Moving toward quality
Different disciplines, same ideals
Karate. Pilates. |
Who'd ever think the explosive world of martial arts and the peaceful world of exercise could coexist?
It's happening right now in Old Colorado City. Ron Rougeau, a kenpo karate specialist, and Marcia Kellam, a Pilates instructor, are a couple in life as well as in their Moving Arts Studio on the third floor of the Templeton Building, 2502 W. Colorado Ave.
The high-ceilinged, brick-walled corner space contains a large mat and mirror that Ron and Marcia both use as well as specialized karate and Pilates equipment.
They take turns in the space, teaching classes in their specialties. And, all surface differences aside, the two say there are more similiarities than differences in the message they extend to their students.
“We both work from the same place,” Ron said, mentioning as examples the mutual emphasis on breathing, posture and stretching. “We work from the core of the body… mind, body and spirit,” he said.
“They're both movements that can be functional in daily life,” Marcia added.
Hence the name, Moving Arts Studio.
Ron, from Canada by way of Santa Fe, N.M., met Marcia in southern California before the two recently relocated in Colorado Springs as a joint move with Ron's business partner, Keith Langlois.
She had previously been a professional dancer with a degree from UCLA. Dance injuries 15 years ago led her to the exercises that a German, Joseph Pilates, had developed during World War I to help people recuperating from wounds and disease.
When she started with Pilates exercises, they were so little known they were practically “underground,” she recalled. As she healed herself and grew in knowledge of the techniques, she began teaching, eventually even working with some celebrities, including Elvira (from Colorado Springs), Kim Delaney, Sophia Coppola and Christine Lahti.
In teaching, she said, “I try to find the individual in each person. A lot of people have underlying psychological issues that come into play with breathing and movement. If (using Pilates) you can get to the place where you're enjoying what you're doing, it can be very profound.”
Ron's first exposure to karate was when he brought his son to a class in 1992. He soon joined the training, switching to kenpo because of its focus on fighting mechanics. “I fell in love with it,” he said. “It keeps me young, in shape and my mind clicking.”
After several years, he and Langlois started teaching classes.
Another area where Ron and Marcia are in tandem is the dedication they express to their craft. Each wants small classes, so they can focus on the development of individual students. And, each wants students who are serious about self-improvement.
Ron, who follows the Ed Parker style of kenpo, deplores the modern-day profusion of what he terms “McKarate” classes, where children as young as age 7, through relatively few classes and a hefty layout of parental money, can become a black belt.
“Some old Chinese guy is probably rolling around in his grave,” Ron said.
He told the story of when an Ed Parker teacher was asked by a prospective student for the “average amount of time it takes to get a black belt.” The teacher's response to the student? “Average people don't get black belts.”
Similarly, Marcia has seen her once barely heard-of Pilates turn into a “bandwagon” of popularity in recent years. “You meet people who want to take a couple of classes so they can teach and make a lot of money,” she said.
What people need to understand, she said, is that attaining a high level of quality in Pilates “is not a magic bullet. It's about commitment.” Too many people “want it all, but don't want to put out anything to get it. I know that for myself, it's taken a lot of money and a lot of time.”
She described the experience of a fellow Pilates teacher. “She taught a celebrity's wife a class that had 10 sessions. When the sessions were over, the teacher asked her if she wanted to continue. The wife's response was, 'You mean I have to keep doing it?'”
The reality is, both Ron and Marcia agree, to get good and stay good means continuing
to train - even for teachers.
“There is no top of the mountain,” Ron said.
But at least they're climbing it together.
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