Tom recently learns new strategies from NFT after 29 years!

Tom Hayes NFI report 2

Today is March 2nd, 12 days after my first day training with the NFI team. In the last week, I have spent 5 days in the pool training, 2 hours per training session. I start in the hot tub and get the muscles warmed up. Then 10 minutes of relaxation and drop training just floating in the water. Then I get in chest deep water and assume the A position, next to the sidewall of the pool. At first, I help balance by using visual and touch feedback (slight finger touch on the sidewall). Then I work toward diffusing my vision, so I rely less on it. Then close the eyes completely, just working thru this progression. Visualizing the 1,2,3 balls, the ‘A’, the ‘T’, elasticords to the feet, suction cups on the bottom of the feet. Now start working the side to side plane, tipping my A onto one leg and back to the other, keeping the 3 balls aligned. I have made great progress, able to tip side to side maybe 20 times without losing my balance. At first, just 10 days ago, I could barely do this motion.

Then I work the zipper plane, feet staggered front and back, slowly get the feel, balance, convincing my brain that it knows what to do, this is a natural movement. Diffuse vision, then close eyes completely. Then start working the zipper plane tipping forward and back. This was a very foreign motion for me at first, I really couldn’t keep the balls in alignment at all. But the work has paid off and I am almost as good in the zipper plane as the side to side.

Now I move away from the sidewall and work the rotational plane, and this plane seems the most natural to me. I have made the adjustment to concentrate on rotating at the 2 ball, holding the A as tightly as possible. After this I move to the circulating water pool and walk in the water, mostly against the current, alternating a power walk using a balancing arm and a slower more precise, more balanced walk. Then I repeat the whole process.

So here’s some observations. First and foremost, my 1 ball and my brain have established a connection that hasn’t existed for the past 29 years, since I got my spinal cord tumor. (The 1 ball is an imaginary ball located 3 inches below my belly button, the size of a baseball and shiny red in color) I have concentrated on initiating all movement from the 1. This is still a lot of my work as I go thru the session and after I return to gravity out of the water. My 1 ball is the first thing to get out of alignment and the need for adjustment is almost constant. But it is becoming more natural and thoughtless. Now when I walk on land, it seems there is this subconscious connection between my 1 ball and the ground. It’s like an anchor. I used to work so hard to maintain balance and alignment. Now my brain is doing this work instead of my body and it feels so much more natural. I believe this is brain change, neuroplasticity.

I am amazed that in 12 days, my walking, movement and alignment are now governed by the 1. Just two weeks ago before I was aware of the 1, walking was energy depleting and painful, always requiring concentration. Now I am gliding forward led by the 1. Instead of forcing my hips and legs to do all the work, the 1 glides forward, the hips more naturally rotate around the 1 instead of being the focus of attention. You preached to me ‘forget the legs, they will follow.” My legs have always led the charge in the past. I had to be sure the leg movement happened, make sure the foot planted, then do the weight transfer. Now amazingly to me, I am trusting that the legs will get there, and they are!! I have removed mental power from the hips and legs, replaced constant muscular tension with relaxation, and natural movement is returning!! This is miraculous to be able to learn a new and better way after 29 years of struggle.

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