Reversing Hades part 3

There are 2 notable fitness figures to whom I'm immensely grateful for - Al and his brother Danny Kavadlo. From them I learnt that regardless of one's genetic disposition , the body's underpinnings could be nurtured with compound movements. 

Right above the salon was Kinokuniya , Singapore's biggest bookshop. I wanted to explore ways to train my core preferably with my body as resistance . One real skinny book stood out amongst the rest in the fitness department , its title " the naked warrior" by Pavel Tsatsouline suggested something minimalist , something raw. Accordingly I searched for it on Amazon and the recommended book other customers bought was" Pushing the limits!" by Al , it had the cover of half his body in clothes and the other in ink , captured mid air , perhaps a split second into the explosive pushup .

21st April 2014 , I bought " Pushing the limits! " and got to work the day after, documenting them with an iPhone camera and counter-checking it with the photos of Al onscreen. Paying attention to the details I could perceive in my own body. 

The day I bought the book was also the time I started emailing Al's brother Danny. He had the physique of a Greek hero and I was determined to make what I would call my own. His advise was to check out the chapters on bridge work and do pull ups. By the 1st of May , I attempted bridge progressions now that my gut had healed and inversions did not pose any potential risks.

                                                        Accountability partner on paper

                                                        Accountability partner on paper

13th May I discovered a chin up bar in Holland Village and took my workouts beyond the comforts of my bedroom.

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Over the next year , I juggled between practicing my last haircutting exam and the century test of the PCC. The worlds' first calisthenics certification program in NY. Time had to be made for haircut practice after work and calisthenics training , often I did workout from midnight til 1am. I was that obsessed! One great example of how a flaw could be transmuted into strength in the right context.

June 2015, I arrived in NY for the first time , feeling vulnerable for it was dark and rainy the moment I got off in Manhattan , dressed in ultra thin clothes for the summer (swimming trunks in luggage) when it was in fact REALLY cold. 

Days later I arrived at the SOHO strength lab , and together we smashed our "firsts" throughout the next 3 days. As of now , one of the major mental tattoos I have imbued deeply into my heart and mind would be the experience of the PCC , in general I have never really felt safe where ever but here there was no threat of the noose on how other perceived the way I perceived myself. It was congruent , the environment set up felt safe emotionally and mentally. We supported each other with the assistance of the trainers. But deep down I knew life was transient , or maybe instead of seeking this , I could recreate it whoever I was with. 

                                             PCC comrades Adrienne Harvey on the left and Magnus on the right.                                                               Photos by John Du Cane

                                             PCC comrades Adrienne Harvey on the left and Magnus on the right.                                                               Photos by John Du Cane

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I passed the century test and got myself certified as an instructor but a choice had to be made since I passed my haircutting exam a week before. Life had been kind enough to place bumpers on my life's journey, just the right amount to keep me on track and for that I'm blessed. 

                                                                                           From books to flesh with Danny & Al.

                                                                                           From books to flesh with Danny & Al.

                                                                                                            June 5-7th 2015

                                                                                                            June 5-7th 2015

Carl Jung once wrote " We all walk in shoes too small " , indeed the time was ripe for the new vocatus. Dependence on hearth would too easily tangle with the fear of stepping out into a  larger life . Could I not try living the question I not try to live? NO! A letter of resignation was submitted a day after I returned and since then been committed to creating a safe haven for bodies to be restored with calisthenics, meeting them halfway , as Beatrice was to Dante in his masterpiece "La Divina Commedia" , never usurping personal responsibility but guiding.

Thank you for making the time dear reader :)

                            21 months of calisthenics and healthy.                                        28th December 2015

                            21 months of calisthenics and healthy.
                                       28th December 2015

Reversing Hades part 2

*3 weeks ago , the cosmic forces of the universe conspired to slap me.

With clockwork discipline , I stepped in , lining the collar of her Chanel tweed jacket with a 30x20cm plastic sleeve and the necessary towel before ushering the client to the back wash area. This symbiotic relationship had to be observed with what Gordon Ramsay would call "feminine touch" and fineness. Failure to do so would result in very dire consequences. Often the foam from freshly colored hair would choke around the neck rest and possibly stain these only-dry-cleanable clothes. 

It was my first day at work and the hairdresser I was assisting thought a chair might mitigate the woes of standing but I was now seated further and had to bend lower , shaping myself into an invisible cage. Posture was paramount at this point and the obvious choice was made.

Yet, a simple twist at the hip for a pump of shampoo made my legs disconnect from the torso and I was left hanging on to the dutiful towel shelves that were more sturdy than my own body. The call to arms and assume responsibility was now apparent for I could get better or get worse

With closed eyes and whatever savings I had left , scribbled my curly signature. Such an expensive gamble out of desperation with no guarantees in the clause , I paid for membership and PT at Pure Fitness - the swanky new gym across the street at Knights Bridge.

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I worked out 3x a week with Dave , an ex-commando from the Singapore Armed Forces . For the first time I had pecs thicker than a pancake , along with all the yummy toppings needed to look descent without my shirt on. Plus on a social level , I was even showered with compliments from colleagues at work and friends.

Within a month , we completed the 15 sessions and I was finally separated from the comforting nature of the womb with all workouts fed to being on my own in this iron jungle. But such is the transitory nature of life and many times I did arrive in the gym with pent up excitement after a hard days work only to be clueless as to what my workout should be.
 

L)28th Sep'12 - 1st week of training , note the imbalance in the left shoulder, rotation of ribcage evident in the abs/obliques , as well as the lesser developed left pec relative to the right (from your view) , something I tried to correct through Jungian depth psychology.  M)5th Oct'12 - 2nd week  R)27th Oct'12 - 5th week

L)28th Sep'12 - 1st week of training , note the imbalance in the left shoulder, rotation of ribcage evident in the abs/obliques , as well as the lesser developed left pec relative to the right (from your view) , something I tried to correct through Jungian depth psychology.

M)5th Oct'12 - 2nd week

R)27th Oct'12 - 5th week

1)5th Oct'12 - 2nd week , rubber band snake fed with whey protein , given to me by Adrian , he hoped for me to getting better from all the weight I lost in hospital. At this point I was still eating trashy mass cooked food so protein shakes were a "healthier" addition.  2)14th Oct'12 - 3rd week  3)20th Oct'12 - 4th week, grass snake  4)27th Oct'12 - 5th week , adult grass snake

1)5th Oct'12 - 2nd week , rubber band snake fed with whey protein , given to me by Adrian , he hoped for me to getting better from all the weight I lost in hospital. At this point I was still eating trashy mass cooked food so protein shakes were a "healthier" addition.

2)14th Oct'12 - 3rd week

3)20th Oct'12 - 4th week, grass snake

4)27th Oct'12 - 5th week , adult grass snake

20th Oct'12 - 4th week

20th Oct'12 - 4th week

Then one day it all came crashing down (again?!?), in retrospect whatever the timeline demanded had set scaffolds to ascend and transcend old stories with ones that would empower me . Many have commented on the flatness of chest , and in reaction to that , I benched pressed several times a week , with poor form just to get shit done and left the gym with a treacle like sensation in the neck. Foam rolling - check , dry needling - check , trigger point therapy - check , all good but at best provided only hours of provisional relief . Shortly after,I developed gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and gastritis from the consumption of pain-killers prescribed by a GP for a bone spur in my palm. It was a stupid gamble.

Curled up in a fetal position on my mattress feeling so sad...so anxious...If I  was going to die experiencing the incendiary effects of napalm in my gut. As flames leave residual ash in its memory, i found tarry stools in the loo .  With these 3 reasons I cancelled my membership and was left to question the ambiguity of it all. 

In the next and final chapter , I meet my heroes. Stay with me.