motivation, discipline and the power of the mind

On July 4th, the Shinergy[battle] summer ’09 took place.

The winner in the men’s heavyweight division was my good friend Dominik.
Now altough that’s great, it’s not the sportive aspect of winning a tournament I want to adress here. It’s something completely different.

You see, Dominik works in the IT sector. He’s a last-level support guy, meaning he fixes other peoples software – problems when noone else can do so. Now this isn’t exactly a job that does a lot for your health and fitness. It’s an office job, lots of sitting involved.

Now I’ve known Dominik for about eight years now. We’ve been to tech college together. We served together as paramedics. We train together. You see, Dominik and I know each other pretty well. In all the time we’ve known each other, Dominik had weight issues. At the top, he was over 120Kg. Since Dominik’s tall – he’s over 185 cm (~6 feet) – this didn’t catch the eye as much as it would have otherwise, especially since Dominik always was a sportive guy. However, the fact remains that 120Kg impose a great burden not only on bodily health but also on performance.

Last year in summer, at the Shinergy[battle] summer ’08, Dominik decided to compete, which – in my opinion – was the first step on a journey whose further process – and ultimatively whose effects – are yet to be experienced. I can’t say much, but so far I’m pretty sure it’s all going to be amazing. Think about it – those of you who stepped in the ring or on the mat surely remember the strong sensation upon the decision to face this challenge. As a fighter and a trainer I have great respect for everyone brave enough to face his fears and insecurity and enter sportive competition in a contact sport.

Anyways, after 5 rounds of hell, Dominik lost his fight. His stamina was done. His body ached. His lungs were screaming for oxygen. You all know what I’m talking about, everyone of us has felt this way, right? But that’s not why he lost. Dominik lost that fight last year because he allowed a thought of surrender to enter his mind.

Let me get that straight – the other guy, Michael, was tired and breathless as well. Dominik knocked him around for two rounds, with no resistance to talk about. Now despite having lost two rounds in a row and despite being tired and hurt, Michael decided to carry on. From that point, Dominik has lost the initiative. Michael clearly won the following three rounds, thus deciding the fight.

Now I could argue that Dominik was prepared for a „best of three“ match and it turned out to be „best of five“. I could argue that the change of rules occured on the same evening the fights took place on. But I won’t. All of these arguments affected Michael as well as Dominik. Michael just handled the situation better.

Now, a year later, Dominik stepped on the mat again. He’s lost a whopping 20Kg, and greatly improved both his tactical and technical skills. Dominik mustered his self-discipline, changed his nutritional habits and attended my conditioning classes almost every week.

As mentioned before, when he fought Michael this year, Dominik was victorious. Just as he was in his next fight. It was two clear victories with no lost round. Dominik won that tournament.

What has changed?

Sure, Dominik was lighter than he ever was since I’ve first met him. That does make a difference. Also, he was technically better than last year and we did more specific training.

But that’s not the point at all.

You see, Dominik trains two to three times a week.
Most of the time, he has two Shinergy classes and a conditioning class per week.

Michael, on the other hand, has access to one of the best equipped and most professional martial arts insitutions in all of Austria. If you don’t believe me, check out www.shinergy.com. It’s our headquarters here in Vienna.

They have classes there every day, beginning at 7am in the morning, ending at 10pm in the evening. A great gym with state-of-the art equipment, a cardio area, specialized boxing and kicking classes and the possibility to train and spar with buddies makes the Shinergy[zone vienna] all a fighter needs. A yes, they’ve got a spa with a sauna and a steam bath there, as well, so regeneration is covered.

It’s not like Michael wouldn’t make use of all of this.
Don’t get me wrong, Michael has improved greatly, just as Dominik did.
As far as I know, he trains up to five times a week, a good portion of that training time being sparring.

Still, Dominik has won that fight.
Now, personally, I don’t believe he’s won it because of his refined technique or his enchanced stamina. Rather, I think there’s a lesson to be learned here about what motivation can do and how self-discipline can make the difference.


I’m convinced that Dominik has won that tournament before he stepped on the mat.

The true victory, in my opinion, was not gained by winning two fights, but by facing the situation and mustering the strength and discipline needed to improve it.

Once again, I congratulate Dominik officially to his victories: both on the outside and the inside.

Hope there was a lesson to be learned for everyone,
take care

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