This all started when I was about seven years old. I was standing in line like the rest of the kids, listening to the nun. We were in church - Saint Dominic's Cathedral I think it was, in front of one of the confessional booths. She was explaining confession, when all of sudden out of nowhere, whack!!! This kid Charlie turns around and punches me in the mouth; in retrospect, it was to see what I would do; but I was a nice boy, I didn’t like to fight and I certainly wasn’t used to this kind of spontaneous aggression. I cried and ran for the nun to protect me from this maniac. That was when my father enrolled me in Judo class. It was there that I had my first taste of the martial arts. Though I enjoyed the experience greatly, as life changes would have it, a year later I moved and found myself in a different school. I did not continue with classes, though my interests in the martial arts had not dwindled; I practiced what I could remember and like many of my friends we avidly watched all the martial arts movies and often mimicked the movements of the actors. By age 14, I was kind of a "dojo rat" - bouncing around from one martial arts school to another but never really settling down and seriously studying the art.
I moved to New York City from San Francisco, California in 1982. My interests in movement directed my endeavors in the martial arts toward dance. I attended Jazz dance classes at various studios throughout the city. Although dance had elevated my awareness physically, I had no interest in becoming a dancer; I felt there was a deeper understanding of movement that dance had not addressed for me. In winter of 1984, I happened upon the Martial Arts Conservatory and my martial arts education had been rekindled. It was there that I discovered Goju Ryu, Shotokan, Qigong, BaGua and T'ai Chi Ch'uan. Throughout my entire twenties, I practiced there. I competed in many tournaments throughout the city and eventually found myself working part-time as a one-on-one fitness trainer in a Soho health club. While “bouncing” in a popular downtown restaurant/bar, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work with the NYU Coles Fitness Center; my interests in Yoga and holistic health evolved from these experiences. I accepted my love for the martial arts. In 1993, I attained Shodan (first-degree black belt) at the Martial Arts Conservatory. In early 1994, I just happened upon Mestre Joao Grande’s Capoeira De Angola academy and discovered an entirely new and different relationship with my body. I was a beginner again. The more I practiced, the glimpse of me studying the body and the healing arts, was more illuminated - until then, it had been something I realized I had always sort of romantically dreamed of. I embarked on my quest in the field of bodywork in the spring of 1994, studying massage therapy at the Swedish Institute and Shiatsu at the Ohashi Institute. My exploration into the dynamics of the mind-body continuum had been thoroughly ignited. I read a lot and compiled a library, which to this day, continues to be a most valuable resource. In 1995, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to study Chinese Medicinal Herbs with Professor Jeffery Yuen at the Swedish Institute. It took me a little while to figure out what Professor Yuen had put forth, but what I have come to understand as a result has changed my life. While taking Professor Yuen's class, I would spend a few hours every Saturday in one of those little Chinese medicine shops in Chinatown – I was lucky to have been “adopted” by a Chinese doctor who expanded my understanding of the body and expounded upon what I had learned from Professor Yuen. Not long after receiving my massage therapy license, I worked as a holistic counselor at Stand-up Harlem; a community based drug rehabilitation clinic catering to HIV victims. In 1996, I completed the Lincoln Hospital training program in the use of auricular acupuncture for Detox and substance abuse. Near the end of 1996, I left New York and headed back to California for the Internet boom. As life would have it, I eventually found myself working as a Massage therapist in a small start-up Internet Company in Mountain View. I was fortunate to find “Center for Balance” a secluded Pilates-Astanga studio in Mountain View where I sporadically attended class; it was there that I was introduced to an Astanga Yoga practice. That period in California was a time for self-practice and self-study. I refined my practice and realized that although the education I received from the Martial Arts Conservatory was broad, it was only a foundation. I returned to New York in 2000. In the fall of 2002, at Shiva Yoga Shala, I was thoroughly indoctrinated into an Astanga Yoga practice by Manju Phattabi Jois. The light he shed on my practice has forever changed it. I am grateful.
I have been blessed with some very wonderful teachers. The concepts, ideas, perspectives, exercises collected here are the foundations of the system I have created for my self.
This is my way, what is your way? The way does not exist
"As nature is in constant motion, so to should one seek to strengthen themselves without interruption."
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