Extraordinary People

This entry has been a long while in the making. I’ve shared a few of these stories with you in the past. And now I’m throwing a bunch together for one entry, with multiple examples of how amazing humans can be.

The first one is on the Marathon Monks of Mount Hiei. They go through a brutal training ritual over the course of seven years - walking over a 1000 marathons (and longer). They carrying a rope around their waists and a knife in their hand - should they ever fail, they will kill themselves either by hanging or stabbing. Whoa! Now that’s dedication! Here are two other story links. ONE TWO (with some questionable facts).

Story two is one I use in class when we study thermoregulation (like warm and cold blooded animals, or more accurately, endo vs. ectotherms). This dude’s name is Hugh Lewis, aka The Ice Bear. Here’s what he does - he swims long distance in polar seas. I first hear about him in the NatGeo article, and now I use it (and the youtube video) as a bellringer. It’s crazy how he can elevate his body temperature before the swim. I’d like to tap into that during my winter bike commutes.

This chap is insane too. His name is Wim Hof - The Iceman. I first heard about him on PTI when he was trying to climb Everest without a shirt on. Intelligent. This video is sweet (I just found it). Wim ran a 1/2 marathon barefoot on ice and snow in the Arctic in just shorts and a hat. I can’t believe it.

Well, people can do amazing things mentally and physiologically. Please add some cool stuff to this list.

DavidInspirations04/05/08 4 comments


Dad • 04/13/08 12:00 AM:

I just watched the first monk documentary. He eats 1400 calories a day and expends 2000, yet doesn’t lose weight. So the monks defy the 1st law of thermo? I don’t think so. Maybe he stops to eat nuts and berries along the way. The segment ends abruptly for no reason, leaving me to wonder what happens next. Guess I’ll have to watch the sequels to find out. But not tonight. I don’t want to turn this into a marathon.

David • 04/21/08 11:04 PM:

Add David Blaine to this list. I think I thought he was just a magician, and therefore a phony. He’s trying to break the Guinness record for holding your breath. This NYT article writes about his practice, and his 16 minutes without air last week. Check out the videos on his website for other insane feats.

Dad • 04/24/08 10:36 PM:

David Blaine is one of those guys who make me cringe. I get extraordinarily uncomfortable when magicians or other crazy people do dangerous stunts that might get them killed. A guy by the name of Joe Burras was actually killed doing a “buried alive” escape where he was put in a plexiglass coffin, lowered into a six foot grave, and entombed in cement. The stunt was delayed several hours, during which time the cement truck was standing by and the wet concrete was thickening. When they finally dumped it into the pit, the box collapsed and Joe was crushed. I actually saw TV footage where you could clearly see the sudden drop in the level of the cement as the box gave way and you knew he was dead. Death is bad enough without bringing it on yourself through some hair-brained stunt. No thanks. I’ll skip Blaine’s insane feats.

David • 05/02/08 8:21 PM:

David Blaine held his breath for 17 minutes. It’s a new record. How crazy is that? Almost as crazy as me watching an entire episode of Oprah. Here’s a clip from the show.

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