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Do and Do Not. There is Try!

Updated: Aug 23, 2021

The Jedi-curious among you might see where this post is going from the title alone. Yeah, Yoda might've been wrong. Such an antagonistic concept, the Force. Dark or Light? Do or Do Not? Where's the fun without the chaos and possibility of non-binary reality? The explorers of the world Try. The curious Try. Freethinkers Try. Overcoming the fear of Trying might be a human building block, that essential Lego piece that connects the current us to the groovy future us. It's OK that Trying might not equate to Doing. Not only OK, but crucial. To Try and Not Do can have more bang-for-the-buck outcome than Trying and Doing. Heck, it could be said that all Trying is Doing, with a spectrum of failure. And failure, as I've mentioned before, is not a lack of success..

There's a silly sport I participate in called Mas Wrestling. Silly, but brutal. Like many physical pursuits, mas has its legitimate dangers. It's a sport that will smack you down if you're not prepared. When the intensity is cranked up, mas will find your weakness and pounce on it, making sure you're aware of your limitations, using injury as an I-told-you-so.

So it's a little frightening to the uninitiated. Whenever I teach workshops in Mas, many adults either approach the board with extreme hesitation, or they linger on the sidelines as observers, since adults are often convinced there is no Try, only Do. And Doing, in this case, could break them. But teaching is the art of initiating Trying, and keeping the lessons progressive. Which means safe. In this very specific case of an obscure sport that looks like a cross between frolic and torture, that means letting people Try mas wrestling, but not necessarily Do mas wrestling. This was first apparent to me when I taught cross-country skiing a lifetime ago. Beginners spend their first day cross-country plodding, with very little skiing being done. And it's awesome. They've officially Tried it, but have yet to really Do it. But many of them will. You're probably already applying this lens to movement journeys you've been on. Even when we eventually do Do it, we still are constantly trying. (Yeah, I said do do). Back to Mas for a moment. Here's a scenario that has played out almost every time I've taught a workshop. Lots of hesitant adults, not a single hesitant child. Every kid that was dragged along by their parents to this weird sport thing ends up pushing mom or dad aside to get to the board as quick as they can. They crave Trying.

mas wrestling chip conrad
In Russia, 2016.

At each workshop, there's a list of intimidating factors right out of the gate. I begin by highlighting the potential dangers. My credentials of being an international competitor are often repeated by the hosts of the workshop many times. And the sport itself just looks weird and uncomfortable. Most adults who brave sitting at the board for the first time with me ask that I go gentle. OF COURSE I'm gonna be gentle. Teaching is not Doing. I want every person there to succeed at Trying, and THEN make decisions about what steps they feel like taking next. Imagine my instructor cred if I popped people's hamstrings with glee and abandon. Plus, I simply don't have the energy to Do mas with everyone there. Let's save that for after you've Tried mas. I'm sort of flattered that y'all think I'm going to destroy you once you sit down at the mas board, but how about we work on letting you thrive? I don't recall a single kid every asking me to go easy on them, though. They know how to Try, which they understand to be equal parts trust and simply showing up. Sure, they're more malleable than their adult counterparts, but that says more about the life choices of the adult than anything else. Try or Don't Try. Them's your choices. Consider not being out-Tried by your kids, though. Ya don't have to Try mas, but I'd like to hear about what you do Try.

_________________ So I competed in my last Strongman meet. The journey, which included a road trip across the country, is being documented on YouTube. Part 1 is here...

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Jun 06, 2021

"Try or don't try. Them's your choices."

Well said! Now, some things I really want to do, but I don't even try, because I'm afraid (terrified?) of X, Y and Z.

But your Mas Wrestling example shows how silly those fears can be.

They may be legitimate concerns, but we let them grow in our head to be ridiculous!

If I want to do such things, I need to be brave (but not stupid).

Great article. Funny too!

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