang from – wherever that is.
If you can – pull up or brachiate.
Got a pet? Got the the park. MOVE. Got a partner?
Loved one? Child? MOVE!
Because you can. If you won’t – tomorrow you might not be able to. MOVE.”
- Ido Portal.
Ido is a guy from my native country of Israel with a background in traditional martial arts, strength training and capoeira, who is literally revolutionizing the way we think about fitness.
For the past several years, I’ve been practicing his movement techniques by just watching his YouTube videos and ‘attempting’ to perform his specific set of movements which not only challenge your strength and flexibility, but also balance, stability, agility and endurance. The interesting thing about working out is that I’ve always felt that I was missing something when I was following all the traditional and contemporary fitness programs. I couldn’t connect to any of the programs and I also found that while I took many different movement classes such as dance, yoga, and various forms of martial arts such as capoeira and tae kwon doe, I would start each practice or take a class and then just move on to the next thing that interested me. Never being able to stick to any one movement practice because intuitively, it just felt as though something was missing.
Each practice on it’s own was great, but still limited. I wanted to move in other ways as well and no one practice was enough for me to feel whole when it comes to challenging my body and allowing me to move in the ways that I’d like to move.
Then I ended up seeing a video of Ido Portal some years ago online and it was like a breath of fresh air. Finally, someone understood me and shared my same philosophies about movement and fitness.
So you can imagine how psyched I was to finally visit one of his very few movement gyms in the world.
My experience was just as expected; super interesting, challenging, fun, exciting, and simply humbling. Just when you thought you could move well enough, you realize that you can move even better. What do I mean by move better? I speak about moving with more grace, flow and mindfulness. More precision. Connecting various movements together. Remembering that movement is an art form.
Yes, but what about strength? Ido reminds us that we’re really not strong at all. Lifting a heavy barbell in one plane of movement does NOT mean that you’re strong, it just means that you’re strong in that one plane of movement. But what about all the other planes/directions?
If you’re into fitness, you probably have big muscles but you’re immobile and inflexible. And if you’re a yogi than you most probably lack some strength and are hypermobile and flexible. The question is, how can we find a balance? Ido’s “movement culture” as us students or movers call it, is as balanced as it gets.
How can you move more?
And if you’re already moving, how can you move better?