ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE BUSHCRAFT JOURNAL
How I got here. How you can too.
By Bert Poffé
Explorer and Rewilding Coach
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As a child I was running around the woods playing explorer and adventurer. But at the same time I began playing tennis and soon entered the world of ‘competition’ with hours and hours of speci c tennis training every week. With all this training I soon became pretty good moving around with relative ease on the tennis court. In those days, mixing up your specific training with alternative workouts was unheard of. In my early twenties I rediscovered the outdoors and started training for my adventures I would undertake. I understood that the many tennis training sessions I had hadn’t done necessarily any good to my overall preparedness for the outdoors. I needed something else. I started experimenting on my own until I found MovNat, the workout the world forgot.
Over the years I have been mixing up personal and physical challenges such as an ultra-marathon, snowshoe and canoeing expeditions, spending time with First Nations people to learn ancestral skills. As an outdoors person I looked, long before the existence of the internet, for ways to get and stay in shape preparing for a next adventure. I found information about Hébertisme and I was immediately intrigued. Georges Hébert was a pioneering physical educator in the French military who developed a system of physical education and training known as “la méthode naturelle” (“Natural Method”). This combined the training of a wide variety of physical capacities and the training of courage and morality. But like so many others, I really saw the light when discovering the video ‘The Workout The World Forgot’. I discovered MovNat and was hooked right away!
I was blown away with Erwan Le Corre’s video ‘The Workout The World Forgot’. I had been trying out some of this stuff in an intuitive way on my own, but seeing Erwan mastering balance, gravity, speed, power and most of all elegant accuracy was just incredible. You’ll be blown away as well, the video is there to inspire you and motivate you.
In 2010, in the early stages of MovNat I had the chance to attend a workshop with Erwan in Glasgow to learn the basics of moving in a natural way. Erwan Le Corre grew up in the French village of Étréchy, and later at Épinay-sur-Orge, both south of Paris. As a child he spent his free time outdoors exploring and playing in the fields and woods around the village. At age 18, he obtained his black belt in Karate. At age 19 he started parkour-like training for 7 years with stuntman Don Jean Haberey. During this period he also began barefoot running. At age 27, he began a period of training which included sailing, Olympic weightlifting, rock climbing, and long distance triathlon, trail running and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. In 2004 Erwan started researching Georges Hébert’s physical training method, known as “la méthode naturelle”. In 2008 Le Corre began his physical education system and lifestyle known as MovNat and began teaching it in weekend workshops and weeklong outdoor retreats. Le Corre is currently based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and is releasing his first book entitled ‘The Practice of Natural Movement: Reclaim Power, Health and Freedom’.
MovNat is a fitness and physical education system based on the full range of natural human movement skills. The MovNat system trains physical competence for practical performance, aiming for effectiveness, effciency and adaptability. It’s good to be (gym) fit, but are you skilled to move in different environments? What makes you a good mover? In my opinion it’s all about being able to move effectively and effciently, adapting to the environment and circumstances. Most of us are unaware of our lack of ability and effciency when moving around. Something as natural as breathing is key to movement. In today’s comfortable world we are losing sight of the practicality of these skills, yet their value cannot be ignored whenever a life-threatening situation arises. You might have to run for your life, or climb, swim, lift, etc. These abilities can save not only your own life, but that of strangers and loved ones as well. George Hebert said, “Be strong to be useful.”
Natural human movement comprises locomotive skills such as walking, running, balancing, jumping, crawling, climbing and swimming; manipulative skills such as lifting, carrying, throwing, and catching; and combative skills such as striking and grappling.
Moving enough and preferably in a natural environment is beneficial for your physical and mental health. The gains for body and mind are countless: better sleep, a cleared mind, less stress, and a better body to name a few. Sadly, because of our sedentary lifestyle we forgot many of the movements once obvious and natural to us.
Go outdoors, leave the trails (wherever allowed) and explore your own capacity of natural moves, be gentle on your body and don’t overdo it. All these moves are natural, but most of today’s Western bodies need to awaken their DNA to move as we have been doing for thousands of years. The internet is full of information. You can attend Workshops all over the globe and even get an online MovNat coach.
Now get out and move that butt.
By Bert Poffé
Explorer and Rewilding Coach