Why Stories & Movement? I’m a human–a body / brain nexus. At its core, the brain craves a good story. It creates stories, and it consumes them. It wants to predict, understand, and find answers–and it does this by organizing events in ways that are memorable, evocative, and informative–ergo, stories. The body yearns for movement, increasingly challenging movement. It seeks to reduce the chasm between what the brain can imagine and the body can perform. Hence, Stories & Movement. [If you got here by Googling “S&M,” expecting latex face-masks, buttless chaps, and electric cattle prods, my apologies. Wrong S&M.]
I’m an American writer and martial artist living Bangalore, India. I’m currently revising my first novel; its current (re: fourth) working title is Chasing Demons (FYI: Previous working titles include: The Emperor’s Ninja, Lost Scroll, and Kiss the Cobra.) Chasing Demons interweaves the story of a present-day race to attain a valued ancient artifact with the journal of the 14th century ninja who was the last to possess it. It’s got pirates and ninjas, what more could one want. I’ve published a few nonfiction papers, and occasionally write freelance. I also have a nonfiction book that I occasionally click away on about the science behind old-school mind and body practices like yoga, traditional martial arts, and systems like Zen Buddhism. Many of these systems can teach us important lessons about optimal human performance of the body and mind–despite the fact that the developers didn’t seem to have a good idea how or why they worked.
A desk life and workday stressors once made me doughy and left me with an accumulation of minor health problems. As a result, since I’ve been in India I’ve begun an intense practice of yoga, started teaching yoga, learned the basics of Thai yoga bodywork (TYB), and have continued to build a challenging martial arts practice. It’s my goal to learn as much as I can about producing a healthy mind & body while combating unhealthy approaches to stress. Having been trained as a social scientist, I was moved by the statement of a yogi who criticized scholars who attempt the grandiose task of understanding society as a whole when they understood so little of themselves. I realized that I was among those who knew far too little about myself at a physical and mental level to construct solutions to society’s problems.
I have my 500 hour yoga teacher certification (RYT500) and Children’s Yoga Teacher certification (RCYT) from the Yoga Alliance through a1000 Yoga and Amrutha Bindu in Bangalore, and I am continuing to purse yogic studies. I’ve learned a little Thai Yoga Bodywork (a.k.a. Thai Massage or Nuad Bo Rarn) through the Inner Mountain School of Healing Arts and the Wat Pho Thai Traditional Massage School. My personal education as of late has centered on what modern science can teach us about these ancient systems, and how the benefits of such systems are explained in terms of modern science. I’m also studying how yoga and TYB can be used to help prevent some of the systematic injuries that plague martial artists from Western countries.
My formal educational background is in the social sciences. I have two Master of Science degrees, one in International Affairs and the other in Economics. The former is from Georgia Tech and the latter is from Georgia State University. My studies were focused at the intersection of the strategic (e.g. game theory) and the international.
From 2004 to 2012, I worked at Georgia Tech’s Center for International Strategy, Technology, and Policy on various grant programs dealing with issues at the nexus of science, technology, and international security. My primary responsibilities involved the Sam Nunn Security Program (SNSP) that educated engineers and scientists about the policy world so as to prepare them to lend advice on technical issues. I also worked on the Program on Strategic Stability Evaluation (POSSE), which considered the question of whether strategic stability can be maintained under a draw down of nuclear weapons, and–if so–how.
I’ve practiced a traditional Japanese martial art for over 25 years. In the process, I earned third degree black belts in the Bujinkan and Jinenkan organizations, and a first degree black belt in the Gi Yu Dojo. I’ve studies the basics of muaythai on my trips to Thailand at the Muay Thai Institute and Tiger MT. And I’m currently studying the Indian martial art of Kalaripayattu at the Kalari Academy of Performing Arts in Bangalore.
I’m a traveler, and have visited 30-ish countries on 5 continents. I’ve been to Machu Picchu, Angkor Wat, Chichen Itza, Tikal, the Great Wall of China, Stonehenge, the Taj Mahal, Hampi, the caves at Ajanta and Ellora, and many other sites.
This blog, like my life, is an eclectic goulash of randomness. I will talk about life in India, my studies in the domain of body and mind, and– occasionally–rant for my own amusement and mental health.
Feel free to drop me a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org