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MovNat Trainer Certification London 2012

Ask most people what their main association with “training” is and you’ll get a variety of answers. Some will refer to fitness, conditioning or strength gain. Others for goal-oriented performance or weight loss/gain. Most will compartmentalize their associations with physical fitness to “the gym” 3x per week, or a run on sunday, or maybe a course learning about a new product that “best” achieves one or more of their goals. Few, if not any, will tell you their “training” is about optimizing movement patterns for the contextual demands of their environment. Enter MovNat.

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Philosophy

I’d been following this fledgling physical education system from its initial beginnings a few years ago, impressed by the way it represented so much of what was missing from the increasingly specialized (and confused/unhealthy) element of modern day training methodologies. MovNat was not representing anything new, it was merely establishing a framework for focussing training as a way of being, or as a condition that has always allowed our bodies and minds to thrive through an evolved sense of adaptability. This non-specialized physical sense of being, through natural movement, allows for an optimized condition for whatever task we may encounter, rather than focussing on specific targets of weight loss or strength, for example. But what is natural, as opposed to unnatural?

If something is unnatural, does that make it less effective in our daily lives? Of course not. Modern humans are continually evolving in so many ways, but more often than not, in specialized ways. We seek a career, a hobby, maybe a partner and routines that give our lives a structure that allows us to forge our own path. But do we do things efficiently? Is being “fit”, “healthy” or “successful” etc a sign of our effectiveness in achieving certain goals? Maybe we can learn how to be more efficient with our lives, understanding at the same time the factors that make things less efficient or effective. Maybe we need ques to help us become more aware of how much potential we have.

MovNat explores these, and numerous related questions by providing ideas for expanding our enormous potentials, primarily through the teaching of ‘evolutionary natural movement aptitudes’ that are imprinted within us. These principles that include various locomotive, manipulative and combative skills based upon balance, posture, timing, relaxation, tension etc are often lost upon our newly adaptive physical condition that requires far less natural movement than we need as functioning animals. We sleep, we sit, we drive, we sit, we lie down, we eat poorly, we slouch and in between we make the odd effort to physically exert ourselves thinking we are making a huge difference. Our lack of quality movement is interconnected with other realms of life such as the way we nourish our bodies through food, through friendships, connections and visions of an integrated human nature.

MovNat has not reinvented the wheel. MovNat does not ask for 3 easy payments of $19.99 for the ultimate answer to be send to your postbox. Ideas of efficiency and adaptability have slowly become eroded by the rapid onset of commercial, complex and specialized life pathways so many of us are drawn into. Our bodies often respond in ways we are visibly aware of, but often in elusive ways; stress, discomfort, fatigue, sadness and so on. Does MovNat suggest that we all turn the clock and drop all our modern ways for a return to small foraging bands in sparcely populated areas? Of course not! This will never be the reality, so why live with such romanticism?

The teaching of natural movement is intended to give us all the competency to perform a whole lot better in practical life situations. Not just in our living room or in a hot and crowded gym, but outside in our natural environment. We need to run, to carry things, to jump, to throw, and in some cases maybe even to climb and defend ourselves if faced with danger. Why not learn how to do these things efficiently, and become aware of non-physical aspects of our lives (nutrition, mindfulness, kinship etc) that can be improved at the same time? MovNat is not competing against any system, other than our inability to seek an awareness of our deeper human potentials.

London MovNat certification

So, as a lifelong practitioner of a multitude of physical pursuits and nature lover, the chance to learn the MovNat system and incorporate it into my own life, but also teach it was always appealing. The London trainer certification lasted almost 3 full days. Candidates from all over Europe were in attendance, mostly with a trainers background in various sports, some already incorporating natural movement training. Vic Verdier and Joseph Bartz were the instructors and provided a wealth of knowledge and experience in an organized, relaxed, and at times amusing way. Joseph has a background in parkour training, and provided numerous examples of incredible body control, strength and grace of movement that left us amazed. His teaching was clear, methodical and humble. You could tell he was about natural movement, and both he and Vic were the kind of guys you would want to have on the sinking ship.

Without giving away too many of the “secrets” (hey, it’s more than $19.99 you know!) the days were spend inside the East London Gymnastics arena in Beckton and at the local park beside. We went through the skills and techniques that are encapsulated in the foundations of movement, including running, climbing, lifting, crawling, balancing and carrying. Days were indispersed with some of the more theoretical and philosophical aspects of MovNat that taught us the essential nature of adapting our movement to the environment we encounter.

Basic skills were shown in their stripped down version (something that is seemingly lost in most modern training settings and among most trainers) and more complex and challenging variations. Vic gave very interesting short lectures about lifestyle elements that most of us were familiar with, but somehow felt happy hearing reinforced once again. What stressors you place upon your body, and you abilities to recover have enormous consequence. Practical application of movement skills was always reinforced. Why do something? What use is this type of movement? People need to be told over and over again why they are training a certain movement. And it shouldn’t be about being “cool” or not, it should be practical.

Of particular value was the testing day where we were put through various skills tests, as well as placed in a teaching situation where we were tested on our abilities to impart knowledge. This is an element missing from many training camps I have been to – what use is the knowledge if you cannot simply and effectively relay your underatandings to clients? None. We spoke about methodologies, class structures, and the inevitable questions about how to cope with “that annoying student who wants to get wiped out at each training”. We know that our weaknesses first must be assessed, then efficiently transformed through proper programming and implimentation. Many of the participants were highly skilled individuals, but we all had our shortcomings. As a trainer, we need to be made aware of this. Through my kettlebell training, I know how important breathing, tension, balance and relaxation becomes when working longer sets with heavier loads. Again, I struggled with the almost instinctive use of strength to overcome these deficiencies I have in my own game. But I am aware, and was made more aware during the course, and will continue my path towards efficient movement.

The way ahead

Our bodies are not designed NOT to move. We can all improve through an awareness of how our cognition is embodied within us and is stimulated in so many positive ways through healthy movement. Our bodily kinetic intelligence is slowly being eroded by technology, convinience, disease, laziness and a general confusion as to how we can optimize our health. In all but extreme cases, the answer lies not in medical intervention, but in a sense of awareness and willingness to get outside and move to the beat of nature. We must move away from a reliance on the logical and rational side of our being, towards experimenting with the unconscious and intuitive. We have the choice to adapt to our office chair or tv-stare, or to extend our incredible potentials to see things differently. Natural movement is a great start, MovNat is waiting for you.

Special thanks to all the great course participants who, despite different backgrounds, shared an obvious passion for natural movement. Humans are social animals, and you all showed how this is such an integral component of enjoying the benefits of sharing knowledge in a training environment.

For more information on MovNat training in Bergen or elswhere in Norway for your business, family or training facility, please leave a message and I’ll get back in touch.

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Posted by on October 9, 2012 in Thinking

 

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MovNat – Future of training

Surely you have felt that rush of adrenalin followed by a sense of serenity whilst out in a natural environment having just crossed a swollen river or scrambled down a rocky bank. Your body and mind enters into a synergy that gives us a sense of what it is like to be detached from the modern world for a moment, and feel the power of nature and our mastery over movement.

 I recall a trip in New Zealand last year with a friend up a river which had recently been in flood. It was remote, narrow in places, exposed in others and full of massive rocks and organic debris. Parts were possible to negotiate by rock hopping, others only by swimming, clambering up banks and jumping back into the river. It was long and winding and totally beautiful. Time was no issue, soreness from scraped legs or sunburn placed behind the feeling of empowerment from being in such an environment.

We rested when we needed too, ate occasionally, listened to the native birds, and tried to improve performance with every jump and climb. This was no technical modality or max-rep workout, this was attending to the way we are formed to use our bodies and our minds to develop alongside, and within a natural setting.

Essentially, this was MovNat, and for me this is the future of mind/body fitness. Here are the pillars set out by Erwan Le Corre, founder of MovNat, philosopher and amazing athlete.

The Pillars

Natural

The most common deficiency in zoo humans is a total lack of understanding of their true nature and in most cases a chronic betrayal of it.

In our modern era most people now live in cities, spending most of their time indoors, being deprived of natural light, breathing air which is as polluted indoors as outdoors, eating huge quantities of unhealthy industrial food products and undergoing numerous sensory and psychological stresses while often lacking sleep.

The MovNat philosophy reminds us that like in any other animal, human biology is built upon natural laws that we cannot afford to overlook if we desire true and lasting health.

Among these laws, the necessity of regular movement activity remains a determining influence in our biological balance and therefore on our well-being and health.

In nature, any animal unable to move is condemned. As civilization leads us to increasing physical apathy, it is crucial to underline that constant physical idleness leads inevitably to loss of physical function and innumerable health problems.

If it goes without saying that there can be no real and lasting health and vitality without fulfilling the natural necessity of movement, same goes for other biological aspects of our lives, including nutrition, sleep and breathing, exposure to natural light and contact with nature.

MovNat educates on the fundamental laws of Nature and provides alternatives and solutions to apply in daily life, making it a powerfully life-affirming activity and philosophy.

Our natural perspective helps you realize that an increased respect of your biological needs and connectedness to the natural world will make you stronger and healthier than ever.

“Movement is our nature, Nature is our movement.”

MovNat is an environmental-oriented concept that provides a simple and accessible alternative to anyone interested in a physical activity that has minimal impact on nature.

Evolutionary

Trusting our primal heritage

Over the course of several million years, evolution has deeply shaped human physiology and biomechanics with a direct and profound implication for how we are able to move as a species. Our movement capacities as well as many subconscious behavioral patterns are inherited from this collective process of adaptation and natural selection.

Originally, long before the rise of highly specialized sports, we were movement generalists. The natural life our ancestors lived was one of varied movements and efforts, near-constant alertness and adaptive responsiveness to frequent and often unpredictable changes. These very diverse movement skills modern human beings have universally inherited played a major role in ensuring the survival of our species, allowing us to seize opportunities and escape threats. They used to be fundamental attributes of hunter-gatherers.

Still our bodies and minds are designed for the world of hundreds of thousands of years ago and both expect us to live like our ancestors!

They are structurally adapted to a wide range of movements and efforts, ranging from brief in duration but extreme in exertion to low intensity and prolonged.

MovNat is primarily based on rediscovering and optimizing instinctual movement patterns. It is in the first place about re-wiring the entire system of the human body back to its original mode and function. It focuses on unleashing the wild movement potential in us and on reviving skills that have been proving to be the most efficient and vital ones for millions of years.

The evolutionary philosophy of MovNat makes us understand how important it is to trust this universal and primal heritage.

Situational

How well do I want to perform in real-world situations that involve movement and action? This simple question might profoundly transform your perspective of what it means to be “in shape”.

Modern lifestyle has made natural movement skills become optional.

So why run? Why jump? Why climb? Why lift? Why…walk?

Because we believe that even a highly civilized world holds a multitude of situations where our evolutionary capacities remain indispensable.

Not only they are still useful in a potentially vital manner, but any specialized approach would inevitably lead to failure.

MovNat training emphasizes the body’s natural ability to move in an adaptive manner, i.e. in relation to a situation or context. Consequently, the movements trained can always be linked to a practical application that justifies them.

The situational philosophy of MovNat training is designed to expand your comfort zone in performing daily-life tasks as well as building your preparedness and situational intelligence in dealing with more challenging circumstances that could arise unexpectedly. It is an orientation that is simple, direct, practical and unspecialized.

MovNat trains you to become a well-rounded natural athlete, ready for a wide range of practical actions in various kinds of situations.

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2011 in Mind/Body, Philosophy, Training

 

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