Ignite your love of movement and play

My obsessive focus is on movement and fitness as a vehicle for positive transformation and self-improvement. I believe that learning how to move skillfully through the practice of purposeful (playful and/or practical) movement will supercharge your life. Since diving into it all four years ago I’ve experienced monumental boosts in energy, self-confidence, strength, and a fundamentally altered worldview. I now see the world as a playground where any challenges or obstacles in my path are opportunities for growth and play. It has provided me with the courage and freedom to pursue all the things that light my fire while being my true (and utterly irreverent) self. I believe that movement can do the same for you. Light that spark! Join me in the pursuit of our true potential, with the help of our neglected comrades: movement and play. Now, if you’re curious about how I even got here, then read on.

The Super Abridged Story of Sean (thus far)

This'd be me, either amused or bemused, I'm not sure which

There is something about the idea of exercise that I’ve always hated; it just felt wrong, unnatural, but more importantly: dreadfully dull. Perhaps that hatred came from buried memories from my early childhood. My family lived for several  years in a tiny settlement in Israel, situated up on a hilly plateau. It must have been paradise for a little kid, as I could spend most of the day wandering around exploring, playing games with friends, and when those weren’t an option playing video games (loved me some Warcraft II). My crowning achievement there was a sizable personal junkyard behind our house, cobbled together from discarded objects around the settlement. How I managed to lug some of those things up to our house near the top of the settlement is still beyond me. That playfulness and exploratory spirit was slowly ground away as I grew older. By the time we had returned to the U.S. and moved across the country to Chapel Hill I had lost most of that energy. I stopped playing sports, like most kids I disliked PE classes, and sought more and more of my fun through video games and the internet (hi, I’m a long recovered WoW player, nice to meet you).

Rediscovering the spark

With the shift away from play I was barely active for during high school, that is until I stumbled upon a Ninjutsu dojo in 2005. Ninja always fascinated me, so there was no way I could say no; it didn’t take long for me to become completely engrossed in studying Ninjutsu. I was so obsessed with what I had discovered that I went so far as to transfer out of my first university up in Maryland primarily to be closer to the dojo. If it weren’t for my interest in martial arts and the need to march around campus to get everywhere I would have become completely inert. During my entire time in college I could never motivate myself to go to the gym (I can count the number of times I went on one hand).  The lack of motivation stemmed from self-esteem issues I had at the time and the fear of being judged as weak. But somehow I managed to stay in OK shape with occasional martial arts training. It was a great alternative to the gym at least, but I felt limited by my need to go to the dojo to train properly.

Lighting the blaze

In 2008 I discovered Parkour and natural movement, and became instantly intrigued. The emphasis for both was on moving outdoors, developing useful skills, and most important in my mind at the time:  filling in the missing piece of my Ninjutsu training – escape.  I devoured all the information I could find about them and dove into practice a few months later. I became so enamored by them that after under a year of practice I decided I had to teach them. I switched my major from Information Science to Exercise & Sport Science at the very last minute. I spent my next two summers jamming in needed courses. I earned all of anatomy, physiology, motor control in intense 4 week bursts. Wait, we have to do what?? Learn the _entire _skeletal system in a week? Bring it! Over the next several years I began experiencing huge transformations in all facets of my life, all of which tied back to my regular practice of Parkour and natural movement. My self-confidence soared, I gained significant strength (even my teacher back at the dojo made a comment), I had an unusual abundance of energy, and I began to see that the world was filled with infinite opportunities for movement. The changes began gradually, but they have been accelerating as I have continued to consistently move more and more. The only downside I can think of is I won’t shut up (or stop writing) about this now, as I feel it is my mission now to share what I have discovered for myself with the world. Beginning an arm jump I’m fully committed now. I’ve had the great fortune to have already learned from many excellent teachers and friends, all far more knowledgeable and skilled than myself. I’m continuing on the never-ending journey to become the best human being, mover, teacher, and writer that that I can become. I must advance into the unknown in search of knowledge, experiences, and opportunities for movement.

“A man must constantly exceed his level” ~ Bruce Lee