A Training Tool of All Animals
August 10, 2018 1:25 PM   Subscribe

Ido Portal is a "movement teacher" who works with professional athletes, most notably MMA star Connor MacGregor. His new fitness fad offers a new kind of athletic training that purports to combine "the most potent" aspects of all fitness disciplines, including martial arts, gymnastics, and dance.
posted by chrchr (22 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
... he [Conor McGregor] studied footage of predators hunting their prey (and he got the ink to match—his sprawling chest tattoo depicts a crowned gorilla devouring a human heart)

ok I think gorillas would rather have a grapefruit
posted by thelonius at 1:31 PM on August 10 [23 favorites]


The Gorillas at the SF Zoo seem to eat a lot of Napa cabbage. Doesn't make for a dramatic tattoo though.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 1:33 PM on August 10 [10 favorites]


There's nothing more intimidating than a mighty gorilla stalking a clever stalk of stinging nettles and delicately eating around the prickers while farting copiously because they are hindgut fermenters whose community of gut microbiota build up massive amounts of gas. I can see why Connor McGregor - a very self-serious and important asshole - would spend hours observing this predator-prey interaction.
posted by ChuraChura at 2:25 PM on August 10 [38 favorites]


But Connor McGregor does move nicely around the octagon, so he must be doing something right.
posted by ChuraChura at 2:27 PM on August 10 [3 favorites]


At the heart of movement culture is an emphasis on play. Animals and kids play as they navigate the world, Portal often says, but as adults we channel this instinct in futile or destructive directions. “That workmate of yours who’s always clicking his pen? That’s his body screaming, ‘Let’s play! Let’s play!’”

Speaking as a fidgeter, it really isn't. It's a sign of intense concentration. Please do not bust out the one handed hand stands and somersaults when I'm doing my taxes or reading Das Kapital
posted by Query at 2:34 PM on August 10 [6 favorites]


... I think I need a t-shirt of OJ, the silverback at the SF zoo, eating cabbage while farting copiously.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 2:39 PM on August 10 [1 favorite]


Wow, I didn't know gorillas are hind-gut fermenters, ChuraChura; thank you for that.

Do people have any idea what organisms they use?
posted by jamjam at 2:44 PM on August 10


I read the article and have no real opinion on it, but to say that Portal's ideas seem intriguing in equal measure to how much of an asshole he appears to be.

That said, I used to wear orthotics after being diagnosed with Plantar Facsciitis. Before getting them, I was finding it increasingly difficult to walk "normally", and had to completely stop the 5k run that I was doing daily. Once I had them, the pain went away instantly and didn't return for almost 6 years. But, it did return and with a vengeance. I was, essentially, hobbled for most of the day. From the second I put my feet on the ground each morning, I was in excruciating pain.

Revisiting the podiatrist, they decided to make me another pair of orthotics. Those didn't help. They made another pair. Nope. Adjusted them. Nope. This went on for almost 7 months. I was miserable. Nothing was working and it was affecting my life in the worst way. Some days I literally just sat and cried. It was a nightmare.

Having a drink with a yoga-instructor friend, I mentioned it. She suggested I visit an associate of hers whom she called a "movement coach" and "movement therapist". It sounded hokey-pokey to me, but I didn't know what else to do. I'd investigated various non-orthotic solutions (injections, physical therapy, etc) and the movement coach seemed, at the very least, to be the least invasive and time-consuming. I booked an appointment.

I visited her early one morning. She asked me a few questions, looked at my shoes, looked at my orthotics, and then led me through a series of movements which she would demonstrate and I would mimic. Most just involved my feet or hands, but a few used a wall, or a resistance band, or a tennis ball.

I was with her for 75 minutes. She told me to perform the exercises daily. (They were about 20 minutes worth, some of which are here, and some of which are similar to some of the movements Portal does on the beach with Macgregor.) She told me she believed my orthotics were a crutch that had, over almost 6 years, weakened my feet, and that I needed to strengthen them again. The goal, she said, was never having to wear them again. She showed me her shoes, which were minimalist.

I put the orthotics aside and did the exercises daily. I started to feel better. I did them for two weeks or so and then the pain was completely gone. I bought minimalist shoes. I started walking great distances, including a couple thousand km over a few months in Spain and California)--all pain free! It's now been about 14 months since I saw Cecily--who doesn't describe herself (to my knowledge) as a movement coach or movement therapist, but who taught me how to move as nature intended and most shoe companies helped me avoid. Of course, I haven't worn the orthotics since and my feet are healthier--unquestionably stronger--than they've ever been.
posted by dobbs at 2:54 PM on August 10 [32 favorites]


“That workmate of yours who’s always clicking his pen? That’s his body screaming, ‘Let’s play! Let’s play!’”

No, asshole, that's my neurology screaming "I'm autistic! I need to stim! And clicking a pen is the least socially-objectionable way to do that at work!"
posted by Lexica at 2:54 PM on August 10 [8 favorites]


“Using the chaotic trajectory of a flying card to keep [Conor McGregor] sharp” reads Portal’s caption for a video of him flinging playing cards at the Irishman in preparation for his boxing bout against all-time great Floyd Mayweather.

Wasn't this part of the training montage in Dodgeball?

Honestly, I'm sure Portal is an incredible athlete.

Whatever you do, don’t call him a guru or a master of movement,” a couple of his students told me seriously. “He hates that.”

Yeah. Because he seems smart enough not to buy his own bullshit.
posted by GuyZero at 2:58 PM on August 10 [1 favorite]


Ugh. Just ugh.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 3:00 PM on August 10


There's nothing more intimidating than a mighty gorilla stalking a clever stalk of stinging nettles and delicately eating around the prickers while farting copiously because they are hindgut fermenters whose community of gut microbiota build up massive amounts of gas. I can see why Connor McGregor - a very self-serious and important asshole - would spend hours observing this predator-prey interaction.

Every word of this is true and flagged as fantastic

But also this seems SO FUN to me

Where do I find a movement coach
posted by schadenfrau at 3:10 PM on August 10 [1 favorite]


gut microbiota

Now THAT’S “movement culture!”
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 3:26 PM on August 10 [8 favorites]


his movement camps were for the “got money and a ton of motivation and willing to travel kind of person” (for the “no-money, little motivation, want to fuck around kind of person” he recommended Zumba). In 2015, he lost fans in the parkour world and beyond when he announced he wouldn’t train vegans,

Less skeptical now.

(although to be utterly honest I think I was following zumba at a party one recent evening and it was fun)
posted by sammyo at 3:59 PM on August 10 [2 favorites]


This seems like a different flavour of MovNat. That being said anything that gets people moving is probably good. Just don't drink too deep of the Kool-aid.
posted by SonInLawOfSam at 4:31 PM on August 10


idoportal would be a good name for a weddings web site.
posted by moonmilk at 5:26 PM on August 10 [7 favorites]


“That workmate of yours who’s always clicking his pen? That’s his body screaming, ‘Let’s play! Let’s play!’”

No, asshole, that's my neurology screaming "I'm autistic! I need to stim! And clicking a pen is the least socially-objectionable way to do that at work!"


A former co-worker of mine used to constantly click her mouse until one day another former co-worker who sat on the other side of her cubicle wall couldn't take it anymore and stomped over to desk to say to her, "Can you please stop CLICKING THAT THING INCESSANTLY? It's VERY ANNOYING." A third former co-worker of mine who used to be a special ed teacher told me that he believed the mouse clicker co-worker was autistic *and* had Tourette's, and I think he was probably right.
posted by orange swan at 5:49 PM on August 10


One of the more annoying things about being an adult with AD/HD is feeling the constant need to fidget, but being completely unable to even around coworkers who do. I feel like such a hypocrite, and I really don't know what the mature solution is, but nevertheless that's where my brain is.
posted by traveler_ at 6:58 PM on August 10 [2 favorites]


I feel like my own Fitness Journey has been to a similar place sometimes. It’s been a mix of dance and martial arts. Each form I’ve dabbled with has its own ways of moving, it’s own ways of inhabiting one’s body, and I definitely feel better in general when I’m challenging my body and mind to try new things. Regular exercise is good, and right now I’m not even doing that; regular exercise that makes me try new things feels better, and is easier to keep going to.

I’m sure not gonna pay the prices this guy asks for, though.
posted by egypturnash at 8:53 PM on August 10


I saw a bit of Ido's stuff while watch UFC Embedded videos.

Ido's stuff reminded me slightly of Feldenkrais movement - which used to be about "efficient movement" - and now seems to be bordering on "quackery". Having said that, it did teach me how to stand efficiently from a sitting position, and how to walk efficiently up stairs (nothing like zooming past people with minimal effort).
posted by greenhornet at 10:30 PM on August 10


I've been reading Portal's stuff for years. CrossFit led me to Christopher Sommers and GymnasticBodies. Ido was a moderator on their forum for some years. I feel like I've had a front row seat for the evolution.

Ido reminds me of Bruce Lee a lot, though he hasn't become part of the cultural zeitgeist just yet. He's a unique talent - just watch him move. This is a guy who passed on a job with Cirque because, as the rumors go, they were using too many wires and not doing enough of the tricks.

He started his journey, like Bruce, developing his own style through teaching. Speculating, but given the broken relationships with some former teachers, I see parallels to the question of if him as a teacher is more about his development or the student's.

He's also a fantastic self promoter. He has the goods. He has some (not many, we'll come back to that) students that have the goods. He's getting his name out there with MacGregor. He's even following the Bruce playbook of financing his research with premium priced training for celebrities.

He's got the blunt, sometimes asshole delivery down that attracts the clientele that has a certain vision of elite.

I go through that to say I don't think the Ido portal method will make you like Ido portal anymore than Jeet Kun Do will make you Bruce Lee. Ido has a handful of students that can display some of his skills. He had 0 that show all of them. The videos are all the master, never the students.

He's gone from being a regular contributor to fitness discussion to a peddler of mysticism. Ido used to run a blog and post the methods. Today he posts gussied up versions of 10 benefits of using the corset protocol, without any details of the methodology, all with the intent of selling conference spots.

I'm fine with people making a living. I'm fine with selling the fruit of your labor. It seems, though, that Ido has flipped from giving back to just taking. He no longer posts informative. He now sticks with advertisements and demo reels.

Will Ido be the next big thing? Bruce's idea was franchising schools. Bruce's actual method was becoming a massive star. I don't see Ido accepting the business realities of the first like CrossFit did. And Ido is getting long in the tooth to become the latter in modern Hollywood. No, I think he's going to be someone that was certainly great, but is eventually the whispered monk of Israel that held secret knowledge and techniques. Obscurity through jealously guarding his secrets.
posted by bfranklin at 5:40 AM on August 11 [4 favorites]


traveler_, I also have ADHD, and yeah, for me fidgeting and pen clicking _is_ my brain saying to get up and move. Movement and exercise increases dopamine, so it's therapeutic, when it's something you can fit into your day.

When it's not, I knit. During lectures, talks, and meetings, while waiting for something to compile or load, while watching videos, etc. I always have at least one "mindless" knitting project on needles for just this purpose. Something I don't have to count or read a chart to do, that I can knit without looking. It occupies my brain just enough that I can actually focus on the meeting or lecture or whatever without my brain running off in search of something else to do. It's fidgeting -- but where every now and then a scarf or a hat appears.

I love animal movement stuff and I had looked through Ido's website at some point, but I was pretty turned off by it. At the time he has some quote about a "whore" on the front page, and in general, the voice was too pompous for my taste.

I much prefer the stuff put out by GMB, and their community. They're humble, they're all about starting where you are and celebrating your own little successes, and they provide a TON of free instructional videos on their website. Two of the principles are a physical therapist and a former gymnast. I enjoyed their intro program, Elements, so much I bought into the whole package.
posted by antinomia at 5:49 AM on August 11 [8 favorites]


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