Movement Training for Humans
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We’ve touched base on the evolution of roughhousing and the many different ways it benefits us, but how do you get started?

Are You Ready to Start Roughhousing?

You can definitely learn a lot about roughhousing by taking some martial arts classes; Brazilian jujistu, capoeira, russian systema, muay thai, judo, and wrestling are all great systems that teach us a lot about playful movement. We also recommend contact improv dancing and really any kind of partner dancing.

However, we think that all those approaches benefit from taking a deeper look at how rough and tumble play works and how we can develop a strong play culture and cultivate the greatest benefits from it. .

Keys for Maximizing the Benefits of Roughhousing


Players need to feel safe.


They need to have good rapport with each other.


Each player needs to have a chance to be successful

Emotional Management

They need to be taught to recognize their own emotional responses and have permission to stop or back off when things become too intense.


While fun can be our primary goal, it’s important to understand what skills you are also developing towards. For any given game, it’s good to think about what can be developed, what is not being developed, and what you could be learning that might be wrong in another situation.

What Comes First?

Play fighting can easily turn into real fighting and dominance battles if there is not a strong relationship between the players and if people don’t feel safe. This is why we focus on rapport and safety first.

If you have ever observed dogs you might notice when they first meet they are often stiff, and play is more likely to turn into growling and teeth snapping. As they get to know each other, they become more relaxed in their approach to each other and can become more intense with their play without triggering an incident.

You’ll find the same thing in well developed martial arts schools. The guys who have known each other and trained together for a long time can practice very intensely without it turning into a real fight because of the trust that has been built.

Our focus on using rapport building games first has had amazing effects in our teaching these skills, and others. So many people who come to our seminars have told us they are not comfortable with roughhousing but after going through our rapport building games they end up giggling and having fun while engaging in some quite intense grappling and striking sessions.

So safety and rapport come first for us.

Our first rapport based game we call wrist to wrist contact improv. Check the video below to get a feel for how to get started.

Want to learn more and experience this in person, join us for an upcoming seminar

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