... but to me it was just a job. I was a young man who was athletically talented, lean, and competitive. I never thought of exercise, posture, or poise. Enamored with my physical gifts, I only wanted to become Harder Better Faster Stronger (which would have been my personal anthem if Daft Punk hadn't waited seven more years to release it.)
Then one day Harry asked me to teach him how to swim. I had been teaching basic swimming skills to young children and adults. Harry, however, wanted to know how to swim Harder Better Faster Stronger. I took him on and immediately realized that his enthusiasm was poorly matched to his physical abilities. Recently retired, Harry had determined to do something good for his health, but he had a history of lower back pain and recently had surgery for rotator cuff repair in his dominant shoulder. He was also generally weak - unfit for moving through a medium over 700 times denser than air. Getting into and out of the pool was his first obstacle. My lessons were exhausting for him and frustrating for both of us.
In hindsight, I realize I was treating him as though he had my body. Well, my body at that time. Many years have gone by and I do not have that body anymore. I have suffered from excessive exercise, fad diets, injuries, and the increasingly strong allure of sedentary entertainment. (Not to mention I am no longer hydrodynamic.)
Having tried all that we could do in the pool, I began teaching Harry stretches and exercises that would improve his ability to move through the water - nothing fancy, just the things I had seen from my own coaches and trainers. But for him the transformation was immediate, the results sublime. This man was not only learning how to swim well, he was feeling better in his daily life. Harry was excited to tell me that he was getting into and out of his car more easily. He was removing branches from a tree in his yard. He was finding the freedom that is doing things unplanned. He could get up and down and around. He had the bull by the horns. He was thrilled, and I was hooked.
Again, many years have gone by since those days shouting at Harry whilst he was swimming, or stretching on the deck, or whilst he was diligently imitating my warm up exercises... To be honest, there was a *lot* of shouting. But in spite of my youth and inexperience more and more folks asked for my instruction and my help - not just in swimming but also in kickboxing and running. My journey had begun, and would take me to personal training, teaching Pilates and Yoga, trainings in Qigong, so many forms of massage therapy, Rolfing, hundreds of hours studying anatomy, working as a neuromuscular re-educator and as a kinesiotherapist. And I am very glad (and still a little surprised) to say that I have helped other professionals on their paths.
And so now I find myself contentedly working here in New Haven, which has been very good to me. I love living here with my wife and my daughter. When I am not at my office I can be found cooking, dancing, or riding my motorcycle.
We are training for tomorrow