A recent study shows that, for the first time in U.S. history, obese Americans outnumber merely overweight Americans. Head over to the city of Eugene’s Petersen Barn Community Center this summer to buck this trend through martial arts or dance.
If you only sign up for one of Petersen Barn’s multitude of classes — ballet, belly dance, fencing, yoga — martial-arts instructor Logan Flores wants you to take his class, “Kung Fu Lessons in Harmony.”
Flores, who moved to Eugene earlier this year, spends his time gardening and teaching kung fu at the Petersen Barn in Bethel. In April, Flores showed his enthusiasm for recruiting pupils by standing on the sidewalk in downtown Eugene and practicing kung fu moves to promote the class.
Now that he’s in the city of Eugene’s recreational guide, he doesn’t have to work quite as hard to attract students, he says. In his class this summer, Flores says he wants to teach Eugeneans to embrace core tenets of martial arts — honor, community, connectivity — in their daily lives.
“Kung fu is about time and energy,” Flores explains. “In my class, there is no test, no belts or badges, no hierarchy. I want it to be a place of gathering for all disciplines and levels, where people can gather as a community around movement art and explore.”
The class, held outdoors in Petersen Barn’s adjacent park, involves the practicing of forms, including crane style and tiger style. These various types of movement take on attributes of the animal they are named after, with crane style known for perfecting the art of balance.
Flores says he also explores minimizing unnecessary movement and working with partners to practice escaping from others’ holds or moves.
The outdoor environment with its varying terrains is ideal for practicing kung fu, Flores says, and now that the summer months have arrived, the weather only contributes to accessing inner calm. He says when outside, he often thinks of a tai chi proverb that claims the best place to practice is underneath trees in the morning.
“It’s easier for the body to fully breathe and relax,” Flores says.
Flores’ class costs $15 a month and meets twice a week on Mondays and Saturdays at Petersen Barn, 870 Berntzen Road, throughout the summer months. To sign up for this class and many others, visit eugene-or.gov/recguide.