What better word is there to describe YHC than “move”? YHC is all about movement; moving forward, moving closer to goals, moving ahead, and even moving body, mind, and spirit as one (see Candice-Lee’s story). To find out more about movement, I interviewed a man who has dedicated his life to teaching and learning about movement. He trains elite athletes and plain old folks like us. He has a lifelong passion for the martial arts and training the human body to be free, beautiful, and uninhibited. One of his favorite quotes from the martial arts community is: “Technique is a trap; style is a prison.” Have you guessed the name of this mega-maestro of movement? He’s Val!
It’s worthy of repetition: “Technique is a trap; style is a prison.” Say what? Think about what that quote means to you. Val comments, “If movement is too scripted, you can’t move freely or be adaptive. When people loosen up in class it frees them up and releases them, so they can relax.” For example, if you have taken one of Val’s classes you may be familiar with his top 10 teachings about how to move and what movement is :
1) Go at your own pace.
2) Make it your own.
3) Play with it.
4) Have fun
5) Dance with it
6) Don’t overthink it.
7) Cardio is movement.
8) Move from your core.
9) Make your movement fluid; real movement is fluid, not stiff.
10) No T-Rex arms; use your full body to move…ALL your limbs!
No dinosaur himself, Val believes that Bruce Lee was a very important force in changing how the world perceived movement. Bruce Lee was so adaptive, ingenious, and skilled in his way of mixing traditional kung fu with other martial arts that he began an entire movement of mixed martial arts (MMA). Other superstars who exemplify the mastery of movement according to Val are Jackie Chan, Cab Calloway, Michael Jackson, Michael Jordan, and Stephen Curry.
The nonconformity of Val’s classes complements other classes at YHC that are more scripted, such as Bikram’s 26 postures. Going to Val’s class helps students work on stabilizer muscles AND movement muscles. Some of his students report that their pelvic range gets “torn up” at first because they are not used to using their whole body to move. Dormant muscles get awakened and are making some noise! “What the hell?!” Old movement patterns are getting challenged and new pathways are getting formed. It’s liberating and healthy for the body to keep adapting.
Val closes his interview with some “moving” recommendations for our readers; he encourages us to realize that “all movement is good movement…just move! Stay moving. As soon as you stop moving, especially when you are older, you deteriorate. Keep jumping and hopping at all ages. Jumping, skipping, and hopping are good for building bone density. Your bones are only as strong as they are under pressure. Movement, such as jumping, is a natural part of life.” Mighty high fives all around for Val, the man who keeps us moving.