Do you want to know a secret? Traveling in Baja California has many hidden secrets and they are often found in the most unlikely places. As it happened one day I found myself in the lovely town of Loreto in Baja Sur on the Gulf of California. Expecting the quaint historic community atmosphere, I was startled by the growling engines of hundreds of Harley Davidsons. Sunlight flashed off gleaming chrome and the men and women rode proudly through town. Over 300 motorcycles filled the historic town for the 2014 National Hog Rally. It stirred the community into an unusual movement of sight and sound.
Stories are funny entities, they jump out at you when you least expect it. I thought it unfortunate I had to return home and couldn't pursue the story I knew to be hiding here. However, I was moved to take one last swing by the picturesque waterfront on my way out of town. A group of bikers were standing in front of the elegant La Misión Hotel. On a whim, I pulled into a rare parking space, gathered my courage and walked up to the first available rider. He was buff, with his hair pulled back in a pony tail and was covered in leather. I introduced myself, saying, "I think there is a story here." He grinned and said, "Do you think?" Out of the hundreds of Hog riders, I happened to walk up to Claudio, the Director for this national rally. He handed me his card, I nearly choked. He was also Master of the Mayan Fitness Secret. Yup, here is the story.
Two different faces. How did a Hog rider come to be a fitness guru in Cabo San Lucas, while claiming to know the secrets of the Mayan. This true story would read that like a Clive Cussler novel. "I do have to start many years ago," he said, "otherwise it won't make any sense. I nodded my go-ahead. "I learned everything from my grandmother Emma. I was surrounded by women of the Yucatan and was raised in a matriarchal home. My grandmother had a profound impact on my life. The women who helped in the house would tell me about what they knew. They would perform healings on me when I was sick. The Mayan thought that there was an 'original beating' or natural rhythm for human beings." Western people, he said, live by the clock with its 60 minutes and 12 months and that “beat” is not natural. "The Mayan based their health on the movement of nature and the moon's thirteen cycles." He stopped to make sure I understood before going on, "IK, is a Mayan word for breath. My Nana was my teacher and she believed as the Mayan believed that IK was the spirit that moves through everything and gives life to all creation. They considered it the hidden essence of solar energy." Two different faces, one breath.
"I lived in this all woman household and at one point when I was fourteen I begged my family to let me join the Mexican Marines. I wanted to be a tough guy. After three years in the military, I learned how to go beyond the thoughts of my limitations. It is true, I got tough, but I was also a very gentle man. I went on to college and became a chef in Cabo San Lucas. Being fit was a passion and Bruce Lee was my mentor. I saw that breath rules life. One day a few young guys saw me doing pushups. They challenged me." Claudio smiled, "They never had a chance." It wasn't long before men from all over came to challenge him. "I was beating everyone; Navy Seals, Army Rangers, Police, Firemen. No one actually even knew my name, they came to Cabo to challenge the Pushup Guy." If this were not enough Claudio was freelancing in the real estate boom making “tons of money and I was on the top of the world." He paused saying, “Still there was something I was overlooking. I was at the peak of my life and I still wasn't really happy." And with Claudio's statement, I was certain that the story was about to change.
Screeching brakes, grinding metal on asphalt was all he remembered. He came out of a 22 hour coma to realize his bike had been T-boned and he was in really serious condition. "I had things down my throat and my body felt like a sandbag. As consciousness returned I went into a total rage. How could this happen to the Pushup Guy?" He spoke with deep sincerity, "My ego was totally crushed and my perception was changed radically. The doctors didn't give much hope about his brain functioning properly or the use of his legs. "They just said I'd have to deal with it." So, he dealt with it one day at a time and didn't give up. He brought everything together in a powerful healing process; the teaching of his Mayan grandmother, the secret of IK, and his military training. He professed, "Today I can say, it is the best thing that ever happened to me. It has changed the intention of my work with people. I know the secret of health and my life is about empowering people to go beyond their idea of being limited."
Picking up his helmet, he said as he fastened the strap, "We are headed out on a ride now. It was wonderful talking with you and I know we can make a beautiful story together." The ancient Mayan secrets flow through Claudio's life as fitness trainer and Harley guy. "We must defeat fear, by remaining totally devoted to the moment. The secret is IK." As it turns out big bikes and conscious breath are important companions. So, if you are hankering a true adventure, outfit that Hog and take a run south. Meet the secrets of the road less traveled into Baja California.
Claudio Cabo - website
Photos courtesy of Claudio Cabo