I did the grocery shopping last Sunday. The wife was swamped with some other things so I took care of it. We have been doing our grocery shopping at Target of all places. Right by the house, good selection, competitive prices, why not?
While I was filling the cart I was stopped by the "chip dude". He was an employee of the local Frito Lay outlet, and he was busy filling shelves. I think it must be part of the deal between grocery stores and some vendors that the vendor fills and rotates the stock. I was a night stocker in college, and never remember doing the chips and a few other items. Anyways.
Why was I stopped by the chip dude? I was wearing the jacket of my gym. This guy was 43 years old I later found out, and was a black belt in Karate, and practiced that art for 13 years before he hurt his knee a few years ago. He was looking to get back into a gym and told me that he missed martial arts and the whole scene. We had a nice ten minute conversation or so and I told him all about the gym, what we do and how we do it. He seemed impressed and told me that the price was certainly right. That was good to hear. The local Karate place charged $50 more per month and the classes were not unlimited like at my gym. You can literally go to my gym and practice martial arts six days a week for several hours a day if you want to, and it all falls under your standard membership.
I hope to see him again. He knew I wasn't bullsh1tting him and he also seemed to know a lot about the standup portions of martial arts. He would have to pick up Muay Thai, that being the only standup art we offer at the gym but he seemed OK with that. Although not familiar with MT he seemed OK about picking it up. He was also impressed that I became an assistant coach and that I train the pro and amateur fighters.
I always try to be an especially good example when I wear my gym jacket for just such occasions. I am very proud of what we do at the gym, and how hard I have worked there and want more people to come and enjoy it.
Now for the poor example. I was happy to see a new woman in our advanced class (we had three already, this one will make four). Even if it is a small cut of the population, it is good imho to see women pick up something that might help them in a bad situation (self defense).
I always rush to introduce myself and welcome new members to the gym and this was no exception. After the pleasantries, I noticed that she had on Thai Shorts, and that the head instructor had awarded her with a green sash, equal to mine. She stated that she had been with a different local gym (a horrible place) for a year, but before that was at a very well known gym from the Midwest for some time. I was impressed and I assumed that she was quite skilled. But I could immediately tell that she was not in the best shape. A bit of chub in the face, a little too much around the midsection. This was going to be a long class for her, as our Wednesday night classes are always tougher than most.
I paired up with her and as we started drilling with the Thai pads I could immediately tell that something was wrong. She had never done an overhand before. Nor a spinning backfist, nor did she know how to hold Thai pads correctly. When holding for my kicks she was practically getting knocked over. I kick hard, but this isn't the first woman who has ever held for me; while I am sure it stings them a bit, they don't FALL OVER.
We weren't exactly doing super complicated stuff, but it was a trainwreck. I was encouraging and trying to help her the best I could, but no dice. She simply wasn't skilled enough. At the end of class we sparred, and that was a complete joke - she didn't lay a hand on me and I pointed her up one side and down the other. Toward the end of the round, when my cardio usually shines, I took it easy on her. It was clear that this person needed to be in the beginner class for a several months to get the rust off. Either that or she flat out lied to me about her "experience".
Later on, while talking to my instructor I mentioned this and he sort of put his head in his hands and said that this well respected gym basically lied to him, and that is why the woman was in with the advanced class. Oh well, that doesn't exactly say a lot of good about the other gym. Either that, or the people that they think are skilled simply are not - or the people our gym is putting out are amazingly well skilled. I believe it is the latter, and a lack of attention by the other gyms that doomed the woman. At the end, I really laid on the encouragement for the woman because I want her to keep coming back, get in shape, and get her skillset up where it could be. I think she will come back. I hope so anyways.