Newsletter 13 – Tradition vs Science, May 2024

A few years back I learned a powerful movement practice called the 5 Tibetan Rites.

It was actually taught to me by a new coach (Mark) who began working out of our gym back in Brisbane, Australia. And although it was my role to coach and mentor him, this simple routine that he taught me really struck a chord, and that chord still sounds out to this day.

Years later, when Mark visited me for a hike in the Pyrenees, we were discussing the practicalities of the rites and we decided to make a short video to share it with my audience.

Although this video was just a quick overview, it really took off, and today it’s sitting at over 215,000 views, so clearly, many people find the simplicity of this routine appealing.

I’ve had many requests for a more detailed video on this subject so I want to share with you a more detailed version of the 5 Tibetan Rites which has been informed both through practice and a more solid biomechanical understanding.

“Relaxed movement is likely the key skill that will calm the overthinking mind and unlock a tight, restricted body.”

The devil is in the details

The updated video includes some more detailed movement cues, some things to pay attention to, and some regressions that I have come up with in order to provide an easier starting point to some of the harder exercises.

The details of the movement are of course very important, but for some personality types more details could actually be a hindrance. Many of us are in the habit of overthinking, so if that sounds like you, I would recommend keeping these details in the back of your mind, leaving the majority of your attention available to enjoy the slow relaxed, movement.

If you do have an overly stressful life, more complexity might cause you to overthink every single aspect of movement, which may prevent you from being in your body through the experience.

For this kind of person, stillness will be difficult, perhaps impossible…

From experiencing this myself and learning to relax, I can tell you that relaxed movement is likely the key skill that will calm the overthinking mind and unlock a tight, restricted body.

More information may not always be useful. So do your practise but take these extra details with a side of caution. For some it will be better to just enjoy moving and not to overthink it too much.

“We need just enough stimulus to be effective, but not so much that it’s overwhelming.”

Consistency is key (but also a convenient excuse)

Calling this routine ‘the fountain of youth’ promises a lot. But like many promises in life, this one also comes with a caveat…‘You must practise and be consistent!’

And in that phrase we can see an inherent truth, but also a convenient excuse if the practice doesn’t magically work for you.

It’s the same caveat that I’ve referenced through my content and my programs time and time again: You have to actually do the work consistently if you want the results.

For a coach like myself it’s an easy out. It’s very easy to say ‘The reason you didn’t get the results is that you weren’t consistent with the work’. But I don’t buy into that idea when it comes to my 1:1 clients.

If what I deliver to the client is not fitting in with their lifestyle then it’s not their fault, it’s my fault. In the last 12 years as a coach I have learned that I have to meet people where they’re at. Meaning that it’s my job to find something that fits fairly effortlessly into your lifestyle especially in the beginning. 

We need just enough stimulus to be effective, but not so much that it’s overwhelming.

Of course my role as a coach is to provide insight, structure, tools, tests and experiments, but ultimately it’s the accountability, trust and support that aid the process of consistency and growth in a human being in question.

If this sounds like something that’s appealing to you, and you are open and ready to invest the time and money to do the best you possibly can, I would encourage you to apply!

1 on 1 coaching not for you right now? Momentum Membership has been designed to help you train consistently.

“Science provides us a truth with which we can temporarily suspend belief, allowing us to move forward with confidence.”

Variety and avoiding dogma

Last year I worked on two separate areas of my education in order to better understand functional breathing in human physiology. One area was very much grounded in science (Oxygen Advantage) another more based in tradition (Yoga). Being taught simultaneously from two different schools of thought was both confusing and enlightening but ultimately very helpful.

Science is of course very useful, however it also has its limitations in terms of size, funding and bias. On the other hand traditional approaches are based either in teachings from divine wisdom or passed down through generations by sages and masters, even so unless you experience the benefits first hand it’s hard to believe, which is why science is so appealing.

Science provides us a truth with which we can temporarily suspend belief, allowing us to move forward with confidence. Ultimately, you won’t truly believe that anything will work for you until you experience it yourself. 

The great thing is you don’t have to believe, you can just do it anyway.

I am of the belief that a healthy mix of science and tradition is a great way of avoiding dogmatic thinking and it’s something I want to encourage everyone to adopt. Yoga teachers need to go study some science, and some scientists could benefit from studying something like Tai Chi, Qi Gong or Yoga in order to round out their knowledge and remain open minded to new possibilities.

So by all means, practise your chosen discipline, educate yourself and ‘do your own research’ but keep an open mind and avoid drinking all of the kool aid from one sole source.

I see so many coaches online just parroting, sometimes word for word, what other more prominent coaches have said in their videos. Which is fine, in one sense, but if you were to put that coach on the spot and ask them to explain exactly why the concept works instead of simply repeating dogma, they would likely be completely lost, or worse, they would just make something up.

To sum up, movement is great for you whether you believe it or not. Whether that movement is based in tradition or solid science, it actually doesn’t matter that much.

What matters is that you are moving!

And remember that we are complex beings with many different physiological and psychological make ups. What worked for one may not work for others. If you haven’t found something that works for you yet, I encourage you to keep walking the path and find something that does work for your unique makeup…

Your life depends on it.

Mountain Proof Knees Update

I’ve been busy making some much needed updates to probably my most popular program Mountain Proof Knees. Whilst MPK has had some of the most promising results from any of my programs in terms of reducing knee pain and improving strength & mobility, I knew that in my heart that it could be vastly improved based on what I’ve learned about the body since it was first released in 2020.

For the first few years my mindset was ‘if it’s not broken don’t fix it’. But knowing what I know now and looking back on it I am confident that I can make it FAR more effective and importantly more focused and simple.

After 5 years of working with coaching clients specifically with knee issues I have a much clearer idea of what works for hikers in particular, who are typically not the kind of people who want to spend hours in a gym.

Q&A – Managing knee pain levels when training with Mountain Proof Knees 

Hi Chase,

Thanks for putting together the MPK course – I’ve been going through it the last week or two and has been great.

I had a question regarding pain management that you might be able to shed some light on. I’ve had some chronic under kneecap pain, which I self-diagnose as runner’s/hiker’s knee, and so started the course to improve that.

I can do a majority of the exercises, but the knee drive and other squat/lunge style movements tend to aggravate it in days after. I’m trying to do as much as I can without increasing the baseline of pain in the knee but I do enough that the pain hasn’t decreased (yet). Does that balance seem correct to you or how would you approach a program like this if you come in with a minor chronic injury? Would you instead rest until it’s as pain-free as possible before starting?

Hope this makes and thanks in advance for your response.


See my answer below!

The key lessons here:

1. Details are useful but don’t get bogged down in them, enjoy movement!

2. Consistency is key and often accountability and coaching is what helps the most

3. Don’t be too dogmatic to one philosophy, variety will help you the most

I hope you enjoyed this read and the subsequent update on the 5 Tibetan Rites. My hope is that it can re-inspire old 5 Rites practitioners and get some new people into this style of training.

Keep moving, keep exploring, keep learning…

I’ll see you on the summit.