Last night I attended the UK launch of Christopher McDougall’s new book, “Natural Born Heros”. In his last book, “Born to Run”, he examined the lost art of running; most humans today being locked into a perpetual injury/purchase cycle of running technology fueled by clever marketing. This time round McDougall expands on the natural movement of running, into all areas of natural movement.
Galahad Clark opened the evening, forgetting to introduce himself; I guessed it must be him, when he started talking about also being involved in the launch five years previously in the same venue, Conway Hall in Holborn, of Born To Run, the book that popularised barefoot running (or rather natural running, Chris never advocated barefeet or bareshoes). Galahad Clark incidently if you didn’t already know is of the Clark shoe dynasty, but started trying to fix what his family broke (not intentionally) with the creation of VivoBarefoot Shoes.
I realised in Chris’ opening address that the concept of Natural Born Heros wasn’t something that you could distill into a couple of soundbites. It takes some explaining and Chris and his co-collaborators spent over an hour doing just that. A hero in the definition of the book is not say when a firefighter rescues someone, or when a parent risks their own life to save their children. In the first case they were trained to do this and in the second they have an evolutionary imperative that’s impossible to dodge. No, Chris’s heroes were ordinary people who seem to have be in the right place at the right time and steped-up to do something extraordinary. They themselves completely disregarding any notion of them being a hero. What he’s looking for is what is what makes ordinary people apparently put their own lives at risk to help others? Something that the rest of us consider to be an heroic act?
Surprisingly being a natural born hero is all about natural movement and whether or not you’re used to performing the 10 natural human movements. As most of us lead a sedentary life these days the answer is usually – no!
There was a Parkour demonstration by Parkour Generations. I wondered what the hell this had to do with a book on heros until I started to get with the program on the points Chris was making. The movements of Parkour are not unnatural movements; far from it, they are totally natural human movements that we’ve all forgotten. Dan Edwardes discussed the ten years he’d been involved in Parkour in London.
There was also a talk by Tara Wood of Wild Fitness. Her take on this is that modern exercise concentrates on singular muscle groups and doesn’t take a holistic approach. Creating large muscles doesn’t mean you are super human and probably wouldn’t ensure you were any good in a situation a hero was required. However someone who regularly performs all types of physical activities, such as her company Wild Fitness encourage, would probably already have stepped forward.
You’ll have to read the book for yourselves to fully understand this, I’m only at chapter five, but I did only get my copy at the launch yesterday. I hope this has given you a bit of a taster.
Check out VivoBarefoot’s review of the night. You can see me in the crowd, the bottom of the ‘T’ in Thank You is right over my face. 🙂