I am very quick to sort information. I try not to bias it from the source. What is interesting becomes useful when you know what to look for and how to apply it across contexts. The process in which one moves, or, more specifically, learns to move has been my focus for the last several years. Big picture, it has shifted from performance to rehab to expression to interaction. Most of the time the interaction has been between my own brain and my body. As of late, however, it is my conversations with two people — Nicole Uno and Adrian Barr — that has made my expansion of understanding and relation so exponential it often feels exhilarating.
I don’t pay much attention to others. It is too wonderful inside my head. The ones I do hone in on, notably singular clients and groups of students, I almost try to mind meld with them; embodying their body and noticing leaks that I might make them aware of (along with how they can be shored up). Rarely does it occur that someone can pique my interest from afar and keep it there. My own thoughts are too accessible. But with these two, I recognized they had something that I didn’t — a larger frame of reference in which they pulled their principles from.
Adarian is a track guy. He is all about speed and getting faster and breaking down who won the race and why. He hones in on how outliers are changing the game and making gains. He openly challenges traditional protocols and wonders why the top sprinting times haven’t changed much over the past few decades. Though running is a main focus, he can also tell you how Zion set things up to blow past his defender or why an eight year olds arms are the key to his locomotion issues.
Then there is what he can do. At 55, he can likely beat anyone reading this in a race, wearing crocs. He engineers shoes and patents and insoles and training equipment, turning ideas into tangible products. The ability to take a concept from its infancy all the way to an object you can actually put in someone’s hand is obscenely impressive. (Even fathoming all the steps and skills necessary to do such a thing is a challenge for me.)
Nicole is a studier of life. She is a philosopher and ponderer and is constantly observing the world around her. It was she who imparted upon me the importance of studying yourself at rest. Her perception of the world at such a macro level helps her find the most essentially influential; the simple (and often neglected) patterns of rest, breathing, and gait are reflections of state and organizational properties. They brilliantly dictate truth and order in the least chaotic condition of being.
If Adarian Barr has the code, Nicole Uno has the operating system.
Looking at their public body of work, they appear as opposites. He encouraging falling and she, currently, as a climber, examines suspension. The ground vs. a wall. He compresses, she extends. He can post on instagram ten times a day and she MAY eek one out every couple of months. Even their websites are contradictory — his flooded with informational options at every nook of space, and hers simple, refined, and free of distraction. Their styles present as pokes and prods vs. serene patience to properly display an elegance, but, in reality, they harbor a similar brilliance looking to find its way out.
When the thoughts in your head are ten steps past where everyone else resides it can be hard to relate and communicate. Uno’s keen sense of finding what’s notable amongst the masses is what led me to Barr in the first place. I’m terrible at looking through the ether of elsewhere. BUT, when something gets pointed at as interesting, I am willing to take a snapshot feel over the course of a few weeks. If I learn immediately or sense the presentation has an intriguing novelty to it, I will give it the time to deliver the consistency to pull me in.
Other than having excellent conversations with these two (that run the gamut and aren’t just ‘shop talk’) that steer me into a personal investigation, what really stands out is that when I bank a concept they mention that I can’t quite place or follow at the moment, I almost always find myself eventually crashing into it. Months later, as I do my own thing, I will recognize, Oh! THAT’s what they were talking about. They offer points to immediately consider and experiment with AND navigational constructs to revolve around when I’m ready.
Offering insights that last and linger amongst all of the internal and curious traipsing I do is incredibly special and valuable. Once I find what they speak of in my own terms I am able to transfer it to others. My own fortuitous streams of context eventually meet up (if not catch up) with them, and everyone we are able to connect with sharpens. Being heard, understood, and challenged into clarity is what relationships are for, and to be able to sit between these two makes me the most appreciative conduit — a role I hope is as beneficial to them as it is to me.