The Fathomless Pond of Natural Human Movement: Reflections from MovNat Team Instructor, Joseph Bartz

I consider myself someone who is on a constant journey for truth. Even though my body is not always wandering around through this world, my thoughts are searching constantly for clarity.  Becoming a MovNat Team Instructor was a huge leap for me and a great fit, as it enables me to teach a true and clear vision of human movement to a very diverse group of people.

Napoleon understood that it was easier for his armies to march long distances if they had something as a point of reference on the horizon. MovNat is this landmark for me – a point on the map. It  provides me with orientation and helps me reach people with a simple, efficient, and true approach to teaching.

Vic put it into very fitting words for me when he was identifying movement as the universal language of humans and animals, even of all of  nature. Like the bees who are communicating with certain types of dancing, teaching of movement happens with a mix of words, gestures and movement-examples.  This enables people to learn MovNat even if they don’t really speak English or the mix of German, English, and words borrowed from other languages that I sometimes use.

What is also interesting about this, is that languages of the middle of Europe are so close together that the terms used for describing movements and principles are quite universal among them. However,  the French use  the term “balance”  to mean  “swinging,”  as well, which raises my eyebrows every time.  One of the participants in the recent Paris Workshop asked me about “balance” when he was hanging from a tree ready to begin swinging sideways. Funny enough,  creating momentum from swinging is quite the opposite of balance. It took us a while to come to a mutual agreement of the word “balance.”

What I love the most about the participants of a MovNat Workshop is the general open-mindedness. Outside of MovNat, I often run into people (strangely enough more the young ones in their twenties), whom I need to be very careful with before I ask them  to put their hands on the ground. People seem to have a huge anxiety about this nowadays. “It’s dirty, there might be  glass, etc.”  But I hear none of these things in a MovNat workshop! The attendees bring all of their playfulness and thirst for learning with them and have no problem getting dirty and muddy and earning their “MovNat-Tattoos,”  which they show proudly to the people at home proving that they took the leap into the pond of natural human movement.

The pond of natural human movement is very shallow at the shore, but as it has gone unused for so long now, reeds have grown at the water’s edge. People have a hard time entering the water or even seeing a way in. It’s good to be with someone who is swimming in the middle of the lake, telling you where to enter and how.

Some of the people on the shore will need a few moments to acclimatize to the temperature of the water, as they are only used to bathing in a hot tub, where they can change temperature as they like. But in a tub, there is nothing to discover. You cannot get anywhere, and at some point people realize, it’s not really fitting – it’s a little bit too small. You feel awkward with your feet and shoulders lying on the edges of the tub, while the torso and legs sink into the tepid water. As you cannot really move and nothing is there to see and discover, at some point you will fall asleep, waking up when you are almost drowning in the tub.

There are different ways of acclimatizing, but what people are generally doing is being very unsettled in the water –  running into it, moving up and down, shivering all over. When this happens, the water gets disturbed, concentric rings form, while the new life to discover is taking refuge at the other side of the lake.
My role is to help people enter the water, enable them to calm down, acclimatize, and stop for a second, so the water becomes crystal clear again, allowing them to see – the life in and around them,  the sharp stones, beautiful shells and fishes.

And finally there isn’t only the shallow water into which you can wade, there is the deeper water, where you need to swim and even dive into in order to discover all of the endless things in this fathomless pond. You will always come back to the shallowness of the shore, catch your breath, appreciate, stay for a while, dive back, and if you feel it, dive a little bit deeper.

The magical thing about this pond is that the water is not getting darker in the depth, but clearer and more luminous, which makes you able to see even more.

How to start the swim after you’ve been shown how to enter the water?  Start slowly, be calm. If you can, grab a friend who is there to look after you, and you after him. Do you see someone swimming in the middle of the lake ? Ask for some help. Come back to the pond often, maybe just enjoying your time on the sand at the bank. It helps to look at it as often as possible, sometimes alone, taking your time, sometimes with other people, enjoying their companionship. Stay long in the shallow part, swim when you can. Don’t make the mistake of swimming too far out and not having the strength to get back.

It makes sense to be able to swim around the pond first, staying close to the shallow water, experiencing all the different areas of the lake. Then, you will find a place that makes it more accessible for you to swim closer towards the middle.

It makes sense to follow your instinct, but try to be able, as well, to swim into the middle from the other sides of the pond before you begin diving.

If you feel unsure in certain areas of the pond or maybe not confident with your way of swimming, if you need help letting the water become clearer again or you do not know how to enter the pond at all… we can help you take that step with power & grace…

Hoping to see you at the pond!
Copyright © 2012 MovNat

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2 replies
  1. Cornell says:

    Thank you Joseph, for the analogy of teaching swimming. It’s great to remind oneself before diving too deep, too fast. I really hope we will meet in a few weeks.


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