True words. I've written a bunch on this subject before, but it's been pushed to the front of my brain again by a question I was asked last night. I was finishing up a presentation to UNC's Fitness Professionals club (I had a great time - they were a wonderful group) and was asked about standardization and certifications within this wild new world of parkour/natural movement training. It got the gears in my brain turning and I found myself awake at 5:00 this morning watching old interview clips of Bruce Lee.
It's incredibly easy to get trapped by a system. They can be beneficial - essential, even - to introduce a greater truth or to change an ignorant person's perspective. The danger is when we stop asking questions and start accepting a particular system as truth. Ultimately, every single style, system, program, etc. that's ever been invented is incomplete and flawed. It has to be, because nobody is omnipotent.
Not to get all Zen on you again but consider the famous Koan of the finger and the moon:
This obsession with style was (and in some ways still is) the plague of martial arts. Crossfitters who simply swallow the babyfood of Crossfit dogma are victims as well. Same with traceurs who think that Parkour has to look a certain way. Let's not get started on the ridiculously narrow stories told by some within both the Paleo and Vegan communities.
I worry about MovNat. I worry that as the community grows it will get more entrenched. I'm concerned with the whole "movnatting" terminology - I think trying to capture the infinite range of human movement into a branded verb is ultimately counterproductive. I hear things like "all kids should be doing MovNat" and I don't know how I feel about it. It kind of reminds me of wodtoys. I think what kids really need is the time and the context to do their own play.
I hope that's not taken the wrong way. I'm saying these things because I love MovNat, love the community, and want to see it thrive. I think what Erwan, Vic, Clif, and the rest of the team are doing is incredibly valuable and important. I just want to make sure we're not mistaking the finger for the moon.
It's a mistake I make ALL the time. I have a long history of complicating and over thinking things. My biggest problem as a coach is my tendency to give 1000 cues when only 1 general concept is needed. Today is actually Day 2 of a self imposed word diet, where I try to accomplish more with fewer words - it's really hard for me! I also worry that all I'm doing is teaching people my style and failing to give them the tools to develop their own.
I think... I think I need a hug...
Remember that when it comes to the development of your physical practice, your journey is your journey and nobody else's. You need to find your own path. Teachers, coaches, etc. can be helpful guides, but they can't take the journey for you.
Here's my advice, take it or leave it: Absorb everything you can and then relentlessly pare away the unneeded and unnecessary. Be open, but critical. Be curious. Occasionally embrace purposelessness. Don't get tied down by dogma. Laugh, especially at yourself. Recognize when you are creating excuses for yourself and then stop. And, finally, enjoy your ice cream - life is short.