Wednesday, February 22, 2012



Difficult as it is to admit, I am a lazy Turner.  Sure I’m involved.  Absolutely I try to maintain good health.  Certainly I exercise my mind.  But that aging body…OMG as the youngsters say, needs more attention than it’s been getting – exercise-wise.  Rubbing on lotion is not exercise.  Thinking about getting into my pool as soon as the warm weather arrives is not exercise.  Strolling down Main Street for breakfast at Ruby’s is not exercise.  Lotions and potions can serve a purpose.  A one mile walk before a meal does curb the appetite a bit.  Even that all out 2 mile walk with the cardio work out up the hill has benefits.  But actually focusing on specific areas for particular reasons is another thing entirely.

On Monday I had one of those freak episodes, you know the one, you bend or turn or something and the pain in your lower back knocks you for a loop.  Attempting to become erect is almost impossible.  Walking without appearing to have a rod jammed up ones backside is futile.

You know that commercial that says, “We have an app for that!”  Well guess what folks, we Turners have an exercise for that!!!  Not only will I enhance muscles on the other side of the ache, but improve my balance.  Not only will I be toning and firming, I will be creating new synapses so important to us of a certain age group.  Not only all that, but I will be aching elsewhere too!

While our Phys Ed master, Mesfin, says all the right things about time, benefits, pain/gain, blah, blah,  blah, maybe Ben Gay will become the lotion of choice.  I am, however, committed to see what I can do to get that sound body back.    

My time out is over, back to the exercises.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Turner Action

    Having introduced Physical Education and Gymnastics to the United States beginning in about 1848, Turners across the nation designed programs of phys. ed. and taught the instructors the correct methods of implementing this unique concept.  I suppose that, like today, people were caught up with their own lives, felt they expended enough energy by simply working hard at their jobs and that kids at play were active enough.  About the only similarity to those times not present today is that gym classes could not be a budget line item - after all, those classes didn't exist quite yet.

     Today, when childhood obesity is at record highs, sedentary yet stressful video games have replaced sport and parents are working dawn to dusk not plowing fields but pushing paper or searching for employment, school districts across the nation are cutting gym classes.  Art and music having already been eliminated, what was left?  How about history?  Oh wait, some school districts are cutting back on that too announcing that there is too much history to learn so let’s start somewhere other than the beginning.  Oh wait, which beginning?  But I digress from the topic – Physical Education.

     The Los Angeles Turners have decided that it is time to return to our own beginnings and conduct physical education again and not only for ourselves, but for school children in Los Angeles.  Our pilot program will be open for students effective February 27th and offers weekly 3 hour long classes for 9-1/2 to 13 year olds and 2 hour long classes for 6-1/2 to 9 year olds each week.  Classes will be held at the Goethe International Charter School as an enrichment program.  When successful, we stand ready to expand into which ever Los Angeles Public School wishes to join.  A Sound Mind in a Sound Body – a great concept, valid then and now.

     I wish to thank many individuals for supporting this project:  first the ever patient and most competent Physical Education Chair of the L. A. Turners, Mesfin Felleke; the concerned and active parents of the Goethe International Charter School’s students along with their forward thinking principal; and members of Los Angeles Turners who have so generously enabled the program with their financial assistance along with our Board of Directors who have supported this activity.

     Want to support this?  Visit

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Connections - past and present

The Los Angeles Turners are part of a national organization of Turner groups.  With its national HQ in Louisville, KY, the American Turners keep us connected.  Sport fests, cultural fests and individual competitions in most sports make people to people contact possible in this digital age.  That is not to say that cyberspace has no place.  It does!  Plans for WII (or X-Box) competitions are in the works for Los Angeles.  Opinions about which system is preferable will be welcomed.  Our Center features a 182” (4.6 meter) screen which should be the ideal way to cyber-sport.

I wonder what our Turnvater Jahn would think about cyber-sport.  But then I also wonder what Michelangelo would have done with power tools, Beethoven with an electronic keyboard and Elizabeth Barrett Browning with a computer.  Would Mark Twain have blogged?  Would the world have followed Gandhi on Twitter? 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

To be a Los Angeles Turners is to belong to a historic organization.  Turners are as much a part of American history as they are steeped in their German background. The word Turner is an Anglicization of the German Turnen (Gymnastics).  The Turnvereine became the first gym clubs in this country.    
Friedrich Ludwig Jahn, a Prussian gymnastics educator and patriot, founded the Turners. As a teacher, he developed a system of gymnastics and invented much of the gym equipment in use today —balance beam, parallel bars, horse etc.  In 1848, the first Turners immigrated and brought the movement to the United States, establishing Turner societies in many American cities. Today, there are fifty-four clubs across the U.S and we have been part of Los Angeles since 1871.  

Arriving in America during the turmoil preceding the Civil War, Turners immediately became stalwarts of the Abolitionist movement and active in the election campaign of Abraham Lincoln. Two Turners became Union generals in the Civil War and one became Secretary of the Interior.  As daily life normalized, Turners prepared gymnastics teachers in Normal schools and pushed legislation to make physical education mandatory in American schools.  More about gym in L A schools later.

We learn from our past, appreciate the advantages of the present and embrace the future.  Come visit us.  See if A SOUND MIND IN A SOUND BODY is for you. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What is a blog?

Wikipedia explains: “A blog (a portmanteau of the term web log) is a personal journal published on the world wide web consisting of discrete entries ("posts") typically displayed in reverse chronological order so the most recent post appears first. Blogs are usually the work of a single individual, occasionally of a small group, and often are themed on a single subject” 

Or, it’s the ramblings of a person who thinks what they have to say might be of interest to others.

According to a news article I read this morning, Bloggers along with Tweeters, Flickers, Facebookies, Linkedinians, U-Tubeans and multitudinous other social media posters are now under fire from the companies and organizations to whom they are beholden for their daily bread to not “be stupid” and to “stay in their lane.”

Or, it’s the wrong time to ramble without the rumble.

This blog will neither offend nor defend.  It will instead inform and entertain. At least I hope so.  In my heart of heart I am a wordsmith.  Check back please, my first blog smithing will be about the first immigrants who brought the Turner philosophy with them in 1848.