September 16, 2016

Group Class Descriptions



The classes, workshops and private instruction presented by Form is Function are results based. The descriptions detail the goals, purpose and impact of the session. A list of activities, equipment used or body parts supposedly “worked” as description can be worse than useless. It can distract from the only important aspect of the class: the result.

Total Bad Ass – TBA was developed when I allowed a group of skilled and motivated students to do as many hip hinge pattern type exercises as they wanted followed by as many squatting pattern movements as they wanted in class. My job was to insure correct  alignment, technique and intensity. I would fill in the remaining time with whatever exercise I thought the students needed in the moment to complete their health and athleticism. People became very strong, fast and resilient in all activities. The students were mostly women who knew each other well and used to call each other “Bad Ass” as a high compliment. That was years ago. We run the course today as originally designed.

Gorilla Strength – This program often follows immediately after Walking Through Walls. GS is an excellent companion to WTW as it moves that centered, foundational, ground based strength out to the limbs, hands and feet. Gorilla Strength has more range of movement, more variety in speed, movement and stance. A substantial portion of GS is performed with the feet off the ground. Students who complete WTW and GS in sequence tend to have a level and range of strength and power very few people have seen or understand.

MQE: Movement Quality Evaluation – MQE is not a class, it is a process conducted by chief instructor Eric Kenyon. In the class schedule you will see certain classes are preceded by the initials “MQE” and the instructor is listed as “EK.” These classes may be a preferred choice for beginners who have injury issues, or concerns about learning something new. The MQE classes are also a good check point for advanced students who may have sophisticated questions about their own ability and understanding of class material.

Easy Strength – Form is Function has operated this course, with constant improvements, since 2012. ES is based on material of the same name developed by world class strength coaches Dan John and Pavel Tsatsouline. In this program we practice the 5 basic human movements, we also do slow and fast lifts. The exercises, the set and rep schemes, even the length of rest periods, when to lift and when to rest are precisely laid out for the student. People who like to turn off their higher mind and train entirely in the athletic body love this course. Those who are used to the frenetic, awkward stumbling of typical exercise classes at more mainstream facilities may feel in unfamiliar territory at Easy Strength. Those people will also be shocked at how fast they make unexpected breakthroughs in all athletic qualities if they stick with ES.  The course is ideal for beginners. It focuses on building a basic foundation of strength. The inclusion of 100 to 200 repetitions of kettlebell fast lifts performed in high intensity interval per session, provides sufficient speed practice and heart and lung challenge for maximally healthy and well rounded exercise. We do Easy Strength in group classes twice a year for a couple months.

Walking Through Walls – is a term I first heard from coach Steve Helmecki. It is a kind of implacable or unstoppable physical power, centered on broad foundation. I picture students who complete this program as supremely strong in all basic human movement and posture, and supremely confident in that strength. The program is simple, the choices are few, the weights are heavy. There is little attention paid to endurance, muscle mass or other qualities. It is a program to be followed for a limited time, 2 or 3 months. WTW builds a superb, broad and solid foundation for the successful execution of more sophisticated athletic objectives.

Peaceful Warrior Conditioning – This class is designed specifically to support the practice of Aikido. Strength, speed, balance, mobility & flexibility, stance, breath, heart & lung capacity and injury-proofing are all addressed to create a foundation which makes Aikido safer and easier to learn. The energy expenditure profile of the class also prepares students to attend Aikido classes immediately after. The students go to their Aikido energized, not exhausted. The course is designed with steady input from Sensei Frank Bloksberg and other high ranking Aikido instructors since 2011. You do not have to be an Aikido practitioner to attend.

The Seven Pillars of Movement Wisdom – 7 Pillars is perhaps more fluid and changeable than simple, rigid programs like Easy Strength or Walking Through Walls. The 7 Pillars are:  Alignment, Awareness, Timing, Tension, Relaxation, Breath, & Emotion. These are different from the original course, and we may change them again in order to serve our students more effectively. 7 Pillars starts with basic exercises and gets adjusted each session according to the goals, needs, limitations and progress of the students. 7 Pillars is comparable to the very conceptual, Destruction of Illusions course. Every class addresses to some degree all 7 pillars.  We do not practice variety for entertainment. Students finish this course with substantial increase in full body strength and improvement in all athletic qualities. They have a clear awareness of their own physical competence and confidence.

Destruction of Illusions – Our newest program. This class destroys illusions. For instance: the illusion that some people just can not or will not be strong, powerful and athletic. Another illusion we destroy is the common belief that effective exercise must be complex or sophisticated. The delusion that high performance athletics are predicated on high injury risk is also shattered. Students progress swiftly in all basic athletic qualities: strength speed, power, muscular endurance, heart and lung capacity, and in all basic human movements.

Strength Farm – This session is named for the local farmers who come to this class seasonally. Some of our work is designed as antidote to the compensations that hard working farmers develop. Other parts of Strength Farm develop directly the high level of full body strength/endurance needed by the farmers every work day.

Exercise and Mother Russia – Designed especially for the new and expectant mothers at The Nest. This session has been jointly taught by two instructors: Amy Zuhlke and chief instructor Eric Kenyon, both parents of young children. The aim of Mother Russia is to make the lives of new parents easier by teaching correct lifting, better body alignment, and better decision making concerning exercise and physical health.