Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Jordan Moody Conditions His Class Of Trickers On The Old Kent Road

The term ‘tricking’ might conjure up images of magicians shuffling a deck of cards or women dressed in fire-truck red dresses huddled at the roadside but the term is officially used to define a plethora of acrobatic and gymnastic moves including front flips, side flips and back flips.

Tricking always sounded to me like a niche interest, perhaps the exclusive goal of circus folk or the very flexible. It turns out a lot of people want to learn to trick and not just to improve their flexibility or physical efficiency. Some want to learn a new trick to add to dance routines or to jazz up winning post-fight stances but one of the key motivations, believe it or not, is to overcome fear. 

Over on the Old Kent Road in Elephant and Castle at the Miami Health Club, 26 year old Jordan Moody is teaching his class to trick alongside Eugene Bus-Sam. A mixture of ages are assembled and throwing themselves into the warm up phase of the 2 hour class which takes places on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

The warm up stage changes per session at the whim of the instructors. Jordan understands that change is necessary to keep the mind engaged and the body adaptive. Once the class completes this preliminary phase, the composition of the room is altered so that the group can practice their moves. As I sit and watch all I can think is that they all make vaulting through the air look so easy. The vibe of the class is connective rather than competitive; the group feels supportive of one another, offering congratulatory high-fives and compliments once a person attempts and completes a trick. 

It is this easy aura that makes the class so attractive to the students that frequent it for a fiver. Jordan is a magnetic trainer who is very involved with his class. The younger group are his All-Star team whilst the older group are given more independence. He’s also the master of conditioning, the process of preparing the body to perform tricks with a range of intensive stretches designed to optimise flexibility, fitness and stamina. 

Having only learnt to trick a few years prior, Jordan came to his class when he and a friend taught flips for a pound, an endeavour which proved wildly successful. When a room became available, a former student of Jordan’s recommended that he go there to teach. Jordan views his class as part of a larger movement to help the somewhat lost younger generation channel their energy and intensity constructively. A key factor in Jordan’s movement is overcoming fear and there’s not much that you can’t do after throwing yourself head over heels! 

You can see the trepidation on some of the student’s faces, the natural sense of fear that never fully goes away but then you see a smile break through the clouds; the smile of success, of conquering an age-old fear. 

Jordan is adamant that his classes are for everyone; men, women, girls, boys (his oldest student was in their sixties), dancers, businessmen; anyone who wants to do something both unusual and empowering. As the class concludes for the day and I see the sweat drenched but smiling faces, it’s all too clear – these guys love this class.

Jordan and co are set to perform at this years Notting Hill Carnival.  

Friday, 26 June 2015

Meet Jordan Rasta Monk Moody; Founder, CEO, Teacher and Tricker at CSE Stunts

What does CSE stand for?
CSE comes from a Jamaican patois term, catchy shubby which translates to ‘the best of the best’. It means ‘catch and push’ which I interpret as catching your talent and pushing it forward into the world. It also comes from a Jamaican game that my dad brought to the UK as I started out as a cricketer. CSE mixes all of these meanings together. The full name stands for ‘catchy shubby elite stunts.’

How did CSE get started?
I’ve always been involved in teaching at some level. I began in cricket competitions at the age of 15. A friend of mine and I started a cricket class in Kensington Park. We started teaching flips there for a pound which proved popular. A girl came to the classes, and I began teaching her brother and met her parents who suggested to me that I come to teach in an available room in Elephant and Castle. It ballooned from there.

 How did you get into tricking?
I’ve always been interested in martial arts. When I was 18, I wanted to learn to flip. I’d always wanted to but I didn’t know how to go about it. I could do a little flip here and there but I couldn’t do it properly. I did free running (parkour) for a year or two and then found tricking which suited what I wanted to do in terms of martial arts. I’ve always been inspired by Power Rangers, Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee and I wanted to take it to a professional level. I wanted to be a Power Ranger or Super Hero. It was my ultimate dream and I’m trying to live that now and to teach other people those techniques. I also go into schools on Fridays and teach 6 year olds what I call power ranger techniques and they find it so cool. They all want to be power rangers.

Who are your inspirations?
Power Rangers, Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, Dragon Ball Z, various anime – I love anime, and of course Tekken. As the youngest, I was brought up with my brother and sisters influences. I took these influences on board and wanted them to become reality. With Tekken Eddy was my guy, but my main character now is Law as he is the closest thing to Bruce Lee. I was always more of a Tekken man than a Street Fighter guy.

 What is the hardest trick you’ve mastered?
The scariest and hardest trick is anything that involves doubles; double back flips, double front flips, double side flips and double twists. I can land them but they are scary.

What tricks have you yet to master?
I want to fully master everything to do with doubles and then work my way up to triples. There are not a lot of men of my size and height doing doubles. A lot of trickers are very light and lean. Many of my movements are quite extreme for my size and height. When teaching kids, their centre of gravity is completely different, so it’s easier for them to propel themselves through the air.

 How do you prepare for a show or performance?
Well we are planning to perform in the Notting Hill Carnival. We want to tumble and perform continuous flips on concrete. It’s important when performing on concrete to perform confidently.

 Who is your class suited for?
Really anybody can attend. My initial target audience was young people. For me it was about getting young people to do something constructive with their free time. I want them to use the streets and own it and to be confident in who they are and what they do. One of my students has taken tricking to his school and his self-esteem has really flourished. I call my younger group my all-stars team. The class is really for everyone; young, old, male, female – a mix is good. A lot of dancers also come through. They want to learn tricks and flips. I’ve worked with the Flawless guys and a few big dancers from the industry.

Do you need a certain level of fitness to become a tricker?
I’ve taught people from age 3 all the way up to age 60. Fitness doesn’t really matter; you just have to want to learn. I’ve taught 60 year olds to back flip from scratch and they can land them. The lesson is if you want it, you can do it. For me, this isn’t just about teaching tricking, it’s a movement and the purpose of the movement is to remove fear from people. One of the bravest things that you can do is to throw yourself backwards and land on your feet. It’s a metaphor for life. You’re taking away fear when you teach and showing people that there is no need to be fearful. It comes from faith; you jump by faith, not sight. That’s one of my fundamental ethics. I believe in God and I believe that this is my purpose just as everyone that comes to class is finding their own purpose. My aim is to help others catch and throw their talent so that they can go to the next level. My dad says that you move as fast as the slowest person so everyone has their own individual journey, path and work ethic which they bring to class.

Does your diet influence your tricking?
My diet was one of my weakest areas. I love food. I’ve realised that if I am going to get lighter and make tricking my profession as well as my passion, then diet needs to factor into the balance. Its okay to want junk now and again and a cheat day is alright. The key is not to make it your everyday thing. It’s all about balance.

What do you do to stay in shape outside of tricking?
I love sprinting and still play cricket. I have to represent Jamaica as its part of my heritage. I also keep up with parkour and tumbling.

What 3 things would you like students to take from your movement?
Creativity and peace, love and unity. Confidence is one of the biggest things a person can take from class. I’m hoping to show people to be individuals, not followers. When someone comes to class, I learn something from them as much as they learn something from me. I’m not a dictator. As a coach, my mindset is to learn, to show, to lead, not to dictate. I’m teaching a class of leaders.

What would you say to someone who wanted to attend a class but was frightened or anxious?
Most people would say, ‘just get up and come’ but I’ve learnt that people come in their own time so I’d say ‘come on down when you’re ready.’ It’s like the Matrix, there’s a red pill and a blue pill and you don’t force feed someone the pill. I know that feeling of fear and to be honest, it never goes away but the fear is good. If a person wants to come on this journey with me then let’s make this happen. If a person is comfortable where they are, then staying there is not a problem but if someone wants to take the journey and work through it with a supportive team to the promised land of consciousness then I’d advise them to come on board.

What is a typical class like?
I have a basic structure for each class but the basis of the class is movement. I get bored quickly so I keep it moving. Change is good and people need to adapt to change. Once our bodies get used to something, they get comfortable but the body loves change and it can adapt.

What does the future hold for you?
I want to continue to build my movement. For me, God is the paramount force in my life. I know that’s what I’m here to do: to build something for the future of our generation. Our generation needs to change and CSE promotes the freedom of expression. I believe in the ethic of King Solomon who asked for wisdom and understanding. Money and riches come to you once you have these faculties in your life. There’s so much to our bodies, minds and spirits that we don’t understand and when we begin to push those boundaries, that’s when our superhero mentality kicks in. I’d like to see the classes thrive and of course we have the Notting Hill Carnival coming up. I’m also looking into going into schools in September and branching off into the film industry. I’m working on joining the stunt register and teaching fight choreography.

CSE Stunts run weekly classes at the Miami Health Club on Old Kent Road in Elephant and Castle.

Tuesday classes run from 5-7.
Thursday classes run from 5-7.
Saturday classes run from 3-5.

All classes cost £5 admittance and last for 2 hours. 

Interviewed and written by Kayleigh Parker of Pocket Safari

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Some of my favourite Kiwi feasts...

I’ve always loved food. Food makes me happy. It’s a pleasure. I can’t eat when I’m stressed, anxious or afraid, but if I’m in high spirits, food, pretty much any food, is back on the menu. I was pretty fussy as a kid but nowadays there’s not much I won’t eat. I still have a few no no’s that are largely popular with most other people. I’m not fond of custard, shellfish, gravy, fatty bacon or mushrooms. There are probably a few other things I’m neglecting to mention as well.

One of the things I enjoy most about travelling and being abroad is the opportunity to try new food. In Vietnam, I was free to devour bowlfuls of pho and in Thailand I demolished platefuls of Pad Thai, the nation’s favourite dish. New Zealand is not notorious for its unusual cuisine. Much of its fare can be found at home but there is still the opportunity to eat at new restaurants and unheard of chains. Of course you get the regular culprits; KFC, Pizza Hut and McDonalds but there’s plenty of novelties to wrap your tongue around. 

Here, in picture form are some of my favourite NZ eats and possibly part of the reason why I’ve gained around a stone since being here (it was worth it). 

Blunderbuss pizzas are absolutely exquisite. As well as being MASSIVE (the photo doesn't quite do the pizza justice) and chock full of deliciousness, these pizzas are designed to be healthy alternatives to mainstream pizza chains. When you are someone who loves pizza as much as I, healthy pizza is an exciting prospect.

Shoestring fries also from Blunderbuss, seasoned with a generous sprinkle of salt and a yummy aioli condiment. Shoestring fries are so named because they are slimmer than thicker cut chips.

We took a Sal's pizza to the beach and absolutely annihilated it. 4 slices each, a monstrous amount of cheese and a thick crust; heaven.

Mexicali burrito and nancho salad complete with Steinlagers of course. We ate these by Princess Wharf, near the Hilton Hotel in Auckland city over Christmas.

Corelli's, located in Devenport, is one of my favourite finds. It's very low key, quaint and the food is amazing.

Daikoku is an internationally renowned Japanese restaurant where fresh food is made before your eyes with an interactive experience. Each table or party is provided with their own chef.

Ragazzi Takapuna is amazing; this was their take on bruschetta. The avocado, olives and juicy tomatoes on crisp bread accompanied with a side salad was top nosh.

So these are some of my absolute favourite NZ feasts - I sure will miss it!

Easter Monday at Blunderbuss

There’s a little place in Takapuna that I’d been meaning to eat at for a while. My partner and I frequently head to Takapuna for the beautiful beach which boasts mythical views of Rangitoto Island, a dormant volcano teaming with wildlife and epic beach-side walkways that lead you across sand, grass and black rock paths. The heart of Takapuna itself is peppered with eateries, shops and bars rendering it the perfect marriage of nature and hedonism. Let’s just say, I like it here a lot and hunting out a new place to eat has become one of my favourite pastimes. I never used to be, but lately I’m a foodie. 

Blunderbuss Pizza Vino did not catch my eye immediately. I remember first walking past it during the day, seeing it empty and being rather unimpressed with the decor. Let’s just say the theme of the place is...interesting.  I think I can even recall saying, “Who would eat here?” (Such a snob). The tables and chairs are numbered and look like donations from an old fashioned institute, the lights are creative and bizarre and the wall is decorated with posters and pictures epitomising the best of by-gone culture; there’s lots of pictures of Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brandon and James Bond and even Lady Gaga makes an appearance.

We walked on by and I didn’t think twice. A short while later, having just eaten elsewhere in Takapuna, we took a stroll down Hurstmere Road and stumbled across a variety of pizzerias (the place is heaving with them). This time Blunderbuss was PACKED to the rafters and table after table was teaming with heavenly, thin crusted pizzas that looked mouth-wateringly, lip smackingly good to the point where I wanted to smash through the glass of the establishment and snatch one of those heavenly pizzas from the hands of the smug diners enjoying their artful assortment of carefully crafted toppings. 

Food has an immediate visual impact on me. I literally look at food and it has a pornographic influence. Despite the fact that we’d already eaten, I knew I wanted pizza! We didn’t actually end up eating at Blunderbuss until a short while later; Easter Monday to be precise. I realised upon entering that the reason why the front of the restaurant often seems barren is because the real action is in the back; there is plenty of outdoor seating available and often a live band or music playing. How could I have been so naive! It’s just like how all the fun happens at the back of the bus; none of the cool kids sit at the front in plain view. 

A quick scan of the menu told me that one item would not be enough. Our quirky redheaded waitress had a few suggestions for us and seemed endlessly enthusiastic about the food which is always a positive sign; when the staff enjoys the dining, you know that it’s a promising venture.

My partner and I settled on the following items:

·         1 bottle of water (okay, so this was complimentary)
·         1 jar of prosecco sangria - $10
·         1 portion of baby back ribs
·         1 margarita pizza - $17
·         1 frutti de mare pizza - $19.5
·         1 portion shoestring fries, porcini salt, aioli - $7.5

Let’s just say, my stomach was very pleased.
Can I also say, I absolutely love these bottles of water! I need to get some for my house.

Sangria loveliness 


I also love when sangria comes in a jar. This is another thing I need to start doing; saving and cleaning out jars to make unique little drink canisters. I’ve never tried prosecco sangria but I do like prosecco and sangria so unifying them didn’t seem to be a bad idea. My drink looked like a technicolour rainbow in a jar complete with two teeny tiny black straws and laden with lemon, raspberries and teeny tiny berries that I just couldn’t place. Rammed with ice, this creation was fruity, refreshing and had that gorgeous pop and tang that prosecco is so notorious for. Not enough to get drunk on, this little jar just got me into that happy, ‘sip of alcohol’ place that I needed to be in.

The baby back ribs were beautifully presented slathered in Jack Daniels BBQ sauce and topped with slaw. Unfortunately, the ribs were a little dry despite the fact that the meat was tasty and a little more sauce was needed to offset that dryness. The ribs were listed as a special and my boyfriend devoured these. For me, I wouldn’t be too fussed to re-order.

Heaven personified...inside a pizza

The real piece de resistance, the jewel in the crown, was of course the pizza. I’ve always loved margarita pizza; the simplicity and subtlety of the flavours always works well and delivers an ecstatic taste bud hit. I knew that the pizzas I had seen in the window looked divine and healthy, but I didn’t really think about how unusual and unique they truly would be. I have literally never eaten a pizza like this.

The base is constructed from semolina and manuka honey but there’s also a gluten free option that comes at a $2 surcharge fused from chickpeas and tapioca flour. The base of the pizza is very thin (typically I prefer thicker bases) but the flavour was not compromised whatsoever. First off the pizza was HUGE. I noticed most pizza sharing pizzas. My partner and I don’t quite work that way. We ordered one each. We are pigs...a little bit.

I was glad we did because I consumed the entire pizza in one sitting and could have eaten more if I didn’t have the ribs, fries and sangria to contend with. The burst of flavour could be tasted in the pillowy mozzarella which was not used to excess as is so often the case with pizzas. Now I’m a bit of a cheese fiend but I found that this was just the right amount of cheese. The basil and juicy, ripe tomatoes were absolutely gorgeous and the crust was just the right kind of crispy; enough to give you a crunch without deteriorating in your hands.
My partner’s pizza, the frutti de mare, was a decadent feast of mussels, salmon, prawns, squid, coriander and fried capers poised on a tomato base with no cheese. I’m not such a seafood fan so I passed on trying but he definitely enjoyed it.

Fries...salty, creamy goodness

The shoestring fries came well equipped with porcini salt, which sounds very Italian and the creamy deliciousness of a side of aioli (I literally had no idea what aioli was before I come to New Zealand) really finished them off well.
With our bellies full and the bill paid, I was so happy that we took the time to stop by her. The staff were lovely, the venue quirky and spacious with abundant outdoor room and the food was healthy, creative, filling, and tasty and well worth the price. I’m already badgering my boyfriend to go here again.
PS...not that it’s particularly relevant to your eating experience but Blunderbuss literally translates to mean:

1. historical 
a short large-bored gun firing balls or slugs.
2. an action or way of doing something regarded as lacking in subtlety and precision.
"economists resort too quickly to the blunderbuss of regulation"