Ever since I was little watching guys like Arnold, Stallone, Ford, Van Damme, Jet Li, Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and others, I always wondered what a picture perfect athlete would be like. Yes I even got a kick out of Brendan Fraser in George Of The Jungle being a Tarzan wanna-be. As I got older and transitioned from a weightlifter to a bodyweight guy I loved the way certain athletes moved through the air like a gymnast or an acrobat in the circus and how they’re built not like a bodybuilder but like a real and graceful athlete. In reality (contradiction I know) Tarzan to me is the picture perfect athlete.
The beauty of Tarzan’s development is that he is forced to adapt to his environment in the jungle, swinging, climbing, moving in awkward positions and being free out in the open. There have been a lot of Tarzans in films over the years from Johnny Weissmuller to George Scott to even the original Highlander Christopher Lambert. To train is to think and very rarely you see that today in your commercial gyms and health spas because too many people just go through the motions, hop on the treadmill reading a book or watching TV, even blasting their ipods while lifting weights not even paying attention at times to what they're doing.
When it comes down to it, they say the lion is the king of the jungle but I believe when it comes to sheer power, size, forced to adapt and having the most powerful grip strength pound for pound are the primates like Apes and Monkeys. You won't see a lion swing through trees jumping from place to place, he'll run, chase and wrestle you to the floor but an Ape can crush your bones just by squeezing them and have tendon strength that most animals don't have. The Wrestlers of the Jungle are the Gorillas and Chimps, the acrobats are the Gibbons and smaller primates. They move with power yet with grace at the same time. Yes they're structure is a little different but yet we can adapt to what can work for us.
Training shouldn't be a hassle or something you need to punish yourself with but what it can be is an adventure. Think about it, being out in the open, having fun, putting yourself in different situations with practical application and having the time of your life. If you can't get outside due to bad weather or there’s trouble out or whatever, you can still have fun inside and maybe not move so much like a wild animal but adapt to what you have and the space you have to do what you can. Karl Gotch once said “adapt and improvise” this meant that you can do things anywhere at anytime but yet improvise with what you have to make use of what you can do. Be open to ideas and have some fun.
As some of you know, one of my favorite styles of training is moving like an animal in the jungle, stalking its prey, jumping and speeding up on an object, using my imagination to make things more exciting. As of late I've been trying different things and one of them is a system called MovNat which is using only your body and the environment to create different situations which are used in crawling, jumping, running, lifting, climbing and carrying different things to build your body from adaptation. Erwan Le Corre is the founder of this type of training and is one of the fittest guys in the world today. It’s pretty interesting considering some of the things he does is almost a spitting image of Tarzan. Check out some of his Youtube stuff. It gives you a different perspective to how you move and put yourself in different ways to adapt and improvise in a practical and safe way.