This is the story of SBG Athens coach Lee McMichael.
Lee felt like he was in a rut before joining SBG Athens.
A lifelong athlete active in several sports, Lee had always been in decent shape. After leaving school, however, he says that he never developed a satisfying routine. He would vacillate between being completely dedicated to a workout routine and doing the bare-minimum to stay in shape. “I was never able to find a reason to keep myself in shape,” he says, other than wanting to look good or avoid “being super-unhealthy.”
He says that he found SBG Athens due to being an MMA fan. He knew that the gym had spawned Forrest Griffin, and living nearby, he wanted to see what the gym had to offer. According to Lee, the gym has much more to offer than he would have anticipated.
Lee has found an outlet to channel his competitive drive in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Learning BJJ at the gym, Lee has found a sport that will allow him to compete for decades. “Aside from some flag football and things like that in college I think too many of us just put that kind of thing aside after high school. However, something like jiu-jitsu gives you something that you are always working on and working toward. Even if you don’t compete in jiu-jitsu you still are competing against yourself or just trying to get a little better each day.”
Not only is Lee excited to have a good reason to work out, he says that in SBG Athens, he has found a deeper sense of community. “I was a pretty aimless 25 year-old when I started my journey here at SBG,” he says. Training martial arts, and training with other martial artists has “both directly and indirectly have helped me a great deal in providing some direction and sense of purpose.” He has coached both kids and adults at SBG, becoming a staple at the gym. At SBG he has plenty of training partners, students, and teachers, but he has also made valuable personal connections. He says that the community of the SBG tribe has benefitted him greatly: “I have met many amazing people and I am luckily to call quite a few of them “friend!”
Here are three tips that Lee wants to share to potential tribemates:
- Don’t quit! Even if you can’t make it to as many classes or do as much as you want. Just keep coming back!
- Don’t take it too seriously, especially early on. Make this something you enjoy doing, not a chore that you must do!
- Talk to people! Early on I did not do a good job of putting myself out there and making connections at the gym. We are a welcoming place but the gym and its’ people can only do so much.
Do you struggle with some of the same things with which Lee struggled?
You CAN make that change and TRANSFORM your life also!
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This is the journey of Greg Galmin: PhD student, Future Physician, and Assistant Coach.
Before joining SBG Athens, Greg struggled with binge drinking, lack of motivation, and an unsure future.
A former martial artist from his youth, Greg was afraid of getting taken down and not knowing what to do. He knew he couldn’t solely rely on his stand-up, Karate knowledge. Additionally, he needed a physical outlet for his struggles, and lifting weights wasn’t cutting it. Probably the largest driving force for reaching out to SBG was his alcoholism. He knew he had a void in his life and if he didn’t fill it with something, he would drink himself to death.
After only two weeks at SBG Athens Greg didn’t feel the desire to drink anymore. “Now I had people that legitimately cared about me close by and people I did not want to disappoint. I felt included and a part of something, and that was too valuable to me to screw up.” With the support of his tribe his confidence grew and Greg started making changes to secure his future.
Greg is now working to finish his PhD and go on to medical school to become a physician. Although it is something he has always wanted he was too unsure to fully commit himself. Physically he has gone from 175 pounds to his ideal body weight of 154 pounds. As he said, “I didn’t even intend to lose the weight but it just happened.” He can now also confidently defend himself on the ground. Something he says is an invaluable skill.
I leave you with the top three tips that helped Greg transform:
- Be a scientist. Implement what works and discard what doesn’t. So often we’re trapped in a cycle of repeating bad behaviors whether it be in combat or in life.
- Connection is key. Whether it be in jiu jitsu or in relationships, making a connection makes all the difference.
- Failure is healthy. Failure shows us our weaknesses and shortcomings. Failure is okay, but repeating the same mistake is unacceptable. If you don’t fail, you don’t learn. You either win or you learn.
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.