Conor McGregor ‘inspired’ By Young Fan In Wheelchair

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Feeling constrained by the limits of the martial art, Portal soon began experimenting with other disciplines. While dabbling, he came to the “epiphany” that he wasn’t satisfied with any one realm, but was obsessed with movement as a whole. So, Portal says, he embarked on a years-long journey to find a movement teacher. “After countless searches, I could not find anyone who HONESTLY could represent that title,” he writes on his website. He decided he would become the movement teacher the world lacked, by continuing his travels and curating knowledge from experts in an array of fields.

Portal’s old blog recounts stints training with former U.S. junior national gymnastics team coach Christopher Sommer, balance expert Claude Victoria, and circus performer Yuval Ayalon, as well as a “crazy year” spent working as a physical theater performer in Bangkok and Berlin. He has cited as influences “strength sensei” Charles Poliquin and paleo patriarch Robb Wolf (who, Portal told me, sent him money to keep his capoeira school afloat when funds were tight). Over the years, he’s practiced boxing, jiu jitsu, and yoga; learned from parkourists, dancers, and osteopaths. All the while, he read voraciously—about speed, coordination, “the riddle of the fight”—and documented his evolving method on a blog and, later, on Facebook and Instagram.

In the mid-2000s, Portal founded a new training space in Haifa where he and his devoted capoeira students began experimenting with movement outside of the martial art. He built a “special-ops unit” of movers, he told me, doubling the gym fees and “eliminating all the unnecessary ... the people who weren’t willing to train many hours a day, six or seven days a week.” When he began traveling frequently to teach hand-balancing workshops and perform physical theater, he closed the school. But his students weren’t content to stop training; one of his closest students, Odelia Goldschmidt, started a small training group in a local park called “The Freaks.” Shortly thereafter, with Portal’s blessing, her brother Roye opened the movement facility in Tel Aviv, and Portal started a mentorship program to pass on his methods. (Each of the 40 mentees check in with Portal regularly, receive personalized programming, and attend a couple week-long camps each year.)

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