THE BIRTH AND EVOLUTION
OF MASTERMOVES

Part One of an Interview with Mastermoves Creator Oswaldo Koch

by Crist Pollon

After a life-threatening bike accident in 1998, Oswaldo Koch developed Mastermoves as a method of healing and gently strengthening his body. In a conversation with writer Christopher Pollon in August 2003, Oswaldo described how the Mastermoves system evolved from personal therapy to an international training phenomenon.

IN 1998, YOU HAD A SERIOUS ACCIDENT THAT CHANGED YOUR LIFE. WHAT HAPPENED?

I had gone mountain biking one afternoon near Victoria BC. At one point I was barreling down a steep hill, high on adrenaline and completely oblivious to danger. I hit a bump and was thrown from the bike, landing right on my head. When I recovered consciousness a minute or two later, I felt a blinding pain in my neck, as if my spine had been pierced by a sharp piece of metal.


HOW CLOSE DID YOU COME TO BEING PARALYZED?

Very close. The next day I was put into a very painful head brace. The doctors decided against surgery because they weren't sure what was damaged internally, so it was left for time and nature to heal.


WHAT FORM DID YOUR REHABILITATION TAKE?

The brace was removed after about six months, so it took me about a year before I could really begin my training. During that time, my body and muscles had atrophied from inactivity. In addition to physiotherapy, the doctors suggested I start some gradual weight training. I decided not to follow their advice, because they gave me all sorts of precautions and I really felt like I was limiting myself and my recovery.


WERE YOU CONSCIOUS THAT YOU WERE FORMULATING YOUR OWN TRAINING SYSTEM RIGHT FROM THE BEGINNING?

Not at first. But I realized how my previous training regimen had been physically damaging, so I was determined to come up with a better method to enable my body to heal and become stronger.

Early on, I did a lot of reading, focusing on many different types of training -- yoga, tai chi, chi kung, Latin dancing and Aikido. For example, I was interested in applying the principles I had learned during my four years studying the Japanese art Aikido - such as the importance of being gentle with your body, and of the importance of being in physical, mental and spiritual harmony with nature.


WHAT HAS MASTERMOVES EVOLVED INTO TODAY?

Mastermoves is a fitness practice that can develop and strengthen the body in a completely gentle way. It encompasses total health - including mental and spiritual well-being as well as physical fitness.

The system eliminates the barriers to developing our bodies to their full potential. It helps us change bad habits involving our body posture, the quality and quantity of food we eat, our mental well-being, and how we move and walk.

You train 15 minutes each morning and 15 later in the day, gradually developing improved muscular symmetry, coordination and speed - all the conditions required for your body to perform optimally, no matter what kind of physical activity you do. To get results, you do not have to submit to a regime of tortuous forced reps or injury-inducing high intensity work-outs.


HOW DOES A BEGINNER START MASTERMOVES?

It begins with two weeks of general conditioning exercises, two times a day. This will provide the foundation. All of these initial exercises are done on the floor, focusing on improving the posture. The only exception are the standing exercises needed to develop and expand the range of motion in the hips. This type of movement and flexibility is underdeveloped in most people who are starting Mastermoves.

So, once the two weeks of conditioning are done, you can chose a specific program based on your fitness goals. There are different Mastermoves workouts for developing flexibility, strengthening, and endurance. If you just want to have a total workout and stress general fitness, you can do that without specializing.

 

 

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