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I have never felt sick, dizzy and tingly so many times from the comfort of my own sofa.

Last night I watched a Channel 4 show called "Don't Look Down". If you didn't watch it and have a real interest in athleticism, I strongly suggest you do.

It was about a Parkour guy turned free-climber who liked to climb cranes and dangle from them...

by one hand.


To say that what this guy did wasn't for the faint-hearted would be a grotesque understatement.


Where I would never go near an activity like this, I am overwhelmed with respect for the guy who was the subject of the show in a number of ways.


Firstly, the dude was incredibly athletic by traditional standards. He was extremely strong with his own bodyweight as demonstrated by his one-handed hangs from wide bars (much more difficult than narrower bars). His balance was impeccable. His explosiveness, demonstrated through his jumps and flips, was great.



Secondly, his composure was unwavering. Many people can hang off a bar with one hand in a controlled manner or walk a balance beam at floor level. Raise the task 100m from the ground and nerves would get the better of most of us, even with skills we were absolutely confident in our ability to perform.


Thirdly, and most strikingly to me, was something true to many urban sports which I'll come back to.


I met with a friend of mine yesterday. He's amongst the most intelligent people I know.

On speaking about learning, he raised an interesting question to me:


"Think of the thing you are best at in life..."


"Would you say you were predominantly taught it or that you learned it yourself?"


I know my answer to this question.

I also know his. He taught himself Chopin pieces on the piano in a year and has spent the last few years teaching himself carpentry skills that would put many professionals to shame.


The free-climber was predominantly self-taught.

With no formal teaching for such things, he had no other choice.

I suggest that this was a big contributor to the reason he was such a great athlete. In fact, I will elaborate on my thoughts on this later in the week.

What are you best at?



Arton "Not looking down" Baleci


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