• Pieter Derycke

Feeding your homunculus - an anecdote (part two)

A few years ago, I did a MovNat workshop for the first time. It was not the first time I did some natural movement, on the contrary, but it was the first time I did it for 8 hours a day, two days in a row. It was a great experience. Meeting some like minded souls of different ages and abilities, being free to move for a long time, outside, even if the weather was not that great, learning things about movement, about oneself, even about ones life. Crawling, walking, running, jumping, balancing, throwing and catching, lifting, climbing, carrying, sprinting, some self defence. We did it all and in various and explorative ways.

The day after I felt really good, but just a bit sore and fatigued. Like I often do, during my working hours, I did a short movement break, just in between two patients. I was hanging on the bar, and thinking about this goal I have had for a longer time: doing a muscle-up. My pull-up and dip strength was reasonable, but I was never able to do a muscle-up. I did not train for it specifically, but I just thought it would be cool and practical to muscle myself up to a bar or branch. I was thinking about movement efficiency, and specificity of training, motor control, gravity etc, all things we talked about on the workshop. Then I pulled myself up to the bar, and although fatigued, I felt something had changed. Somehow I was better at pulling myself up. Without thinking really, I pulled myself up again and suddenly, I was on top of the bar! I don’t remember very well, but I think a little ‘yes!’ came out of my mouth.

My professional (de)formation immediately started working: how was it possible for me to do a muscle up all of the sudden, without doing specific exercises for them, without warming up, even in a fatigued state?

Homunculus was the word coming to my mind. Somehow my central nervous system was able to let my body function better, to deliver more motor output. Somehow my upper body was better connected to my lower body, and my left side to my right side. Everything seemed to work together quite nice. I had two explanations: maybe all this movement had a positive influence on a retained primitive reflex (that’s another story), or my homunculus was satisfied and well nourished from 2 days of moving naturally.

Who has another explanation? I’d be happy to hear your thoughts.