Understanding the Past Pt. 1

Freedom exists in those willing to understand it. 


Currently we struggle deeply to witness our history, and tell it through the lens of all those who experienced it. This creates a separation of not only facts but an inability to understand empathy. Empathy is humanity’s greatest solution, and even the greatest war fighters and generals need to understand empathy or they risk losing the ability to understand their enemies and potentially, their next moves. We avoid the painful facts of our history for its counterpart, suffering. 

Modern life has created some rather fantastic ways of being whatever it is we may want to though! With an internet filled with more education and research than any one person could ever digest in a lifetime. A social experience that provides an opportunity to share and listen to anyone, anywhere in the world. The ability to move to the opposite side of the planet and still stay connected to our families. We can create and shop for any sort of food choice we may have in most parts of the world. Modern medicines that have wiped out plagues, and disease that ravaged society. Advances that could not have even been dreamed of. So why do we struggle so hard? 

One of the most detailed accounts of American History was done on what is truly the last frontier, The Great Plains, many of the Indigenous Peoples that lived there, and the culture of The Comanche Indians. This was broken down even further to the final stand of its half breed leader Quannah Parker; the son of Cynthia Ann Parker. The Comanche (Quahadi) were the last of what is considered one of the greatest warrior cultures this continent or planet had to offer. The importance here is in an almost impossibility to living that was done on purpose by a culture of human beings. This is all documented with one of the most detailed bibliographies I’ve ever seen in S.C. Gwynne’s Empire of the Summer Moon

The Comanche have never been matched in terms of ability on a horse, their ability to hunt off horseback, fight off that horse and they were still brutally good on foot. They were thriving in a world that demanded survival, and although they are considered as barbaric in some respects as the Mongols and Ghengis Khan, what they were capable of in covering ground, fighting, environmental exposure, and ability to thrive in a world European settlers had no idea how to navigate was unheard of and feared. They would be the final solution in the genocide of The Native American people. A hard fact we struggle to teach today by breezing through our poor decisions as a nation. Many of the ideas and ways of life could easily have been learned about and progressed on for environmental issues, and even health, something that is now showing us lessons we needed to learn. 

Our current educational system is one that totes intellectualism as the foundation of a society that grows more bankrupt by the second in not only it’s own financial debt, but its denial of cultural dismissal. Men and women immortalized for monopolizing a system we become indebted to through consumerism and our own misunderstanding of responsibility. We have a system that has weight on a medical establishment that has nothing to do with health care and everything to do with the business of addiction. Well meaning people jump into Medical school ready to help people suffering, and are beaten to a pulp by the business of medicine. We’ve sacrificed our health, as comfort and convenience erode at our ability to understand basic physiological problems that show up in our inability to simply sleep without a narcotic or alcohol, or basic human movement. Things as simple as going for a daily walk to improve basic aerobic function can’t be met. Our desire for now, and more has exceeded our ability to listen and learn. 

Education should never stop, and it should not be met with restrictions as to which direction we choose to go. The idea of a certificate meaning I’m creditable, is laughable, and yet we all get in line. Our education is one of specialization and laudation of institutions. Human beings are generalists, and damn good ones. The ability to critically think without the ability to move or function at our highest potential is the equivalent of a gun with no ammunition. It certainly is scary, and shouldn’t be pointed at anyone, but ultimately worthless, and all bark. Not to mention those of us who don’t know that it is an empty gun becoming obedient to the system and person yielding that unloaded weapon. 

Today the lack of skin-in-the-game for the intellectual is astounding. We hold professionals on pedestals that they couldn’t lift themselves on, nor survive a single day of hard labor at the bottom floor of their own industries on, and yet they suffer as many do today from diseases that are the byproduct of simply not moving enough, and sticking too much in their mouths; anxiety, depression, obesity, metabolic disorders all directly related to the inactivity of the modern “genius”. We are a culture of save me, and zero responsibility, and a little more than 100 years ago most people refused to let anything or anyone “cure them” of their way of life. 



brian mackenzie

Brian Mackenzie is an innovator in human performance on stress adaptation and a pioneer in the development and application of custom protocols to optimize human health and performance. His clients and work have included: Ari Emanuel, William Morris Endeavor, Sheppard Mullin, Deloitte, Google, Tim Ferriss, U.S. Military (Navy, Army, Marines), Canadian Military (CANSOF), San Quentin State Prison, The UFC Performance Institute, Altis, Jon “Bones” Jones, Laird Hamilton, Tia Clair Toomey (3X CrossFit Games Champion), Rich Froning Jr. (4X CrossFit Games Champion) and many others.


Episode 5

In Episode 5, we have a classic fireside chat.  We get to jawing on everything from wrestling dogs to vagabond trucking. In between our nattering we get into some more serious topics like the social…


Episode 4

In Episode 4, BMack is live from a mountain top and I am, sadly, still at sea level.  We get into personal accountability and how not to become an a$$hole.   We also touch on the…


Episode 3

In Episode 3, we do a bit of review on Alex Hutchinson’s (of Outside Magazine) recent article on human energy systems.  True to our conversational style, Brian and I go off on some tangents to…


Episode 2

Episode 2 was recorded on New Year’s Day 2021.  Brian and I get into the reality of Nature, 2020 melancholy, and the relationship between dog pajamas and human conditioning.  We also spiral into how fragile…


Episode 1

In Episode 1, we get our feet wet with this whole podcast thing.  Brian and I have a conversation like many we’ve had before. We go on rants about how awesome it is to be…


SHIFT Perspective Podcast Trailer

Listen in on this coffee table chat between two of the leading experts on breathwork, performance, and stress. SH//FT Perspective is a short form conversation between human performance experts and friends, Brian Mackenzie and Rob…


Understanding the Past Pt. 2

We have become hopelessly dependent on a system that removes us from true autonomy and education. This is not to suggest that advances in medicine and technology do not have their place, they do! Or…


The Evolution of SH//FT

SH//FT was born out of decades of experience in the field of human performance.  While in search of best practices in training and recovery we found that at a fundamental level people are disconnected from…

Disruptors Episode 2 - Fergus Connolly

The Disruptors – Episode 2: Fergus Connolly

Join Shift founder Brian Mackenzie in the second episode of The Disruptors – conversations with those disrupting the norm.

Kelly Starrett and Brian Mackenzie

The Disruptors – Episode 1: Dr. Kelly Starrett

Join Shift founder Brian Mackenzie in the first episode of The Disruptors – conversations with those disrupting the norm.