“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” ~ Confucius
Ganbatte is a phrase used in Japan that translates to: “encourage people to try hard or used before a performance to say good luck or towards the finish of work to motivate.” This word encompasses my past two months traveling through Japan teaching students, mentoring instructors, and working with business owners as the AntiGravity brand continues to flourish. With the ups and down, excitement and obstacles, supercharging the communities one studio and a time, and flying high over Mt. Fuji to cap it off, read more about my past two months traveling through Japan and the lessons I learned.
Starting the tour in Hokkaido at a cozy studio in Hakodate called, Chakra Studio, was the perfect way to kick off the workshop and training tour. Nestled conveniently within a lovely community in Hakodate, I was excited to meet the students and share a fusion of Aerial Yoga and Suspension Fitness movement from AntiGravity techniques. Showing up to the studio and greeted with warm welcomes from the staff and students I knew this would be a blast.
Working in a second language was extremely challenging at times
There were times on this tour that I was the only foreigner for miles. Many times english was seldom spoken, and kanji characters….ya right, maybe in a few years…. It was incredibly challenging at times knowing that nobody understands the words you say.
Many times I would find myself during a lesson or at restaurant frustrated and simply guessing my order based on pictures, or was required to use google translator, which isn’t always accessible.
What I learned though that process became invaluable
Learning how to close of the thinking mind and just feel your heart what the other person in trying to communicate, is how we learn to listen intently.
Learning how to use body language physical expression and emotion to move people taught me the importance of patience, compassion and understanding.
It’s never comfortable being uncomfortable, get used to it.
Packed out workshops for two consecutive days made me feel awesome knowing that people want to learn from me! With my little bit of Japanese, and their little bit of English, I Did My Best to lead safe and effective lessons. Challenging “wasabi” classes and lots of Levity, the Hakodate studio experience was inspired and fulfilling.
Everyday after class I walked 10 minutes to the onsen (hot spring) to restore, and ate copious amounts of soba noodles with tempura, incredible sushi and sashimi, plus fresh kobe beef bbq and fresh produce.
Trust I enjoyed the last days in the winter wonderland in Hokkaido — also known as the Land of Food — to the fullest.
The Instructors at Studio Chakra are all very strong in both methodology and philosophy. Being able to contribute their continued education with two days of mentorship training, and movement exercises was inspiring.
After a great experience working with the community and team of instructors, It was a hard goodbye, but the memories and connections I’m certain will last a lifetime. I hope to be back in Hokkaido next winter as it was simply amazing.
5 hours on the bullet train later and I was ready for the next batch of instructors and community in Sendai to supercharge. Sendai was the next stop on the tour, located in the north east part of mainland Japan. I literally had no idea what was in Sendai other than a big city with good beef tounge and tofu. Upon arriving at the station and walking to my hotel, I knew this would be an exciting week.
Now in Sendai, the first few days were scheduled the community to get some fresh instructor experience in their classes. I fired them up with as much integrity and wasabi as I knew how. Happy students filled the Harrison Hammocks, with joy and laughter as we strengthened both our bodies and minds. Holding space for this commonality of Dream of Flight was truly enjoyable.
While in Sendai, I found via trusty trip advisor the most incredible and historical temple dedicated to the late samurai from the region just walking distance from my hotel. Decorated in shimmering gold and elaborate paintings and hidden within the deep forest, the entire atmosphere of Zuihoden temple was magnificent. Home to the burial site of the late samurai from Sendai with ancient weaponry and arsenal on display I connected with my inner warrior and fully luxuriated in the beautiful architectural experience.
Next up on the schedule was AntiGravity Aerial Yoga 1 teacher training to both groups of instructors at Gym Sport ant Atelier Lotus. Community conditioning the two teams to establish an interconnected mindset towards their local businesses, while teaching them new curriculum, and establish a relationship with each of the instructors was my objective.
Aware of a few business politics beforehand while having experience with this around Asia multiple times, I was confident that I could contribute to both their continuing education, personal goals, and how to cultivate relationships as colleagues teaching the same technique at different businesses within the same territory.
This particular problem occurs in many territories because of the threat of competition within a close geographic area. Two studios/gyms offering the same product or service in a fairly close proximity, with different sales strategies due to differences in the business models, leads to occasional conflict and politics between owners and instructors.
The big lesson that I remembered the importance of the Interdependent mind set. What you do here, effects what happens there. We are all interdependent on a similar mission in life and in business. Stay Open and Free when dealing with these problems and you will find much greater ease in resolution.
You never forget your first time…. Watching people have their first continues to nourish me with joy watching students and instructors light up when they learn to moves that both excite and challenge their limits.
The infamous Chandelier and Harrison Handstand poses are always a moment of pure joy.
Our team in Sendai has been supercharged with new AntiGravity Fitness movement, and Tamer Begum mentorship special sauce for becoming more effective in life and business.
Wrapping up my training and workshop week in Sendai, I was ready to be back in Tokyo!
Spring was in the air as I traveled through the remaining days of winter into longer nights and the renewal of spring just around the corner. Sakura trees all over Toky0 were slowly beginning to bloom creating this warm feeling of change was upon us. I am filled with joy for the warmer days and longer night, while also being reminded that everything changes.
Remain unattached as new energies begin to blossom.
NAVI, the lead developer for AntiGravity Fitness programs throughout Japan, has done a tremendous job at expanding with integrity while maintaining the standards of quality. Over the next three days I spent traveling extensively throughout Tokyo and the surrounding areas to hold space for instructor mentorship workshops and group classes.
My next stop was one of our newest locations in Machida called Studio Plumbline. I was thrilled to see a new location and meet a new group of AntiGravity enthusiasts. After an hour on the train I was welcomed with true grace from the studio owner and perfect sized natural lit studio. I was here on a weekend workshop series with both business owners, instructors and local students to share new movement and tools for success, while making connections and building resources with new people.
We had so much fun over those two days in the workshops and instructor training sessions. But, The most impactful part of Studio Plumbline was a young teenage boy named Yoyo. He happened to be the studio owners son and only child. Self taught in english and is a aspiring hip hop dancer who I took under my wing to mentor as the next young male superstar AntiGravity Fitness instructor for Japan.
We had motivational conversations and goal setting exercises that sparked a fire within him to dream bigger and follow his heart. I showed him important progressional movement and reminded him the importance of creating a healthy lifestyle. I have high hopes for my young brother Yoyo in Machida.
This particular circumstance reminded me of the importance of my mentors, and how influential they have been in my development. I am grateful to be able to be a source of inspiration and guidance for younger generations.
Wrapping up at Studio Plumbline my next destination was to Ehime prefecture as I continued the AG Japan Spring Tour, on my way to the must see historical Dogo Onsen.
Accesible only by air and excited to see new areas of Japan I flew high over Tokyo leaving a shadow of beautiful wings below. On route to a southern east prefecture of Japan called Ehime. Upon arrival and checkin, I went straight to Japans oldest known bath house called Dogo onsen. Lantern lit and located up on a hill, where locals have been bathing for 1000’s of years, the late emperor of Japan proclaimed the healing waters of Dogo onsen for prosperity and longevity.
Ancient writings lined the hallways, and marble caldrons filled with boiling water poured into the large baths.
I was reminded here of our Health is Wealth philosophy as I soaked it in.
Arriving at YugaYoga for the first day of instructor mentorship and community workshops, I was taken by how incredibly beautiful the studio is! Located in an old style cottage looking property with a jungle cafe on the ground floor, the studio itself was equip with open air windows and white Harrison hammocks.
It was probably the most ascetically beautiful studio I visited on the tour. Add that to the team of beautiful instructors and community of students and it made for another empowering day of holding space for people to Open Up Be Free.
Honoured to contribute to growing businesses around Ehime, one of Japans exclusive fitness gyms called Soratomori REN was my next stop. Arriving at the facility, I was blown away and thought to myself: “This fitness center is hands down the most well rounded club I have seen.”
Multiple group class studios with Harrison Hammocks, Hot Yoga, Aerobics programs, indoor aquatic facilities, beautiful onsen in the locker rooms, and performance and cardio decks. I was in fitness gym heaven. The community here seemed excited to meet me as they greeted me with applause, welcome posters and autographs.
Working with this group gave me new perspective for working with older demographics, and brand new instructors. Inspiring them with a few new variations and easy movement for the older women in class, and challenging Suspension Fitness movement for the instructors, all in all it turned out to be a great success. The event created so much buzz via social media that the following day the celebrity actress who owns the gym chain attended her first AntiGravity Fitness lesson to see experience the WOW factor.
In and out, another supercharged group, and on the road again I was bound for Nagoya!
In Nagoya I launched the AntiGravity Pilates new program workshop, headlined Yoga no Hana new studio event, and worked with the local community to share new movement exercises and philosophy.
Starting at Studio FUGA for the AntiGravity Pilates new workshop and seeing some familiar faces I was thrilled to be the first instructor to teach the community new exercises from our AntiGravity Pilates course, and to reconnect with some of our instructors at Studio FUGA.
The following day I spent at Yoga no Hana teaching opening day classes to kids and adults, then lead a Q&A for the entire team of 20 plus instructors from Nagoya. I shared safety tips and tools for becoming more efficient as a new instructor, and ideas for how businesses can harness the power of WOW factor experience driven products and services.
We discussed movement variations and vision creating. Supercharging the entire team and community one studio at a time throughout Japan.
My last day in Nagoya was spent teaching the students of Studio APE uplifting classes, spreading health and happiness to the lovely ladies, and watching as they enthusiastically pursued excellence with each progressive class. They were so nice attending everyone of my classes, bringing me bottles of Sake and local delicious delicacies. I felt truly appreciated and well taken care of at every location I attended.
Incredible amounts of Grace Under Pressure was required for me as by this time my body was exhausted. My low back was starting to cramp and my shoulders were in knots. Extensive travels with only little amounts of rest in between reminded me to Monitor Resistance, stay healthy, and pack lighter, all turned into the major lessons from this tour.
Before you commit to anything get the details! Not a problem at first, especially when you live a passionate life, but in time this very important attention to details comes back like a cold slap in the face. Or in this case, cramped hamstrings. Travel days are not rest days and this was another awakening I had. Traveling hundreds of kilo meters between planes, trains, and automobiles is physically exhausting. Then waking up for more travel coordination between work locations and somehow finding something healthy to eat every morning for breakfast proved to another obstacle for growth. I had to be resourceful to find places to find nutritious foods, and will learn from this important lesson for future training tours.
Remembering the importance of Grace Under Pressure, Monitor Resistance, Health is Wealth and how to maintain it while moving fast were crucial lessons well received.
Coming into the last leg of the tour I was honoured to be the vessel for AntiGravity Pilates to launch in Japan. Due to demand we packed two training courses and I certified twenty new AntiGravity Pilates instructors with complete confidence in getting this new technique to spread throughout Japan.
Our first adventure to Nikko was interesting in so many ways not only because it was a new place to explore and experience, but also because of the rich history of the three wise monkeys, amazing onsens, and access to big mountain nature made for much needed laid back R&R. My HK family and I hiked to see the monkeys of NIkko, soaked in incredible sulfer onsen waters, and toured through The world heritage Shrines and Temples of Nikko. The entire week spent in Nikko was super relaxing with many breath taking moments. The rich culture and history of Japan is fascinating to me which is why I continue to find my way back.
After my final round of teacher trainings I was thrilled to have my Uncle Christopher Harrison in Tokyo with me! Visiting to oversee program development for a new AntiGravity Fitness airful creation. To bring this project to completion with a spring Ski Trip in Yuzawa with Uncle Chris, and a 3 year anniversary celebration was the perfect outro to our many accomplishments.
Aerial dance performers filled the studio sky with Christopher Harrison and myself as the honorary guests. Classy decour, delicious snacks and over 50 people joined the party to celebrate the momentous moment. Live music performances and DJ Tamer keeping the music vibes fresh made for a wonderful evening and ending to my spring tour.
Our team in Japan has been super charged with Tamer Begum’s training and mentorship special sauce for leading life with excellence in and outside the studio. With new developments coming soon and lots to look forwards to from our team AG Japan I am grateful and remain positive for all that the future holds.
Click here to see more about NAVI AntiGravity Japan
3 teacher trainings and debuting the AntiGravity Pilates new program launch
40+ workshops / classes
13 locations from Hokkaido to Ehime
4000+ KM traveled over 8 weeks throughout Japan