Training is Still Hard – Garry Smith


Saturday just gone saw me driving over to Winsford, Cheshire to meet up with Glyn Evans and his Saturday morning crew for one of their training sessions. Up with the lark and on the road by half six it was a beautiful drive over varied countryside and not a motorway in sight. The foothills of the Derbyshire end of the Pennines soon gave way to the Cheshire plain and all in stunning sunshine, I definitely felt good to be alive and out and about, windows down and Bruce Springsteen providing the music. The place names along the way cried out our English heritage, none more so than a place called Wildboarclough, and there is nowhere nicer on such a gorgeous morning.

Strangely as I drove nearer to Winsford a layer of fog covered the ground, bright sunshine above but murky down below. As I entered the twilight zone I started getting peckish so a stop for a bacon, egg, sausage and tomato (BEST) sarnie with brown sauce and a mug of PG Tips tea set me up for a tough session watching other people work out. My video camera was fully charged and now so was I. The Country Kitchen in Middlewhich is on my stop off list if I pass this way again, it appeared out of the fog like an oasis in a desert. Then about five minutes after a filling nosh I was pulling into Winsford Station to meet Glyn.

Glyn is brimming with energy and has an insatiable appetite for what he does; it comes off him like an electrical charge. We met up as agreed just short of the training venue, dropped my car at his house on route and arrived just before nine am. There were ten people from a variety of backgrounds and an equally varied set of reasons for being there this morning. After introductions I faded into the background and the training got underway.

I do not intend to describe the training but you can look at some excerpts on YouTube if you like. The links are at the bottom of this article. The object for me was to visit and interview another group of people who have stepped out of the comfort of the dojo and the gym and train outdoors. The fog soon burned off this morning to no relief for anyone there as the sun came out with a vengeance. So it was lovely for me but damn hot for them, I remember pre season training for football and rugby in these conditions, but they come here whatever the weather, wind, rain or shine and occasionally snow.

It all comes from Glyn’s boxing training and coaching when getting up at 5am and pounding the roads was part of training the mind and the body. Something I think is essential in the martial arts. When I go out to train alone there is occasionally the temptation to take it easy, just this once, give yourself a break. The thing is determination cannot be downloaded like an app on a phone; it has to be found from within then developed. That is what training like this helps people do, find that inner strength and determination and develop it as a core value of their personality.  Training hard is very satisfying in many ways, especially afterwards when all the happy juices are flowing, but being able to train hard needs an underlying will. It is dormant in far too many people and ignored by far too many others.

I am preparing for a bit of a challenge in the next few months and so have been ramping my own training up. Yes I can drive myself on and make my training more and more demanding, pushing mind and body further and further. For me means is the end, I love the process, the preparation, the stepping out of the door, the push up yet another hill, the pain of another set of press-ups is grist to the mill. It was inspiring to watch other people going through the same pain barriers on Saturday, shirts ringing wet with sweat from their efforts and all the while Glyn gently urging and inspiring them onwards.

Training alone or with others provides different benefits, training hard alone or with others brings greater benefits. Listening to music or watching TV whilst plodding on a treadmill may be enough for some, anything is better than nothing and not everyone is cut out to do this stuff. For others the challenge needs to be greater, the bar that bit higher. In the martial arts I have met many people who live and train within their comfort zone, but I have met many more who push themselves outside that zone to find growth, the old cliché being very true.

So today I have a private client to train for 2.5 hours. Then I plan a hard 2 hour session on my solo cycle/workout programme, lots of hills, press-ups, pull-ups etc along the way, then after a short break it is a one hour pad and bag work session with nothing less than full power striking acceptable. Another little step up in my training plan, like my friends in Winsford, I will only get out what I put in, so better put some great effort in then. Good training is not rocket science, it is simple hard work done well, go train 😉

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