After graduating from Hampshire College in 2013, I moved to Boulder, CO in August to pursue a latent passion for Movement while biding my time before applying to medical school. At Hampshire I completed a concentration in Human Physiology and Immunology, completing coursework primarily in chemistry and biology with a few other things sprinkled in for fun and to satisfy distribution requirements. My senior thesis, an 85-page literature review, explored the connections between nutrition and autoimmune disease (spoiler alert: there’s a connection), focusing on Celiac Disease, immune system/gut flora interactions, and immunometabolism, a new field of research that seeks to understand the influence of metabolism on immunity and vice-versa.
I grew up practicing karate at a local dojo that taught a fusion of the Shorin and Goju styles of Okinawan Kenpo, and earned my black belt in 2008 after graduating high school. During my year off before entering Hampshire, I spent a month in China practicing Wushu 30 hours a week, an experience that pretty much crushed me. That summer I discovered CrossFit after researching the movie 300 (like everyone else), and spent some time messing around with MetCons and weight lifting for the next few years, into college. CrossFit also lead me to the Zone diet (gross) and finally to Paleo (like everyone else, I hope), which inspired me to switch from a presumed concentration in economics or philosophy to a pre-med course of study. This allowed me the opportunity to get pretty deep into human physiology, and I had the opportunity to TA for Human and Physiology and Immunology and to design and teach a semester-long class on Nutrition and Human Physiology. Much of my time at Hampshire was spent captaining the Red Scare Ultimate Frisbee team, and when I could I lifted weights and pursued some bodyweight strength goals a la Coach Christopher Sommer (gymnasticbodies.com, Building the Gymnastics Body) and Steven Low (eatmoveimprove.com, Overcoming Gravity). In the fall of 2010 I spent three months following CrossFit Football programming and drinking a shit ton of milk, and managed to put on 8 pounds and obtain a relatively respectable 300 lb. back squat, 350 lb. deadlift and 200 lb. power clean and bench press at 160 lbs and 8-10% BF.
Frisbee was great and will always have a place in my heart, but it left me with some lingering mobility issues (very limited ankle range of motion, poor hip internal rotation, and some others) and I decided to abandon it after graduating in favor of Movement practice per Ido Portal‘s philosophy. Having spent the last two summers training at Parkour Visions in Seattle, locating myself in a place with a training community committed to movement excellence seemed like a good idea, so when my friend Tevon transfered to CU in Boulder, I jumped on the bandwagon and headed south. Boulder is home to Apex Movement, the premier Parkour gym (well, 4 gyms, actually) in the US, which hosts classes in parkour, freerunning, tricking, breakdancing, Ukemi, etc.; in other words, an aspiring Mover’s dream.
I’ve read voraciously over the past few years from a variety of sources, but a few folks stick out as being particularly influential in shaping my current thinking. On the nutrition and health side of things: Robb Wolf, Chris Kresser, Chris Masterjohn, Stephan Guyenet, Kurt Harris, and Dave Asprey come to mind; for training, I look to Keith Norris of Theory to Practice, Ido Portal, Coach Christopher Sommer, Steven Low, Rafe Kelly (formerly of Parkour Visions and now of Evolve Move Play), Jim Bathurst of BeastSkills, and Colin Pistell of Fifth Ape; for spirituality, philosophy, and everything in between, Ken Wilber, the founder of Integral Theory, stands head and shoulders above everyone else. And Ken O’Neill, when he decides to write, is always fascinating; an awesome video of a talk of his, The Noetic Science of Wellness, is here.