In Part One of my story, I shared how the formative experiences of my childhood and my first job put me on the path to a more fulfilling and healthy life. The wonderful mentorship I experienced as a child contrasted with the experience of my incredibly dysfunctional soul-squashing first “real” job, but both helped to form the totality of who I am today.
Soon after I resigned, I resolved to find my way back to the vitality and strength I had before that year of beating my body down. I discovered yoga and loved how it made me feel. The combination of breath control and rigorous flexibility training counteracted the stress and unmanageable strain on my body.
I got hooked!
I practiced every day until I felt normal again. I loved it so much I found a 200 hour certification program so I could learn to help others feel this way too.
At this time I was using yoga as my primary exercise, along with judo, hiking and running, but I had not been doing the intensive physical training as I had done when I was practicing gymnastics.
I was more concerned with mobility and health, especially since my Dad was struggling with his arthritis problems. I wanted to prevent that from being my fate as well. This was particularly relevant because of all the hard falls and sparring while playing judo.
After a couple years of teaching yoga, I started to learn more about Traditional Oriental Medicine. This approach helped me immensely and, as usual, I thought to pursue the training as best I could.
I considered going back to the U.S. to attend acupuncture school, but because I was doing so well teaching yoga and English, I felt I should stay in Japan.
Also (and here’s the real reason I stayed) I had just met my soon-to-be wife, Chika. Leaving Japan just then wasn’t in the cards.
Man on a Mission
Even though I was doing very well with yoga, I continued to seek out other training methods that could help me and my students.
Just like everything else in this modern age, a little bit of Googling pointed me to a new system of training. I found CST and I was intrigued by its focus on joint mobility and strength, and I felt that would help me in my martial arts and personal training. I eventually progressed through the system all the way to becoming a Faculty Coach.
I found that CST training fit where I was at the time, but more importantly I gained some long lasting close friendships with intelligent, passionate people who showed me that there are many ways to approach teaching and sharing physical fitness.
It was an important step towards finding the best way to share my experiences and help others to achieve their goals.
It’s also how I met Jarlo and Andy, and you can see what shenanigans arose from that!
We’ll talk a bit more later about the Genesis of GMB and the specifics of how we formed to fight the forces of evil that no single hero can withstand…
…umm, that might be plot line for the Avengers, but you know what I’m saying!
How Does It Feel To Be Back
As you know, much of my current training style is influenced by gymnastic theory. It’s funny to me that I’ve returned to the training style that I had when I was a kid! After my knee injury, I thought I had left that world behind.
(Of course, there’s no way I could train and perform exactly like I did back then. I don’t have the time to train six hours a day, and even if I did I’m not sure I could survive past the first week! I’m old!)
I’m not sure if people know this, but contrary to popular belief, I don’t have 20+ years experience training with rings and parallettes. Actually, it was only about 3 years ago that Jarlo sent me a pair of gymnastic rings as a gift, and triggered my ring training practice again.
I started training again, going over the basics, and trying to pick up where I left off so many years ago.
As I was playing around and ENJOYING my training, a “lightbulb” turned on in my head, and I realized that it was possible to do ring training and make improvements without having to commit to hours and hours of intensive training.
This got me thinking about how I could apply this to my clients’ training programs. Even if they weren’t competing in a ring training event, they’d still gain many benefits by training with rings.
I started a few clients with ring training, and I was happy to see that they were seeing the same benefits! I refined and adjusted (and continue to adjust) the programs based on their feedback and my observations. Successes continued to pile up, and I knew I’d struck gold.
Gold Medal Bodies that is! Ha. Ha.
Do What You Want, Be Who You Are
I’m so impressed by the people of the GMB community. We’ve been around now just over two years and it’s amazing to see how quickly we’ve struck a chord with so many different people.
We started with a simple desire to share our methods of training and hoped that people would find it useful. It’s turned out to become so much more as our clients began describing how much they were enjoying the training. For many, they noted a rediscovery of why they choose to exercise in the first place. Wanting to look good, or be a bit better in your pickup basketball games are good things, but those superficial goals tend to be less and less motivating as we get on in life.
I’ve been working incredibly hard on the rings these past few months in preparation for filming R2, and I was getting frustrated that I couldn’t perform some skills that I had done so easily as a teenager. I was beating myself up about it and thinking “if only I could add another hour or two to my sessions, I’ll get it.”
Then I realized how silly that was!
I’m not a competitive gymnast anymore. I’m a Dad and I have much more important priorities in my life. Spending 6 more hours a week to try and get a perfect 10 on a routine is just not what’s its about anymore.
Our goals of strength and fitness are universal, everyone has it in them to improve their health and feel better, but you can only last so long training for a six pack, or training just to beat yourself up because you think that’s what you have to do.
Eventually you need to be clear about your WHY – you need to identify your purpose for training, and what that means to you.
Often, it’s much deeper than just a good physique or bragging rights.
I train hard because it makes me a better person for my family. I know that I’m doing something good for myself and that reflects on my attitude and relationships. My improved health and spiritual growth helps me to be a better father, husband, friend, and coach.
Enough About Me
I’ve shared quite a few things about myself over the last few weeks. I’m not usually so open about my background and experiences, but I hope that by sharing my background, you’ll be able to relate to at least a few aspects of it.
We all have those moments where we must make a decision that will have a major impact on our lives. When we’re young, these crossroad moments can determine the direction and path in our lives. When we’re a bit older and more settled, these moments can help us to a more fulfilling existence and away from the doldrums of a purposeless life.
Over the last twenty years I’ve been reminded time and time again of the importance of good teachers/mentors/friends and the joy of discovering/re-discovering what I really want to do in my life. I’ve had to overcome challenges and keep pressing on despite feeling like crap. And most importantly, I’ve realized that if I am feeling like crap all the time, that I have to make a change!
I hope that if you relate, that you can use my example as a way to get going and move towards where you will feel free, happy and healthy.
We’ve got a fantastic community of people sharing their stories, trials, and tribulations in Alpha Posse. We all offer insights into how best to train and improve while still having the responsibilities of real life.
Best of all, the enthusiasm and camaraderie is infectious and can offer so much to helping you achieve your goals.
It’s not for everyone, but if you’re Alpha material, we’d love to have you join us.