Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Movement as a Modality for Personal Development and Play Based Learning

I'll admit.  The past 6 years have been a wild ride.  Opening Free Flow Academy has been the most challenging and rewarding projects I have ever done.  You have to be a gladiator to own a business.  Sometimes you do it to honor something greater than yourself.  Sometimes you do it for the challenge.  Sometimes you do it for the money.  I didn't do it for the money.  I did it for the challenge and for the opportunity. I can assure you, this has never been, and never will be for money.  I've been told that's BS.  Everyone goes into business to make money.  If you don't, you die.  I will say,  I do it for sustainability.  I want to devote myself to movement and creativity and be able to pay the bills while I'm at it.  I want to inspire people to move dynamically, because simply put, I love movement.  It changes people for the better.  It changes people at the molecular and cellular level.  And it makes this world a better place.  I feel truly blessed I don't wake up in the morning having to prepare myself to perform open heart surgery on a 6 year old.  I'm so grateful for the people in this world that can withstand that kind of work related intellectual and emotional stress.  I get to wake up and work with kids and adults, to better their life in some small way.  I get to educate and teach in many different forms, from teaching classes, to workshops, to online curriculum, to storytelling.  To me, it's all teaching.  My job is simple.  To help prepare people for their world.  To give them the tools they need to cope with the challenges they will face.  To give them a greater sense of belonging and connection to this world and to the people in it.  I think what I do is a form of preventative medicine.  And it's also a form of Warrior Training.

Choreographer/Artistic Director - "Kadaash Zoku" Student Showcase

I write this post as an open journal.  To explain my thoughts on play-based learning.  At this point in my career I have taught thousands of students.  I've taught students Kung Fu, Dance, Acting, and Parkour.  Every discipline offers something unique and extremely valuable.  All of them build character, and teach practitioners a mindset that will help them in life. Different individuals require different things.  And different groups have different needs.

Free Flow Academy - Kung Fu Class

Horizon School District Guest Speaker - "Movement and Mental Health"

I have a group of students currently, who need a lot of creative ownership.  They don't do well learning choreography.  It's not empowering to them.  It's rather stifling.  So instead of having them do choreography and structured routines, I set some basic rules:  1) Warm-up and Stretching is Required 2) Your Commitment to Each Other is Required.

For this particular group, I decided play-based learning was the most effective approach.  They must warm up and stretch with me.  After that, I guide them through their own creativity and I play mediator.  They get to be in charge and create their own dance.  Here the creativity flows.  They come up with all sorts of themes and ideas I would have never imagined.  I give them pointers on how to make the movements they are creating more dynamic and graceful.  But other than that, it's their brainchild.  They work together as a team.  And they must commit to each other's ideas.  One student had trouble committing to the work of others.  She didn't want to do anything if it wasn't her idea.  She even hated her own ideas (not at first, but later when the dance wasn't panning out to her expectations).  I worked with her on commitment and follow through, as well as listening to others.  Being kind to her friends, and more importantly, being kind to herself.  She needed constant reminders to not beat herself up.  I think her becoming self aware of this habit is the most important thing she'll probably learn all year.  Today was the first day she didn't complain once about the ideas of others.  And today was also the first day she didn't beat herself up about some small mistake she thought she made. 

As a teacher I hope to bridge communities.  That is a spiritual calling  I feel I have.  But I also hope to inspire compassion and joy.  As humans we have the power to create.  We are the only species on the planet that can create life, technology, art in all of it's complexities, modes of transportation, energy, and even resources that sustain not only our lives, but all life on this planet!  We need to find joy in our ability to create!  But first we need to be aware of the power of creation.  Creating is basically a super power and a gift.  Recognizing it as such helps us find joy in that process.  We create through play, and play helps us create.  When my students make something, it might not be what I would have made for them.  But it doesn't matter.  In the grand scheme of things, the most important thing to achieve is realizing joy through your own work.  And that is play-based learning.  Play-based learning is finding joy through your own creation.  And that is a life skill everyone can use.  So get out there and play.  Rechild Yourself!

- Ms. Elle

Free Flow Academy - Acting Class (Seasonally Offered through Media Academy)

Free Flow Academy - "Exploration Movement" Adventure Retreat

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#playbasedlearning #movement #movementculture #movemeant #exploration #education #kungfu #dance #parkour #performingarts #acting #lifeskills #personaldevelopment #coaching #lifecoaching


Monday, April 2, 2018

Free Flow Academy Instructor Bio - Coach Will

Hello everyone, my name is Coach Will. I stumbled across parkour about 8 years ago and have loved training with the amazing crew that created Free Flow Academy. Prior to becoming a coach at Free Flow, I was a martial arts instructor for kids, and occasionally adults, for about 10 years. Through martial arts, I gained a healthy respect for structure and discipline, both of which are aspects I try to implement consistently in my class. I truly enjoy working with kids of all ages, and as a parent of three, I try to create a class that I would be happy to see my children in as well.

During class, my main focus for parkour is to keep movements simple and efficient. In the words of one my first parkour instructors, Victor, “Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.” My hope is to keep classes fun and engaging for all ages.  Due to a busy full time work schedule, and being a husband and father, I am only able to manage one class on Monday, at 6:30. I vary rarely attend events, but I’ve done a few birthdays upon request. Hope to see you guys on Mondays!

Random facts:  I play the guitar, ride a unicycle, can occasionally be seen wearing an inflatable dinosaur costume at events, and plan to become a school teacher. Oh, and I don’t yell. I just talk loud.

That's me in the Dinosaur Costume below.  It's really hot.

Free Flow Academy Instructor Bio - Coach Eddy

Coach Eddy first started studying parkour at the age of 10 under Coach Corey (Co-Founder of Free Flow Academy).  Eddy loves to work birthday parties and specializes in group involvement and group instruction. The group atmosphere can be both constructive and destructive in different situations, while distractions can lead to a loss in concentration. However, Eddy focuses on the idea of learning by the three main forms of instruction: auditory direction, presentation, and hands on learning to ensure kids stay safe and have a blast!

Personally, Eddy enjoys training in obstacle course format layouts, and incorporates them into his instruction. He believes that through a challenging course, not only are both short and long fibers conditioned for strength and endurance, it also brings the opportunity to take risks in a safe and controlled setting. In this, kids and adults learn proper and safe landing and bailing procedures applicable in everyday life while reducing injury in all circumstances. It also teaches the life skill of learning from one's mistakes and perseverance through difficulty.

Free Flow Academy Instructor Bio - Coach Kage

My name is Kage Martin and I have been doing parkour for about four years now, two of which have been here at Free Flow Academy. I am very passionate about parkour because it is a sport that allows enough freedom to express yourself as an individual. The sport really encourages creativity and discovering new ways to link together moves and techniques to create something new, and that is what I think is so different and unique about parkour. Personally, I enjoy training and teaches vaults the most. Once you have practiced them enough, they begin to feel extremely natural and become second nature to the way you move. Vaults really change the way you look at obstacles and allow you to traverse them in ways you may have never thought of before. Aside from parkour, my favorite thing to do in my free time is tinker with electronics, especially computers. They are extremely fascinating to me, and I find the internals of computers very interesting. I definitely consider myself a huge geek in this area. I also volunteer as the sound lead at a local church, which involves setting up and tearing down all of our audio equipment and making sure the audio runs smoothly every week. I deeply enjoy being involved in the church and helping out where I can.

The PPAC Instructor Bio - Coach Corey

Coach Corey is Co-Founder of The PPAC

Corey is known to be one of the original founding members of the Sacramento Parkour community. Over the past decade he has trained thousands of students, and has certified and trained dozens of coaches.  Corey is a major proponent of safe and sustainable training. His teaching and training methods have been used by multiple gyms in the Greater Sac region

Corey's Bio (in his own words):
I started playing around with common movements and helped build the community of Sacramento Parkour. At the time I didn't realize I was cultivating a community.  I was just having fun, doing something I was, and still passionate about.  Studying the discipline of Parkour brought me to the knowledge of how the human body functions and moves.  But more importantly, it opened my mind to all of it's possibilities. 

I applied my knowledge and passion in a variety of ways, from working at a physical therapy center to hosting community jams, and working for local gymnastic centers.  I also toured Europe, backpacking and spending time with Parkour Generation Affiliates.

Parkour led me to so many different and interesting experiences, so I decided to fully commit to spreading Parkour by opening an Academy with my friends Elle and Lon Beyer.  We decided to make a business out of what we are most passionate about, and create a place where we could cultivate a love for movement in a safe and comfortable environment.