I was fortunate enough to attend Paleo f(x) in Austin a few weeks ago, as we had the opportunity to cover the conference for Breaking Muscle. One thing that stood out to me was how warm and communal the ancestral crowd was. As an international group of cutting-edge athletes, coaches, best-selling authors, and movement specialists, I found these folks to be extremely accessible, humble, and frank. If you have the opportunity, I think that events like these are truly valuable.
Here were some of the events that were most meaningful to me personally:
Darryl Edwards – Primal Playout
The reintroduction of play as a forum for human movement, training, and mobility is one of the most exciting opportunities in the ancestral movement. Training or “working out” is often abstract in our modern culture. Traditionally, play is the primordial medium of “training.” Programs like Darryl’s (such as MovNat and Primal Move) that incorporate the role of play as a habit and practice of movement have tapped into the foundational sources of movement. And for anyone who wonders whether you can get a good “workout” through play, attending one of Darryl’s Primal Playouts is a must. The lethal effectiveness of Darryl’s method is something to be experienced.
“Cultivating the Well Adjusted Male” Panel
This panel was a politically incorrect dive into the importance of the formation of the male. The panel argued that young males have not been given proper channels in our culture to celebrate their masculinity and indeed, that masculinity itself seems to be something that has been lost in Modern Western society. I thought that this conversation was stimulating, although not uncontroversial for me in the way in which the panel characterized masculinity.
“Building Not Burning Bridges in the Paleo Movement” Panel
There was a pervasive sense at the conference that the Ancestral Movement is on the verge of influencing mainstream culture. The only way that it can do this effectively however is if it leaves behind some of the distinctions that divide different ancestral groups, for the sake of confronting larger enemies. The relationship that the Paleo movement has with the Weston A. Price Foundation, for instance, was an important moment in this discussion. I found this to be a highly responsible dialogue.
“The Robb and Mark Show”
Who wouldn’t want to see Robb Wolfe and Mark Sisson chat, respond to questions and speak to where they envision the Paleo Movement headed in the years to come? Mark Sisson, Robb Wolf, and moderator Abel James displayed an absolutely authentic scientific humility in their articulation of how the Primal and Paleo movements need always step back to assess (and reassess) assumptions. It is clear that, for these founding fathers, the Ancestral Movement is more than a simple diet chart. Rather, it is an explorative adventure that delves into the intricacies of the human structure.
I recognize that so many of the communities I belong to are digital and remote. I’ve read many ancestral books and blogs, but there is a real difference between these abstract encounters and the dialogue, eye contact, and handshakes that these sorts of events provide. The ancestral movement has very few ties to specific locations, but is rather constituted by the digital context of our age. In a way, nothing could be less ancestral. The sort of rare opportunity that PaleoFX provides is precious.
Within the clear context of possibilities that digital technology provides, there is the risk of alienation. I walked away from the final moments of the convention with a sense of peace and gratitude, happy to be part of a larger tribe.