Inner growth and learning process

In body-based practices, it is all about the process, and that process takes place mainly from within. Of course, if applicable, in interaction with the group. But in the end, something always happens inside. And that is also what makes it so rich: you’re never finished, it is a process of trial and error, different for everyone, and each to his own rhythm.

We had a boy, an Afghan refugee, 120 kg, who is now already six or seven years at in the boxing club. He was always very gruff, and has now become much more social, he feels good in his skin, often laughs. Last weekend it was an annually recurring demo-event where we always send our young members to give a boxing introduction. We set our ring up, and so this guy was boxing with all his friends around. And the round actually already stopped, and just then his opponent hits him again. And our guy, he just took off his boxing gloves, but inside he was really seething. And his friends took him away, and those other guys also took the other guy, as if nothing had happened. And the situation calmed down. But in retrospect the boy said, “That’s the first time in my life, that I wanted to fight, and have not done so”. If you can come to this, with  guys that grew up in an environment where every 2 minutes they start a fight, if you can come to this point with those guys, that they realize that “I have felt it, I wanted to fight but I didn’t do it”, then we are on the right track. So that’s a guy who felt terrible at the start, was a complete mess, antisocial, aggressive, and who is now slimmer, feels good, searches for contact with others, laughs with others, takes responsibility in the club, who teaches, and who eventually is able to control his aggression. This is an example, but it is a rather normal development for the young people who train with us for longer periods. (boxing trainer)

What I find great about this work is that you see that young people grow tremendously. You see that they really ‘get bigger’. Their self-worth and self-esteem increases tremendously, also because this is priority for us trainers. We don’t really look at what these guys can’t. We look at what they can, and pay extra attention to it.  And if you first emphasize a lot of things they can, then you can start to look at the things they can less well and how they can work on these things. (Rock and Water trainer)

What I also observe, is that they leave the class completely different than when they came in. But that’s maybe also just because they have created some space in their body and mind. This in itself already creates a feeling of rest; you relax your body, stretches it a little, combined with the concentration and the breathing. (teen yoga teacher)

We once had an obese boy, who was bullied all the time. And now he’s a psychologist, trainer in our club,  and he is in politics, and it’s really a though one. He transformed really, but it has been a whole evolution. He very secretly, without me knowing, also went running to train his stamina and body, and gradually he became bigger, but also slimmer and stronger. He now trains with us for about 16, 17 years. Later, he even went to college, and did competition. I have a lot of this kind of examples, of young people whose life I see changing drastically for the good. That is so very nice to see, that evolution. (boxing trainer)