The Roots of “Methode Naturelle”.

The MovNat System finds some of its most important roots in “La Methode Naturelle”.  But where does “Methode Naturelle” comes from?

The Internet makes many people believe that everything they need to know about anything is available online in a few clicks, but this is often not the case at all.

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Georges Hebert

You have heard of the old French physical education method and its founder Georges Hebert thanks to the Men’s Health article about MovNat, maybe thanks to little bits of information available on the internet which are more-often-than-not grossly inaccurate, or maybe because of some improbable video clip randomly labeled “Le Methode Naturalle” (spelled incorrectly) uploaded by people who actually know very little about it.

Georges Hebert

Georges Hebert

But how much do you know about the whole story, the real story?  How much do you know of about the history of physical education?

According to the legend, Georges Hebert traveled the world as a young French naval officer, met indigenous tribes and observed these populations living a natural and ancestral lifestyle. Upon his return to France, the legend goes, he then simply devised his method based on his observations.

Well, that is knowing very, very little about the true genesis of Methode Naturelle. The truth is actually much more complex than the simple legend, and very interesting too.

We could indeed start to mention the various inspirations that influenced Hebert, like the ancient Greek athletes and warriors and Roman soldiers or the impressive athleticism and toughness of sailors maneuvering immense sailing vessels by running and jumping on decks, climbing masts and rope ladders and hoisting sails in all kinds of difficult conditions, day and night.

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Then indeed, the indigenous warriors, hunter-gatherers, porters and tribes inspired him a lot too. But like he often underlined himself in his books, their only “guides” were instinct and necessity, not a methodical system.

African wrestlers african-zulu-warriors1Inspiration is great, but you don’t have a method by just trying to mimic or replicate randomly.  You don’t have a pedagogy with just a basic follow the leader approach.  You don’t have any education program if you cannot teach others how to teach others.   So none of the influences mentioned above can possibly have brought to Hebert anything more than inspiration.

You may now consequently conclude that Georges Hebert must have devised a whole training system on his own, entirely from scratch, but that would be wrong.

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Don Francisco Amoros

Hebert’s system was more-or-less a retooling of a former physical and moral education method elaborated in the beginning of the 19th century by another major precursor of physical education, Francisco Amoros.

Amoros, born Spanish in 1770 and later a military officer of the Spanish army, moved to France in the early 19th century and introduced a gymnastics concept he had created based on the educational principles of the Swiss educator Pestalozzi, himself being another education pioneer, including physical education, and preceding both Amoros and Hebert.

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Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi

Amoros opened in Paris an enormous facility called “Gymnase Normal, Militaire et Civil”, the first real gymnasium in France.  Between 1817 and 1837, he will train hundreds of military physical instructors and firefighters.  He also focused on the physical education of youth and members of the Parisian bourgeoisie that were eager to keep in shape

The training principles of both the French military and firefighters do not find their roots in the Methode Naturelle of Georges Hebert but actually in the work and principles of Francisco Amoros.

Amoros initiated the development of a real science of physical education in France and Europe and his book, “Manuel d’Education Physique, Gymnastique et Morale” or “Manual of Physical, Gymnastic and Moral Education” in English, was reedited several times and remained the main physical education reference in France for several decades after his death.

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Joinville military school

Training at Joinville military school, early 20th Century

Training of the firefighters of Paris

Training of the firefighters of Paris, early 20th Century

There is absolutely no doubt that the work and legacy of Amoros, whose Hebert mentions in his books, brought to the later the founding structure of his own training method and physical and moral education program.

Hebert is not a precursor, but a direct inheritor of Amoros.  Even though he innovated and improved the former method and attached his own philosophical views to his own new concept, his physical and moral education by the Natural Method remains the direct continuation of his predecessor.

amoros-gymnastics-manual-cover

The name “Methode Naturelle” itself is an abbreviation of “‘L’Education Physique, Virile et Morale par la Methode Naturelle”, which in English translates as “Physical, Virile and Moral Education by the Natural Method” and the resemblance with Amoros book title “Manuel d’Education Physique, Gymnastique et Morale” , or “Manual of Physical, Gymnastics and Moral Education” is striking indeed.

Almost a century later after the former military officer Amoros had trained thousands in a gigantic Parisian indoor/outdoor facility, Hebert, a former navy officer trained thousands of French Marines and then opened an enormous, modern indoor/outdoor facility in Reims, France, called the “College d’athletes” to train civilians and prepare the future generations of physical education instructors.

…and then World War I starts, and soon thereafter the entire site is destroyed and nearly all the instructors killed, maimed or lost!

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(above) Amoros indoors facility in Paris, early 19th century and Hebert indoors facility in Reims, early 20th century, notice the resemblance?

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Demeny, another significant influence

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Georges Demeny

Hebert also benefited from the influence of Georges Demeny, a scientist, engineer and physical educator better known as an inventor for his pioneering work in photography.  Demeny, whose real passion was actually gymnastics, is considered by many as the founder of the scientific physical education.

He had a great influence on the work of Hebert by bringing the concepts of scalability and incremental progress so that the training could better emphasize the physical development of the less skilled individuals rather than being a process selecting those naturally talented.  It is exactly what was lacking in the approach of Amoros, with a strong military emphasis and often too violent exercises that were not well suited for weaker or younger individuals.

Georges Demeny is the author of several books on physical education, including “The Scientific Bases of Physical Education” in 1902, 3 years before the official birth of Methode Naturelle.

It is because of Demeny’s influence that Hebert attempted to rationalize his system by incorporating many diagrams, often overly complicated, in his books.

Dr. Paul Carton and the naturist movement

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Dr. Paul Carton

But the genius of Hebert was also found in his ability to communicate his concepts.  He had an ambitious vision to spread his program worldwide and make it become the leading physical education method.  In his own way, he was ahead of time.

He didn’t just replicated Amoros’ system with a new name but instead made it evolve with his own philosophy, wrapped in a “return to nature” rationale that better appealed to the civilian masses at a time when stories of adventurous explorers and hunters in remote and wild African countries were fascinating the crowds.

Actually, Hebert, thanks to the great influence of his close friend Dr. Paul Carton, a leading figure of natural medicine known as naturopathy and the leader of the naturist movement in France, just surfed on this early wave of naturism’s popularity in Europe.

Naturism, not to be confused with nudism, was an informal coalition of natural lifestyle reform movements that took shape in reaction to the debilitating aspects of industrialization and urbanization during the late nineteenth century and combining clothing reform, vegetarianism, abstinence from alcohol and tobacco, and naturopathy.

At a time when medicine could not completely explain nor cure disease, naturists observed that crowded and unsanitary cities, tenement housing, restrictive Victorian clothing, unhealthy diets and oppressive working conditions all led to poor health and rampant illness.  They advocated exposure to the natural healing elements or fresh air, sunlight, and water through movement in nature in loose clothing as well as a natural diet.

When Hebert started to elaborate the philosophical approach of his method, naturism was already an increasingly popular alternative lifestyle to the unhealthy way of life of his contemporaries. The natural orientation of Hebert’s ethos fitted perfectly this alternative movement.  Underlining the mostly healthy condition of the nimble indigenous populations he had encountered was a convenient comparison that reinforced the inspirational aspect of his communication around his Methode Naturelle.

Synthesizing and communicating

Hebert also promoted a lot exercising in women, which was also something very new at that time. After WWI, he will actually train only women at some point in a place called “La Palestra” in Normandy.  He believed women could train the same as men and wanted to demonstrate it, even though he had to make the practice look more feminine in order to become both more socially acceptable and appealing by both men and women of that time, for instance by implementing dances in the female training.

He trained many women to become physical instructors and that were mostly hired by private schools.  This I believe is one of the great contributions of Georges Hebert to the world of physical education.

As underline above, it was the genius of Georges Hebert to incorporate and synthesize the work and ideas of his predecessors or contemporaries and make it a unique, innovative and appealing concept that was perfectly adapted to his time and ensured his success in France and to a more limited extent to some other countries abroad.

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Physical education, a rich history

Now, should I also talk about Galien, Mercurialis,  Erasmus, Vives, Comenius, Rabelais, Montaigne, Ballexserd, Andry de Boisregard, Coyer, Tissot, Desessartz, Verdier, Rousseau, Muths, Jahn, Clias, Spiess, Ling, Laisne, Paz, Tissie, Grousset or Coubertin, to only mention them?

They are other European pioneers of education, physical education or physiology, most preceding Hebert and that may have had to some extent an impact on his work, directly or indirectly.

All these doctors, physicists, writers and physical education leaders had their own theories, views, values, therapies or coaching methods.  All of them had their specific  approach, philosophy and goals.  Just like Amoros. Just like Hebert. Or just like me and with me the MovNat team.

So unless one has studied this variety of philosophies, concepts and practices and their constant evolution, it is impossible to understand the big picture of physical education through history until now.

And unless one has studied Methode Naturelle by the book, and there are several of them, as well as experienced this type of training first-hand with knowledgeable people, there is just no way one can pretend to know about it, can objectively talk or debate about it and even less film and display anything legitimate about it!

The Future

I am not going to go into many more details here because that is already a lot said and there would be so much to add about this fascinating history.  But remember, what matters is not what was in the past, it is the quality of our experience in the present time.  There is no way you can revive an hypothetically ideal past the way it was in a romantic attempt to perpetuate what has lived before.

What we need to learn about history must help us to better live today.  We must take what we need and always move forward.
It is what I have done by extensively studying these former concepts, only keeping the best in them, improving what could be improved, filling what was missing and synthesizing it all in an updated concept, all with the objective to make it helpful to modern times and people.

Several people are already contributing to the ongoing improvement and development of MovNat, and many more will contribute too in the future.  This way, MovNat will keep evolving always, always adapting, always improving.

I have heard many times recently that MovNat is the future.  I believe so.  It is actually my vision.  But I believe even more that when we think future, we want most importantly to think of the future of those who follow us: all those that want so much, and deserve so much, to explore their true nature.

Let’s do it together.

Erwan Le Corre

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31 replies
  1. Max
    Max says:

    At the start it sounded like you were going to depopularise the legend of Georges Hebert… but I read on and instead you made it a lot richer :)

    I’m only in my first year of studying exercise science, and the more I’m exposed to the world of exercise and sports the more I can see this being the future of getting everyone exercising and ‘exploring their true nature’ in an appealing way.

  2. Sean
    Sean says:

    Thank you so much for sharing the roots of your system with us! …such a tremendous depth of history and thought behind your methods. Very inspirational…both in the doing and in the pedagogy.

  3. Erwan Le Corre
    Erwan Le Corre says:

    Thanks John, I very much appreciate your support as always. Teenagers can have a beautiful energy and thirst of life, but when it comes to discuss or debate about concepts that have such a long history, you cannot be objective without proper knowledge, and you don’t have “knowledge” after reading a few lines in Wikipedia…There is also often a sort of “hero complex” in the need to film and exhibit oneself for the sake of it. I guess it is probably part of a personal journey that helps to get to know oneself better, just that it doesn’t help at all if you’re going to label your video “Methode Naturelle” or “MovNat” when you know so few about the concepts and training methods, it only contributes in spreading misconceptions and that tends to dilute a meaningful, well-defined concept and bring lots of confusion.

    Martin, well, same as outdoors, but…indoors? It can be convenient to train indoors for instance if weather conditions are really bad. You have to understand that training in nature is not a golden rule, it is training natural movement that is. If for any practical reason it is more convenient to train inside, it makes sense to do so, can be because of lack of suitable outdoors location in big cities, because of extreme cold, pouring rain etc…Indoors places also offer the advantage of full scalability, means safety especially in beginners, though it’s also possible to have this kind of purpose-build area outdoors. It can greatly help your progress than it is possible to adapt the context to fit your current skills. In nature, you don’t have that. It’s a take it or leave it deal all the time, you have to adapt to nature, not the only way round. That’s the ultimate stage.

    Max, there is no reason for me to de-popularize Hebert that is so much my inspiration, but only to explain where he comes from, beyond the romantic legend. Also, I refrained myself from turning this essay into an encyclopedia so I kept it simple, essential.
    By the way, we have no real clue what were Hebert’s personal skills, he was rather skinny but muscular, which is actually the natural athlete body type, but for some reasons I have never found images of him performing movement and real account of his physical skills, just that he was pretty in shape. It leaves us with the conclusion that what truly matters about him is to remember what was his ability to inspire people and his qualities as a physical education leader more than him as an athlete. Same goes for Amoros.
    I would say the same about myself, I have displayed some of my movement to inspire others, and to also show that “the video matches the audio” or in others words that I walk the talk, but in the end, what matters is my ability to spread the concept of natural movement training and education on a solid and lasting basis.
    Because my intent is to “produce” new generations of natural athletes that will also inspire others, and generations of MovNat coaches that will provide a solid natural movement education to people.
    This is what matters rather than my personal level of fitness.
    Like I said, we can be admiring the past, be impressed by what others can do, but we also need to inspire, impress and admire ourselves!
    Honoring the legacy is good, but it’s even better to make it alive again, means make it evolve and move forward. That’s the direction of life itself: always forward.

    Sean, thanks. My true drive, my entire purpose behind MovNat is education in natural movement and then sharing the True Nature philosophy, to be strong, healthy, happy and free.
    It all will unfold step by step. Rome wasn’t made in day.
    In the next post, I will underline and explain why MovNat is not just Methode Naturelle with a new name.

    Per, I will deliver as promised, and what I promised is basic training tips somewhere in June, likely to be by the end of June. Basic because it’s important to be realistic, nothing replaces direct coaching. So I will rather focus all my energies in teaching others how to teach others. i.e certifying professional trainers in MovNat, rather than let people think they can learn everything in just a few clicks. It has to be real. The tips will help you get started indeed, but think that the more you will use them, the more thirst for knowledge and experience it will generate ;-).

  4. Matt
    Matt says:

    I have looked near and far for a copy of Hebert’s writings to no avail. I agree that people cannot know what the details of a philosophy are, without investigating it themselves, through action or otherwise. I am interested in the philosophy behind the strenuous workouts that you’ve inspired me to do. Do you plan on writing a patented philosophical inquiry into this? Because without an available philosophy in hand, in book form or some other media form, I think you will see more of what you dislike from these “teens”, a mimicry of movnat or some other workout method. And with the advances of technology as they are, you are bound to see run-off versions spring up in various places (i.e. blogs, youtube, websites, etc.).

  5. Per Nyberg
    Per Nyberg says:

    Erwan. I agree with you that coaching is vital, especially when it comes to this since it´s new to most of us. It´s just that since I live in Sweden and there aren´t ( to my knowledge at least) any coaches that know MovNat here, I just want to get started until I have the opportunity to get some real coaching. ;-)

  6. Erwan Le Corre
    Erwan Le Corre says:

    Matt, indeed, I have started writing a book about MovNat, the philosophy and practice of natural movement. It obviously takes time to write a book and at the moment, I lack of it because of all the practical side of the development of MovNat, but for sure it is on its way.
    Both sides of the coin truly matter, a meaningful practice stems from a meaningful philosophy and no there is no meaningful philosophy without actual application and experience through practice.
    As for possible plagiarists, the key here is to be always a step ahead so that it is clear who leads from front and who’s only trying to jump on the bandwagon.
    I am not talking here about the rather few people that have been out there already, and sometimes for years, trying to push a similar orientation in the fitness milieu and which approach and efforts I obviously highly respect. Everybody involved in the shift to the natural that is coming in health and fitness, that they are there as early initiators or leaders genuinely driven by a sense of mission or just followers, will positively contribute in any case. You can be a follower, and become a leader. You see, the only thing that doesn’t change is that everything always changes, according to the ancient wisdom :). Nothing’s static in this world.
    So it doesn’t matter what the “bad guys” do, in fact they will participate in the overall revolution of natural movement, that they do it with noble intentions or not.

    Per, it is amazing how many people have got in touch with me the past 3 months and from a lot of different countries, even tiny ones!
    I understand your point totally though and you understand mine, some tips will help you get started and think “great!” and you will make progress as well as understand “hey, there is only so much I can learn on my own”. I am well aware there is only so much I can convey online and that’s why I prefer to warn people that I cannot deliver something that is unrealistic.
    There is already more than half thousand people that have filled out the MovNat pro form so far, mostly fitness professionals, so you can also be sure than in not a too long time there will be an army of MovNat coaches to spread the practice on a solid, professional basis and hopefully there will be one in your area :).

    Thanks everyone for the positive feedback, which helps me to better understand your questions, concerns or expectations.

  7. Damien Tougas
    Damien Tougas says:

    I find the whole concept behind MovNat interesting. I believe that natural movement is an important factor that is overlooked in fitness, and I am very interested in exploring this as a way to train physically. The problem I have is that all of the material I have seen so far regarding MovNat takes place in “ideal” locations with warm sunny climates, sandy beaches, warm water, paradise like environments. These types of conditions are unrealistic for a lot of people, especially if they want to be able to train with any sort of frequency. If the goal behind MovNat is to train trainers and gain widespread adoption, then I think that the system needs to be able to work in a wide variety of locations, in all seasons and climates (including the long cold winters we experienced here in Maine). Maybe MovNat does offer that kind of flexibility, but I am not seeing any indication of that in the current media being presented. Right now it looks like an idealized form of training for people who are fortunate enough or wealthy enough to live in “paradise”.

  8. Erwan Le Corre
    Erwan Le Corre says:

    That’s an interesting point Damien, actually MovNat can be trained just anywhere and anytime and this is a big aspect of the philosophy and training method.
    “The Workout The World Forgot” video was shot in the summer in Corsica, same about the barefoot running one, and same about most of the photos in the gallery (a few in Kenya where I recently worked), not in the green, dense Brazilian jungle. Corsica is not at all anything of tropical and fancy destination, nature there is gorgeous but tough, rugged, dry and you could find kind of similar areas in the USA that are amazingly beautiful natural locations, in about every state, and that are very accessible. You don’t need to go to a tropical island. You can train in the winter as I do to, with clothes on and shoes on, or in a city, a park, a yard, it is a very opportunistic and adaptable training.
    You can check out 2 posts there at http://barefootted.com/ if you scroll down where there are photos of winter running in the surroundings of LA with my good friend Barefoot Ted.
    As for “paradise”, my paradise is everywhere nature is, whatever the season and I have never heard that going to nature is only for wealthy people, which I am personally not at all ;-).
    I hope it helps :).

  9. Wild Human
    Wild Human says:

    Thanks for taking the time to put this article together Erwan, I have been searching for in-depth info like this for a long time. it answers alot of my questions. thanks again.

    Dave.

  10. Damien Tougas
    Damien Tougas says:

    Actually, http://www.barefootted.com was the first place that I heard of MovNat. I am a minimalist footwear enthusiast myself (I am working on a blog series and seminar at my place of work: http://www.adventureinprogress.com/tcfmf-introduction). If this system is usable in any environment/climate, then that is good, perhaps it would be beneficial to show more examples of that in your literature and videos. I would look forward to seeing training for this come to the USA, I may be interested.

    I was not suggesting that one has to be wealthy to be outdoors, but seminars in Brazil and paradise-looking locations gave me the impression that it might be out of my league financially.

    Thanks!

  11. Cloud
    Cloud says:

    what kind of martial arts training would you most recomened for the self defence capacity of MovNat?

    many thanks for the excellent article and all the information on natural movement:)

  12. Lane Batot
    Lane Batot says:

    Yes, Erwan, thanks for another great article–you answered many questions I had too! And I was HOPING you’d be writing a book–that will provide us “financially challenged” individuals who cannot afford trips abroad information and possibilities to explore on our own! I wanted to comment specifically to Damien Tougas in Maine–I LOVE excercising and being outdoors in the Winter! It is definetely different than in the summer, or in a tropical habitat, but it has its own advantages and perks–like no insects to harass you, you don’t have to worry about watching out for venomous snakes, fewer people around to bother you(usually), and you can really work up a sweat without getting overheated! I do not have the severe Winter weather in North Carolina that you do in Maine, but I am sure there are pluses to that–like more snow to play in! I run sled dogs in the Winter–I have to use a dog cart rather than an actual sled since we do not get very much snow, but it is a great workout(the musher is the hardest working dog on the team!), and the dogs’ enthusiasm is great motivation to get out there for a run! Find ways to revel in your Winter!

  13. Eric
    Eric says:

    Awesome history. I was able to learn just a little bit about some of this from wikipedia. I didn’t find a movnat article there, and it maybe an area you want to consider put some information about MovNat at as so many people use that website for their information source.

  14. John Sifferman - Real World Strength Training
    John Sifferman - Real World Strength Training says:

    Damien,

    I live in NH, and for the past two years have started taking my physical training mostly outdoors. It was a difficult transition for me, especially for the first winter – but it can be done, think layers.

    My training follows the seasons. I have a year round, specific training plan for my athletic and professional goals that can be performed indoors or outdoors using more conventional methods than MovNat (swinging clubbells, kettlebells, prasara yoga, mobility, bodyweight exercise, etc.). But I also enjoy just getting “out there,” enjoying the wild side of my nature – this is separate from my goal-specific physical training, but it still largely contributes to my fitness. State parks and trails around my home are my natural playground, and I have spent time rock climbing (summer and winter), hiking, snowshoeing, treeclimbing, and swimming in the summer. It’s not a specific fitness program like MovNat, although it shares some similarities in that it is done in the natural environment around me – even for our long New England winters.

    I too am interested in learning how MovNat can be applied through a variety of terrain and seasons.

  15. yosapayan
    yosapayan says:

    Erwan
    I am a french police officer living on yhe west coast of france. i am very interested in your natural approach of fitness. I started to train like you mostly on the seashore and on the sand because my feet are not enoough strong to go on another material.
    I saw on the net a woman using some kettelbells that i use too do you use them yourself. Do you think your mov nat is somethiong like parkour ? For a year I tried several kind of fitness training workout as mentionned by ross enamait crossfit and gym jones. I tried to put them (bodyweight only as quadrupedal sprint and other jump) in a mov nat parkour and found it very fun but also very demanding. Do you also do that ? Anyway I found your video extremely cool and natural. You seem to be a cat moving around in nature. I wish I culd jump like you inthe small rocks. It is amazing !!!
    regards

  16. Aaron Brown
    Aaron Brown says:

    Hiya!
    I was introduced to MovNat via the MH magazine article and have been highly interested in it ever since. The article sparked my interest because during the summer, I typically don’t have access to a gym and so it sounded interesting. It is my hope that if I don’t go abroad to study in the fall, that I might save up enough to come to one of your seminars. Until then, I’m trying to get the hang of the workout listed in the article. It became a killer when I increased the distances. -_-

    I also tried to improvise my own for a little variety. It mostly takes advantage of the elementary playground near my house. It went something like this yesterday:

    *Jogged about a half mile
    *Shimmied up a light pole (that garnered a few “wtf” stares… -_-)
    *Jogged some more
    *Leapt over the school fence back and forth 10 times
    *Did 10 dips, followed by 10 upside down situps hanging from a horizontal bar, as well as lifting my legs up to wrap around the pole and back down 5 times
    *Climbed on top of horizontal bar (by taking advantage of the vertical poles on the sides, I don’t have the upper body strength to hoist myself up a horizontal pole)
    *tightrope walked pole
    *jumped down from there twice
    *used horizontal bar as monkey bars

    …and that was the best I could do. I haven’t gotten it down yet, exactly, but it’s my hope to get it down better, and maybe eventually be able to pull myself up that hor. pole. I have no idea if I’m following the concepts of MovNat properly or not, and I hope I am. I like your idea of functional strength over just developing “show muscles” and the idea of developing a “smart body.” Keep up the good work and I hope one day to be able to train with you! ^_^

  17. Erwan Le Corre
    Erwan Le Corre says:

    Cloud, the ability to defend oneself ranges from the most primal to the most technical way. So you want to train both, from hyper simple close range moves to elaborated techniques that you need to learn and refine.
    So basically, depending on the situation, you want to respond in the most primal manner first and as soon as possible go for more complex moves.
    I believe that styles like Thai Boxing, elements of Kravmaga are good for the primal, stand up side, but I also believe that when it comes to ground game the Gracie jiu-jitsu has arguably the best combative program because it’s 100% on realistic street application.
    Of course, MMA schools are excellent, I think it’s fantastic that the sport grows so much, men are fighters at heart and training hard betters us and gets us more balanced in life I think.

  18. Erwan Le Corre
    Erwan Le Corre says:

    Hey Lane, the book will cover the whole philosophy of natural movement and will be a practical guide to get started.

    Lane, please don’t take what follows personally because I know you’re a nice person (Lane is…a Zookeeper, yes people), but I will use the comment you made to express some of my thoughts.
    Regarding unaffordable trips, many people have asked for training directly in Brazil and are impatient to be able to sign up so it means many people are willing to finance this, I don’t know if they are wealthy or not, I know some told me they just would save because they want this experience. Well, the Men’s Health article is all about my training program in Brazil and if I didn’t hold some of them there then people would keep on ask for them.
    Many have also expressed their concern to not be able to travel that far and this is why I have announced seminars directly in the USA. Many have also told me that they could attend only if there is an event held in their own state. And many others have asked if there is a book or a DVD they could buy.
    I deeply respect that some of us are financially challenged and it is actually currently my case, but what can I do? I am really not well-off myself at the moment, as I need to spend or save whatever to move further with MovNat as my ambition is to develop the concept and practice widely and essentially on a professional basis. I guess everyone needs to deal with their own agenda or means.

    I am still in the process of applying for an O-1 visa to move to the US, it is a slower process that I thought and it just delays everything, since I cannot announce seminars if I don’t have enough guarantee that I will be able to work legally.
    Remember, I am a French citizen, and despite the amazing support of so many Americans (through emails) it’s all about dealing with red tape.

    As soon as I get that visa, I should be able soon to travel around the States to coach people where they are, with short clinics and for a decent price. I am about education. My goal is to spread my natural movement education program. It goes beyond fitness and beyond a so-called confidential business in tropical paradises for an elite of wealthy people, even though there will be punctual events of this type and even though I could just do that, it is not where my heart and vision is. I train anyone whoever they are and it can be anywhere, I don’t do it for free, but you don’t have to be a billionnaire.
    Last Saturday, I trained a group of 10 people 7 hours non-stop in a London park and gave my best given…I had been sick like hell for two days with malaria. A very tough tropical disease.
    But I had an engagement and some people came their way down from Scotland. I just told them I was not feeling so well today and then carried on.
    I was rushed to hospital the day after and just got out from hospital today, completely weakened.
    It’s not about the money.

  19. Erwan Le Corre
    Erwan Le Corre says:

    Yosapayan, MovNat has not a ton to do with parkour actually. First off, MovNat is extremely comprehensive as it derives directly from Methode Naturelle, while parkour, also loosely originated in Methode Naturelle, is deprived of any manipulative and combative skills practice such as lifting, carrying, throwing, catching, striking and grappling, or locomotive skills such as swimming.
    That’s a LOT missing from a real-world physical competency standpoint. When you understand the necessity of broad movement skills to be able to face a broad range of situations, then a broad training is a no-brainer, but if you don’t have this in mind then it’s OK to keep training a few moves over and over, which is what most traceurs do, and which is what every sport specialist does.
    Secondly there is no official parkour coaching system, it is up to every person to train the way they want. It is a good thing and a bad thing. MovNat in comparison is not just the practice, it is also and above all the instruction, the physical education coaching system that teaches people how to move efficiently, in a very broad way, and in a scalable, progressive and safe way. Smart parkour trainers do that, but not all of them.
    As regarding Ross Enamait and Gymjones, absolutely excellent programs, I also recommend them, even though our approaches differ, but that’s what makes the world richer.

  20. Erwan Le Corre
    Erwan Le Corre says:

    Aaron, no you’re not following MovNat training principles, you’re doing basically “a little of everything” in an exploratory manner which is all good stuff tough, and actually if for some reason the list of moves you’ve described was just what you could afford to do at a given time because of lack of space and time, then it could be called “MovNat” as the method always follow the principle which is to do what you can, where you are, with what you have (Roosevelt, US president).
    You have at this stage to be exploratory and opportunist indeed, so keep up with these experiences.

  21. Devon
    Devon says:

    I can honestly see this system as being a life changing completely positive and enjoyable (but difficult as well) experience. And I want nothing more than to jump into it and give it my all.

  22. Lane Batot
    Lane Batot says:

    No Erwan, I certainly don’t take that personally! Actually, it makes me admire you all the more! Along with how thouroughly and amazingly you respond to all this correspondence! Don’t blush, now! Please don’t think I was making a “crack” either about your seminars–I hope you make a million bucks doing it! So you can reach that many more people! No, it was more to apologize that I probably won’t ever be able to come to any of your seminars, much as I would like to, but finances aren’t the only reason! Although it is true that Zookeepers ain’t in what they do for the money! I also have a LOT of critters of my own(at home, not at the zoo), and no one to help care for them(so far), so travel of any sort is out of the question for me! Now, if you ever set up somewhere nearby my home in North Carolina, and I haven’t blown my paycheck on dog food that month, there is nothing I’d rather help support! About the Zookeeper thing–it might be fun sometime to compare notes on what we do for “enrichment” for captive animals, to try and keep them from going stir crazy and get some excercise and use THEIR bodies as they were meant to! As a zookeeper I naturally hear many negative comments about the “poor animals trapped in the zoo” by well meaning, but uninformed people(and in truth, in the best-of-all-possible-worlds, zoos would be unnecessary, but then there is reality, alas), and I usually quickly inform those people that most modern humans are little better than zoo animals, except instead of a zoo enclosure, they cage themselves in malls, cars, houses, and tiny yards for most of their life! This view always shocks and sometimes–I’m sorry– insults them! Most humans suddenly “freed” to the wild would be at a loss of what to do, just like animals raised in captivity! So you are seeing, Erwan, why I am relating to this so well!

  23. Tai
    Tai says:

    I do believe in cold weather workouts. Im from New Jersey I know that Maine is colder and receives more snow. But we get some nasty weather here in the winter a lot of wind and our temp gets to the 20’s. I can run barefoot for most of the winter theres a slight sting when i start but it goes a way and your feet warm. I also switch my workouts to more heavier moving logs, climbing trees, carrying corn, and a lot of hitting the heavy bag. I know people who love warm weather hate cold weather. I love cold weather and have a hard time finding the motivation to workout in warm weather sometimes. Good luck and keep moving.

  24. Stephen
    Stephen says:

    I tried to think of something sophisticated or impressive to say but all I can blurt out is Erwan, you da man!

  25. John
    John says:

    ‘Back in the day’ while involved with miscellaneous school and club sports I was remarkably fit. I maintained that level of fitness into my early 20’s. Through outdoor activities, jogging/biking, and weight lifting. Then, as so many others surly have, I landed a great job (demanding time) and a fantastic family (demanding more time). So, I now find myself softer, heavier and most important for me…more sore and tired from nothing more than regular day to day life. I have no desire to waste my valuable time becoming another gym clone, and the long jogs and rides just don’t work for me anymore.

    Enter MovNat. Similar to Aaron, I learned about MovNat from the Men’s Health article. I was only intrigued until a younger brother in law told me he had started doing MovNat style workouts. He is still in the extremely fit category, void of the family and career I mentioned above. The guy took me to a local park and whooped my @$$ in 20 minutes! A similar workout to what Aaron described above. He included more crawling and climbing, but basically the same.

    I was stoked to think that I could get such an intense workout in 20-30 minutes. There are countless parks around where I live so this is perfect, I’m thinking. However, after reading up, I am left somewhat wanting… If what Aaron and my in-law have come up with isn’t really MovNat training, what can we city/zoo humans do with the limited environment and time we have to progress into real MovNat follower’s? I feel like we have only scratched the surface of MovNat’s potential, but don’t really have anyway to properly learn more.

    It seems that you plan to give more instruction on this site, and I certainly understand not having time to do the things you mean to. I just really hope you know there are lots of people out there that think you have a great thing on your hands, and I believe the making of a HUGE and very loyal following who are eager to learn your ways. Keep up the good work…I can’t wait to learn more!

  26. Mramo
    Mramo says:

    I first got into this type of thing when I read an article about Matthew Mcconaughey’s workout while filming a movie or something in Mexico( Men’s Health article a few years back). His workouts were simply running and doing calisthenics randomly. Also curling/lifting rocks. I was fascinated by the simplicity and have been hooked ever since. I can barely step foot inside a gym, especially when its nice out. Glad I found MovNat, which seems to take things a step further. Good to know there are like-minded individuals out there.
    Tai- I live in NJ as well. You should look into Vibram Five fingers if you run in the snow.
    Erwan- I would love to take your seminar in Brazil…but I don’t think I would leave.

  27. Rick Osbourne
    Rick Osbourne says:

    Erwan – the history above is fascinating but I’ve gotta think that Rousseau played a significant role in this as well. Would you comment on the role JJR played in this ultimately natural approach to fitness and life in general? RickO

  28. Erwan Le Corre
    Erwan Le Corre says:

    Thanks again to all for the positive input and feedback.

    Rick, I agree with you because Hebert certainly must have read Rousseau, but not only.
    In my essay, we discovered that the main source of inspiration but also base of Hebert’s Methode Naturelle can be found in the original Amoros method which Hebert renovated and improved.
    We also learned that the main source of Amoros in term of pedagogy was Pestalozzi, a pedagogue from Switzerland.
    What I didn’t mention (because the article would have become a whole book!) is that Pestalozzi, like Rousseau (famous philosopher, himself a Swiss), had translated “Emile, or On Education” by Rousseau in German…we can easily understand that Pestalozzi was a Rousseauist or very influenced by Rousseau.

    The philosophical lineage through history then goes has follows:

    Rousseau > Pestalozzi > Amoros > Hebert > Le Corre :).

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