Hello world!

Welcome to Ability to Adapt! 

After thinking about an intro article, I simply decided to jump feet first into a topic. There’s enough information on the front pages to give you an idea of what you may find here as new articles are added.

So in the next post you’ll find my first article on this new site. So, please be patient and as time goes on I’ll be adding new articles here and videos on my YouTube channel, often interconnected.

And in time I will be adding in a subscription site where information not presented here will be available, for a small fee. I’ll announce when that is ready.

We’ll cover a wide range of topics here on my blog and also on my YouTube channel. Some topics may on the surface appear to be unrelated to physical training.

However, every single topic we consider will relate to our physical and mental capabilities .

We will consider things that hopefully will enable us to improve our ability to adapt, improvise and overcome whatever challenge we are facing.

But don’t worry, this isn’t some dooms-day-prep-gun-toting-survival-zombie-apocalypse-site, lol.

It’s about having fun while facing new challenges in training and developing various capabilities through that process. It’s about learning new things that can help us in everyday life, sports and recreation.

And interestingly enough, those same things can help us when unexpected challenges occur.

There’s more to training the mind and body than just bench presses or training strength or endurance.

Doing the same thing over and over will develop a skill.

But at some point the return on investment of training time diminishes to the point it has a minimal impact on further improvement of that skill.

In other words, at some point improvement of the skill is barely discernable despite continued training of the skill.

There is a point where enough is enough.

It’s been found that children learning to write letters freehand develop better skills than those  who trace an image of the letter or simply type a letter.

Why?

Because the brain is allowed to make mistakes, correct them, make more mistakes, correct them and this process is called practice. The brain is given the opportunity to fail and then through practice finally succeed.

So exposing our mind through bodily movements to new stimuli carries the mind along this same path of learning something new.

There’s a place in training for sticking with basics. And there’s a place in training for continually exposing the mind and body to new things, to variety.

The mind and body want and need both. 

Well, you get both here.

Walter

 

 

 

 

20. The Machete Sheath

20. The Machete Sheath 

Moving right along, in this week’s video I finish the sheath for the machetes. So this article wraps up our little machete journey.

If you watch the video you’ll learn how to make a para-cord needle, a little invention of mine to make threading para-cord a bit easier.

One of the cool things about learning to use tools and materials is the mental input that is involved.

Using a hands-on-approach reinforces and engrains skills and abilities far better than any other method. If you don’t believe this, watch all the technique videos and movies you want on gymnastics and then go out and try to do a back-flip based on that alone.

I rest my case.

So get out there and get your hands dirty figuring out how things work, how to take things apart and put them back together again.

And if you want to be a more athletic person, train in a variety of ways.

It takes far more than a brain to make anything. We can conceptualize as often as we want, but until we actually start using tools and materials and put our hands to work, we are not going to create anything.

Learning to use tools forces us to face obstacles in our work, sometimes due to lack of the proper tool or lack of certain materials, and time factors and even weather can alter how things get done. There’s a learning curve, we make mistakes and then make progress.

With the making of mistakes there often comes a light-bulb moment when we stumble upon some new way of accomplishing our goal.

The beauty of all of this is that we start figuring out how to make do with what we have. We learn how to improvise, adapt and overcome the situation.

It is the same when it comes to physical training.

If all we’ve ever done is train with our body-weight or we just train with kettlebells, we’ll be in for a surprise when forced to train with a barbell or find we have to carry two, full, five gallon buckets of paint up several flights of stairs.

Or maybe we’re an aerobic-endurance junky and think all we need to do is run or bicycle ride and we’re good to go for everything else.

Some people think if they have great endurance they can do anything else.

Some people think if they have great strength they can do anything else.

There’s not an ounce of truth to either side.

A well-blended mix of both is the far better option.

I’m not the kind of man to decide I want to become a professional master at using just a screwdriver or hammer. There are far too many tools to use to limit myself to just one tool.

Yes, there is something to be said for using one tool and becoming really good with it and being able to use it in ways others can’t even imagine.

And there is something to be said about learning to use a variety of tools that also opens doors.

A person should explore and experience both avenues.

A master mechanic knows which tool to use and when to use it. But under different circumstances, where he may only have a few tools at his disposal, he knows how to use and improvise with what he has.

That is a true master mechanic.

It is the same when it comes to training physically.

There can be a difference between an athlete and an athletic person. The two are not always mutually inclusive.

An athlete competes in a sport. And the term “sport” covers a broad area from competitive chess to ping-pong, from lawn darts and horse-shoes to the NFL or Rugby.

So I might be considered an athlete at billiards, but a person can do this while not being able to deadlift bodyweight or climb several flights of stairs. Being in this state as an athlete does not mean I am athletic.

An athletic person is a person who can be described as strong, agile, robust, sturdy, enduring, able-bodied, vigorous, muscular, powerful, and energetic. It is not any one quality that makes that person athletic, it’s having the complete package that makes one athletic.

Hence, just because a person competes in a sport and is considered an athlete, I dare say it does not automatically qualify such an individual as being athletic.

And in the same vein, a person can be very athletic and never compete in any sport.

Let that last sentence sink in.

The reality is: you don’t have to compete in any sport to be extremely athletic.

Enjoy the video that wraps up the machete series (we’ll be moving on to training videos from here on out): https://youtu.be/u_n157EI4oM

19. Rehaping a Machete

19. Reshaping a Machete

Well, it’s been a while since I posted anything. My computer was acting up and kept freezing up on me when I tried editing video.

So I had it rebuilt and also downloaded some new editing software.

For filming video I am currently using a GoPro camera. Which of course sometimes makes things look a little funky, lol. But for now it works.

GoPro Camera’s had a program called GoPro Studio which was a pretty good editing package. But, alas, they let it go by the way-side. GoPro no longer supports it and it started getting glitches and crashing whenever I tried using it.

The new GoPro editing software that replaced it is called GoPro Quik and it’s pretty much worthless except for Instagramers, lol, and I don’t do that scene.

Thus, I downloaded and have been learning new video editing software called DaVinci Resolve. It’s pretty awesome, but I have a lot to figure out. Right now I’ve learned enough to get things going again.

So, my apologies for not posting articles or video content in the last month or so.

This latest video I’ll show you how I reshaped a $20 machete I bought from the local hardware store. We’ll talk about sharpening blades, how to use cordage affixed to a handle and a few other things.

Now some might wonder “What does this have to do with physical training?”

Funny thing is, training the body and mind is a lot like reshaping a tool.

In both cases it takes some forethought, some thinking on exactly what we want to accomplish and what the end result should be.

We need a bit of imagination, the ability to project our thinking into the future and form a picture or better yet a mental video of what we want to achieve.

Then we need to consider how we are going to complete the task at hand. How do we get from here to there?

This is what or who we are right now or this is what we have to work with or this is the situation we have to deal with. How do we take this (an object, a situation or our own mind and body) and reshape it for the better?

After we figure this out, it comes down to putting the plan into action.
We can’t change anything without doing something.
So start doing.
And do the right thing.

We are what we eat, we are what we train and we are what we expose our minds to and what we think about.

So it makes sense to feed those areas carefully if we want to become a better person.

So we’ve got our plan and we’re rolling along getting things done.

However, often reality comes to play and our ability to improvise and adapt is put to the test.

This is where we need to adjust to circumstances but still reach our goal. In everything we do there are lessons to be learned that can be applied to a wide variety of situations.

A mechanic will use wrenches, sockets and pneumatic tools to accomplish a task. A wood worker may use hammers, mallets, chisels and carving tools to create a piece of art. A musician uses his instrument. That’s his tool that he manipulates to create musical expressions.

In all cases it takes tools or implements, imagination, forethought, a willingness to jump in and make mistakes and adapt and sometimes improvise  until they reach the final expression of their work.

The final work is an embodiment of the actual mental and physical work involved.

Often, people that work with their hands AND minds will tell us that, even though we consider them to be masters at their work, they are still learning by doing. Too often in todays world people dismiss working with their hands as mindless work.

Until they need help fixing something or the situation takes a turn for the worse.

In our last article we talked about delving into a subject that is being bandied about in the training world. It’s the idea that strength is like a glass and the bigger your glass (or strength) the more qualities or skills it can hold.

We’re going to jump into that topic, but not right now. Sorry for the delay on that, but we’re going to hit that topic in just a few weeks, so stay tuned.

We’re going to finish with one more video on our machete after this one. We’ll look at making a sheath for the machete and an interesting way I use paracord.

Following the next video we’ll start getting into more training oriented stuff.

Of course, I’ll always drop stuff in here and there that may be of interest to people.

I’ve found that, generally people that are concerned about health and fitness and training is usually the same people that enjoy other outdoor activities. So, from time to time I’ll touch on things outdoor-related.

Enjoy the video and hopefully I’ll see you next week:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkdrUMQxKyY

18. HF Survival Knife and Multipurpose

18 HF Survival Knife and Multipurpose

In the video linked below I give reasons why I think the HF Survival knife isn’t a very good tool.

But the video is more than just that, as I share some other thoughts about tools and multipurpose thinking.

One thing mentioned in the video is weight. Often people from all sorts of sports and forms of recreation look at tools or equipment that can serve a multitude of purposes.

And on the surface this can seem like a good thing. Sometimes it works out great and other times it leads to frustration.

Often, people will try to find equipment that is light-weight.

Light-weight shoes and boots, light weight bicycles, motorcycles, tents, knives, axes, clothing, sleeping bags, tarps and the list goes on and on.

A multipurpose tool is meant to replace several pieces of equipment and thus save weight.

Yet all too often the person is packing around 20-50 pounds or more of excess body fat.

My thinking is, rather than paying the big $$ on acquiring some light-weight multipurpose piece of equipment, why not try getting into better shape?

Get stronger and better conditioned and that bicycle or motorcycle or pack won’t feel so heavy.

This is often where the search for multipurpose equipment of any sort comes into play. The thinking goes:

“If I can buy something that serves many purposes then it will keep me from having to move or pack around as much weight.”

Now in some cases this is a good thing, depending on the goal. If you’re trying to get from point A to point B as fast as possible as in a race or competition, something light-weight and multipurpose may be the way to go.

But generally someone who is in a race or competition is already conditioned to what they are trying to accomplish and hopefully has trained strength and endurance so they can reach their goal.

Even then redundancy is often a wise thing, as the saying goes: “One is none, two is one.”

That’s why vehicles have a spare tire. That’s why that flare gun came with more than one flare.

When it comes to acquiring training equipment for the gym, look at your goals.

If you’re an aspiring Powerlifter it makes no sense to buy an Olympic Barbell meant for training the Clean & Jerk and the Snatch.

If you are into playing tennis and that’s your sport, loading up on equipment meant for strongman training makes no sense either.

Often the sport picks the person. And in the same vein, the sport picks the method of training and the equipment you should invest in.

Some pieces of equipment lend themselves to being used in a wide variety of ways. Others are pretty much one ticket items.

For example, a bicycle: you pedal it and that’s about it. Now of course it can be used to train for long distance riding, short sprints, commuting and transportation. But it still is only useful for pedaling and basically building endurance to varying degrees.

How about a barbell?

We use it to lift weight plates, whether solid metal plates or bumper plates of some sort. In that sense that’s all it’s good for, holding weight plates so they are easier to lift and we can progressively adjust the load.

Yet with the barbell you can develop all sorts of qualities or skills: the three power lifts, the world of Olympic lifts and the regressions or breakdowns of the Snatch and Clean & Jerk. You can do barbell complexes to develop work-capacity. You can focus on pure strength or hypertrophy.

Is one tool better than the other?

Well, it depends on YOUR personal goals.

If we’re going to compete in the El Tour de Tucson as a serious competitor the typical $100 box-store bicycle won’t cut it. We’ll need a top of the line bicycle.

If we’re going to bomb around the neighborhood on a bike for a bit of aerobic training in conjunction with lifting weights for strength and health the box-store bike will work.

What’s our goal?

Are we trying to improve in a particular sport?

Maybe we’re trying to improve our ability to function in our occupation?

Maybe we want to do better in a certain form of recreation, like skiing?

Or maybe we want just general all-around functional capabilities? And if this is the case, what level do we want to take that to?

That’s the thing with any sport or certain occupations and even in our personal training. They all contain various levels of skills or we might say qualities.

This too must be addressed in figuring out not only what and how to train but also with what tools, implements or pieces of equipment.

We can be a recreational skier. Or we may compete on a local ski team or we’re going to the Olympics. Pretty much all sports and forms of recreation are like this. Even occupations have various skill levels within themselves: security guard, LEO, SWAT, each a major step up in level of skills.

Each level is sort of like steps leading up to a platform where we can say:
“I’ve reached this level.”

You may even get a certificate for doing that, but it’s expected you will continue to build and hone your abilities.

We can stay there at that level and try to improve within that level or we can begin the climb up the steps or ladder to the next level.

A person can display the same skill level as an international soccer player and yet still be content with playing local games with friends. We’ve all met people who could have played for a professional team at some point in their life.

Even with Dan John’s Q1 and Q2 there are varying levels. Quadrant 1 is a lot of qualities at a low level. This is what Dan John calls PE class in grade school.

So let’s think about that for a minute.

A 13 year old has a higher and deeper level of Q1 skills than an 8 year old.

And the level of Q1 skills and ability to express them improves by the time the teenager hits his 18th year of age. And if that person continues to play a variety of sports and engages in various forms of other types of training, his Q1 capabilities will become even greater by the time he reaches 22 years of age.

That person is still displaying Q1 qualities but at an ever increasing level of difficulty and mastery.

If this course is continued that person could eventually hit the upper levels of Q1 and transition into Q2 which are the skills and qualities displayed by, for example, NFL and Rugby players and certain tactical-type occupations.

Thus, if we determine what level we want to attain in any particular sport, occupation or outdoor activity, this knowledge can help us decide what type of equipment to invest in. And it can help us somewhat answer the questions of what, where, when, why and how to train.

I said somewhat because everything in the training world is not always a concrete fact.

Certain pieces of equipment or tools are great for many things; others operate best in a singular mode.

Narrow it down by investing in tools that give you what you want and need and will carry you to the level of capability you desire.

And always keep in mind:

If you are a cyclist, you pedal. If you’re a swimmer you swim. If you’re a powerlifter you lift. If you’re a baseball player you hit baseballs.

Train according to your sport.

If you’re into multipurpose capabilities or functionality, you’re going to have to do more than the program minimum and arm-chair-surfing.

Send your roots out deep and wide.

There’s a dirty little secret to the analogy of strength being like a glass, and it applies to all sorts of skills and qualities. We’ll hit that subject in the next article.

Enjoy the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25Vqk6sWToU

17. The Canopy and Other Stuff

17 The Canopy and Other Stuff

What do you do when things become difficult?

What do you do when you don’t have what you need or conditions are not exactly in your favor?

Well, hopefully we don’t just throw our hands into the air and give up.

When it comes to training, we might not always have the best place to train.

We might not have the best equipment or the environment may not be conducive to training.

I for one, have often had to train outdoors.

Probably the use of the term “had to” isn’t entirely correct, lol.

I actually enjoy training outside much more than indoors, and will always train outdoors if at all possible, having lifted and trained in all kinds of weather: rain, snow, howling winds and extreme heat and humidity and conditions of single digit humidity, which has its own challenges.

I’m not saying this is always easy or even the best way to do things. Of course, it’s a lot nicer to train outside when the weather is more to our liking and personal tolerance.

At certain times of the year, whether due to high heat or very cold temperatures, it may be wiser to train inside in a controlled environment.

If the body is too cold, training can be difficult and must be undertaken carefully to avoid injury, and the same is true if it’s too hot and humid or hot and dry.

Exposing ourselves to the outdoor environment can actually be an integral part of our training, a toughening up so-to-speak, so we can handle more extreme conditions.

But in so doing, we need to be aware the conditions may hinder training effect and recovery; and even carry a certain amount of risk of life.

If a person finds themselves in a lost scenario situation in the great outdoors, survival often depends on finding proper shelter.

Or if you can’t find proper shelter,  you improvise, adapt and build your shelter.

With that in mind, if some of the training we want to do needs to be done outdoors and the weather is extreme one way or another, what do we do?

Well, in a survival situation you adapt as best you can mentally and physically to your environment. But you also adapt the micro-climate as best you can to make things more bearable.

You build a shelter to serve as shade, a wind break, snow or rain shield. You create a smaller environment to heat or keep cool.

So in the linked video I build a canopy/awning in my tiny back yard, to somewhat control the outdoor temperatures.

I’m adapting my outdoor environment to my personal situation. I’ve had heat exhaustion before, and once that happens you just can’t deal with the heat as well as you once did.

It’s also a fact of life, that the older you get the less apt your body is able to deal with temperature extremes.

So, rather than relegate myself to training indoors, where I have hardly any room to train the way I want (and some things I can’t do indoors), I decided to change the micro-climate of my backyard.

I used salvaged materials. Metal from a scrapyard cost about $100 and the billboard vinyl about $35. The grommet machine was around $50. But it is something I can use for many other projects.

Always invest in tools and materials and the time it takes to learn how to use them properly.

I feel much the same way about training. Not only learn about different ways to train but actually try it out long enough to determine the effect on your own mind and body.

Otherwise, how do you really know that back-squats work for you or perhaps front squats are much better for you and your individual needs, past injuries, skeletal make-up and goals?

Don’t be an internet athlete.

And realize that there is a difference between an athlete and an athletic person. Most people are not athletes but they most certainly can be or become very athletic.

Unless you’re in paid professional sports, where your sport dictates how you train, or you only have a few years left to live, most of us have plenty of years left to train and explore the world of the training environment.

Don’t be afraid to explore that training environment, because the bigger the pool of experience you can dip into, the greater can be your ability to adapt to changing circumstances.

And when you acquire enough knowledge and experience, then you can better shape the training environment to suit yourself in that particular part of your life journey.

“Suit yourself” can mean selfishly doing whatever we want.

But “suit” also carries the definition of a group of things forming a unit (which can be applied to a group of exercises forming a training routine/program) and the thought of something tailored for you: a suit jacket. It can also mean to “suit up” get dressed or get prepared.

So with enough experience in a variety of methods and tools of training you can begin to suit yourself or tailor the suit to fit you personally.

That’s what a great coach or PT will do.

With the right humble and modest mindset and documented training journals and ear to the ground, a person can gradually become their own tailor.

You have to listen when your body says: “Don’t do this anymore!” when it comes to particular exercises, implements, training modalities or even something as seemingly benign as training outdoors in any kind of weather.

Being humble in training means others can and do have more knowledge and that can be a great source of learning.

Being modest in training means you do recognize your limitations. Sorry, just because you wake up in the morning, walk to work or drink bullet-proof coffee does not make you superhuman , contrary to what some may infer.

Maybe we once deadlifted 8 times bodyweight (internet athlete) but a lower back injury that gets tweaked here and there from training is a sure sign playing teeter-tooter with a risk-to-reward ratio on deadlifts just isn’t a smart investment.

Life, occupation, injuries, age and other things will affect what, where, when, why and how we should train.

So do we adapt to this journey and adapt how we train?

Or do we stubbornly keep trying to use what once worked, but now simply seems to keep us in regressing-injury-recovery-mode?

Here’s the video on my Canopy build and a few other thoughts sprinkled within: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyw_im3owYI

16. YJ Jeep Glove Box Install Part III

16. YJ Jeep Glove Box Install Part III

Well, in the video below I finally finish my glove box for my Jeep.

It took a while, as I was also working on another project I needed to get done.

These past three videos are long, lol, but I wanted to give some good information on this topic/project so that it may help other Jeep owners looking to tackle the same issue that I had.

Also, I include a lot of little tips, tricks and knowledge that many people just don’t know.

In my eyes, working with the hands on physical projects is all a part of training the mind and body. 

If you take an office worker and a common laborer, and both train with weights, often the laborer will have a much broader range of qualities and skills.

Why?

The laborer is exposed to much more physical and mental input from his occupation. He has developed many skills that people often are not even aware of.

The laborer will often have better tactile perception in the hands and feet, better spatial awareness and balance.  If they are an outdoor worker, he’ll generally be better able to deal with outdoor environments.

The list goes on.

Am I saying leave your office job in your air-conditioned and heated office and become a laborer?

No, I’m not, though one could  hope, lol.

The sad part of it is, many people don’t put much of a premium on labor, unless of course it’s an emergency.

Laborer’s often work for single digit hourly wages in triple digit temperatures.

Go figure.

So if you’re an office worker, don’t be afraid to tackle projects that involve physical effort.

Buy tools, learn to use them.

Open up your world outside the flow of electrons in your computer.

For around $1,200. a person can buy a complete set of hand tools to create and build wood furniture and all sorts of other wood-working projects.

For about $1,500 to $2k.  a person can set up a nice little tool-equipped area to work with metal.

Too expensive?

Well, compare it to your college education. How much of that knowledge (if you even remember what you learned) are you actually using?

Invest in tools and the ability to use them. It’s knowledge that can be used to help yourself, help family, friends and strangers.

It’s funny how someone who has never worked with tools will often complain how sore they got the first time they had to actually work with their hands and body.

You want a stronger mind and body?

Learn to use tools.

As Tim Taylor (Tim Allen) of the old TV show Home Improvement would say:

“More Power!”

Here’s the last video on the Jeep glove box, and then we’ll move on to other things:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAWJ9Y1GNaE