The Missing Ingredient Was My Original Strength
Aug 11, 2015
My OS Story
Hi my name is Rick Evans, I'm 26 years old and I live in Phoenix, AZ. This is my OS Story!
I grew up weaker than most kids. Despite being riddled with weakness, asthma, and being an "extra-sensitive" child, I knew I was supposed to be strong. I wanted to be strong, and I decided that I'd become strong no matter what. I didn't just want to be strong, I wanted to be a Ninja Turtle. I wanted to be a Jedi Knight. I wanted to help people with my strength, not just stand around looking stong. I was a different sort of kid. No one knew if I was having fun, because when I was having fun I had an intense look of focus on my face, not one of playfulness.
I played basketball from ages 5 to 10. The only thing I was really good at was practicing basics consistently. I went through periods of time where I would practice making 100 baskets every day, for months on end. Despite being weaker, I saw that I could beat stronger kids just because I practiced the basics every day. I could pass, get the ball, make a simple shot, and do a lay up. I was encouraged by one of my coaches to use my imagination, and so I did. I wanted to be Charles Barkley.
At the age of 10, I lost interest in basketball. It became too stressful for me. I think I took it far too seriously. This would become a common theme in my life, one that I learned to overcome just recently with the help of Original Strength.
At the age of 12, my father passed away suddenly. I was screaming at the world. I didn't understand how that could even be possible. I thought he must be out there, somewhere. Maybe he was in hiding because something bad happened? Ah, the things the young mind comes up with when faced with trauma. It really sucked. But one thing was clear: I still wanted to be strong.
A couple years passed, and I turned 14. I realized that I had better start doing something now or I might just never get strong. I did research online and looked up all the Karate dojo's in the area. I still wanted to be a Ninja Turtle. I looked for the most direct lineage I could find - authentic Traditional Karate. I found a dojo affiliated with Shotokan Karate of America (www.ska.org). I walked into my first class, and I felt reborn again. The energy, intensity, and focus that was present in my first class was something I wanted to OWN. The instructor, Kevin Bench became like a second father to me. He was like my Karate Dad. I was Leonardo, and he was Splinter. I listened to every word he said and practiced everything he showed me, almost obsessively. That's just how I am when I really want to do something.
I trained hard in Karate for years. From the ages of 14-19 or 20, I gave it my all. Two weeks shy of my 16th birthday I attended my first Karate Specal Training, and a fire was lit underneath of me. Even though I wasn't very strong physically, my dedication to becoming strong at all costs saw me through with a strong spirit. I attended 7 more Special Trainings, all of which were extremely difficult. I achieved the rank of Shodan (First Degree Black Belt) but still felt like I was missing something that I couldn't quite put my finger on.
Although I progressed in Karate, I wasn't as strong as I wanted to be. I was also beginning to face exhaustion and burnout. That whole problem with taking things too seriously caught up with me, and I stopped training. I felt a tremendous amount of guilt, like I was letting my Karate-Dad and Tribe down. After a while I realized that the guilt wasn't healthy, and I began to move on. I still had a warrior spirit that wanted to be expressed, and when I became sedentary again I became frustrated and angry.
A couple years later, at the age of 22 or 23, I found the Kettlebell. Finally, I found something that could make me strong. I knew from my Karate years (and experience with lifting + karate) that traditional weight training doesn't really help your art. It can make you stronger, but it can also take away from your reflexive strength. I didn't understand why at the time, but I thought the Kettlebell might be different. I bought a couple kettlebells and started swinging, and swinging, and swinging. All I did was swings, some get ups, squats, and stretching. I got stronger, but I also got weaker. My knees started hurting. I thought I was doing something wrong, so I took the Hardstyle Kettlebell Certification through Dragon Door. It helped, but not enough. Even though I got stronger in some ways, I didn't like what it was doing to my body, so I stopped.
I thought maybe I had wasted my time and money at the HKC. I felt aimless without a good training method. I felt like crap. My knees were crackling and starting to hurt when I'd stand up. I felt extremely weak. I knew I was missing something, and that something wasn't Karate or Kettlebells. I felt depressed. However, what I didn't know, was that I was about to discover something and someone amazing: Original Strength, and Tim Anderson. I was scrolling through Facebook one day when I saw Tim's picture pop up in my news feed. He wasn't on my friends list, he was just someone connected with another person on my friends list. In the photo, Tim was just sitting down smiling, but I instantly knew that he was someone special. I recognized the connection in his body, in his shoulders. He had no conscious power. He appeared to have the same "connection" that people would try to build for decades in SKA by only using stretching and Karate. I assumed he must train in a Martial Art, and I wanted to know what he did, so I clicked his page, and that's when I found out about pressing reset.
I visited the OS site and filled out the form to get the free guide to pressing reset. I was EXTREMELY skeptical at first because of how overhyped the movements seemed, but I tried it. I pressed reset with the Big 5, and I'm absolutely sure that it looked like a complete trainwreck of an accident. I lifted my feet when I baby crawled, and I was probably hunched over. I couldn't even move in a contra-lateral pattern without having to think about it. Despite all that, after only a few minutes of moving I stood up and instantly felt more free. I wanted to play with Karate again! I started punching and kicking, and enjoying movement again right away. WOW! There was an INSTANT change in my body. It worked like a miracle. I knew from that point that this would be something that I'd do for the rest of my life.
Fast forward about 2 and a half years to the present. I feel AMAZING! Most importantly, I've learned to play again. I feel like I never got to play like I was supposed to when I was a kid, and learning how to play as an adult has been incredibly freeing. I still take things too seriously sometimes, but when I do, I play. I've learned how to find more balance in life. I can move in ways I couldn't before. I can kick and do Karate techniques in ways that I couldn't before, even though I play with Karate very infrequently. I can skip, I can sprint, do front rolls, and all sorts of stuff I had trouble doing well in the past. I can play with kettlebells without hurting my body now, too! Most importantly, I can play with my 5 year old daughter and have a BLAST! We pretend to be Super Hero's almost every day, and my childhood has gone full circle and connected with hers in a healthy way that I never thought possible. I get to pretend I'm Leonardo, and she pretends that she's April and we fight off the foot clan together. We play pretty hard every day, and right now it's the primary form of my "training". She also loves showing people her wall handstands and Spiderman crawling.
I found my purpose in life. The purpose that brings tears of joy to my eyes. I always knew that I was meant to help people become strong, but I wasn't sure how. Now I know. My way to give back to the world is to help people restore their Original Strength. I want to pass on the gift of becoming whole again. Despite many setbacks, I finally attended the OS Lvl 1 Workshop in April, and I will be attending the Lvl 2 Workshop and taking the coach's exam this October. I want to help spread and teach Original Strength all over the world. My long term vision is to open an Original Strength approved facility called HeroStrong here in Arizona. It'll be a place where families can come to remember how to move, pretend to be superhero's, and become whole again. Together.
P.S. Traditional Authentic Karate and Hardstyle Kettlebells are amazing methods of training - the missing ingredient was my Original Strength.