This week one of my students asked me about the balance between being a specialist and a generalist.
I am a big believer in a general approach to movement and will address the question in greater depth in the future when life calms down a bit, but I also believe that being a generalist is something of an overwhelming target, and that some degree of specialization in movement is part of maturing into yourself as a mover.
We should all be generally capable, but we are all equipped also with different inherent talents and drives. The natural 250-pounder who loves lifting heavy things should of course still be able to run, vault, climb, and move on the floor but if he spends a bit more time on moving heavy things his whole community can benefit from that great strength. On the other hand, if he focused solely on becoming the perfectly balanced athlete that neither his natural constitution nor personal play personality reflected, he would likely never develop his full potential in total capacity or in his joy of movement. Similarly, a lanky bouncy athlete who loves to dance should certainly invest in some heavy weight training to balance his strengths, but trying to make sure his manipulative capacities were as developed as his dance would be overkill in my opinion.
All of of us should make sure we have a wide and strong general movement base. We should regularly step outside our comfort zone and explore and see what we might be missing in another form of movement. But, we should also not feel compelled to achieve some generally ideal balance. We need to add to movement what is uniquely our own, to paraphrase Bruce Lee.
I really enjoyed this recent video from Trevor De Groot and crew, which I think showcased one of the most stylistically diverse group of traceurs in one video I have seen in quite some time. Watch and enjoy the way each athlete expresses his or her personality in their movement.
Then ask yourself what is it about movement that touches your inherent sense of play the deepest; where does your own creativity come out?