I took the Level 1 and 2 certifications in Madrid 15 days ago. “Life changing event” is an expression that is often used too liberally. But I can tell you my life’s foundations were shaken by this experience. I know maybe not everyone will have such an intense experience, but I feel the need to share mine.
Before deciding to commit to the certification, I was an overweight, almost obese tai chi teacher. For more than a few years, I had felt stagnant professionally, and increasingly fearful of my weakening joints failing. After all, they are the tools for my job! I had been following the videos available to train some MovNat for a few years. But with the support of my loving wife, who encouraged me to take the plunge, I bought the ticket, which at the time seemed to me very expensive (I now think it is very, very cheap for what it gave me, you´ll see).
I saw the Level 1 skills and thought: “I can do those easily with some training. Why not aim higher?” And also booked Level 2. I only had 5 months to prepare. So, I started all out. Like 3 training sessions a day all out. And of course, pain and injuries started coming. So, I had to stop training and reassess the situation. My wife´s wisdom came to help again: “We made a big investment in this. I need you to pass. Why not book some of those MovNat Online Coaching sessions? Maybe you need someone to coach you.”
And I did it. Bernd Reicheneder, a MovNat Master Trainer came to the rescue! In an extremely professional and kind manner, he guided me towards increasingly difficult skills. He also helped me with some core deficiencies, like my hip hinge. I had been stretching my shortened hamstrings for 20 years daily with no progress, but with abundant ground movement and Bernd´s FMS corrective exercises, I have improved my hip hinge range by 20 degrees! When the certification date neared, we made an assessment and we saw that I was competent at L1 skills, but I needed more training at L2 jumping and climbing skills. No problem. I had six months after the certification ended to submit videos. No pressure.
The day of the certification came. I arrived at Rafa Díez’s wonderful R10 Gym to find 4 very fit, athletic guys 10-20 years younger than me; my workshop buddies. Then Jerome Rattoni came. He introduced us to the certification and seemed like a nice guy. Then he dropped to the floor and started moving and my jaw dropped too: So fast! So stable! So elegant! Incredible control! Fluid endless transitions!!! My mind shouted: “I NEED TO LEARN TO DO WHAT THIS GUY IS DOING. NO MATTER WHAT IT TAKES.” And that was it. I was in love with MovNat in the first 10 seconds of demonstration. You all need to see it in person. It is not the same as in a video.
The workshop progressed. I found out that Jerome is not only an extremely proficient mover, but also a highly skilled teacher and a wonderful human being. Let me give you an example. We went to a park for practice. I did not take my sweater and as the sun got low, temperatures dropped and I had a very slight shudder. In that exact moment, Jerome interrupted his explanation, looked at me and said: “It is getting cold, let´s get back to the gym.” I felt he was really conscious of our well-being throughout the workshop.
It was a roller coaster of emotions. The exhilaration of unlocking new skills was followed by frustration when I found myself lacking in upper body strength for climbing (And my extra weight didn’t help either). My wonderful buddies encouraged me along the way. You establish very deep connections when you share effort and difficulties with a group of people. It was also very inspiring to meet one of our L2 students, Eric Lazar, who at 57 years old aced the climbing swing ups and pop ups with ease and efficiency. A great guy with a great taste for bad jokes!
The most powerful insight that I took from the workshop is that I am capable. Jerome always stressed safety first and a manageable pace, but I learned I can be reckless, and reached the fifth, final testing day exhausted, with aching joints and trembling muscles. Also, there came the fear of failure, of wasting my hard earned money. Jerome again shared some wisdom. He taught us that meditating in a calm environment can be easy, but it is another thing to focus your mind for a difficult, one chance attempt, in which everything is at stake. Maybe life will put us in such a situation some day. And that is a skill. To gather all that you have, when all is going wrong, to still give the best you can. And when you do it, it is one of the best feelings in the world. You are on a balancing test, shaking from exhaustion. Self doubt and worry fill your mind. You take a deep breath, gather your will, focus your mind, and all that noise is gone. Just the deep silence of your focused mind and the precise, hard earned movement of your body. A life changing experience!
I still have a few Level 2 tests to pass. I have overhauled my diet (lost 7 kg since I started training for the certification!) and sleep, and continue with a disciplined training program. I have made a firm commitment. I will pass the Level 3. I know it will be a very intense road, but I am hooked! I am also full of ideas on how to spread this wonderful physical education method. I am teaching my kids and friends and plan to start offering classes. We have a lot to do if we want mankind to leave the path towards weakness and illness in which it is firmly established right now!
15 days have passed since the workshop. I still feel so focused, full of vitality and sticking to my diet, sleep schedule and training programming like a Swiss clock. I thought it was endorphin induced euphoria from the intense workouts. But now I know this is how life feels when you have a purpose. Give it a try. you won´t regret it!!!
-Jose Luis Monforte González, Level 1 MovNat Certified Trainer
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