While trying to define what exactly our student population consisted of we came up with 3 basic categories:
“Future Champions” refers to our kid’s kickboxing and judo program.
“Elite Fighters” refers to the students who compete or are working towards competing in muay thai or MMA.
But the bulk of our students do not actually fight, and don’t intend to for that matter. Their journey does not happen in the ring. Their fight is not against a trained opponent. These are “Everyday Warriors.” They are English professors, soccer moms, construction workers, doctors, and mechanics. In short we see about every walk of life come to our gym and put on gloves. And while it is not always easy to keep a consistent training schedule during an increasingly busy societal pace these people still manage to carve out the time and energy to participate in what most of the world considers a pretty brutal combative sport. And these classes are incredibly difficult. All the while they do this KNOWING they will never actually compete.
So why do they come?
I hear people explain that they love the physical exercise. I also hear them say that they need to get out their stress and frustrations. And of course, they talk about the comradery and family feeling between their kickboxing brothers and sisters. All of these motivations I believe are real. But I don’t know if these are the ultimate underlying motivation. I think there is something much more important hiding under the surface. When your coach gives you a challenge and you complete it you feel something powerful. Whether you ever actually have this dialog with yourself or not you understand that you have just become a little stronger than you were yesterday. Your body, your mind, and your emotions are improved in a very significant way. You have been tested, you have survived, and you can face tomorrow knowing that you are better prepared for the next battle. So when these people come in knowing they are going to have to endure agony, sweat, and sometimes tears they look at it with optimism and confidence, no matter how hard they think the training will be. And they can do this because we are giving them what their workplace does not, and what their home life does not. We give them a chance to succeed, to persevere, and to overcome with their hands in the air. We give them an opportunity to be a Warrior.
And that feels pretty good.
So to all of the everyday people who show up to class with a smile on your faces I want you to know I see who you are and I see what you are doing. You are my army of “Everyday Warriors” stepping up to your next battle. And I love every one of you for that.
I will see you on the mat and Happy Training!
Sensei Ben Brown is the founder and Head Coach at PHAS3 Martial Arts, a Muay Thai focused martial arts school in Santa Rosa, California. PHAS3 offers a family atmosphere that welcomes students of all skill levels from beginners to the most competitive fighters. We strive to help people grow on multiple levels while learning and enjoying the martial arts of Muay Thai, Judo and Kickboxing. Learn more at PHAS3.com.