Straight Shots At the Bar. Bottoms Up!
Considering the untimely deaths of Nate Dogg, Heavy D, the situation going on with DJ Kool Herc and the whole Hip Hop nation and world in general, the state of our health is of great concern. BARTENDAZ/Giant Thinking Inc. is a non-profit organization looking to inspire self empowerment and impact lives through the principles of physical, social and moral excellence. It’s CEO & founder is Hassan Yasin aka Giant. We recently caught up with the scientific link behind the movement, Dr. Goodbody aka the Athletic Alchemist. Pull up and have a drink.
Words by Will Loiseau
Will: When did you become a member of the Bartendaz?
Dr. G: I’ve been a member of the Bartendaz for the last six years.
Why do you call yourself an athletic alchemist?
That’s a great question. Alchemy is the ability to transform your base metals to a higher form. Basically, I use athletics and movement to transform my lower self into my higher self. The alchemist is a title that alludes to that ability to bring about our higher selves by using our lower selves being our physical bodies. When you study history and look back at certain things like tai chi and yoga you can see that the Bartendaz is something new and at the same time it harps back to those indigenous movement systems. Those systems tie in to the ability to use your body as an instrument for a higher purpose.
Every year we seem to be losing members of the Hip Hop community and the population as a whole due to preventable causes. Why is health and fitness an ongoing problem?
It’s because of the images that we see especially, when we think about Hip Hop. Your readers should know that the founder of Hip Hop DJ Kool Herc is actually a member of the Bartendaz as well. He told the CEO and founder Hassan Yasin aka Giant and me that health and fitness was the fifth and sixth elements of Hip Hop that kinda got forgotten. Break dancing or B-boying was a part of that athleticism. Now when we fast-forward and look at the way Hip Hop or rap music is packaged to the mass media, people are over-indulging in things that are counter-productive to our health. What we find is that as we start to mature certain lifestyle choices you make in your teens and late-twenties don’t really evolve with your physical make up as you begin to approach your thirties and step into your forties. The Hip Hop nation hasn’t really been aware of the need for good health. That goes back for any young movement. You can look back to a young jazz or a young rock, even techno music. The young generation may feel the need to live on the fringes of society whether that is hard drug use, marijuana or alcohol. The young people do it to experience their liberation to a degree. What we know now as we’ve had some time to assess is Hip Hop is in its mid-life crisis. One of the things that have been causing this crisis is that the health hasn’t been addressed. It makes no sense for an MC Breed to fall out and have a heart attack playing basketball in his mid-thirties, Heavy D to die from a blood clot, for Phife [A Tribe Called Quest] to have kidney issues or various other individuals to be inflicted with these diseases. Hip Hop is just a microcosm of the macro of what’s going on in society. Our grandparents didn’t have many of these diseases 50 years ago. These diseases are being manifested because of lack of movement and improper nutrition and it’s become the model.
The popular argument is “I don’t have the time” or “I’m too busy in the morning or at night I’m too tired from doing this and that.” What’s a way for an individual to fit exercise in a busy schedule?
You can do an around the world which is basically push-ups, pull-ups, dips, squats and lunges. You can do three sets of each in 15-20 minutes and get a total body workout especially when you use the Bartendaz natural movements. The only limitation is your imagination. Too many people make excuses for why they don’t have enough time. If you don’t have time for your health what about when you’re in the hospital and you have to make time? When your time on this planet is cut short and you wish you would’ve made time for health. The rich men in the world would give you all his money if he could purchase health. The healthiest man might be the poorest man but he wouldn’t trade his health for no amount of riches. The Bartendaz are trying to illuminate the fact that your health is your wealth. Everyone has the ability to go out and do things that can benefit themselves, their families and the world.
Would you suggest consulting a physician before beginning an exercise program?
That’s another good question. Do you have to consult a physician when you stand up and walk to the bathroom? Do you have to talk to a physician when you push up from the bed in the morning? It’s almost like we’re scaring ourselves to a point where we’re afraid to do our natural movements. Push ups, pull ups, dips, squats and jumping are natural functions. If you for some reason feel you can’t walk to a dip bar or up a flight of stairs then maybe you should consult a physician. At that point, your problem is well beyond the average. People in general health do not need consultation to walk a flight of stairs, to do a push up or to do a pull up. We’re putting ourselves in a box and making ourselves unhealthy. We’re giving doctors all the power over us because this society is dictated by lack of movement and gluttonism. To be politically correct, I’d say you could consult a physician if you felt you had to.
Why do you think nutrition is treated as such a low priority in the school curriculums?
There are a couple of reasons for that. Our schools are big businesses. They have outside vendors that control the foods that are being served in schools. Companies like Coca Cola, Del-Monte and Mars. These companies pay to have vending machines set up. We are sorely undereducated in nutrition. You’d be surprised at how many people are digging their graves with forks, spoons and knives. Part of the Bartendaz mission is to help raise awareness of the other options available. School is not a place where common sense is taught. You learn book information in order to go into the world and become a worker. It’s not made to teach you or educate you to become a better person or human being.