The Right Attitude Brings the Right Teachers

SalsaDipAs a salsero for over 13 years and a wing chun practitioner for almost four years, it is often difficult to learn a new dance or martial art because of the attachment and identity that define who I am. The same can be said about the fitness industry and the people who contribute their research and expertise the personal trainers, sports coaches, and physical therapists.

Oftentimes, we trainers and coaches get emotionally attached to our favorite organization and presenters and become less open to new or contradictory ideas that are evidence-based.

Movement Potential at where it is now couldn’t have happened without making tons of mistakes and naive decisions in the past 13 years in the fitness industry. The way we treat our clients, peers, and community and the way we run our business and training programs are influenced by many fellow fitness and education professionals.

Anthony Carey, M.S., CSCS; owner and co-founder of Function First in San Diego, CA.


(Courtesy of Anthony Carey)

If I didn’t meet this guy, I probably would still be working in a box gym longer than I would like. Anthony was the first fitness professional who showed me that there’s another world outside of corporate fitness. After taking a “Before the Core” workshop in November 2003, I began to explore what else is there to know to help my clients better and develop better professionalism. AC was the launchpad to escape to developing my own identity.

Lisa Wolfe, CPT (ACE), FMS, IYCA, owner of Wolfe Strong.


(Courtesy of Lisa Wolfe)

Lisa and I met at the Perform Better Summit in Long Beach, CA in August 2010 at a presentation by Brian Grasso. After communicating with her over the last three years, it’s quite inspirational to see the changes and struggles Lisa has gone through to create her passion. Every time I ask myself, “Why the hell am I doing this?” I usually think of Lisa.

Dr. Kwame Brown, Ph.D., founder of Move Theory, professor of Human Development at Hampton University


(Courtesy of Dr. Kwame Brown)

Who challenges old dogmas and mediates conflicting views better than Dr. Brown? His teachings often make you think twice about your own existing beliefs. Blending play and movement that breaks away from the traditional “boot camps” and gym mentality is a large part of our current training programs for teens and adults. I also had the honor of interviewing Dr. Brown on my first article that was published on MiaBella magazine. I’m still learning a lot from him, but I wouldn’t put him on a pedestal like I once did with other professionals and teachers.

It difficult to explain what he teaches in words. This video should summarize what we also teach in our classes and practice.

Prince Bell, IKFF, CSCS

(Courtesy of Prince Bell)

(Courtesy of Prince Bell)

Prince takes no bullshit from anyone and neither do we. His drive to be a better human and development and growth of his business, GoldenBell Fitness, serves as an inspiration for all trainers to be better. Rather than mindlessly spewing out exercises for his clients to do, he applies exercises and workouts that can be used in real-life situations, such as self-defense. Genuinity and modesty are part of who he is.

Ryan Crandall


(Courtesy of Ryan Crandall)

“Motion is the lotion!” Ryan, owner of 3D Yoga, takes movement to a level that makes you raise on eyebrow repetitively like you’re having a twitch in your forehead.

Like Dr. Brown, Ryan always challenges existing dogmas that seethes through our industry, like how our knees should be aligned or whether good posture is the cure for all bodily pains. Like Prince, his humility and creativity make you want to appreciate and love why we do what we do. “Question everything.”

Stefanie Shelton, RKC, FMS, owner of Flexology, Strength & Fitness Club

(Courtesy of Stefanie Shelton)

(Courtesy of Stefanie Shelton)

I think Stefanie and I are kind of on the same river while we journey along the fitness steamboat. With so many things going on in our professional and personal lives, it very easy to get distracted and fall back onto our past status quo — our comfort zone. She also demonstrates that women can lift heavy without ending up looking like the She-Hulk. Plus, she’s the only woman I know who could outswing me on a kettlebell swing! Thank you for the consulting help whenever I have a few questions about kettlebell training.

Sifu Frank Du, founder and head instructor of Three Treasures Cultural Arts Society


(Courtesy of Frank Du)

I met Sifu Frank and the rest of Three Treasures in the winter of 2012 at The Yard in Mira Mesa. At first I was skeptical of another kung fu school, but he and his team stay true to the Chinese traditions and culture that makes Three Treasures a unique school and system that very few other martial art schools have in the United States.

I started training with Three Treasures since September 2013, and so far, all of my biases and false ideas about choy lay fut kung fu has dissipated. It’s not easy to train. Despite my three years of wing chun training, it doesn’t prepare me much at the psychology and physical labor of the family style CLF.

The human body can move in so many ways. Why just stick with one dogma or idea? We do stuff in kung fu training that would probably shock most trainers, physical therapists, yoga teachers, and soccer coaches. When you free your mind of ideas that are based on fear, bias, and/or prejudice, your body become more adaptive to different situations and enables you to soar beyond your comfort zone. Thank you, Frank!

Gray Cook, physical therapist and co-founder of Functional Movement Systems

What can I say about Gray? Not only did he changed the way I think about movement, training programs, and professional development, he knows how to blend humor and tongue-in-cheek analogies into his presentations, keeping the audience engaged and awake. I’ve listened to almost every podcast he has ever made (with his publisher Laree Draper), and almost every time I listen to one I learn something new.

Even though I hardly use the Functional Movement Screen anymore, his passion for helping trainers, PTs, and other health professionals to be better is what keeps me in touch with him. I still remember what he said at a FMS workshop back in 2011 in Los Angeles. “If you got a system that works better than what we have, we’ll use it.” (paraphrased)

Brian Grasso, author of Art of Inspired Living and founder of IYCA

(Courtesy of Brian Grasso)

(Courtesy of Brian Grasso)

I’m glad that I stuck around after Steve Cotter’s kettlebell workshop back in the Perform Better Summit in Long Beach in August 2010. Otherwise, I probably would never have met Brian in person. He may sound like somebody who had just spent at a Shaolin monastery for 10 years and likes to listen to Yanni, but after you get to interact with him a bit and digest what he says, you realize that you have been living under the delusion that what you are doing in your life may not be the best for you or others. At least that’s what I got out of him at the workshop.

There is more to the fitness business than just profit and following what everyone thinks is appropriate. When you accept and approve your own decisions in your life, the less you need acceptance and approval from others.

IPSB teachers and classmates

2013: The Year of Bodywork. What a life-changing experience! Learning massage and bodywork at IPSB isn’t just about learning how to knead, poke, and stretch muscles and fasciae. I’m learning to be less judgmental and critical while being more mindful of others’ emotions and thoughts. Of course, there are some occasional slip-ups, but I do catch those often. I’ve also made some interesting friends who either challenge my existing beliefs, poke my ego, and share a variety of experiences that one doesn’t normally receive in “normal” colleges and schools.

And know what? I’m pretty damn good at what I do. Blending both massage and bodywork with exercise and movement together. We’ll see what the next year will bring.

To the teachers and fellow classmates of IPSB, my life and reality have changed, and they will always be changing. Thank you!!!!


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