We ask people “what do you do?” As if it should have a one-word answer.
But it’s not that simple.
I am a human, being, trying, struggling, growing, adapting, living. I want to live happily. I want to share things, moments, and stories with people. I want to experience new things, get joy out of simple pleasures.
Can I be defined as a wife, a coach, a boss, a sister, a daughter, a dancer, a mover, a business person, a friend, a lover?
Am I lost or found? Am I broken or together? Am I grounded or still wandering?
It seems to be in our nature; the need to define things.
To define people. To define ideas as if they should fit into one neat little box.
The more I experience, the more overlap I see. Everything leaks from one ‘box’ to another.
Humans are fascinating; we want to define how what we do is different, rather than acknowledge how it is so similar.
My week training at the European Fighting Monkey Intensive nourished a lot of my curiosities, as well as sparking more questions. It was a week full of diverse movement and philosophy. It solidified some ideas, while stirring up others.
Each day started with a 1 hour Zero Forms session, usually outside on the oval. In silence we checked in with ourselves. Not taking for granted our body and our state of being, but giving it time to speak and being present to listening to what it has to say.
We observed the whole structure moving, through all planes. Waking up the spine, the hips, the feet and all things in between. We studied, observed, applied, and sat with the ‘ugly mirror’. Constructing a more detailed map of our internal world each day.
Like the sea maps, the body changes. We need to continuously update. We need to know our own history in order to better predict the future, in order to make better decisions, by ourselves, for ourselves.
Coordinations & Wrestling
Zero Forms was followed by breakfast, along with a swift transition into the morning session.
Co-ordinating this body of ours is harder that it sounds. Ultimately, it’s understanding the potential of our body by using it in motion and in rhythm. When this comes together, we can access its power. Until then, we wear things out. We overuse and wear down, creating potential for injury to occur. Some use this practice to help them become better dancers, some to become better fighters. I use this practice to understand myself better, to improve my ageing process, and of course, to have fun.
Wrestling, one of the worlds oldest sports. Basic body to body contact. Communicating through touch. Reading, strategising, and efficiently searching for pathways to transition and overpower. Not through force, but through an energy exchange.
To be honest, I hated the thought of wrestling each day. The first two days I really did not enjoy the work. But as I was exposed to more techniques, and as the conversations deepened on the history of the craft, I began to get more and more out of it. Not because I will ever be a fighter or a wrestler, but because I’m interested in how humans evolve and what it takes to change.
Partner Work & Memory
After lunch and a rest, we had a 3 hour afternoon session. This session incorporated the practice ball, partner work, memory, conversation, and more.
We discussed elements from the morning practices. Reflected and looked deeper into the positions.
We played, laughed, worked, and explored ourselves and each other. A group of 60 people coming together. It felt safe, inclusive, challenging, and most of all, unique.
So many different people, yet so much similarity. We had athletes, dancers, doctors, physicians, physiotherapists, pilates teachers, martial artists, visual artists, personal trainers, coaches, mothers, fathers, grandmothers, first-timers, new-comers, all sizes and shapes, various backgrounds, each of us there for our own reasons, and all there for each other.
Some things cannot be discovered alone. It is upon the shoulders of others that we stride forwards.
Progress comes slowly. Leaps are made after decades and decades of generational knowledge. The people I met, and was fortunate enough to have conversations with, had something in common. They were all willing to walk the long road. To get their hands dirty and sit in the unknown. They were patient and diligent. They were understanding and questioning. They tried it all on and put themselves in the driving seat of their own life.