Since opening in 2014, Shoshin Movement has been a toy of self discovery in both the physical and mental realms for our members.
As they understand, what we are really doing here can't be explained in a few sentences.
It all sits behind two potent words and a much bigger picture...
A Zen Buddhism Concept, meaning the "beginners mind".
Shoshin refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject or art, even when at an advanced level — just as a beginner would.
How we relate this to our training is to say that when you are learning a new skill, you will probably suck at the start — though you should embrace this.
Feel it, accept it, get comfortable with it, explore it, enjoy it, learn, play.
This is usually the first 80% of the learning curve when tackling a skill.
To use it in an example, your motor control and cognitive ability will not be so efficient when you begin to learn the handstand or a similar complex skill. You’ll try to kick up, but you’ll come straight back down. You won’t be able to balance properly, and your technique will be sub standard. No matter how hard you try at the start, it just won’t stick.
This is completely normal, and this is where the true growth is. It’s easy to just give up, but if you hold to the beginner’s mind and not be so worried about your current ability, with persistence, you’ll begin to achieve.
On a side note to the scientific side of things, a study done by the Oxford University shows how a complex skill such as juggling can enhance your connections in the brain. This shows a huge correlation between learning new skills and increasing the white matter in your brain, even as a complete beginner.
Overall — while it's fun for the ego to stick to the things you are good at, it's not where you will grow as a person. It should always be about living the journey, rather than only just embracing the destination.
Not only the act of moving, but a tribe of people working together to advance their capabilities as a collective.
If you look back at the life of our ancestors or even a few hundred years back, humans had much more movement involved with their daily tasks for food and survival than what we do nowadays...
Walking, running, jumping, crawling and swimming for locomotive travel.
Hanging, climbing and brachiating to reach heights and move through terrain.
Squatting in deep positions to eat, work, rest and use other bodily functions.
Pushing, pulling, lifting, dancing, inverting, fighting, playing and other varieties of movements that are organic to the human body.
With all of that in mind, physical training shouldn't only be about cardiovascular fitness, strength work or aesthetics - but joint integrity, range of motion, motor control and patterning... among many other factors that have an influence on our health and well being.
One example is, no amount of exercise will undo the issues caused by prolonged sitting and remaining sedentary. There needs to be a different approach to reverse such issues — we need more movement in our lives, as opposed to exercise alone to remain healthy.
It's very common that our members will have a friend that asks them "What do you do at your gym?"
This is usually where they are stuck for words — because what we do is usually quite far from what the average gym does and what the general public understands about physical training.
What we do is commonly masked with the word "fitness", though this word is widely misunderstood and isn’t quite what we align with.
What is fitness, really?
The ability to run 10 kilometres, or the ability to balance on one foot?
The ability to perform 50 pushups, or the ability to hold your breath underwater for as long as possible?
The ability to squat your bodyweight on a barbell for X amount of reps, or being able to articulate each segment of your spine?
What this explains is that, fitness is the ability to adapt to a repeated stimulus, so this branches out to any physical endeavour and any attribute that follows it - strength, endurance, balance, coordination, contractability, elasticity; and so on.
Using the word fitness usually leaves people with the impression of "a lot of cardio", and while we do have cardiovascular conditioning as one of the areas within our training, it's only one piece to the puzzle.
Our main focus is based around 3 principles.
We aim to help people move better, feel better and perform better.
Move: Regaining your child-like movement, having confidence and control with your body, all while learning new skills, strengths and flexibility.
Feel: Having movement freedom that's pain free, and not having a checklist of pain and injuries that haunt you in your daily life.
Perform: Being able to play with your kids at the park, or increasing your capacity in a hobby or sport that you might play or compete in.
Some people might boil down what we do to general Strength & Conditioning — though we like to use the word "movement" as an umbrella term because it gives us the opportunity to use many disciplines as an open source within the realm of physical training.
To give some examples:
We use gymnastics and bodyweight work for upper body strength because it builds both strength and stability that is progressive and highly transferable to other areas of training.
We use tools such as the barbell for lower body strength because it allows us to gain strength and power, while also utlising bodyweight lower body strength to increase endurance, mobility and complexity.
We use stretching methods based around Gymnastics, martial arts and Yoga to help us achieve a mixture of both active/loaded mobility and passive/relaxed flexibility.
We incorporate rehab/prehab and joint preparation tools to help create a strong and resilient body, as well as screening our members for potential injuries and movement dysfunctions.
We learn new skills, play games, locomote and use other organic movements because it's fun, it's where we originate from and we should never fall into the trap of growing up!
We also like change: the things that we are doing today will change in a months time. Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel, we're just testing out different ways to move the wheel.
While some people might feel that this sort of training is advanced in comparison to a general gym program, it may be in technical complexity but it's really not regarding its execution. The process and preparation is what matters.
We're excited to help people from all walks of life, to build a bigger movement toolbox, skill capacity and reduce or remove their previous injuries — and most of all having fun whilst doing it!