I own a gym. Lots of people do that. I’m not special. But I work my damndest to create an Ortgeist at Chaos that is a lot more than lifting stuff and losing pounds. Chaos, because of its members, is a culture and a second home.
I teach folks at my gym all week. I am a coach, a trainer, a teacher, a workout partner, a therapist, and a friend. Especially to those in my Karate program, I am also a lecturer. Most of the time they like this. On some nights though, when they aren’t working, aren’t meeting their potential, things get a little rough.
We had a physical illustration, an allegory of mass movement, in work ethic the other night. See, my group that night were laughing, carrying on, and barely going through the motions. This prompted a “let’s huddle up and talk” discussion. Anyone in martial arts can still remember to smile and not be a stoic boring old man (I might be talking to you, lighten up, smile a little), gets together with other people and sweat and talk and laugh and hit hard as hell. We grunt and laugh at a hellacious shot we should have blocked. We give each other a hard time, talk too much, laugh a lot, and look like children. So, the laughing and carrying on, isn’t what prompted a pow wow. It was the lack of producing any real work that struck a nerve.
I tell my students I only really, truly need a few things from them. Move efficiently. Stand strong. Hit Hard. Don’t get hit. We can argue and split hairs between styles and organizations, but that’s really about all there is. So we train to make those basic things happen really well. The thing is, if you are just doing movement to
the rhythmic beat of a bored instructor you sure as shit aren’t learning the things I mentioned. And if you are disengaged and unwilling to take what an engaged and educated instructor is trying to pour into your capable brain, it irritates me.
So I gave my students a grueling physical task. I had this done earlier that day myself with my workout partners. I am mean, but I’m not hypocritical. I did not participate this time though. I told my students I was not, at that moment, their teacher either. I was their coach. If you don’t know the difference, I hope you are not training people. I told them they needed to lean on each other, look out for each other. Because that would not be my role at this time. My role was to ensure they knew they wouldn’t die, where to puke, that they better not think about quitting, and to make sure no corners were cut.
The last person was getting ready to finish the last lap. We all came together and finished with him. We huddled up after and cheered and applauded the work they achieved. We demonstrated what hard work can do. What you can achieve. The AMAZING POTENTIAL EACH ONE OF US HAVE.
I told them I never doubted if they would finish. That was never the question. I knew they would. It was simply:
What attitude they would have on the journey?
Whether they would try and cheat or be honest.
Whether they would do extra laps to ensure a team mate kept motivated.
Whether they would learn what they were capable of, or blame me for making them work.
Whether they were a victim or a conqueror.
My students have been KILLING it since this night. We laugh, and play, and carry on. We also produce work, become stronger, prove our capability.
So let me ask you, are you a Victim? or a Conqueror?