This is the journey of Chris Riser: 50 year old lawyer and father of two teens.
Before coming to SBG Athens, Chris struggled with middle-age stress, weight gain, and the motivation to deal with them.
On the recommendation of his trainer at another gym, he reached out due to his love of fitness kickboxing. He wanted to learn about real kickboxing. After a few years of kickboxing classes Chris “learned how to punch, kick, and defend, had a lot of fun, and got in better shape.” At 44, he was in the best shape of his life and boxed competitively at the famed Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn, New York. Although he lost that fight it didn’t stop him from getting his first victory a couple years later in an old high school gym in West Virginia.
“My family told me I was crazy, my doctor told me I was crazy, but nobody at the gym told me I was crazy. My friends and trainers at the gym just helped me prepare for my boxing matches and feel confident.”
It was later that Chris was inspired by another gym member to get into powerlifting. He competed a couple of times and “put up numbers that made [him] happy.” Finally, after several years of watching everyone training BJJ, he finally “plunge[d] into full-on striking and BJJ training a little over a year ago.” His only regret is that he didn’t start sooner.
Since training at SBG Athens, Chris has accomplished quite a bit: he’s lost a “bunch of fat”, gained “a lot of muscle”, reduced his stress level, made friends, gone 1-1 in amateur boxing in his 40s, hit a 1000# powerlifting total at age 50, completed a Coaching Candidate Course, and traveled to three different SBG training camps all over North America. Confident that he will earn his BJJ blue belt in the next year or two, he proudly believes one day he could be, “SBG Athens’ oldest black belt.”
I leave you with the top three tips that helped Chris transform:
- Show up to train, even if you don’t want to. I’ve never regretted showing up. I’ve regretted not showing up a bunch of times.
- Believe in “This is SBG; you will be OK.” The instructors know what they’re doing. Your training partners are there to help you, not to beat you or hurt you.
- Prioritize protein and lift heavy weights.
This is the first in a series of blogs devoted to individual members of our Tribe. They are sharing some of their history, both prior to and during their time at SBG Athens. They tell of struggles, fears, concerns, and questions about wanting more from life. There is a Hero’s Journey in all of them. They each recognize that which they are lacking, search for guidance, “Slay The Dragon”, and provide insights to others on a similar quest. It is our sincere hope that contained herein, you the reader see there is help for you within these walls. Join the premier martial arts, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and Self-Defense gym in Athens and learn why: This is SBG, you will be okay.
This is the journey of Cate Harris; student (and coach) at SBG Athens.
Life before she started training at SBG Athens was spent as a “Lone Wolf” struggling with severe inadequacy issues.
Her job as an adolescent interventionist is what led to her originally search for martial arts training. Her job requires that she remain calm in stressful situations and be able to defend herself while keeping her clients safe. “I needed to equip myself with the proper stand-up/transition to safe take-down/and ground workin order to stay safe while transporting at-risk teenagers.”
Originally finding herself at another facility while trying to fill those voids; she never felt very connected with what they had to offer. “The moment I stepped in the doors at SBG Athens, I felt at home and everyone welcomed me with open arms!” Years of “disliking who I was shed before my eyes in a very short amount of time, along with some unwanted weight.” It’s also at SBG Athens where Cate finally learned to stop being a people pleaser and started to truly work on herself “alongside my new pack.”
Cate has seen some pretty incredible results; not just from taking martial arts but from also participating in the Training For Warriors (TFW) program located inside SBG Athens. As stated earlier, she has lost weight while gaining new found self-defense skills. She has also learned to accept herself because, “I understand that it is a process and in transition (much like learning techniques).”
TFW has helped her find a strength she never knew she had. Learning how to properly lift weights and run fast has helped her perform pull-ups and pushups with ease. I’ll let Cate tell you in her own words about her new found shape, “I now have the toning I have always wanted (hello ‘V’ on my hips and what’s up triceps n’ biceps!)” Additionally, she has more energy throughout the day and sleeps much better. This is a far cry from her nights of insomnia and her trouble falling and staying asleep. “Now? ZzZZzz!” She now has a confidence to face whatever comes her way.
I leave you with the top three tips that helped Cate transform:
- “He who does not howl may never find his pack.” Author Charles Simic.
- “Martial Arts is the fight against yourself.” SBG Coach Liam O’Shaughnessy.
- “Everything should be kept as simple as possible, but no simpler.” SBG President Matt Thornton via Albert Einstein.