Archives for July 2011

A Glimpse into a Better Future

I’ve been teaching, training and rehabilitating movement since 1990 when I became a physical therapist and a certified strength coach. Since then I’ve accumulated many other letters behind my name, but all the credentials don’t mean much if they don’t change you or improve you in some way. I’ve always tried to get the most of my education.

Wise teachers tell us to empty our cup so we can capture something new. To this end, each time I learn I become a student again. I listen, I look goofy, I feel humble, and I try not to take myself too seriously.

A step outside ability

If I learn a better way to do something, I easily put down my old method, opinion or tool—and move forward in new light. I always try to find the common theme that connects all good teachers, coaches and mentors. The bulk of my work has not been to develop methods to build the best program. My work has simply been to target things that work with strategic observation and testing.

This objective feedback breeds honesty in both teachers and students, and produces systems… not programs. Systems are better, because they allow for scalability.

On July 4th 2011 I found myself a student again when I attended the 5-day MovNat experience in West Virginia with my two teenage daughters (13 and 16) and my pregnant wife (5 months). If that sounds a little crazy, how about this? I was scheduled for right wrist surgery two days after the experience. Yes, I’m crazy!

The MovNat Experience

Now that we have that out of the way, let me explain. My family forgives my eccentricity and strange ideas—it become part of having Cook as their last name. Bringing my family just seemed like the right thing to do. A conversation with Erwan also gave me faith in him, and in his instructors’ ability to scale anything. So we put them to the test. Saying they passed is like saying U2 puts on a nice little rock show!!

Erwan, Vic, and Cliff were fantastic. They were kind and tough and interesting, and made me glad I introduced them to the ladies in my house.

I wrote a book on movement. It’s actually called Movement and it scientifically supports the MovNat principles and methods in every way. However, in the presence of these great instructors I was humbled… in a good way, a way that gave me hope for my children’s future children. I’ve been looking for a tribe of modern fitness professionals who appreciate the raw adaptability of the human flesh and spirit.

  • A tribe that seeks to nourish both in a process that looks more like play and exploration than working out or posting points on a board
  • A tribe that creates natural movement with superior fitness as a favorable byproduct

These concepts are in total contrast to the other tribes that sacrifice the integrity of natural movement in an attempt to expend an extra calorie while remaining totally comfortable in the process.

In my book, I talk about how a richer sensory experience can produce better movement behavior. As a physical therapist I have a few tricks to improve dysfunctional movement. However it was totally refreshing to see other movement experts replace unnatural movements with natural ones.

Haulin' Logs

MovNat is an art, practiced with integrity, based in natural science, and wrapped with some sweat, smiles, fresh air and laughter!

All great teaching improves our inner and outer environment. If not, how can it be great?

Nothing in the modern scholastic physical education, training or coaching directs professionals toward experiences like MovNat, and that is a shame. Our society produces PE teachers and fitness professionals who cannot move themselves and think nothing of it. I am in a position to make this statement because I test movement on these individuals every time I teach a functional movement screening workshop. MovNat is a wonderful educational experience, and hopefully one day it can be part of our schooling so my daughters will not have to take their children any further than their elementary school to find MovNat.

Jawing with Erwan

In the meantime, Mark Twain reminds us that we should not let scholastic limitations interfere with our education—even our movement education.

Thanks again, guys!