1. How would you define your personal practice?
My personal practice in one word is ‘Seeking’. ‘My personal practice is honestly directed towards mental change via the physical body. I realize this more and more with every passing day. I’ve always been inspired by stories of change and the idea of self-improvement (not for the sake of it, but rather as a tool to help more people). I believe that increasing movement freedom is a thing that can dramatically improve life in terms of health and satisfaction, and this is the root of my motivation. Developing and achieving movement freedom is a path with many obstacles and it requires thinking, feeling, fighting fears, doubts and weaknesses – all of which are pretty useful in life in general.
2. What turning points have you encountered on your movement journey?
Thirteen years (6 to 19) I’ve played almost exclusively football (soccer). During that time I’ve done some strength and conditioning with free weights as part of my rehabilitation regarding various injuries, such as broken ankles, chronic adductors inflammation and muscle strains. The first turning point was an ACL injury that happened to end my professional career aspirations. It’s not that I did not recover from it, but I missed 1 year of development and when I got back I was so far behind what I felt I should be, that I couldn’t take it. I’ve redirected my energy towards lifting weights, leading me to studying the Olympic lifts. Few months of lifting were enough for me to realize that I’m overdoing it, not feeling well and generally training way too much for no real benefit. I went to the other side of the spectrum – I won’t be lifting weights at all. I went to capoeira class, and stayed for a while there. By that time I’ve found Ido Portal’s old blog and began following him. And in 2016 I borrowed a money from a friend and went to ”The European Movement Meeting” in Copenhagen, led by Ido and his team. This is probably not exactly a ‘turning’ point, but a ‘clarifying’ one. Anyway, I saw with my eyes what can be achieved by devoting yourself to a lifetime of quality movement practice and it blew me away. I’m not talking only about the movements of the guys, but rather the philosophy, empathy, honesty, strength, grace, commitment, willpower, intelligence of the community involved. It’s something that is hard to be described and have to be felt.
3. What role has injury played in cultivating your current niche?
The above mentioned ACL injury has affected my life, as it shattered my hopes of becoming a pro-player and I was searching for direction for quite a long time. For a few years I’ve played professionally online poker, but in the last year and a half I’ve devoted myself to being a personal trainer. I very much dislike the term and find it problematic, but this is the truth for now.
4. Do you consider yourself a teacher? Why or why not?
I do not consider myself a teacher. Mainly because I have a very idealistic picture in my mind for what a Teacher is, and I’m not even close. I consider myself a mediator of movement – someone who’s trying to apply what he has read/seen/tried for himself, but not one who understands (the human body), creates (the needed tools) and educates (his students).
5. What has been your experience with physical education, both in the schooling system and sought out knowledge/ know-how elsewhere?
Frustration is the main emotion that I’ve experienced in my physical education in the schooling system. Our teachers were never really interested, nor intelligent, I’ve barely learned anything and was frustrated when I did not have ‘talent’ for an activity. The schooling system in Bulgaria is in a very, very bad condition, but the subject Physical Education is even worse. No learning process, zero mentorship, no motivation. I hope I can change this one day.
6. How do you involve your mind/ emotions into your physical routines?
Amazing question, though hard to answer. Sometimes it happens by itself, sometimes not. I always try to answer the question ”What is the right mindset for the task?”.
For strength training, one mindset will do the job, for mobility work – another, for exploring pain – another and so on. The emotion involved is totally dependent on what are we trying to do. But honestly, I rarely need to think about involving emotions in my own physical routines, as I get pretty excited when I’m about to move.
7. What are your personal aspirations regarding movement? How do you hope to find purpose and use in the skills you have built?
My personal aspirations regarding movement are various. I’m pursuing development of particular skills (such as handstands), and in particular sports (bjj/climbing), but I actually want to stay healthy, capable and enjoying life. So I’m not after A THING, but rather after my own sense of fulfillment and satisfaction within my physical body.