FAQs and Philosophy

There are some things we get asked A LOT, and with good reason, so here might be some answers (and please scroll to the second half of this page to read more about WHY we are what we are in the first place)…

Q: This looks a bit intimidating… can anyone do it?

A: Yup. Sure, it looks a bit scary if you haven’t experienced it before. Strange tools and unfamiliar techniques all point to stepping outside perceived comfort zones. Well… that part is true. We do expect a level of commitment to intensity that not everyone is ready for, but it is a developed process, something that we plan on making not only enjoyable, but empowering. You’re not thrown into the fray without first being guided through an education process that includes body awareness, personal identification with movement and an acceptance of a higher level of ability for yourself. Yeah, believe it or not, many folks have a fear of improvement, but are hesitant to admit it. Now this makes sense if we break down any and all excuses into two categories, fear or laziness (which the truly pedantic among us might make a good case for being the same thing). Making ourselves into a better version of us might seem Sisyphean, since it is a perpetual goal with no real finish line. That takes a bit of work, and it isn’t hard for us to shield ourselves from such a perennial task with a slew of excuses. Our goal is to shift consciousness from feeling pressured or obligation (which often leads to denial or termination of the journey) to enjoying the process and celebrating what the body can do (and wants to, despite how the brain might feel about).

So yes, anyone CAN do it. But not everyone will. Our process, though, is geared to accept anyone beginning a journey towards Being, emphasizing intensity through play, embodiment through intensity, and, ultimately, playfulness through embodiment

But we will admit to expecting a desire for change, and a willingness to work for it. We might offer the techniques and guidelines, but you are ultimately the artist, and your place within Anima Mundi is entirely up to you.

Q: Are you guys a CrossFit affiliate?

A: Nope. There are blatant superficial similarities… similar tools and at first glance it will look like similar methods. Truth is we predate any CrossFit affiliate and have spent many years creating a completely original philosophy and program design. We teach workshops at CFs around the country, working with open-minded CF facilities to help expand their programming within the CF model.

The Bodytribe Tao includes a broader range of movements, tools and techniques, which we have painstakingly studied and applied to our comprehensive program design model, which includes an increased emphasis on longevity, overall ability, and personal growth not seen in ANY other program. We can apply this program to any level of athlete, from fresh-off-the-couch to Olympic caliber, and increase anyone’s abilities while improving their relationship with their bodies.

Q: I notice quite a few women in the pictures and videos. Do they train like the men?

A: Strength – real, attainable, transferable, useful strength, is gender-free. The common fitness media will tell you otherwise, with TV trainers recommending light weights and training programs that wouldn’t challenge a kitten, and magazine articles that have been promoting that ‘toning and tightening’ nonsense for decades. Bodytribe trainer Allyson writes about women and strength on our blog here.

Q: Can’t this stuff be done at home? Do I need a gym membership?

A: Yes you can, and no, you don’t. It is time for brutal honesty here.  The beauty of movement and strength, and their role in our quests for being a better us, is that they can be achieved wherever we find it fit to perform our rituals. In fact, many folks find that the commercial gym setting is the antithesis of a sanctuary, the environment alone is enough to dissuade them from even beginning their journey.

Out techniques, although comprehensive, are not meant to be reserved exclusively for the confines of Bodytribe. This is why we’ve sold books and videos around the world, and we teach weekly workshops and hold strength camps twice a year so anyone can share our knowledge and glean from us what wisdom they can.

So what we truly offer is education and community, and a sanctuary to partake in your strength journey, should you deem it worthy. We expect a high level of participation once you decide to be part of our Tribe, since we don’t squander our knowledge, nor do we wish to dilute it through partial understanding or selective application. But if you find us a good fit, and are willing to explore your limits within our techniques, guidelines and sanctuary walls, we would be thrilled to consider you part of the Tribe.

Q: Do you use kettlebells?bham 6  153

A: We were the first in Sacramento to have them, just as we were the first gym to have most of the tools and techniques we use, and we’re still the education leader in Sacramento for kettlebell understanding. We love them as a tool, but they are far from the only tool we use.

Q: Do you guys have Yoga?

A: Have it as in an organized yoga-specific class schedule? No. Do we practice yoga as part of our program model? Yes, in conjunction to the other forms of strength we find necessary to the journey of holistic fitness. Like many forms of movement, yoga has many applications, as well as unique history, and exploring both of these considerations will create far more possibilities for your body than the common American yoga practice will usually provide. Try our Movement Meditation concept to expand your ideas of yoga and your relationship with your body.

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The WHY of Bodytribe:

The flora and fauna of the place, the art on the walls, the absence of mirrors and the use of nontraditional gym equipment such as sandbags, kettle bells and giant tires – all of that has drawn a close-knit following of swim-against-the-mainstream types. A tribe, if you will.This vibe has drawn people to Bodytribe for nearly five years[now 7 years] since it opened on 21st Street, near J Street, in midtown.

Sacramento Bee, 2008.

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What is Physical Subculture?

The body is a tool for greater purpose, not just the end result of your training. Therefore, training is the means to an increase in the quality of life through movement. The Physical SubCulture is the modern organized effort to incorporate centuries of physical rituals and beliefs in exercise and movement into an integral part of all aspects of culture. Whether through lifting heavy objects of all shapes and sizes or finding new ways to move the body by itself, the Physical SubCulture movement is about strengthening the spirit through pushing the limits of the body.

Our strongest pinnacles of culture, be it artistic (musicians, painters, writers) or cognitive activists (philosophers, religious idealists, politicians), have become attractive to us through a deeper, more powerful lust – the lust of the mind and spirit. After initially hitting our senses, we found something inside of us that embraced them, which replied back to our senses to ask for more. Our senses then were a means to an end, not the final decision, with the ultimate choice being a fulfilling internal and eternal one. This is what we can become, and the tools needed for a true fitness lifestyle – dedication, focus and intensity – can be applied to all aspects of life. This is a definition of fitness: becoming better at life through movement. By improving the connection between body and mind we will make ourselves more useful, more inspiring, more “attractive” than just a pretty little flesh packet. – from Ritual vs. Routine, the Bodytribe mission statement.

Why a SubCulture?

Simple. We’re independent from the mainstream modern fitness movement, practicing and playing almost as an underground movement beneath the modern corporate structure. Sure, this sounds like the ramblings of a wannabe Abbie Hoffman or a Crass fan, but it’s nothing new or particularly revolutionary. In fact about a century ago, the quest for strength and ability WAS the fitness movement, and Physical Culture was the banner it fell under.

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So What Went Wrong?

Since more money can be made from trying to sell the quest for aesthetic perfection and exploiting exercise as the snake oil for ‘beauty,’ a very limited view of exercise and training has emerged. The obligatory path to a better appearance. Marketing and promoting of exercise as the tool for simple appearance helped usher in decades of self image woes and issues that have created entire industries to both feed and cure low self esteem (and give therapists job security for centuries). The formula was easy, and is still used today (look at any ‘health and fitness’ magazine cover). Here’s the corrupting equation that has proven an effective money maker for many years:

You are ugly. We can help.

This marketing formula sure works better in our society then trying to sell the Physical Culture concept of movement; that physical strength and performance increases other qualities of life as well. As Bernarr MacFadden used as a slogan for his Physical Culture magazine that he started in 1899, “Weakness is a Crime – Don’t be a Criminal.”

Movement should be that integral to our existence, but not through the obligation of aesthetics. Over time the performance and ability of the body, which has a direct and strong impact on the spirit and mind, took a minor role in training. Today, the ‘fitness’ industry is a sham, selling gadgets, supplements and imagery, not actual exercise or ability. Curves, 24-Hour Fitness, and their kin, promote and perpetuate aesthetic stereotypes while providing very little in REAL exercise science or training. The mere fact that there are such things as ‘ab’ machines just proves how silly the industry has become. But the Physical Culture movement has always been around. It just may be hard to find these days. It has become a subculture, a movement forcing the mainstream to evaluate what training really is.

So What is the Physical Subculture?

  • A passion for strength, not an obligation of the scale.
  • Training without mirrors
  • Understanding the mind and spirit better through movement.
  • Picking up something heavy. Really heavy.
  • No fear of the body’s abilities.
  • Using REAL training tools with long histories. No gadgets or fads.
  • Embracing training as intense play-time.
  • Acknowledging and exploring capability.
  • Training techniques that are useful, enjoyable and sacred.
  • Banishing weakness.

Turn your cell phones off. Don’t bother looking at the clock (we don’t have one). Through our doors, no matter what you are leaving outside, here you are strong!

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One Response to FAQs and Philosophy

  1. It is refreshing to hear common sense in working out. Your site keeps it simple and doesn’t try confuse people with new fad workouts. I have been lifting for 35 years and have seen many changes In the exercising field. Do you remember nautilus machines, Jane Fondo, and Nordic track? Now we have this thing called crossfit and that too will be just a memory very soon. Lifting is simple lift heavy objects and set them down. I am sure headquarters at Crossfit will send me a letter stop infringing on their patient workouts.
    Keep up the great work.

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