This is the single most repressed and yet important form of play that you need to start doing now.
The Most Fundamental Activity
What if I told you there was an activity that was fundamental to our physical mental and emotional development? Something that builds physical strength, agility, and coordination. Something that is key to building communication, negotiation, emotional management and cognitive skills.
This activity has been argued by the psychologist Jordan B. Peterson to be one of the primary activities that gave rise to our development of a moral sense, and effective communities. It has been part of our heritage for at least 160 million years and likely, much longer.
And what if I told you that our society has demonized this activity, banned it from our education, and our public spaces and even arrested children for doing it?
The activity I’m talking about is roughhousing, play fighting, or in psychological research, rough and tumble play! We believe it’s fundamental not just for child development but for our self development as humans at all ages.
Check out the example below of how we roughhouse in the Evolve Move Play practice:
Evolve Move Play is based on the principle that humans evolved to move. We need movement to develop normally. We evolved to develop movement through play, in the natural world, and as part of a tribe.
We can view rough and tumble play as preparation for being hunters and warriors, but it’s much more than that.
Rough and tumble play is perhaps the first form of play, with origins that go back at least 160 million years. It teaches us the limits of our bodies, the way other bodies move, how to develop rhythm and co-ordination, to understand pain, and to empathize and play well with others.
The psychologist Jaak Pankseep has discovered that play is a distinct motivation circuit, like food seeking, dominance, or sex. It is one of our fundamental means of releasing rewarding neurohormones like dopamine, endorphins and endocannibinoids.
Play is intrinsically rewarding because it is one of evolution’s most powerful solutions for building physical strong, socially well adjusted, and cognitively flexible animals. We need rough and tumble play for optimal development and lifelong health!
Our work in teaching people the principles of play and exposing them to roughhousing has had effects far beyond our expectations.
We have had students tell us how our teaching improved their relationship with their children or their spouse, how it improved their sex life, or their performance in a sport or martial arts. Based on the research and literature on play, this makes perfect sense.
We also believe that a lack of of rough of tumble play creates a host of problems because the capacities that humans evolved to develop through this type of play are so fundamental and intertwined with other aspects of humanity.
Roughhousing is fundamental to our ability to deal with contact, fundamental to physical coordination for acrobatic training, fundamental to the emotional literacy and kinesthetic connection necessary for good relationships, and fundamental to our strength, courage, and ability to negotiate effectively in business and relationships.
Roughhousing is a substrate that forms the foundation for dance, martial arts, team sports, and is part of the foundation for being able to act in the world as self-actualized human being.
Learning to roughhouse at Evolve Move Play includes:
- The fundamental skill of sensitivity to a partner’s movement
- How to build rapport through touch and movement
- How to regulate the intensity of our sparring and recognize our emotional responses
- Fundamental principles for lifts and flow in contact improv
- Basics principles of striking and grappling
- Basics of combative movement training for self defense
Next week will be sharing some videos on how to get started with adding roughhousing to your movement practice so stay tuned!
Want to come train with us and learn about roughhousing, natural parkour and more in person?
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