When they're too fat

Discussion in 'The Instructors Room' started by GoldDan, Jan 1, 2017.

  1. GoldDan

    GoldDan Founder of Neo-Bokator, supreme master Dan.

    I've been running a McDojo for fives years, and I've noticed a recurring phenomenon.

    Sometimes I get people who begin training with us, but quit soon after because they're too fat. And it isn't really anything I did, I go easy on them, I'm not dumb, I know they can't move that wheight too fast, they'll kill their lower back. The politically incorrect truth is that these people are lazy, they want to lose wheight and they want to do martial arts when they come in, but their motivation runs out really quickly.

    So, next time I get myself a new fat beginner I want to have a little something prepared. This is a sensitive subject for many people, but there is a problem here and if they wanna solve the problem, I assume they want that when they join a gym, we have to be able to talk about them being too fat. Being polite and modest is cool and all, but in this case it brings a lot of health issues to people, this is one of the times where doing this actually gets some people killed.

    I see an obligation and an opportunity to do something meaningful. I do have something planned, but I would love to hear how other instructors goes about their business when someone is too fat.
  3. Pedro

    Pedro Baek Doo San

    Positive reinforcement works. Just tell them how they are evolving quickly, but they would do it much faster if they lost some weight.
    Master of Nothing likes this.
  4. Master of Nothing

    Master of Nothing Psychotic Pacifist

    Like any student, the best way to teach them is to allow them to expand on their natural tendencies, while dropping the seeds of new things that will eventually modify how they fight.
    For someone that is overweight, Have a set of "foundation exercises" for them to work. Most of the traditional stance work is great for this. You could include basic upper body striking, core breathing, kick mechanic elements, ground mobility drills for grappling, etc..
    Part of why they quit may have something to do with being allowed "the easy" path, at least for some of them. Many want to be pushed, but of course it can be a double edged sword, especially if there are safety issues.
    Having Core Standards is important, as you already know. However, for those that are not going to progress as fast as others, it is important to have an established system for building a foundation in conditioning that will help them drop some pounds. It's all a matter on why they come in. Sure, some/most maybe "lazy", in one form or fashion, but most people that are overweight, look at the martial arts as an alternative to "standard exercises routines", like hitting the gym (too many haters), running (fear of public embarrassment), swimming (Public embarrassment x1000), etc.
    It's just a matter of have the ability to adapt to those that will have a slow progression than the average student and like all students, evolving your curriculum(s) to the individual.
  5. GoldDan

    GoldDan Founder of Neo-Bokator, supreme master Dan.

    To Pedro. Thank you, I try to follow that advice as much as possible. I am a big believer in positive reinforcement. However, just as a little something to give you a different point of view. One time, I was in thailand and I found myself a person who was willing to learn me Muay Thai. He asked me what I wanted out of the training, I said I wanted to become really tough. He told me to always meet up for training and never quit, what followed was a nightmare of a week. He insulted me, scared me, laughed of me, treated me like crap. Pushed me, and if I dared to get exhausted he beat me up. This is no understatement, if anybody doesn't belive me I can give you his name and you can try for yourself. This was psychological terror, on the third day I cried in the shower. Then, by the fourth day I started just accepting that it was gonna be hell and pull through anyways. When I finally had my fight I was just happy, because at least I wasn't gonna go on the pads with my teacher, and I won the fight because of it. There is one other thing in life that to me works the same way, and that is picking up hot women in a nightclub. They reject you and reject you, and you just have to suck it up and keep moving until you finally get laid.

    To Master of Nothing. Yeah, perhaps it has something to do with being allowed the easy path. Thing is, as I mentioned, with that amunt of wheight on their belly, it really places a lot of strain on their spine. I can do some pretty impressive exercises that are really fun, but they require a lot of jumping and moving of the body. These guys, for their own safety, are best on a bicycle or swimming pool. I understand that they are embarresed.

    But to me the life lesson is this. You have a spectre

    Not even trying -----------------------------Success

    Now, everybody wants to be over at the success area. Nobody wants to be in the trying area. Many people prefer the "not even trying". I mentioned picking up women in a nightclub, it was almost a joke, but it is very true in a way. Everybody wants a hot little LAAaadyY on their arm. Nobody wants to go over there with their balls on a platter, risking rejection, and actually atempt picking them up. And even funnier, there will be other guys around you saying "Don't do it, because you look like a fool", keeping you out of the trying zone. Now, I am in no shape or form a master of picking up hot chicks, I do martial arts, I will be satisfied with a 7/10 wife if she is really supportive of my martial arts business. But there is something very generally disturbing, right here, about human nature. Everybody respects the people who reach success, everybody admires success, but everybody hates on the people who are actually trying. Sylvester Stallone sacrafices everything he owned, he literally sold his dog and his gf jewelry, atempting to get famous, and today he is a legend in Hollywood. He bought back his dog and his ex-gf jewelry. But if he didn't make it, he would just have been the idiot who sold his dog and gf jewelry in a FOOLISH atempt at getting famous. "Ouh! Sylvester is such a fool! Half of his face is numb from a stroke, why the hell does he even think he can become an actor??". This is hypocritical, but it is what it is, and the fatties who want to shed the fat out there just need to recognize and deal with it. Because I think this is human nature, it isn't going away ever.
  6. Master of Nothing

    Master of Nothing Psychotic Pacifist

    I hear you, for the most part, they really should try swimming or anything that is less impactive. Yet, many still walk in with a "magical" expectation. One thing I try to do is sit down with them and directly address the main issue, their weight. I start by having them identify it (because if I say "let's talk about your weight"..........oooooooh man!), like ask them why they chose martial arts and what they expect. After they say something like "Well,..............may weight", I go "Okay, let's take a look at the more Responsible ways to manage that and build you up to the ability to keep up with the others.
    I'll talk about oxygen to the bloodstream, the risks of over doing it (like the spine and other joints), caloric intake verse activity, and then I put them on a regiment that focuses on stance stability, breathing, and the arms. These things will minimalize the movement needed to start them on their way to burning off the pounds.
    For some, I allow them to maintain a shorter "horse stance" while using isometrics and breathing for the core. They do this while doing base-motion orientated drills, a lot based off of Tai Chi (Circling High Blocks, Punch & Block Flow Drills, etc.). They start at their own pace and build up to medium speeds before adding another drill. When they cannot stay in stance, I even let them sit down, but they still have to breath and move their arms.
    The most important thing is the one thing I preach to everyone, "Practice At Home - Everyday!". When they have drills that are more "their pace", they feel more comfortable training at home and more confident when they get back to class.
    Sure, there are Always the ones that are too lazy to turn a doorknob, there always will be. They will come in and be out almost as fast, but so what. For every one of the "it's not working because I don't want to change my routine", there is at least 2 or 3 that will look in the mirror and say, "This Is It! Now Is The Time". Those are the ones that may take years burn down the weight and a few years longer to get a blackbelt. But when they do, they will become some of the best advertising you can get. Not saying you will have a bunch of people of the same health issue breaking down your door, but if you can work a "miracle" for that one person, others will wonder what you can do for them.

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