We were introduced to Sam in 2020 by So We Flow... fellow Jonas - who were friends back in school over in the Netherlands. Sam is our first example of a Capoeira specialist within the So We Flow... Fellowship, with over 15 years experience under his belt. With many everyday Movers taking inspiration from Capoeria in their own practice nowadays, Sam's inspirational and disciplined, yet punchy and flamboyant style is a welcome addition we're proud to be able to share with you.
Sam Beukeboom, Movement Coach & Monkey
What does your perfect morning look like?
Waking up early at sunrise. Stretching myself towards a cold shower, preferably whilst listening and singing to Johnny 'Guitar' Watson's, "Cold, Cold Heart". After that, some strong coffee and a bowl full of oatmeal with banana, coconut, peanut butter, cacao and ginger. Let's go!
Tell us about when and how you got into movement.
My curiosity for movement has been sparked by my capoeira practice, which I started at 8 years old. It introduced me with two very profound reasons to move as a human being: connecting to people through the art of dancing and fighting. At 18 years of age a significant change of perspective happened which resulted in a deeper study of movement. I clearly saw the connect between movement and the state of being within myself. I started studying other dance-fighting practices, which the longer I studied separately, the more I saw the connection between them. Since then, my movement approach is becoming more holistic every day. Whatever happens, I have always remained deeply interested and in love with the arts of dancing and fighting.
What style of movement do you practice most nowadays and what keeps you coming back for more?
Capoeira has always been my greatest love. That being said, I'm now very much interested in other martial arts. I try to periodise my focus in order to prevent my development from becoming too superficial (in other words, learning too little about too many different things). Currently, my practice is mainly focused on striking and grappling.
If you could only train for 2 hours per week, how would you spend it?
I would have two, one hour sessions including 15 minutes of meditation, 15 minutes of mobility related drills and 30 minutes of improvisation.
What is your primary goal in your practice at present?
To understand as many aspects of striking and grappling as possible. I'm starting a project called '100 Monkeys' that connects dancers with fighters. I want to be able to unify their interests and skills, which requires knowledge and experiences in both fields.
What's your all-time favourite movement, pose or technique?
It changes from day-to-day. At this very moment I'd say the double leg takedown found in wrestling. It's perfect for these COVID-times as it either results in a wrestling session or a great hug.
What makes a great teacher (of any discipline)?
If I look back on the hundreds, if not thousands, of movement related workshops and classes that I've taken over the past 16 years, the words caring, communicative, curious and genuine come to mind.
A great teacher cares about their students, dearly, and wants nothing more than them to learn and enjoy the process. Communication is often underestimated - when we see someone who is highly skilled, we automatically assume they are an equally skilled teacher. This is not the case. The opposite is actually more common: highly specialised individuals are often focused on developing themselves and don't have time to spend figuring out how to guide others and how to pass on their knowledge. A teacher should be genuine in their intention to teach others and not be seen as "The Teacher". This is hugely important, but comes naturally to great teachers.
In the last five years, what habit, belief or behaviour has most improved your life?
It's simple - curiosity and playfulness.
Tell us about a time failure has led you to later success.
Eagerness to learn new tricks has caused me injuries and setbacks on several occasions. This taught me to be content with my current progression and to strive for a more natural way of development within movement. Longevity is key.
What are one to three books or films that have greatly influenced your life?
The Art of Happiness by Dalai Lama.
If you could be any animal in the world, what would you choose and why?
A monkey or chimpanzee. They are genuine and physical in their communication. They're also 1.5 times stronger than us! Fun fact coming up... I play a monkey in a street theatre company and it's a really cool experience. You have to take yourself into a state of being a monkey and what comes with that is the ability to connect with your primal self.
What's your guiltiest pleasure?
Playing games and eating junk. They're the complete opposite to the 'movement culture' you find on social media, but sometimes after hard work (when I'm tired and not capable of self-regulation) I eat donuts and play Minecraft. (And that's totally ok Sam!)
When you're feeling stressed or unfocused, what do you do to resolve it?
Rest, do nothing, stare at the ceiling - that kind of stuff works best for me.
What advice would you give someone who is about to embark on a movement and wellness journey? What advice should they choose to ignore?
Do: follow your curiosity and enjoy the little discoveries and adaptations your body is going to make.
Don't: be too strict on yourself or narrow-minded on learning that one trick or pose that you think looks cool. It's tempting though, I get that ;)
What are the worst recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
Those that are absolute. For example, "if you want to be able to (goal), you should do (a specific set of exercises)". I don't like that. The body is too complex to follow the exact formula that worked for someone else. There is nothing that works for everyone.
I find it more credible when somebody includes nuances in their instructions or teachings. For example, "if you'd like to work towards (goal), you can play around with (a specific set of exercises)".
If you could share one message to every single person on the planet, what would you say and why?
Try to want less and enjoy the simple things. Discover what that means fir yourself.
There is a Dutch children's book called “Rupsje nooit genoeg” (Little Caterpillar Who Never Has Enough). This is a strong metaphor for a tendency all humans have which results from our ability to become more efficient in survival. Overdoing this resulted in mass production and mass destruction in all aspects of life. Wanting less, enjoying simple things, is a step in reversing this process. That’s what I believe. And what’s so great is that practicing movement is part of the answer, because it requires nothing but a body and other people and gives so endless fulfilment.
Photo credit: Pier van den Elsen at www.piervandenelsen.com