A Story About The Warrior Training Program From The Eyes Of The Warrior!
Starting the journey…
On October 16th of last year, in the early hours of the morning, 26 people gathered in a small gym here in the Flathead Valley. As they mingled and made small introductions to each other, each person wondered what the next 24 weeks would bring them. This small crowd consisted of full time parents, skilled trades working, business professionals, disabled veterans, and more. All of them were there seeking something, although not all were sure what that was yet. This was the first day of a program, hosted by Straight Blast Gym, called Wimp 2 Warrior. Over the next 5 months, this group of strangers would train under the watchful eye of 10 coaches, including gym Owner and Jiu Jitsu Black Belt Travis Davison, with the end goal of stepping into a Mixed Martial Arts ring to fight. To many, this concept may seem completely outside of anything a normal person would be comfortable with. That, however, is a major point of the program.
Coach Rich Cranny started Wimp 2 Warrior in Australia in 2012, providing a door for the average person to train and push themselves beyond their own boundaries, to experience their first MMA fight. The program has taken off since its inception, running in 44 gyms and seven countries. It has become an international success in helping people become more than they ever thought they could, and change their lives forever.
As the SBG Montana coaches started warm ups for the crowd in October, every person stepped off on a journey of self-discovery and change that would alter their lives forever. This small core of teammates would continue to gather at 6:00 am, five days a week, while most of the rest of the valley was still in bed. The first weeks focused on developing a baseline fitness level, and began opening doors to skills in Jiu Jitsu, wrestling, kick boxing, and more. Each week was finished with a dreaded cardio routine known as “fight gone bad”, pushing each participant further physically and mentally. Yet, no one quit….. As the coaches encouraged and taught, participants were encouraged to dig deep and find their “why”, their reason for showing up, for needing a change. The reasons were as unique as each person, some were shared through private competitor forums, some publicly, and some held close to the vest. What mattered was that everyone found their “why”, and everyone saw that each teammate had one. As the first few days turned into a couple of weeks, the group shifted from teammates, to a Tribe.
Yet, no one quit….. As the coaches encouraged and taught, participants were encouraged to dig deep and find their “why”, their reason for showing up, for needing a change.
As everyone adjusted to this new level of intense physical activity injected into their daily routine, many were immediately tested. Whether through previous injury, or sustaining new aches and pains with the change, questions began in everyone’s minds about the choice to be there. Quickly, teammates recognized the struggles in each other and stepped in quick to support this new found family. They began to lean more and more on each other, and understand no one was in this alone.
Soon the weeks rolled into a month, and the energy every morning became palpable. Incredible new bonds of friendship were being built. This little tribe was sharing every success and every challenge together. Soon the tragedy of the first real injury struck, due to a hunting accident outside the gym. A group of once total strangers immediately rallied around their teammate and still are standing by his side through recovery, getting him ready for round 2.
The change is real…
By the Christmas Holliday, the physical and mental changes had become powerful to see. Weight lost, inches lost, attitudes changed from ones of self-doubt to ones of self-empowerment. Talk of quitting was quickly redirected, instead shifting to encouragement to carry on. As those dreaded Fridays became tougher, coaches and teammates buoyed up and pushed each member who struggled (and all did), lifting them higher and pushing them beyond the boundaries created in their own minds. After weeks of intense training, everyone was given a week to recover and enjoy the Holliday season. Up next came fight camp.
As the New Year started, the training every morning began to shift. The group remaining was split into teams in preparation for the Finale in April. Days became less about general strength and conditioning and more about technical concepts, actually throwing punches. The reality of where this journey was headed began looming large on the horizon. This, combined with injuries, illnesses, and family commitments led to more competitors choosing to bow out. Still the tribe reached out, checking on their friends, welcoming them back, encouraging them to stay. Despite knowing they would soon be paired against one another in physical combat, the sense of family only grew stronger.
To walk into the gym on any morning in the first week of March, 2019, you would not recognize the room of faces.
Massive physical transformations have occurred, but the sense of strength is overpowering. No longer is there a sense of self-doubt, or a sight of people milling around, unsure of how they belong. To watch the hour of training is to see a sense of focus, purpose, and determination seldom found outside select communities into today’s culture. Each person has dug deep, drawing on newfound strength, and developed a power mentally they never knew they had. They walk out of the gym with heads high, presenting a sense of purpose. They have taken Coach Travis’s mantras to heart, “Head up, Eyes Forward, Shoulders Back”. The training has only become more intense as the final weeks count down.
On April 6th, 20 of the 26 competitors will walk out to roaring fanfare, and step into an octagon to fight. Those few minutes, while exhilarating, will be a minor thing. This family, this tribe, has already been through and completed the fight of their lives. They each struggled through pain and doubt, adversity and challenge, and defeated perhaps the most difficult opponent of all, themselves. They have transformed into Warriors in the truest sense of the word. With heart beyond measure, and strength that knows no bounds, they will carry this experience into the community. Those who could not finish will be right by their sides, still cheering and supporting them through the end.
My name is Lincoln
I have had both the privilege and the honor of sharing this journey with my fellow warriors. I have been pushed to my breaking point physically and mentally, and been carried beyond it by my Tribe. We have been transformed, forged through a crucible of adversity, and come out the other side harder, stronger, better. We will all continue our journey once the fight is over, working to make ourselves one percent better every day. We will face new challenges and struggles knowing that as long as we keep moving, we are never truly beaten. We will continue to stand by one another, pushing each other to new heights.
I have been pushed to my breaking point physically and mentally, we will continue to stand by one another, pushing each other to new heights…
As you read this, ask yourself, do you have a “why”? Are you willing to fight for something? What are you capable of while others were sleeping?
If you are a Kalispell local, stop in SBG and grab a ticket for April 6th. Come witness the indomitable nature of the human spirit, and cheer on those who chose to take that first brave step out of their comfort zone. Maybe, just maybe, you might choose to find the strength in yourself to be next!
Try outs for season 2 will happen in May, with training starting in June. Take the first step in becoming a stronger you, pre-register here
The Wimp 2 Warrior series can be viewed on Youtube, documenting programs all over the world.
You might also like: What will make this year different? SBG Montana release their first vlog for 2019!