February 14, 2012
By Ned Kehde
Last year Brent Chapman of Lake Quivira, Kansas, purchased a copy of In-Fisherman's 2011 "Bass Guide."
As he perused it, the story about Travis Perret entitled "Pain Free Fishing" caught Chapman's eye. (This a link to the Internet edition of the article: http://www.in-fisherman.com/2011/05/30/pain-free-fishing/)
Chapman, 39, has been a professional tournament angler for 18 years, plying primarily the Bassmaster trails, as well as some FLW events and a few other venues. He has competed in 10 Bassmaster Classics and four FLW Championships, winning more than $1,438,303 in both circuits. He has also won three Bassmaster events, and across both tours, he has garnered 26 top-10 finishes. On Feb. 24, Chapman will compete in his 11th Classic.
Perret of Overland Park, Kansas, is a personal trainer and exercise therapist specializing in chronic-pain therapy. From 2004 to 2008, he was director of The Egoscue Method Clinic of Kansas City. Now he is an Egoscue affliate with a private practice, working in conjunction with Henry Marquardt, who is a chiropractor in Overland Park, Kansas.
Perret's affiliation with Egoscue began after he graduated in 1998 with a degree in exercise science from the University of Kansas, where he also competed as a decathlete on the track team.
As his undergraduate career came to an end, Perret thought about pursuing a master's degree in physical therapy. But after much deliberation, he decided to study at Pete Egoscue's clinic in San Diego.
From Egoscue, Perret mastered the theories and methods for subduing pain by using body alignment exercises. He also learned about exercises aimed at improving the physical and mental performance of athletes, which Egoscue calls PatchFitness.
After Perret completed his training period, he worked for Egoscue in San Diego, Stamford, Connecticut, Tampa, Florida, and Kansas City for eight years. During this time, he worked with such notable athletes as Jennifer Capriati, a professional tennis player, John Lynch, a professional football player, Mark Brunell, a professional football player, Troy Glaus, a professional baseball player, Scott Wedman, a professional basketball player, and the University of Nebraska volleyball team.
Perret's first encounter with the pains that afflict anglers occurred on Feb. 14, 2006, and that was with me. Since then he has helped Kevin Hawk of Guntersville, Alabama, and Stacey King of Reeds Spring, Missouri. King has been competing in the big-time bass tournaments for 23 years. Hawk is beginning his third year of competing on the FLW circuit. (For more on Kevin Hawk's relationship with Perret, see http://kramergonefishing.com/2011/03/03/kevin-hawk-fishing-has-been-a-pain-no-more/ )
Most of the time, Perret can work with anglers who send him photographs and videos of themselves. From that information, as well as information that he receives from e-mails and telephone conversations, he can develop a series of exercises that will stop the chronic pain. He works with Hawk via the telephone and e-mail, and he visited King once at his home, but the rest of their contacts have been either on the telephone or with e-mail.
In July of 2011, Chapman and Perret crossed paths after a seminar that Chapman presented at Rogers Sporting Goods, Liberty, Missouri. During this encounter, they made plans to meet again in early August.
When they met the second time, Perret explained his method and how it would help Chapman as a professional tournament angler. Chapman agreed to try it.
In August, Perret began working with Chapman and his wife, Bobbi, two to three times a week for an hour at each session. They focused on a number of rigorous exercises aimed at preventing fatigue and pain from confounding Chapman during the extremely demanding hours he has to endure when he is competing in a bass tournament.
Perret notes that Chapman's wife added a significant and beneficial element to the workouts. She encouraged him when the sessions became difficult, which they often did. What's more, her flexibility and posture provided a model for her husband to emulate.
Because Chapman has not been afflicted with chronic pains during his 18-year career, the series of exercises that Perret designed for him were a hardcore physical workout, revolving around strength and endurance. They were different than the therapeutic exercises that he created to alleviate the chronic pains that have plagued Hawk and King.
Chapman's exercises were also designed to focus on proper body alignment and posture, which most physical trainers aren't concerned with or aren't aware of. This focus on strength, endurance, posture and alignment is the method that Perret learned when he was working with football players for Pete Egoscue in San Diego.
But the exercises that Perret created for Chapman focused on the unique demands tournament fishing puts on the human body. Perret finds that an angler's body is often adversely affected by the pounding and jarring that occurs during high-speed boat rides, by standing on one leg while operating a trolling motor, and by whipping a fishing rod for hours on end. During a long day on the water, gravity also works on the angler's body: his neck, shoulders, back, hips, knees, ankles and feet become misaligned. When the alignment of an angler's body is askew, pain is likely to erupt, which affects the angler's physical and mental performance.
Chapman is in better physical shape than the vast majority of tournament anglers. For instance, he competed last September in a minor triathlon, which consisted of a 500-meter swim, nine-mile bike race and a three-mile run, and he reported that he felt great as he crossed the finishing line in one hour and 16 minutes.
According to Chapman, competing in a bass tournament is considerably different than participating in an hour-and-a-quarter triathlon. A Bassmaster Elite tournament is a multiple-day marathon, which, unbeknownst to most observers, can be both physically and mentally fatiguing. Chapman says that it normally takes him several days to recover from a tournament.
Perret says strength and endurance is one of Chapman's physical assets, which is reflected in his abilities to compete in the triathlon. But he does have some problems with flexibility and his posture. For example, his neck, shoulders, back and hips are often rounded forward, which Perret calls flexion. And his posture woes can eventually cause chronic pain to erupt. Perret notes that Chapman's posture problems have developed gradually for 39 years, and it usually takes a substantial amount of work and time to rectify what has occurred to the musculoskeletal system across those many years.
On Feb. 1, I was invited by Perret and the Chapmans to watch a workout session. For an hour, Perret lead them through 35 exercises. Some were yoga postures, some were traditional ones such as push ups and sit ups, and others were from Egoscue's repertoire of exercises that focus on specific muscles. It was a rigorous hour of work for both of the Chapmans.
Before, during and after this session -- even when he was painfully struggling to complete a series of sit ups -- Chapman regularly proclaimed that he was in the best mental and physical shape that he can remember being in.
At the end of their workout, Chapman mentioned that his confidence level had reached an all-time high. Even though some of their workouts had been extremely grueling, Chapman and his wife declared without hesitation that their six months of working with Perret had been fun and astonishingly rewarding.
Perret noted that their six-month aim was to have Chapman at the top of his game mentally and physically when he wields his last cast at every tournament in 2012 -- especially at the Classic, where the weather and all of the hoopla can be extremely trying and distracting.
Perret contends that a strong body can create a strong mind. Likewise, a strong mind creates a strong body. If Chapman keeps working as hard as he did from mid-August to Feb. 2, he will eventually reach the strong-mind, strong-body pinnacle, Perret says.
On Feb. 2, the Chapmans had their last off-season workout with Perret. At the end of this session, Perret gave Chapman a series of what he called maintenance exercises that he advised him to do at the end of every day that he was on the water throughout his 2012 tournament season, which commenced on Feb. 6 and runs until Sept. 8.
To Perret and the Chapmans' delight, Brent Chapman's 2012 tournament season began with an auspicious start. He won the Bassmaster Bass Pro Shops Central Open tournament at Lewisville Lake, Texas, on Feb. 12.
(Anglers can contact Perret at 913-424-9354 or view his Web site at http://www.felixfishing.com/)
The five photographs below focus on Brent and Bobbi Chapman doing some of the 35 exercises Perret gave them on Feb. 1: