Blog #5 – The Method to My Madness
This Blog was written several years ago and posted on an alternative thread. I am sharing because I feel there are two things to be learned from it. A better understanding of who I am (and a reminder to myself to be more aware of my demeanor and how it may effect others) and also the importance of reaching out to me if you ever feel uncomfortable about my teaching methods or practices:)
This week I feel that I should address the method to my madness and why some people will never get me. I really never had any idea that somebody could actually feel this bitter about me. I am truly sorry that you feel that way and if you ever want to talk or email me I would really like to hear why you feel the way you do. I do listen to criticism and I always try to improve my ways.
Anonymous said– “ I don’t know whether you do this on purpose or you really are that ignorant?”
I would have to say yes to that, and in many ways I am. If you know my past you already know that I am not the “sharpest tool in the shed” but I continually try to improve myself. This is why I wish if you had a problem you would not let it grow into hate. My intentions have always been for good. My door is always open and if you feel like you cannot talk to me there are always other instructors you can talk to; they always voice everyone’s concerns to me.
Where do leadership abilities come from? I believe a leader’s skills are made up of his past experiences and his own personality. My personal influences have been my instructors in the Martial Arts and my instructors in the Marine Corps. My style of leadership and coaching reflects my past. Throughout the years of running my own school my style has changed and I now feel like I have found the key to keeping the majority of students happy and striving for their goals.
The 1,2,3’s are how I explain my system to other school owners and instructors who have tried to duplicate my success in running a school. When a student starts training there are three categories that they generally fall into.
1’s- Students that want to work out in a safe environment, learn effective skills that could help them in a real-life confrontation and be part of a family. This person trains an average of 2–3 times a week. 1’s get to come in and train and get pushed to strive for more. They are rarely pushed out of their comfort zone by anyone but themselves.
2’s- Students that want to take it higher and want to test themselves in the competition arena. These students trains 3-5 days a week and their competition goal is secondary to their life goals. 2’s get pushed out of their comfort zone and they do feel a little of what Anonymous would call the “Army General”
3’s – Students that give up their life and everything revolves around their goal of being a fighter or grappler. They do not care where they work or live as long as they can train. This is their primary goal and everything is focused on achieving that. This student trains 6 days a week at least 2–4 hours a day. 3’s feel the full wrath of the “Army General” they hear me and feel me 24 hours a day 7 days a week. I call them when they are at home, tell them what they should be eating, playing, how they should be sleeping, etc….
As you already can see that I am the hardest on my 3’s. I know what it takes to excel in all the things I teach because I have done it. I am not a coach who will tell you to do it without having done it. I am a 3 and when I realized my goal of becoming the best, I did everything I could to make that happen. I even gave up a long successful career in the Military to chase the dream. You can imagine what everyone around me thought about that decision. As most everyone already knows, things happen that take you away form your goals and you have to be able to change and roll with the punches of life.
3’s demand the most from me and to get quality results I have to give a lot of my personal time. In the past few years I had given up on the 3 ‘s and focused on building my 1’s and 2’s. When a 3 doesn’t reach his goals and dreams, what happens then? Some move on like I said, searching for that Magic Pill. Some focus on their personal and professional lives and some become 2’s balancing their competition lives with their personal lives.2’s are what I recommend every 3 should be unless they actually want to invest 3-5 years of their life spent being a bum, giving up on their personal life for the pursuit in their goals knowing that few ever reach it.
If you ever want to jump into the 3 group you have to personally come talk to me and now I make you sign another waiver that basically says things like – I will not cry or whine, that I will do the best that I can and understand that I will be pushed beyond what I think is possible. The waiver goes on to say what I expect from my 3’s and what they can expect form me.
My academy has Evolved from a fight club to an Academy, a school of learning where everyone no matter what their goals are can come. I have never gone out and said “look who I created” or “look what I have done.” If you walk in my school there are a few pictures of me but there are no trophy cases or “I love me” walls. There are also none in my house. You do not see any of the trophies I have acquired throughout the years; I give them to my Mom because she cares more about them than I do. I think the important accolades are the ones you get in life.
To me, a few examples of some of the champions that I have produced would be the students who trained and learned the real lessons of Evolve Academy. Masai McDougal – went to college on a full academic scholarship, received his law degree and passed the Bar to become a Lawyer. Nakapan Phungephorn – while training and competing at the professional level finished up his degree in accounting and is now a Comptroller of a major corporation. Tommy Chuckerel who became Montgomery County Head Police Defensive Instructor. Garo Nalabandian and Jason Dunbar who became Military Officers. Emil Daubon who became a Special Forces Soldier. Mark Coleman, John Park and Alan Ross who are successful business owners. Or Tyler Malys who not only lost 50 pounds, but has become a friendly fun person to hang out with. The list goes on and on. These are the real champions, the ones who can take the lessons of the Martial Arts and use them in their professional and personal life. If I had a trophy case these are the stories that would be displayed.
The name Evolve was chosen because everything in the Martial Arts and life is constantly changing. Adapting to those changes is something I have grown accustomed to and now welcome. The Evolve Academy of 2002 is nothing like the Evolve of 2020. Many of my former students come back and are amazed at the changes.
PS- A more fitting name would be Marine Corps Drill Instructor not Army General 🙂