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People On The Move - John Nies
06/27/2010 - By Teja Anderson
QUEST FOR INNER PEACE
John Nies grew up in Ocean Township with his two sisters Kim and Tara and younger brother Eric (yes, the guy from MTV’s The Real World), his parents, mother Anna May, a pre-school teacher and father Jack who was one of the longest running referees in NBA history. John Attended Ocean Township High School after his experiences in private school were not so pleasant.
“I went to RBC for two semesters and I got abused and hazed on the bus. They did that to freshmen then. What happened was that I had a reputation as great athlete who played soccer and baseball so they wanted me to play football. I made the mistake of telling them that my mother wouldn’t let me play football and the abuse began. It was brutal; it was embarrassing and humiliating. They would make me get down on my knees and bark like a dog at the girls that walked by,” John recalls ruefully. Luckily, the cliché is true - that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. John is now a very strong person; physically, spiritually and mentally and he harbors no ill will against his former tormentors. “I don’t believe in revenge. I am a big believer in cause and effect; what you put out there comes back. I believe in karma,” John says adamantly.
John did end up playing football and soon established himself in 1985 as one of our area’s most notable athletes as an all-state wide-receiver and the captain of the statefinalist Spartans. While attending the University of Arizona in 1990 he was drafted into the NFL by the Buffalo Bills where he played for one year as a punter. After a stint in Arena football John had careers as a fashion model, actor and host of numerous ESPN programs. Although he enjoyed the spotlight and the fame he was not fulfilled. “I was a mess. I was lost and confused and living a very selfish, narcissistic, hedonistic life. I wasn’t looking for love and I wasn’t really even capable of love. I had planned on being a bachelor my whole life; but God had different plans,” John laughs.
His life changed when on a visit from L.A. he first locked eyes with his future wife, Michelle at The Handle Bar in NYC - although they didn’t speak. He saw her there again a year later and although they still didn’t say a word to each other he managed to get his number to her through a mutual friend. She called him and three months later she was pregnant with their first daughter, Nicole (now 14)! The Nies have three other children; Michael (10), Jack (8) and Juliet (5). If John had his way there would be many more. “I could have 15 kids. I love children, I love being a dad. I love their personalities, how they interact. My most favorite thing in the world is kids.”
John’s transformation from “Shallow Hal” to “Zen Life Coach” began to take root when he started studying in earnest with Grand Master MacDam, a Vietnamese doctor who upon first meeting him in 1995 had immediately seen through his outer bravado and ego and into the underlying insecurity and self-doubt that held him hostage. He offered to take him on as a pupil.
It took years for John to be ready to commit but he did and in 2002 founded the Power Center in Red Bank with his brother Eric. John focused all of his energy and experience into developing a new approach to fitness rooted in ancient wisdom while acknowledging the benefits of modern day information, a technique he refers to as 'East Meets West.'
John developed The Seven Disciplines™, an insightful approach to helping people find inner peace and balance while fulfilling their full potential. “I took the lessons from him (Grand Master MacDam) that gave me peace and happiness; that is a big part of what life is,” John acknowledges. In addition to his
highly regarded sports specific training program for athletes, John also specializes in helping people overcome weight challenges, substance abuse, insomnia and depression.
John’s brother Eric is currently in Vietnam studying with Grand Master MacDam and will be bringing back his experiences to share with the center.
FAVORITE MUSICAL GROUP
“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”
People who have no regard for the welfare of our earth
THREE PEOPLE YOU WOULD LIKE TO HAVE DINNER WITH
My paternal grandfather and both of my great grandfathers
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