*This was originally posted March 23 to my Facebook page. I just resumed taking P-DTR, which I first started taking with Scott, and the conversations I had with him are fresh in my mind.
Scott Marion was an extraordinary person and personal trainer in Menlo Park, California. I took two classes in Proprioceptive-Deep Tendon Reflex (P-DTR) with him (we were both students), and we spent about 6 days together, total. But some of the info and stories he shared with me I think of every day. Last week*, very unexpectedly, Scott died of a heart attack in his sleep. I have no idea how old he was---he looked like, well, like someone a little older than me who looked a little younger than me, if that makes any sense. But there’s no doubt his death was a terrible fluke.
Scott was one of those personal trainers who shines a spotlight on just how smart, hardworking, and investigative the best in the business---the best in any business---can be. He devoted himself to classes, and he was constantly reading up to help his clients. Once, when I was talking about a set of very odd symptoms that no doctor had been able to figure out, his eyebrows immediately furrowed, and I could see his mind whirring. He hesitated a moment, tilted his head, and said, “Do you like to read research?” When he got home that night he emailed me five separate, extremely relevant research articles.
Scott did not look like the stereotype of the personal trainer, with muscles that had clearly been buffed and polished in the gym. He was lean and wiry, with a scientist’s hunch. He huddled over a topic as if peering into a microscope. He said he had learned he needed to take an entire course before feeling like he could effectively apply it. (P-DTR at that time was a series of eight 2- and 3-day classes, and I know he had also taken Z-Health, Neurokinetic Therapy (NKT), NOI, Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS), Rocktape, and Muscle Balance and Function Development (MBF). As he wrote me, “The reason I need the whole thing is to understand how it relates to everything else that I already know.” So, if he liked the idea of a course, he committed to the entire course. It can be tempting to take courses piecemeal and feel like you're getting a nugget here and there. To commit to the whole course up front demonstrated, well, commitment---to the course creator's hard work, and to the level of complexity behind the best techniques.
Scott and I talked about how we care almost too much about our clients; and how our clients probably have no idea; and how that’s probably for the best. At the same time, one of the funniest things Scott said (he was very funny) was, “When my clients come they really just want to work out, they don’t really want me to do all this additional stuff with them, but I don’t care.” Unless you knew him this might sound aggressive, but he was just determined: This is what my education tells me you need, and I want to help you very much. His popularity spoke to his success.
This is the shortlist---we talked about pain theory, traditional Chinese meridians, intersections he saw between the two. He talked about a concept, I believe from Z-health, called the “Threat Bucket”: this is based on the idea that pain is the body’s response to perceived threat, and that threat is compound---any reduction in threat (emotional, physical, chemical, etc.) could in theory reduce a pain. I have shared this idea with my clients often--it’s a compelling way of helping people understand all the things that go into the brain’s ‘decision’ to send out pain signals. I think the concept was essential to his process, and I guess I’m sharing it now because it is just one example of how he was looking at the whole person to figure out how to help them.
Our community is stunned to have lost Scott. He will be deeply missed---even by people who knew him as briefly as I did.
(Thank you to Z-Health for posting these photos on Scott's Facebook page. )