Back2Basics Treatment Center Resident Carves Movement and Massage Career Path

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Back2Basics Outdoor Adventures recent graduate juggles the hardships of sobriety, an internship at local coffee shop Late for the Train and a new found love with internal Chinese Kung-fu.

I plan to stay in Flagstaff for a long time. I want to help people in recovery, as well as go to school for massage therapy.

Justin Smith, a 20 year-old Tucson native, found a natural rhythm in the Back2Basics treatment center Kung-Fu class and will be studying internal Chinese Kung-fu and massage alongside mentor and Back2Basics Kung-Fu instructor Benjamin Scharfenberger.

Roy DuPrez, Back2Basics founder and CEO and Scharfenberger saw Smith’s potential and assisted him in pursuing massage therapy further. “Justin has a natural talent with martial arts -- a natural awareness with his body and movement. Roy and I wanted to see if he wanted to take on more with a possible internship,” said Scharfenberger.

Eighteen-year martial arts veteran and current physical therapy student, Scharfenberger has encouraged Smith to take courses through the North American Tang Shou Tao Association. Scharfenberger adds that as a member with NATSTA, Smith has access to material that will forward his studies in Chinese medicine and training in Chinese massage therapy.

Smith had little experience with martial arts, having taken only Judo and Jujitsu in the sixth grade. “Part of my internship at B2B has me helping Ben with his Kung-Fu classes at B2B. I am also taking extra classes outside to help me prepare for massage therapy,” said Smith.

Smith learned the basics of martial arts and new found skill through the Back2Basics Kung-Fu class lead by Scharfenberger for three hours per week for the past eight months. He will now have an opportunity to learn more in depth on the relationship between Chinese internal Kung-fu and massage therapy.

The class focuses on mind and body awareness. This movement of natural energy, known as “Qi,” helps residents heal from previous drug abuse and physical reconditioning. “Increasing residents’ flexibility and strength ties into injury prevention, assistance with chronic disease and all around mind-body balance,” said Scharfenberger.

Martial arts practice is not simple, but Scharfenberger says Smith “demonstrated a natural understanding of form, movement and body awareness. He can use his natural talents as a way to make a living and find enjoyment in his work.”

Prior to Back2Basics, Smith had set few goals for himself. “I had never really aspired to be a better person,” he said.

During his six month stay at B2B, Smith showed leadership among the residents, participated in kayaking and rafting outdoor adventures, maintained an internship at Flagstaff coffee hotspot, Late for the Train and strengthened his relationship with his family.

“I plan to stay in Flagstaff for a long time. I want to help people in recovery, as well as go to school for massage therapy,” said Smith. “In the future, I want to travel and discover new things around the world.”

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Roy DuPrez

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