Achieving Physical Freedom

BodyTree Gymnastic Fitness

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In my youth, going to school and being educated was a very important goal for my parents. My parents were not concerned whether I partook any sports or activities, as long as I did well in school.

However, times have changed and nowadays it is quite common to find youths participating in a variety of sports and activities.

Jay was one of them. He started muay thai when he was 17, and went into competition when he was 19.

I asked him why he started muay thai. It was an interesting revelation. Jay was an aggressive youth and he was frequently in fights with people, at least once or twice per month. He was a rebel and his parents were called up quite often to the principal’s office.It is interesting to note what Bruce Lee said in one of his interviews – when he was asked why do certain celebrities learnt martial arts from him. Bruce Lee explained it wasn’t how to defend themselves or how to do someone in. It was to express themselves – be it anger, be it determination. Bruce Lee explained his students wanted to learn or the way Bruce taught them- in the combative form – the art of expressing the human body.

Jay said in his youth, he wanted to prove he was somebody and he attributed it to an ego thing. Personally, now that I am older and wiser, I see it in most people including myself. For me, it was being outstanding in school and later in my career to prove that I am somebody and that I am different. I didn’t go the path of martial arts but I went the path of extreme work to the detriment of my physical health, in later years.

Jay’s first teacher was Master Johnnie and their training ground was at Bukit Batok natural reserve. As part of their training, the students had to run up and down slopes. Initially, Jay thought no big deal since he was 17 and his master was in his fifties. However, his master beat Jay!

For someone like me who does not know anything about fighting, it is interesting to hear how as a fighter you need to be calm to assess what is happening in the ring. To me, it might appear as simply throwing punches and kicks! Jay was in competition until he was 26 and he fought a total of 26 bouts. I can imagine the kind of mental training a person goes through in competitive martial arts and very likely it shapes the person’s attitudes in later years. Being mentally focused, strong and disciplined.

Jay also started to train other practitioners and he learnt a totally different perspective of the art as a trainer – looking in from the sidelines. He talked about how fighting is a psychological game and it is about manoveuring and manipulating your opponent. Food for thought.

After Jay decided to stop muay thai competitively, he was looking for another form of fitness training, and that was how his path crossed with Bruce Dierl. He was enchanted with the strength and details involved to do hand balancing. Even his muay thai training did not fully prepare for him for much more intense work – but it is also the reason why this training attracted him. It is another way for Jay to express himself.Both Jay and Bruce practiced together and it was an event that prompted both of them to start taking in students of their own. It was the same story, i.e. they both saw students performing cool moves without the proper progression and these students were setting themselves up for injuries.

Everyone wants financial freedom and what Jay wants to share with his students is physical freedom – yay! What makes him eager to get up every morning to teach is the progress his students make in their strength and mobility.

Jay does not see gymnastic strength training as achieving a particular skill and then stop. It is a life long journey, to achieve physical freedom and live of life of excellence.

Handstand Practice from BodyTree GST on Vimeo.


Come and meet Jay at BodyTree Gymnastic Strength Training.

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