Studying the science of flexibility has been Dan Van Zandt's life's work.
He has been teaching the subject professionally for over 25 when he ran evidence-based stretching classes at his karate dojo - but he has been studying it ever since he started training in martial arts over 35 years ago.
Dan loved doing high kicks and I knew, both through being taught and from direct observation, that flexibility was necessary for kicking success.
While most children his age were watching cartoons and playing video games, he was reading as many books about stretching and human biology as he could get his hands on.
Dan was very fortunate to have martial arts instructors who possessed degrees in human physiology and physical education.
Some of the more notable people from whom he received extensive mentorship included Bill "Superfoot" Wallace and Thomas Kurz (author of Stretching Scientifically).
To date, Dan has achieved black belts in six different martial arts; as a competitor, he won gold medals at the Taekwondo World Games, European Taekwondo Championships, and more than ten national championships.
He was the head strength and conditioning coach for the England national karate team for five years, receiving multiple international coaching awards during his tenure and also winning three world full-contact karate championship titles as an athlete himself.
Dan holds multiple universities related to the human movement sciences, including a bachelor's degree in kinesiology and masters degrees in biomechanics and biological physics.
Currently working towards a PhD in neuromechanics, Dan also qualified as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), personal trainer, yoga teacher, and sports physical therapist.
Dan holds memberships with several academic and educational organisations, including the International Society of Biomechanics, the European Society of Biomechanics, the Biophysical Society, and the Royal Society of Biology.
Dan has delivered talks and workshops on flexibility training all over the world; his lessons are based on the Biomechanical Model of Flexibility, a pedagogical tool of his own creation that is arguably the world's first physics-based approach to flexibility training.
He has taught sports medicines teams at some of the world's most prestigious dance companies, including the Berlin State Ballet and Paris Opera Ballet.
Dan has lectured to undergraduate and postgraduate students at venerable higher education centres such as the University of Zurich, Humboldt University of Berlin, and University College London.