In the Barefootsteps of Erwan Le Corre

boulder erwanlecorre movnat


Boulder's magic strikes again.

I was out for a barefoot run last week and decided to explore a new trail. I was getting the usual stares, when one woman held my gaze. I smiled politely, and she did too, but she didn't just turn back to her hike. Instead, she yelled, "Another barefooter like me!" I saw shoes, but when I stopped, I realized they were light moccasins. We walked a while together until we reached a side trail where she removed her shoes.

Instead of continuing my run, I decided to take the opportunity to connect with a fellow barefooter. We walked and talked for about an hour, sharing our experiences being odd in Boulder. It was very encouraging for me to have found someone else who was also surprised at how uncomfortable people here were with barefoot hiking.

We all come to our eccentricities in different ways, and Boulder certainly has its share of 'wellness junkies' but since barefooting has proven to be relatively uncommon, I wanted to figure out how she had been inspired in the first place.

It turned out we had the same inspiration: Erwan Le Corre.

The only difference was, she had met him in person when he was living in Boulder.

She had been hiking on the very same trail we were on when she had encountered him climbing a rock formation without a crash pad. That had caught her attention and Erwan, apparently always eager to spread the word, had explained his theories on natural movement and human potential. A sideways glance at the heavy boots she was wearing left an impression. After that, she started the transition to barefoot.

My own start had come when I read an article in Men's Health profiling MovNat and Erwan. The idea that humans were capable of such wild feats struck a chord; as soon as I read it, I knew I had to do it. That road led me to a fascination with parkour, natural movement, gymnastics, martial arts, primitivism, and pushing the limits of human ability in all areas. And now, my chosen path is finally coming into focus: I'm coaching at CU as a MovNat Certified Instructor, working with APEX Movement's renown parkour instructors, and exploring self-defense and the martial arts, writing about it all here.

I realized how far I've come in this quest, but also how far I still had to go. Human Warriorship has a long and ancient history; plumbing its depths will likely take my entire life. However, for that afternoon, on that hike, I got a kick out of realizing that I was walking the same path, literally, as Erwan Le Corre (probably in the same state of undress), the man who'd inspired me to make my dreams of realizing my greatest potential a reality.

What I know of his journey suggests a similar trajectory: training in different traditions of physical improvement, martial arts, and natural living methods, looking for the best of it all and a philosophy to tie it all together, so that he could share his vision of human potential with the world in order to empower others.

Apparently, we both thought Boulder would be a good place to do that for a while. I wonder where my path will lead me.

Photo credit: Craig Sunter on Flickr