We all lose our ways sometimes, what matters is that we find our way back to continue our journey.
It all started today, as I started conducting a class, the most amazing, yet, disturbing thing happened. It was a real wake-up call for me. As an instructor I have always followed one simple saying, “You teach what you can do”. Unfortunately, today I failed to follow that saying. I didn’t think his day would come, I might’ve known it subconsciously, but I never paid much attention to it and that was my mistake, because it did arrive and I failed myself, but like I said, it was a wake-up call for me.
The titles of instructor/teacher/coach, etc mean something. Individuals with this title have a responsibility towards whom they impart knowledge on. The knowledge should not only be of excellent quality and effective, but it should also be something that the instructor him/herself can actually apply and have in depth understanding of.
I’m gonna go back a few years here. When I started my training I was a child at 8 years old. I trained through my teenage years and I was obsessive in my training. I didn’t let anything distract me or hold me back when I was training and even though I didn’t completely neglect it, not even my education was given that much of an importance by me. I would train every second of free time I’d get. My training not only consisted of combat training, but exercises too. From Cardio to Calisthenics/Body-weight training to Weight Training to Functional Workouts, etc. My diet was strict and I stuck to it for years. Everything in my life was centered around my training, everything was scheduled according to my training schedule.
This continued until the year 2010, before I had other things to worry about in my life. When I returned home from my training, certain events led me to start teaching what I had trained in over the years, I had to be practical and start making money, doing nothing but training all day and night wasn’t gonna feed me.
That is when the downfall started, but it wasn’t noticeable… at first.
Now leaving my training obsession, I shifted it to getting my career up. When it comes to my life decisions, I’m the kind of individual, that focuses a 100% on one thing, one goal first and I don’t let go until it’s done.
But my training was still number one, and I had to adapt and evolve. Learn to divide my attention and focus on two things simultaneously. As time passed, I did my best to do exactly that. I tried to manage my training and my workouts with trying to get my career up and running. It wasn’t perfect, but it was holding up. I was holding up.
It went on relatively smoothly for the next two years, but as the responsibilities of my career began to grow in numbers, the time for my training and workouts got shorter and shorter, to the point where, by the beginning of 2013, I usually had to make a choice, whether to train in Combat techniques or workout. I would either be too tired to do both or got time to do only one of the two things… or so I thought at the time.
That led me to choosing my combat training most of the time. They were less exhausting to me. This was my mistake. A big mistake. I now realize that lack of time management skills led me to do that. I could’ve easily fit a 15 minutes workout in a day. I had 15 minutes. So, by the end of 2013, I was mostly focused more on combat training and only a few exercises, like bench-press, push-ups, crunches and pull-ups. I maintained my diet throughout all this, but diet without exercise isn’t that effective, it helps you maintain your level at max, but overtime it inevitably goes down nonetheless.
So, the above continued till mid 2014, then one day, it was in the summer and summers in India can get scorching hot. Hell is cooler than India in summer. Anyway, one day I came home from my class and there it was, I had no energy left (I wonder why..). So my first stupid inaction of the year 2014 happened. I just came home, washed up and went straight to bed, slept till 10 in the morning, it was a solid 12 hrs sleep, I do mean solid, like if you had hit me with a brick on the face, I wouldn‘t even have noticed it. First time I had slept that much, that deep. Next day, It was a Sunday, I got up, brushed my teeth and there lay two choices in front of me, go back to bed or get some workout done. Guess which one I chose? That’s right, I made my second stupid choice and went to bed. I wasn’t tired by the way, I was just too lazy.
From there, it was a series of similarly stupid choices, which by the end of 2014, led me to stop just about every exercise I used to do. In the end of 2014 and all of 2015, all I did, was an hour of combat training and just a few major muscle groups stretches before that. Just to note, this wasn’t some average individual trying to get into shape, this was an instructor who was supposed to teach people how to do that.
I kept thinking I’m still in good shape, blah-blah-blah and was blind to what I was doing to myself, how I was losing everything I worked hard for over a decade, in just a few months. I never felt tired while conducting my classes, so I thought I was in good shape, but what I failed to realize is that majority of my students/clients, were either beginners and hadn’t worked out before in their lives or the fact that THEY WEREN”T MY INSTURCTORS, I WAS THEIRS. I was stupidly comparing myself to them when I should’ve compared myself to the actual individuals who are at their peak level or at least should’ve compared myself to my younger self.
Today all of those mistakes came back to haunt me, when my lack of stamina and endurance got me tired by running a few kilometers. The guy who used to run, not jog, run on the beach every morning with 20 kgs on him for 2 hours, got tired in 30 minutes without wearing any weights in front of the security personnel I was supposed to be training to get in the best shape of their lives.
The most embarrassing moment of my life yet, was today. But I’m glad it happened, as it opened my eyes to my past and present mistakes and my lazy choices early on, before I did further damage to myself. I’m almost in my mid 20’s and today made me realize that my young physiology is not going to help me forever. I am responsible for myself and when I get to the point in my life where my body doesn’t function the same way it does now, it’ll be the things that I do now that will help me to not crumble and instead be a physically fit and active individual who can enjoy life on his two legs.
After, today’s jolt to my brain, I made myself a promise, to get myself to the point where I’d reached before all this stupidity and then exceed that level. If I don’t have time, I’ll make time to take care of myself first. No more shortcuts. No more easy way outs. I’m going to become worthy of the title of an Instructor and accept the responsibilities that come with it.
So I’ve given myself a deadline of 3 months to get my stamina and endurance back to my previous level. Then after achieving that, I’ll continue to get it higher and start working on other aspects like muscle mass and strength development immediately. By the end of this year, I will achieve my set goals and continue to improve further.
There are more than one lessons here that I’ve learned today, lessons that I’ve relearned and have a new level of respect for.
-One of them is that just because you’re an instructor, doesn’t mean you get to just let go of yourself and your responsibilities as an instructor, your responsibilities towards yourself, your clients/students and your teachings.
-The other one being, that an instructor should first and foremost continuously make him/herself better each and every day of their lives. It’s a journey, with many goals that you keep completing for self-betterment and to make yourself a better teacher.
-This is probably the most important and this is something I always tend to live my life by and apparently the one that I have relearned in the harshest way possible for an instructor, (being embarrassed in front of the ones I was teaching), it is to maintain balance in whatever you do. That includes training. All I did was focus on just one type of training and let my physical fitness level fall in the process, I regressed. Whether you train Martial Arts, Sport Combat or Self Defense or anything else really, your physical fitness should never be neglected, always strive to do better.
– Finally, a thought came to my mind which made me be determined to get back to my level and beyond. A great teacher helps mold a great future for the ones they influence.
– Not to mention an obvious lesson, that being lazy and procrastinating doesn’t pay off in the long run.
Like I said in the beginning of this article, we all lose our way sometimes, what matters is that we find our way back. We are humans, we are flawed, we make mistakes, but it’s the repeating of those mistakes, that we should avoid, and I personally, will try my best to do so in the days to come.
That’s it. Thank you for reading.