Archive by Author

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)


I had been working out at gyms for a long time and was getting bored. Hmmm, the gym offered some cool classes maybe I should try those. I’d always wanted to try some martial arts classes, but the gym didn’t have many of those.

A friend of mine decided on a whim to try a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu? What was that? My friend told me about what he knew: it was similar to wrestling but you could use submission holds. He also told me about some guy named Royce Gracie who used BJJ to beat bigger stronger opponents in some famous fighting venue called the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). I didn’t know it at the time, but I would later receive my purple belt from Royce Gracie. It sounded interesting but I was nervous. Was this a safe place to train? Who were the instructors? I checked the place out online and it looked good so I decided to give it a shot.

When I arrived, the place didn’t look like much, just some old garage, but when I met the instructors and saw my first class I was amazed. I had spent my whole life being active, playing sports, and working out, and I had never seen anything like this. It was more complicated than any sport I had ever played, and equally physically demanding. It was like playing physical chess. You had to be both smart, quick, and strong to do well.

This was my first class so of course I didn’t do well at all. In fact, I spent the first year of my training having large people sit on me and small people tie me up like a pretzel. But I  loved it and wanted to learn more and do better. I didn’t know it at the time and in fact would have never thought it possible, but I would later win multiple medals at high level BJJ and submission wrestling tournaments and spend years teaching what I had learned from others.

Some of the people I trained with competed, but most people were like me at the beginning: people who had little to no experience, who just wanted a fun and mentally stimulating way to improve their health and fitness. Over the years I have trained with and taught a wide range of people: kids with emotional challenges, women interested in self-defense, senior citizens, law enforcement and military officers, and amateur and professional athletes.

Something that began as just a cool hobby has turned into a true passion of mine, and my career. Wow, I never would have thought that would be possible.

Are you ready to see what’s possible for you? Please contact me.


Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)


Have you trained in MMA before?

No but I watch it on TV!

Watching sport fighting is fun and a fantastic way to appreciate the amazing skills displayed by those professionals. But to truly appreciate the subtlety of their skill, we need to practice it ourselves. We need to challenge our bodies and minds and be active.

But I don’t want to be a fighter. Good. Most people train to improve:

  • health
  • fitness
  • confidence

Tired of boring workouts? Why not get better health and fitness benefits while doing something fun and mentally and physically engaging? And very few things are better at building self confidence in children and adults.

I got involved in mixed martial arts after I got bored of my gym workouts. A friend of mine invited me to class, and as soon as I saw it, I was in awe of what the human body was capable of and the skill these practitioners have. After that moment, I dedicated myself to years of studying under experts in various martial arts forms and am excited to be able to give this back to the public. I’ve taught a wide range of people: kids, pregnant women, senior citizens, law enforcement and military officers, and amateur and professional fighters and athletes.

It is important to experience as many forms as possible to see what you enjoy and what works for you. Based on my experience and training, my MMA classes are an integrated style of:

  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
  • Muay Thai
  • Judo
  • Wrestling

One of my instructors is Royce Gracie, one of the first MMA champions in the United States. His victories in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), showed us that a smaller weaker fighter can defeat a larger stronger one, if they have the right skills. Through him and many others, I learned many different fighting techniques. But one of the the most important things that I learned in my training, is not how to fight, but how to live and do, rather than just sit and watch TV.

If you would like to do, please contact me for a professional demonstration.




If you were ever in a self-defense situation, what would you do?

I sincerely hope you never need to find out. But the truth is that most of us don’t know what to do. I’m amazed to see how unaware most of us are of our physical surroundings. We are buried in our cell phones, distracted by our kids, or letting our minds wander. Or even if we are fully aware, we could be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Practicing self-defense means taking positive control of our minds, bodies, and surroundings through:

  • awareness
  • avoidance
  • de-escalation
  • escape

Meditation and yoga all help to handle the mental and psychological aspects of a self-defense situation. Functional fitness and martial arts help to handle the physical aspects.

I have dedicated myself to years of learning from experts of multiple self-defense systems.  And for years I have given this training back to the general public including civilian, law enforcement, and military populations. I have worked with people of a wide range of experiences, from families sending their daughters off to school, to those who have experienced trauma or assault in the past and are seeking empowerment, to Marines, Secret Service, and SWAT Officers.

There are many systems of self-defense. It is important to train in as many different systems as possible to find what works best for you. Based on my experience and training, I teach an integrated system of:

  • Krav Maga
  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
  • Muay Thai
  • Mixed Martial Arts

If you don’t know what you would do in a self-defense situation, please contact me, I can help.

If you work in law enforcement, the military, or are experienced in self-defense systems, please contact me also. I can guide you through new techniques, refine your existing skills, or integrate multiple systems with you.


My Yoga, Your Yoga, It’s All Yoga!

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My Yoga, Your Yoga, It’s All Yoga!

I began my journey with yoga years ago when I first took a class at a YMCA and realized “Hey, I’m pretty good at this.” Having taken years of dance lessons when I was much younger, I found that I still held onto some of that natural flexibility and balance that made dancing come so easy to me all those years ago. In yoga classes, I could do backbends and headstands, reminding me of my lessons in acrobatics. And I was GREAT at savasana (corpse pose, and the release of body, breath and mind)! Yoga classes made my body feel great, and I soon found that it naturally calmed and centered my mind too. As a psychologist the “mind stuff” fascinated me. Through yoga classes I would find an emotional clarity that I had never experienced before, and similar to what we strive for when counseling others. Could I have found the perfect therapy for mind, body, and soul?

Yoga means many things to many people. One translation of the first yoga sutra states that yoga is the cessation of the fluctuation of the mind.  According to Wikipedia  “Yoga is a commonly known generic term for the physical, mental, and spiritual practices …with a view to attain a state of permanent peace.” Some yogis have stated simply that it is the journey to quiet the mind, or the ego.  To me it’s all of these things, as well as a continuous – and often challenging- journey to live mindfully. Thinking about it in this way I would say that yoga can be anything you want it to be for you: a challenging hike, a round of golf, playing with your toddler, or even that Crossfit workout that you love to hate. These are all mindfulness practices, in unique ways. When you’re in the middle of that WOD, making that final putt, or reaching the pinnacle of that mountain, how often do you find your mind wandering? Probably not a lot. And if it is, you’re probably not doing it right. This is yoga.

Though I practice as much as I can, I admit that I don’t practice asana (yoga postures) every day right now. Being 8 months pregnant while taking care of a very active toddler makes it difficult! BUT I PRACTICE YOGA EVERY DAY. I practice it in the way that I eat, and have an appreciation for where food comes from, how the animals were treated, and who the farmers are. I practice yoga on my walks with my daughter, allowing time to tell her about the trees, encourage her to smell the flowers, and admire the bugs or animals on our path. I practice yoga when I’m driving, and find myself growing frustrated with other drivers or the constant red lights, taking time to take a breath and stay in this moment, not the next. I practice yoga by striving to be as compassionate and understanding of others as I can be, no matter how difficult. I practice yoga when, in the rush of everyday life, I remember to take a moment and look at my beautiful family and appreciate this breath and this moment above all else.

This is my yoga – what’s yours?

Contact me to help you practice every day.




“I just want to get more flexible, I don’t want all that mind stuff.”

This is what we hear from many people. Does this sound familiar?

Yes, practicing yoga will make you more flexible. Yoga includes one of the most effective flexibility enhancement systems in the world. Western experts like physical therapists, chiropractors, and doctors, all prescribe stretches that are variations on yoga postures.

Yoga has taken the Western World by storm. This is due in large part to pioneers like our teacher Beryl Bender Birch. Now every gym has a yoga program. Every celebrity says they practice yoga. But, as our teacher would say, very few people even know what yoga is.

Most of us only know the physical practice of yoga, a serious of postures strung together in a variety of orders. In the Yoga Sutras (considered by most experts to be the most authoritative documentation of yoga), the physical practice of yoga is called Asana and is only one of 8 parts (or limbs) of a full yoga practice. What are the other parts (or limbs)? There are many but they boil down to learning how to regulate the fluctuation of the mind, minimizing external and internal distractions, and focusing on reaching a blissful state of existence. Wow, that sounds good to me.

In a time when Hypertension, ADD, and Autism have become household names, and over-medication has become the “solution,” we need to first get back to the basics.

We must first get back to the basics and do the physical work with our bodies to clear our minds. And then we must do the mental work to become more self aware. And then, maybe, we can all live a more blissful existence.

If you would like to live a more blissful existence 🙂 please contact me, I would love to hear from you.

If you would like to improve your flexibility, with or without all that “mind stuff,” please contact me, I would love to hear from you too!

And, as always, if you have any questions please let me know.


Functional Fitness


CrossFit, functional fitness, whatever you call it, it has and continues to change the face of health and fitness as we know it.

Good-bye to the days of:

  • needing a gym to stay fit and healthy
  • spending an hour or more exercising per day
  • bicep curls and other single joint movements
  • working out different muscle groups on different days
  • getting bored working out

Hello to the new era of functional fitness:

  • improve your mobility and ability to perform any physical task
  • little to no equipment needed ever
  • decrease exercise time to 20 minutes on average
  • increase relative intensity
  • focus on multi-joint, multi-muscle, whole body movements that improve strength, flexibility, and metabolic conditioning at the same time
  • cross-training/circuit training model
  • constant variety – workouts are rarely repeated to maximize results and minimize boredom

Years ago, when I was first introduced to CrossFit or functional fitness, I didn’t buy into it. I had worked out all my life and was a decorated athlete. I knew how to get fit. I knew how to eat healthy. I was wrong.

When I did my first CrossFit workout, I immediately realized that this was how we were meant to move and exercise. All of my other workouts seemed inefficient, inadequate, and boring in comparison.

It was at this time that I was introduced to Paleo and Zone nutrition models. These models turned the nutrition world on its head. I was skeptical until I tried it. But just like the workouts, once I started following a Paleo/Zone nutrition model, I realized that this was how we were meant to eat. It felt natural and right. I did miss the immediate gratification of processed carbs and refined sugars at first. But I soon started to feel incredible, better than I had in my life. My performance went through the roof, my health dramatically improved. I never looked back.

Through the combination of the functional fitness and Paleo/Zone models, I reached levels of performance, fitness, and health, I had never before imagined were possible for me. I wanted to learn more. I wanted to become a CrossFit trainer.

As a CrossFit trainer, I saw countless people transform their body and health through the functional fitness and Paleo/Zone models. These models were more effective than any I had ever seen. And they work for everyone regardless of age, gender, and fitness level. I knew I needed to take what I had learned and use it to help others improve their health and fitness.

If you would like to hear more, have any questions, or would like to find out for yourself how well these models work, please contact me, I’d love to hear from you!


Personal Training

I never thought I would be a personal trainer. Personal trainers just put people on treadmills and talk to them right? Boring! How can you get in great shape that way?Personal Training

I spent my whole life being active, it relaxes me, calms my body and mind and helps me focus. I always feel better after moving. I spent my whole life trying different ways to move: farm chores, every sport I could find, CrossFit, martial arts, yoga.

After doing all those things, sitting on a treadmill isn’t something I want to do. And I definitely don’t want to make others do it.

I entered the training world after working as a consultant for a large company. I sat at a desk all day. I travelled a lot. I gained weight. I got high blood pressure. I didn’t like how my body felt. I didn’t like how it effected my mental state either.

During this time I started training regularly in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and other martial arts and loved it. It was so amazing to me the movements that the human body was capable of. It challenged both my mind and the body. Physical chess I called it. This was not boring, this was exciting, and I felt great doing it.

I needed to make a big change. But what could I do? Changing jobs was crazy? I had a “good job.” Well that good job was slowly killing me physically and mentally.

I left my consulting job, accepted a management and instructor position with the academy I was training with. I spent four years going barefoot, practicing and teaching CrossFit, martial arts, and yoga full time. During that time, I lost weight, my blood pressure continued to improve, and I felt great doing something I love. And most of all, I loved helping others get the same benefits I found from these activities.

But something was missing. I wanted to experience a more main stream approach to training so I could help people even more. I went to work as a manager and trainer for one of the biggest publicly traded fitness clubs in the country (Globo Gym in CrossFit terms). In some ways, I found what I expected, trainers putting people on treadmills or else putting people through bodybuilding workouts. But I found much more. Lots of trainers were also doing progressive things with workouts, metabolic conditioning, and functional metabolism work. And then something amazing happened. We had a lecturer come in to talk to us. He was some doctor who worked nearby. Well this doctor blew my mind. He talked about optimizing your functional metabolism in ways I have never heard of. He talked about being able to correct conditions many thought to be impossible. He referenced medical papers he personally published. Who is this guy? I need to meet with him.

I went to see this integrative doctor as soon as I could. And after being under his care for a few weeks I noticed tremendous improvements in how I felt and in my measurable health markers. During this time, he shared with me ways to communicate with my clients about their functional metabolism. The pieces of the puzzle now all fit!

The pieces of the puzzle fit because in working with this doctor, I learned what I can do to help my and my client’s functional metabolism. I also learned the importance of partnering with integrative doctors and other specialists to get results we never before thought possible.

Now I am a personal trainer. But I will not just put you on a treadmill. I will optimize your health and fitness in a way that engages your body and mind, is constantly varied, that will improve your strength, flexibility, and metabolic conditioning all at the same time. I can deliver that in any one or a combination of modalities: functional fitness, martial arts, and yoga.

I have spent my whole life dedicated to experiencing different ways to move. I take all of the most effective methods from everything I have experiences, and deliver it to you in a personalized comprehensive plan that includes movement, nutrition, and functional metabolism optimization.

I love helping people get healthier. I have had many of the issues my clients have, and am excited and humbled to see the amazing results that others have helped me get, and that I can in turn help others get.

No matter your age, health condition, fitness level, please contact me at any time if you feel I could help you optimize your health or if you have any questions. I would love to hear from you.


Meet Suzanne (Owner / Trainer / Instructor)

Suzanne BrubakerSuzanne Brubaker discovered her passion for helping others at a young age. She worked as a school psychologist for 10 years, helping children of all ages and ability levels, as well as parents, navigate the emotional and academic struggles that come with childhood.  During this time, Suzanne discovered her love for the mind and body benefits of yoga and felt drawn to it. Fitness, mental, and emotional health has always been a part of her life. Yoga was a natural path for Suzanne and her teaching evolved from this organically. Through yoga, she began developing a stronger awareness of self and environment and became passionate about integrating physical and mental health and wellness.

Suzanne quickly fell in love with the Astanga yoga system and incorporates aspects of the primary and secondary series into her classes. She teaches a variety of styles, including vinyasa, power, flow, prenatal, kids, and parent and tot yoga.

Suzanne is grateful for the benefits of yoga and fitness in her life and is passionate about sharing this with others.

Suzanne completed her yoga teacher training with Beryl Bender Birch, nationally and internationally recognized as one of the pioneers of power yoga in the western world.

Yoga teaching experience

  • head yoga instructor at multi-location studio
  • yoga studios
  • fitness centers
  • after-school programs
  • performing arts center
  • community center

Experience with children

Suzanne has worked with hundreds of children in over two decades in these settings:

  • Private yoga work with children
  • Yoga classes for:
    • Preschool
    • Elementary
    • Pre teen
    • Teen
    • Mom and tot
    • Church nurseries
    • Day care centers in the US and abroad
    • Child development center
    • Pre school, elementary, middle, and high Schools
    • 20 years of babysitting
    • private tutoring
    • yoga in elementary schools

Suzanne lives with her husband Japheth and daughter Quinn in Chestnut Hill Philadelphia.


  • 200 hour Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT)
  • YoKid Certification
  • Certified Reiki Shoden Level I Practitioner under Reiki Master Micha Rhodes (Usui Reiki Ryoho)
  • CPR, First Aid, and AED Certified
  • Master of Arts/Certificate of Advanced Study (MA/CAS) in School Psychology
  • Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Psychology and Management

Meet Japheth (Owner / Trainer / Instructor)

IMG_0640All of his life, Japheth has been involved in activity, athletics, and fitness, from doing chores on the farm in Lancaster County where he grew up, to playing on multiple sports teams at a local Philadelphia high school, to winning national and international medals in martial arts.

After receiving his MBA, Japheth followed a logical path of pursuing a career utilizing his degree. However, after working for years in various desk jobs he found out first hand the negative impacts they had on his physical and mental health. Despite his continued involvement in activity and fitness, he had chronic year round allergies. He gained weight, developed high blood pressure, and was told to go on blood pressure medication due to his sedentary work environment. He also was diagnosed with thyroid disease, which caused weight gain and low energy.  As a result of this suffering, he made the decision to turn his passion for health and fitness into his career, and he never looked back.

In 2008 Japheth began managing a CrossFit, mixed martial arts, and yoga center, where he was able to incorporate his business background and his love of teaching. From here he went on to become a personal trainer and manager at one of the largest fitness clubs in the country. Through many personal nutrition, lifestyle and training changes and working with an integrative doctor, Japheth was able to bring his blood pressure to within the optimal range, eliminating the need for medication, and to significantly improve his allergies and energy level.

Through his own personal experiences, Japheth discovered the importance of using a whole body approach with his clients, no matter the age or skill level. Japheth’s unique teaching style began to set him apart from other trainers and instructors, and he soon realized that to truly follow his passion he needed to leave the confines of corporate fitness and start his own studio. Water and Rock Studio was born.

Japheth is passionate about sharing his love for health and fitness and getting his clients results. He lives with his wife Suzanne and daughter Quinn in Chestnut Hill Philadelphia.


  • National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) (recognized as one of the top trainers in the country by the regional director of one of the largest publicly traded fitness companies in the United States)
  • Featured on CBS and FOX News
  • CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu purple belt under Royce Gracie (holding multiple national and international medals)
  • Muay Thai Coaching Certificate under Kru Sean Douglas
  • Israeli Krav Maga and Adaptive Close Quarter Combat Yellow Belt/Instructor Level 1 Certificate under Sean Stoopman (Moshe Katz)
  • Working towards 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training with master teacher Beryl Bender Birch
  • Certified Reiki Shoden Level I Practitioner under Reiki Master Micha Rhodes (Usui Reiki Ryoho)
  • Trained:
    • CEOs of international corporations
    • Leaders of fortune 500 companies, federal and local government, and non-profits
    • Television personalities
    • National Football League (NFL) players and employees
    • Mixed Martial Arts professional and amateur fighters
    • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu medalists at the local, national, and international levels
    • Military and law enforcement:
      • Police
      • SWAT
      • Marines
      • Secret Service
      • FBI
    • CPR, First Aid, and AED Certified
    • Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Marymount University
    • Bachelor of Arts (BA) in English from the University of Pennsylvania
    • Decorated multisport Germantown Friends School high school athlete and collegiate athlete

Water and Rock Studio Opens in Chestnut Hill Philadelphia

“Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong.” Lao-Tzu 600 B.C.


Water and Rock Studio’s vision is to cultivate a balance of strength and fluidity in our clients, empowering them to achieve their optimal mental and physical wellness.


Water and Rock Studio’s mission is to provide our clients with the knowledge and tools to optimize their health and fitness through:

  • comprehensive individualized health and fitness plans using proven and innovative techniques
  • whole body personalized training
  • specialized instruction in a variety of modalities:
    • functional fitness and mobility
    • mixed martial arts
    • self defense
    • yoga
  • nutrition coaching
  • lifestyle coaching
  • coordinated care with other health and wellness professionals