Close up image of a bow and arrow of a samurai archer. Jun 29th, 2020

The Legend of Tametomo: Gaining An Unfair Advantage

Are your arms the same length? You have no idea do you?

I think everyone should have a favourite Samurai Warrior. Mine has always been Miyamoto Musashi, famed for his dazzling use of a sword in each hand and the author of legendary Book Of Five Rings. But I’ve recently had my head turned by Tametomo.

Tametomo had a genetic deformity which meant he was born with one arm 6 inches longer than the other, his left arm. He was no doubt teased as a child for this, but Tametomo went on to become a great archer. What was once a childhood disadvantage allowed him to pull off some of the most powerful shots ever recorded in battle. Tametomo did all this while riding horseback, which gave him an incredible edge. He is said to have sunk an entire Taira ship with just one arrow by puncturing it’s hull below the waterline. In feudal Japan there was no such thing as an unfair advantage.

So what can we learn from our new hero? Use my strategies below to give you YOUR unfair advantage. In the current climate, I think we should use every tool available, just like Tametomo.

1. Incorporate breathing exercises into your morning routine

First thing in the morning, I use a technique called the “breath of fire” (bhastrika) to help balance parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems. It may also help with optimising blood pressure. Using the diaphragm, breathe in and out through the nose vigorously for anywhere from 10 – 100 times. Then inhale fully into the lungs and hold your breathe for as long as you can. Lastly exhale through the mouth. as slowly as you can. This can be repeated – try for a minimum of 5 mins, perfect as part of your morning routine.

2. Use supplements to optimise performance

I take 3g of Creatine Monohydrate every morning. Long known for its ability in sports and performance, I love this supplement as it makes you quicker, stronger and leaner. Emerging research shows its beneficial effects for cognition & brain function – especially in sleep-deprived and stressed shift workers. I use this creapure monohydrate.

Dietary supplements spilling out of a container

3. Block blue light during screen time

I use blue light blocking glasses. My screen time has skyrocketed since the lockdown and I’m used to being active pretty much all of the time so it’s taken some getting used to. The Biohacking Collective make a great set of three pairs. I like the clear ones for every day use as they just filter out some blue without affecting my vision.

4. Reap the rewards of cold thermogenesis

I “switch on” my fat burning and increase the calories I burn by up to 15% every day using a simple technique called cold thermogenesis. Rapid changes in temperature has many health benefits. Cold exposure has been show to reduce inflammation, increase metabolism and circulation and increase the activation of BAT (brown adipose tissue) which in turn burns white fat (the stuff we are trying to reduce). In short, this can help with losing weight and body fat.

Man taking a swim in icy water

5. Use Adaptogens to help manage stress levels

I optimise my stress levels by using Adaptogens. These have gained popularity recently, but I have been using specific adaptogens with my clients for over a decade now. In Asia they have been used for centuries, old Tametomo probably used them. My favourite is Rhodiola Rosea which can be used strategically to help manage periods of both high physical and mental stress. Specific blends can often work better, for example combining ashwaganda and ginseng as there is a synergistic effect. I like Pure Encapsulations or Nutri Adreset for this.

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