Every Monday and Friday, I teach a class on the history of sport and physical education. It’s the first year I am teaching it and I must admit I am learning more than I am teaching. Of recent weeks we have been weaving our way through foundational philosophy, exploring notions of epistemology (ways of knowing), metaphysics, etc. As a self proscribed history nerd, the last two weeks have been great: we have delved into sport and physical education in the Ancient World, chomping on some Mesoamerican, Sumerian, Egyptian, Chinese, and (to my delight) Greek methods of physical education and expressions of sport.
If Plato felt that the body hindered the mind’s true understanding, then why after burpees do I feel one with the Universe?
This week, we examined the naturalistic and anti-naturalistic schools of thought towards the human body and eventually found our way to the teachings of Socrates and Plato. (Bored yet? Meatheads may simply skip to the pictures and the workout below.) Reading excerpts from Plato’s The Republic, I came across an interesting notion to which I whole-heartedly identified. When discussing the nature of the state, Plato spoke of the cultivation of the “warrior-scholar.” Here stands a man (or woman, in today’s gender sensitive age) of both physical prowess, yet balanced by intellect. Plato argued that the man consumed solely by the body was not worth his instruction and subsequently the glory of the city-state. Plato wanted men who were not only athletically talented and good fighters to defend the polis from invasion, but also intellectually inclined to understand the complexities of what they were fighting for.
Why do I bring this up tonight? What does Ancient Greece and the thoughts of dead men have to do with The Movement Program? With the broader athletic world today? I would argue that for many who call weightlifting and/or CrossFit a passion, the “harmonious relationship” between body and mind is absent or lacking. As athletes, we spend countless hours each week utilizing steel to cultivate the body, but how often do we drive our souls towards deeper connections and our minds towards truer understanding? When was the last time you walked through Walden Pond with Henry David Thoreau or debated the merits and pitfalls of universal healthcare with a neighbor? When was the last time you gave a damn about something other than yourself?
As time continues to slowly add the weight of years to my shoulders, I have realized that my life demands balance. Most of the time I haven’t listened. I guess that’s the value of getting older: getting wiser, becoming more aware, listening…
Find balance. Value diverse forms of knowledge. Savor experiences outside of your comfort zone. Make Plato proud.
Become the warrior-scholar.
5 sets of 2 reps @65% 1 RM
Clean and Jerk
5 sets of 2 cleans + 1 split jerk @ 65% of clean
*1 min rest between each set.
Senior members: Hatch Squat Cycle
Junior Members: Front Squat 5 – 5 – 5
*2 mins rest between high bar back squat. 1 min rest between front squats.