The article linked about discusses Ido Portal’s method, from the perspective of the author. In it, he identifies that Portal’s basic concept is “isolation-integration-improvisation”.

Part of what makes this method unique is “improvisation”. Weight lifters do NOT want to improvise. Infact, the activity itself is so isolated, how could they add real improvisation? The most they can afford is that crossfit style scramble-games of W.O.D. Gymnasts, (as the article mentions), are not improvisers. They memorize set routines, and thus like Weight lifters, never get past “integration”.

It is interesting to note in passing that Classical education follows the “isolation-integration-improvisation” model in the Trivium’s grammar-logic-rhetoric progression. I’m sure we could find other examples as well.

So what really sets Ido apart, beyond his 3 stage method, and beyond the inclusion of improvisation, is that he moves the scale forward. That is to say, “isolation” does not actually begin with isolating muscle groups for something like, say, bicep curls. Ido begins with full body activities. Ido begins with a holistic movement. His squats are full body. His planking is full body. It all begins with an employment of the totality of the body, rather than a disconnected portion of it. From there, the isolated movement becomes integrated with other movements, so that it can finally be improvised both in shape and in context.

The article also brings up that Ido believes there is something “beyond” improvisation. I would submit that one way to “go beyond” is to work on interactive movement. Rather than simply moving alone, one might involve a dance partner, or combative opponent. One could also add a weapon, as martial artists have long recognized that weapons merely amplify empty-handed skills. (Of course, it doesn’t have to be a weapon, as any extension of the self would work for this purpose.)

Another possible way of going “beyond” in movement would be to strive to see the context of employing movement more clearly. What is the story you are living out? What is the meaning of all this moving? Why are we doing it? Where is it taking us? How? Where does it all come from? These questions will affect how you train. If you think your story is about how you’ve been “engineered” (as is often described today), then you will be tempted to approach your body like a machine. ¬†However, machines and organic life behave in dramatically different ways, which must be honored accordingly.


Another area in which Ido’s method could be improved is in terms of aesthetic recognition. Ido deplores aesthetics as being superficial, and yet while there exists a superficial treatment of aesthetics in any context, the simple idea of Beauty is not innately superficial. Infact, Beauty cannot be ignored, lest we lose Truth and Goodness. Thus, working to understand the authentic “Beauty” of movement, would help take it to the next level.