1. How would you define your personal practice? My personal practice is to not be a specialist. Instead of being a master of one thing I am looking to be balanced, well-rounded, versed in all aspects of health/ fitness/ whatever human ability and function. In order to do that, I have to cut through all the nonsense that comes along with each system and find the useful information.
2. What turning points have you encountered on your movement journey? I don’t feel like there have been turning points. I feel like it has been a constant journey to a destination that I don’t know about yet. There is no end and no direction. I could take any path and none of them are wrong because I don’t know where it is leading me. It’s like I am on a river, I go where it takes me. I didn’t choose this life, it chose me.
3. What role has injury played in cultivating your current niche? Injury is something I have to deal with on a constant basis, so avoiding it and repairing them are essential. Injuries have increased my pain threshold, which is a good and bad thing. Knowing the difference between hurt/injury and fatigue/ soreness is very important to me, so the more I know about my body, the better I can decide whether or not to suck it up and tough it out or take time off to heal and recover.
4. Do you consider yourself a teacher? Why or why not? I do not consider myself a teacher. I feel like a student. If you are a student anyone or anything can be your teacher. We should be able to learn from children, animals, plants, literally everyone has a lesson to teach. If you are a student, you can make me a teacher.
5. What has been your experience with physical education, both in the schooling system and sought out knowledge/ know-how elsewhere? When I hear the words physical education I think of a middle school PE teacher with short shorts, a collared shirt, and a whistle on a lanyard. I don’t think of the martial arts or the lifting or any of the fun things I am doing because none of it seems like work or education. I have acquired some education on accident, through experience. In the roughly ten years that I have been competing in mixed martial arts, I have picked up a few things that translate well into other athletic fields, and taken things from other sports and applied them to my craft. With both success and failure, you could say that most of my education has come the hard way. I didn’t pay for it with a student loan, it required blood, sweat, and tears (from my ligaments and muscles much more than my eyes).
6. How do you involve your mind/ emotions into your physical routines? Emotion has no place in the gym. Ego has no place in a place of learning. What other emotions are there? I use my mind much, much more than my muscles when it comes to martial arts. For example, you may see me bouncing up and down in front to my opponent, but in reality I am gaging distance, finding the rhythm with which they are shifting their weight, fainting strikes to see how they react, and trying to trick him out of his plan so that he does what I want him to do according to the game plan we have been working on for the past eight weeks in the gym. When you hear someone say fighting is 80% mental, this is why. My muscles just do what they’ve done a thousand times.
7. What are your personal aspirations regarding movement? How do you hope to find purpose and use in the skills you have built? As far as movement goes, I know one thing — motion is the potion! My aspirations for movement are to be able to continue to do it until the day I day. That is the purpose of my skills, long after I’m able to compete I will continue to do Brazilian Jiu Jitsu until I can no longer. One of the creators of BJJ was Helio Gracie, and he put his gi on every day and practiced until the day he died at the ripe old age of 92. Marital arts can and will be passed down from me to others, and thus my little piece of a legacy lives on forever.
8. How can people find/ contact you? Do you have a site or social media handle to share? I am not what you call a social butterfly, and I don’t really focus on helping people as much as I focus on finding things that work for me. I am not opposed to talking with people, but it has been so rare for the seeds to take root that I tend to keep my mouth shut. For anyone curious enough to make the first move, I can be contacted via my facebook page.
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