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Coach Drew Watts

One thing that makes Wu-Tao-Di special is our unique access to top-of-the-line training regimens, as taught by Drew Watts of Watts Performance Systems.

A little about Coach Drew Watts: he’s an ex-baseball player and big body builder who has made a 180 degree switch to holistic methods of athletic and personal training. As a student of his, I can tell you he is without peer in the area in the teaching of precise techniques of holistic fitness. He won’t just rebuild you, he’ll rebuild you to last. And he helps me to open all sorts of physical, mental, and even spiritual blocks.[pullquote align=”right”]Students past and present have presumed on their intelligence, relying on their own views alone, engaging in arbitrary guesswork and personalistic interpretation, unwilling to humbly seek the aid of others. For this reason they grow old without attainment. Then again, there are those who seek out teachers and colleagues, but are unable to distinguish the false from the true, and get off into tangents and twisted byroads, never understanding all their lives. Also there are those who can distinguish false and true, who investigate and understand the principles of essence and life, and who proceed along the path, and yet give up along the way. Those who are not constant in rectitude are not using yin correctly; they cannot attain the Tao. If you want to attain the Tao, you need to know how to submit to it and be receptive to it, and you must follow it correctly. It is also necessary to follow it correctly forever. If you are able to follow it correctly forever, there will be firmness in flexibility, unconcealed, unobscured, never changing till death. Shedding the conditioned temperament, you expose the original face of primordial unconscious obedience to the laws of God; both essence and life are perfected. So the path of eternal rectitude and flexible receptivity is consummated. ~Liu Yiming[/pullquote]

You see, when I was involved in a standard, typical martial arts lineage, one that was soaked in the nostalgic past of dumbbells and bench pressing (still great things), using the old mantra of no pain, no gain… I got weaker, physically. In fact, looking back on it, the signs were all around me in groaning people who had consistent arthritis, joint damage, and illness. We pushed ourselves to the point of fatigue that led to compensation and compensation led to bad technique and bad technique to damage.

By the time I came back to external martial arts I found, from my acupuncture experience, I had no desire to work out that old way. Sure you could get strong and big, but just as likely you could get injured; and each time you did you got set back. And a good deal of people simply cannot do it, whether from obesity or arthritis or heart conditions. There had to be a Way that benefitted everyone!

Coach Drew helped me understand the problems of alignment, within my own techniques of personal training, as well as within old methods (like situps). He custom built for me a workout routine that has helped me return to the shape and strength before, without the ridiculous dogmatic beliefs I had before about what a good workout felt like. When I was done I felt stronger, not weaker.  I stopped using excessive static stretching and wondering why my muscles got tighter!

Wu-Tao-Di now has these workout regimens in place, and will be working with Coach Drew to strengthen all its students along more scientific, and less “ritualized” means of personal strength training. Those whom cannot complete the most basic movements, will be directed to work directly with Coach Drew himself, at his facility (where I occasionally go to give Tuina – see our Affiliates Map). Others will be able to receive workout regimens as part of the Qigong and Chinese yoga systems in place.

Either way I refuse to go back to the old attitudes which led to cartilage and joint damage, nor allow my students to be victimized by attitudes about training which prevailed in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, that  have been since overthrown. There’s a time and place for everything, but doing repeated bad pushups is just asking for trouble. As a practitioner I am constantly seeing this and I am very happy that Coach Drew has fully enlightened me to these changes in training paradigms. Even something as basic as planking can hurt you, if you don’t have the coherence – alignment – proper to the exercise. Take kettlebells, for instance: 95% of people are doing them in a way which weakens the core, the exact opposite of the point of the exercise!!

As I watched some bodybuilders in Devou Park last Sunday, using questionable technique and then squinting with pain as they couldn’t finish a set, I couldn’t help but marvel on how important it is to have a good teacher. Truly, it is a blessing to receive enlightened teachings, in any area, and most especially when it concerns safety, health, and wisdom.
Thank you Coach Drew Watts! And thank you to another coach: Andrew Van Horn for helping us to meet!

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