Natural born heroes is the second book from the author Christopher McDougal. The first being born to run. A book that deals with running and a tribe in Mexico who run for endless distances only wearing sandals. It questions our beliefs on distance running and the shoes that we wear to run and the intention and science behind them. It does so all while telling a compelling and interesting story.
In this book he does much of the same. First and foremost I thoroughly enjoyed the story that was being told. Secondly I really enjoyed and related to the topic which it is based on as it relates to what we speak about here at Enso Movement Culture. Movement for life. It is about being able to use your body, it is about being able to do what is necessary in order to live your life and when the situation arises be able to help others and yourself in times of need.
I won’t give away too many spoilers but the story is based on the resistance to Nazi occupation of the island of Crete during World War 2. McDougal expertly weaves the accounts of the survivors and historians of what happened then with his own investigative experience on the island and the different areas that relate to the story like movement and nutrition, with information and stories from experts in these areas and bringing in background to the development of these fields. This is actually 3 maybe even 4 books condensed into one. The story is expertly woven together to paint a picture and give detail to the reader.
The central question that I got from the book is; have we forgotten our true capacity to move? Have we moved away from what we are truly capable of as we moved away from nature? I agree with this, we base our health and fitness on Hamster wheel practices. Movement is a collection of skills. It is things that we need to be able to live life. It might not be things that we use every day, it can be things that we need to be able to do when the need arises. Take running for example. There are a ton of joggers everywhere you look right now seeing that it is summer in this part of the world. People jogging 5 to however many kilometres but can you sprint 400m like your life depends on it and then keep running? What is practical about what you’re doing? The person in the gym doing multiple reps of Squats, how does that apply to your life and what you do, is it making you better at life? The problem is not necessarily what, but why you are doing something. There is nothing inherently wrong with jogging or squatting, but does it fit the bigger movement context.
Anyway less movement ranting more reviewing. I liked that the book highlighted movement and put it in the context of a story. It did make some fairly big jumps when trying to make connections between certain points but it created plausible questions and this I felt kept the story flowing which was important for the book to have the effect that it has. What it presents never claims to be absolute fact, but is neither fictitious. It raises points and asks questions. Questions that you can answer yourself. The book is a journey, a collection of people’s journeys and it will benefit you on yours. It is well worth the read.