Monday, December 19, 2011

What's Most Important

I had a client come in. Wanted to get fit, and also use my coaching to help her with her anxiety. She's tried everything. She performs classical music and the amount of stress and pressure of performing and auditioning and competing at a high level were wearing on her and she felt something physical would help her fight this, along with building confidence, and work out some stress.

She told me she felt she needed a hardcore teacher. A bad ass who was in her face screaming. That's what she needed. Tough love. I asked her why she felt this way? She said her teachers tell her that's what she needs, that's already what she's used to, and its the only way to get good performances out of her. I asked her who told her that? Her teachers. I saw where all this anxiety was now coming from. I told her that's not the type of coach I was, and that's not what she needed.

I handed her a stick. I told her to hold on to it. Then I tried to rip it out of her hand aggressively. Every time I did, she braced and clenched. Even when I pretended to grab it, and feinted, she still clenched. When I came at her slowly, more politely, more respectfully, she relaxed and allowed me to move her around with the stick. I told her when people come at her this hard way, that's her natural reaction. Freeze, clench, stress, and react also aggressively. When I came at her respectfully and controlled, she allowed me to move her, we created a mutual bond of trust. I told her then that people will come at her in life this way, but she is also coming at herself this way as well, she is coming at herself without respect, impolitely, aggressively. She needed to be easier on herself.

I asked her what's the most important thing she needs to learn from this? What's the first thing she needs to learn? What does she need to get out of today?

She gave me varied answers. From relaxation and breathing, to learning how to exercise on her own, to maybe some martial arts moves as well. She thought martial arts seemed like a good form of exercise, that it may help her.

I told her all those things were important, but to me the most important thing is learning how to get up.

I told her to lie on the ground, and asked her if she knew how to get up without having someone kick her in the face? She realized she had no idea. The simplest thing, the thing taken most for granted.

I then demonstrated a way to get up without taking any damage.

I asked if she knew what I just showed her? She said I showed her how to get up.

I said no, I showed you how to rise against duress. Duress of any kind. Physical or mental or situational.

I showed her the same move again, this time holding weight. There was only one way to get up against direct pressure.

Performance training to me is all about being able to get up, rise to the occasion, or keep picking yourself back up, against any stress, pressure, or attack. Whether it be mental, physical, emotional, financial, spiritual.

I told her she would perform as she trained. If I screamed at her, she would just be good at taking orders. And then out there, she would only be good as the orders I gave her. She would be the best example of a  cog on a ship. Not the captain of the ship. It's not about taking orders, its about mastering yourself. To master yourself, you need to learn to rise against any adversity.

Get up.

About the Author:

Sam Y. is a Personal Trainer, Coach, Performane Enhancement Specialist, Corrective Enhancement Specialist, and holds multiple certifications. He is also an avid Martial Artist, training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Kickboxing, Boxing, and MMA. He is also the author of the popular fitness blog All Out Effort as well as the popular martial arts blog Inner BJJ. You can find him in the Los Angeles area personal training his clients, or at home annoying his wife, or on Facebook at his personal fitness page.
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