Muay Thai – Kickboxing – Children’s Classes – GRIT

Integrity in your training transcends your life! 

You test & develop your integrity every time you train.

Integrity in training is simple, however it is a strength that needs to be practiced in every workout and every life choice. Integrity is having the character to do what needs to be done, to the standard required, under pressure, when you are tired and sore and feel like quitting, but you do the right thing regardless of the consequences.

Integrity is truth in training, honesty to yourself, correct technique even when fatigued and the ability to count and score what you honestly achieve. You can then look back at your workout and ask yourself, are you proud of it, did you do it with integrity.

If you train with integrity in everything you do, you do your best workout to your maximum effort. With integrity comes true pride, real self-awareness, and respect from others. The integrity of your workout and your effort at skill development is what others will respect and notice. Regardless of your self-perceived achievements, your time, your score, your class frequency, what place you come or what you post on social media. It is your integrity that will be your legacy. Being first finished counts for nothing if you do not have integrity, it is seen as cheating, and viewed with contempt.

Every star jump counts! Not just the amount you do, but the technique you use and the quality of every single effort. As a coach, I measure someone’s effort in a single star jump and relate it across all their other exercises, drills, or ability. Of course, effort counts but if you do not do one quality rep the way it should be done, that effort still scores zero. If someone does not do or count something simple as a star jump correctly then how can you rely on anything that person does as correct and done with integrity. Someone who does not do their star jumps correctly (and completely) will certainly not do their push ups or more complicated squat press activities with integrity as it is usually a sliding scale.

When it comes to integrity of technique, learning a skill, like Muay Thai is easily measured in the basic easy to do fitness activities. Working hard on correct technique for a jab or a kick is essential and it all starts with your star jumps and push ups. It is obvious to coaches and your peers, if you have integrity, by observing basic movement efforts. With Muay Thai technique, it is not enough to ‘look’ like the technique is correct, it must also have balance, power, and effectiveness to be done with integrity. Does your Muay Thai have integrity or just look like Muay Thai?

Counting requires integrity but the numbers are not important. When you are doing one hundred rib kicks or ten push ups, counting is the easy part. Far too often, people focus on getting the numbers done rather than the completeness and correctness of the actual technique. The numbers are just a guide a coach uses for structure. One does not equal one if the technique is not correct and complete. Nor does one person’s effort equal another, even if they both do the same amount of reps. It is the integrity of the technique that counts.

Doing does not count if you do not do it correctly. As a coach, I use push ups to view effort in class. I watch who counts their push ups and cares more about being finished first. The person trying harder to do the correct technique (regardless of reps or time) is the more coachable student with the better integrity. That is the person you pick in your team, the person that will go further and reach a higher standard, it is also the person you respect more. Some students will complete ten push ups without doing a single one! Everyone notices, except the person doing them.

Example: When I coach little kids, I ask them who can do five push ups. Most of them say they can. I then get them to do the push ups. Usually only 1 in 10 can do the five push ups correctly but most of the kids think they can. They often get upset and disappointed when I tell them they are wrong, that they did not do one push up. They need more effort, more training and to understand what a push up really is for it to score. Too often, it is the knowledge of correct practice that is lacking from kids when I train them, combined with praise for incomplete effort outside of training. Only the kids that realise the requirement of honest self-assessment and learn what is required then develop a correct push up. Telling the kids, no, that is not a push up is important integrity development. The kids think they are doing push ups correctly and never adapt their thinking (integrity). They need to learn more about integrity to ever achieve better results. It is not enough to be praised for effort if your efforts lack integrity. One real push up counts volumes more than ten ‘half arsed’ ones. This counts for adults as well.

Who is watching? Everyone at training is trying to improve and be a better version of themselves. Character is all and nothing underpins good character and respect from others more than integrity. Enforced integrity does not count as much as personal integrity. A person with integrity does not care if they are being watched or the coach is counting, they have pride regardless of who is viewing/scoring them. Doing the right thing the right way when no one is watching is incredibly more important than doing your best when being watched. Self-improvement is hard and not sustainable if you need someone watching you to do the right thing.

The thousand little decisions you make a day is the key to being healthy and fit and it takes discipline to have integrity.  Integrity is applicable to everything from your daily eating habits to the percentage of body weight you lift, to how may ‘correct’ reps you do.

Do you cut corners when you can, avoid putting equipment away or try to be first all the time? If you take the stairs, buy an E-Bike, pick the lightest weight, or accept poor technique when you count, you need to re-evaluate your integrity.

Why should you care about integrity in your training? Integrity is how everyone will measure you. It is something everyone notices but only a strong coach will point it out. People are too nice these days as they do not want to shame anyone but if your integrity in training is lacking, everyone notices and everyone will have less respect for you. Sure, they will say hi to you at training or even partner you, but they would never pick you on their team, give you a job or a reference if asked.

Ways to improve your integrity at training and ensure it translates into your life.

  • Never skip a rep.
  • Count reps correctly and do extra if unsure.
  • Always train like you are being watched by your coach.
  • Help pack up and pick the heavy weights.
  • Turn up early and be ready on time.
  • Be aware of your actions all day, the little things count.
  • There is no cheating your integrity. You have it, or you do not. It is not something you save up for court but do not have in your training.
  • Be aware of your ego and be strong enough to keep it in check. It does not matter if you are third, but you know you did the sessions with integrity. 
  • Take the time to help others when they are truly trying their best.

EGO is the enemy of your integrity. When you have an integrity issue it usually involves your ego and your determination to win, get the job, be first or be seen as someone stronger or better than you are. To have more integrity you must get used to being comfortable with leaving your ego at the door and using integrity as your guide for winning. Be uncomfortable with honesty and self-awareness and you will have more integrity and more respect from others. It is more important to have respect, self-respect and been seen as someone with integrity than someone that is hard to coach, always tries to win and will do what ever it takes to be first.

Lack of integrity is cheating yourself. When you lack integrity in your training, you are creating a habit of delusion and reinforcing a false belief and persona. This means that when life gets hard or the session gets tough, your habit of doing less and finding an easy way will come crashing down. Any gains in mental toughness you think you have been getting will crash as you have not faced your weaknesses and ignored your biggest weakness, the lack of integrity.

You have been getting weaker not stronger and the result will be more than shame, it will be physiologically damaging. You can either face up to it or continue the self-delusion (which is very common as it is easier) and change clubs, changes coaches and continue to surround yourself with people who don’t really care about you and accept your lack of integrity (as they probably have it as well). In the long run, it will eventually bite you on the arse. It will just take time. The easiest thing to do, is start with a correct push up and continue with everything else.

Being injured. If you have an injury and can not do a technique correctly and this is the cause for adaption, no one will think you lack integrity. You will get respect for the effort if you are consistent and continually try to do the technique to your best ability. Using an injury as a crutch or not trying, or avoiding training is not having integrity. Work around your injury and let your coach know. If you have integrity, you know, and you know you are doing your best, that is what counts. Making up or increasing the seriousness of the injury is not integrity, it is delusion.

Being slow but correct. It is better to do less and be slow and do it correctly than to train without integrity and be first. If you feel uncomfortable being last, just finish when most of the class has. No one will care you did not do 10, if the 6 you did were correct.

Group class. In a training session, it is normal for a class all to be doing the same session. That all participants are doing the same amount of work. This is never the case. Twenty people in a class get different results, learn differently, develop differently, and achieve differently. This with the most integrity get better faster, get more respect and are more coachable. Should each person in the class be able to say they worked as hard as everyone else or achieved the same? No. A great class is when everyone works as hard as each other and everyone knows it. They are a team. People who try to fit in but do not do the work are always ‘found wanting’ and reduce the integrity of the entire session and the club overall. The best way to be a great team member, is have integrity in your training and the rest will come together.

The conclusion. In the long run of your life, your integrity will be your legacy. In life your integrity will often be tested and how you measure up will move with you through life. Your character is what people will truly think of you, which is more important than what they say and the smile they give you at training. Would they pick you in their team, give you a job and then be happy having you house sit for them.

Integrity is the quality of being honest and showing a consistent and uncompromising adherence to strong moral and ethical principles and values. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or earnestness of one’s actions. (Wikipedia)


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