Ido Portal - Movement Culture

Much has been said about the Israeli movement artist Ido Portal, his movement culture, 8hr daily training schedules, elite level online coaching and of course his role in the Conor McGregor UFC training camp. For better or worse, when you mention the words "natural movement" to a Goldman Sachs banker nowadays, the first thing that comes into their head is "Ido", albeit after "Conor"!

So, how did this happen and, more importantly, what is so special about Ido that he has risen above the crowds to reach worldwide recognition? Forget the media hype, the online chatter and all the noise. There is only one thing you really need to know - he is every bit as good as everyone says he is. 

In fact, he may well represent the latest iteration in a long line of human excellence, a modern day Samurai, a freakishly talented individual who is helping expand the boundaries of human movement potential. Is he unique? No. There have no doubt been others who have carved a path before him, perhaps without the benefit (or curse?) of so much media attention. Is he one of the most talented movers in the world today? Almost without doubt.

That said, he is not going to give away all his secrets over a weekend workshop. He's a shrewd Israeli businessman after all but sign-up for Movement X, The Corset or another of his 2-day sessions and you're guaranteed to come away inspired and sold on attending his two-week intensive training camp.

Be warned, there is no quick way to reach such advanced levels of movement however, expect to put in the hours, finding the right coaches to help you along the way and, if at all possible, make it your living so that the training is woven into the fabric of your daily life.

Has Ido invented everything you see on the video above? No; if you know what to look for you can pick out elements of capoeira, gymnastics, dance, martial arts and animal locomotion. But that's to miss the point.

There is at least another third of his method that defies such easy categorization. He also has a way of mixing everything all up into one fluid flow that is a sign of mastery; you just can't fake that, no matter how hard you try.

Perhaps inevitably, the more advanced you become in your own training, the more your attention will focus on that mysterious final 33% and that is likely what Conor McGregor was paying for when he brought Ido into his UFC training camp. Having a joker up your sleeve never does any harm, especially not in combat.

In the simplest of terms, this is about developing as wide a movement vocabulary as possible to liberate the body from the constraints of say, what classifies as formal karate, or limited strength, body control and mobility.

Largely neglected skills that might look more at home in a circus training camp such as balancing, juggling and flipping are given renewed attention as part of this method, not because any one of them has a particular merit in and of itself but because when taken together they create massive transfers of skill that can be deployed in any number of other situations.

For Conor McGregor, this was the edge he was looking for, and may well have found. For the rest of us, it's a challenging new way to think about "training", let alone fitness, and ultimately how we might go about programming our learning and development over the weeks, months and years to come.

Matt Morley