Free for all. Chaos. Vest and pants. Shambles.
These are some of the words that come to mind as I think of physical education (PE) lessons throughout my time at school.
Most of the time, we played a sport. Often, it was a sport we didn't even want to play.
Sometimes it was something more obscure. Interpretive dance. Move like a tree in the wind. That sort of thing. I remember the odd bit of climbing ropes and ladders on a Victorian-esque looking frame in my primary school in between bouts of bunny hops over wooden benches.
I quite enjoyed PE. With the exception of cross country running - something I will never enjoy (I dare you to try and make me) - even the things I felt no good at and/or really was no good at allowed the opportunity to move, to play and to be social.
Knowing what I know now, however, I can't call much of it an education.
We were occasionally taught rules to the sports we were told to play. Very little coaching was done beyond that. I know we learn lots through free-play but given that this wasn't free-play, I felt short changed.
Maybe I could have been good at some other sports with a bit of well-informed guidance.
The lack of education goes way deeper though.
Even as a young'un (I'm talking under 10) I remember being as stiff as a post. Given our culture's generally limited movement repertoire from school age, I probably wasn't the only one. Looking at young ones now, the same problem persist to a similar or greater extent.
So here we are, being given PE lessons, playing sports we don't necessarily want to play with bodies that don't work as they are designed to.
That is no sort of education in my eyes.
That is attempting to find people good at sports with a "let's throw the shit at the wall and see what sticks" approach.
It tosses countless people on the scrapheap early and completely discounts those who don't want to play a sport. Even many of those who excel at sport are so physically uneducated by late adolescence and early adulthood that they struggle with elementary movements, physical discomfort, injury and feelings of clumsiness and premature slowing down.
Here at Float Sting, my idea of PE is VERY different.
The bare bones of it are very simple:
- Learn to use your joints and muscles through their full ranges with excellent range and control.
- Use your intelligent body to move in as many different ways as possible. Run, climb, jump, roll, throw, catch, flip, etc.
- If you want to, play some sport or specialise further in some sort of movement based activity. Over time, the sport will demand minimisation and elimination of certain movements at the expense of others important to the sport. It is essential points 1 and 2 are still implemented even during sport specialisation, with 1 being the most important.
So it goes something like
MOBILITY > MOVE > MASTER
Over the coming year and the next few, I want to create something like a new paradigm in this area.
Cos kids need it. And adults need it even more.
Broken bodies, lack of play, lack of healthy competition, lack of passion and lack of in-the-flesh socialisation are becoming too common.
Educating ourselves out of those is an education worth creating.
Arton "PE" Baleci
Float Sting - Sports Performance and Rehabilitation