The Mark Hatmaker Interview Part II – Erik Kondo

Mark Hatmaker is one of our excellent contributors and a true professional, he is the author of numerous books and a highly respected practitioner. Mark is the founder of Extreme Self Protection, a company that compiles, analyses, and teaches unarmed combat methods. He lives in Knoxville, Tennessee.

This should have appeared in the December issue but a disastrous computer crash plus very busy events leading up to Christmas caused me to miss a beat here, so here is part 2 and I hop[e you enjoy it. – Garry.

Based on your answers, it seems that your clients are all highly motivated and receive individualized attention and instruction.
How do you instruct less motivated people in a group setting?

MARK: Well, we’re not all motivated in all things. None of us. Personal example, if someone says to me “Hey Mark, I want you to make your way through all 55 volumes of The Loeb Classical Library” I say “Sir, yes sir!” Why do I jump in feet first to this Greek and Latin compendium? Because I want to, I am motivated to do so. Compare with “Mark I want you to sit down and watch yet another super-hero movie with me” and all you get from me is hemming and hawing and foot-dragging. It would take far less time to sit through another one of these than read the aforementioned volumes but the charm of grown men and women wearing costumes and beating up bad guys is lost on this adult. Millions (billions) enjoy these flicks, they win, me, I feel like I’m being punished-I have zero-motivation to view them.

As a coach I do not see it as my (our?) responsibilities to “sell” the athlete on why what we’re doing is good for them or the wise way to go. I always assume from the get-go that the athlete is attending because they are a hard-charger, if not in body yet, at least in mind. We are then a team and can work together.

I assume if hard-work and/or the brand of madness we dish out is not to an individual’s thinking they will move on and play elsewhere or at a different game altogether. Just as I don’t want to sit through more adults-in-tights movies against my will, I do not want to force anyone to train as we do-I allow the natural peel-off or culling to occur.

To assist this choice we use a buy-in, ante up, earn your rounds protocol. Do the conditioning with us, do the necessary athletic work with us and you’ve proven that you want to be there.  Then, and only then do we start handing out the candy, so to speak.

If someone chooses not to ante up or sandbags the conditioning we have a nice conversation about what it is they really want-if it ain’t this, we scoot them off the mat and allow them to find what it is they really want to do and not force what we do on them. At the same time this insures that a non-earnest individual will not drag the attitudinal level of the team down.

Nobody minds working with a hard-charger no matter their skill or current conditioning level, but, come on, really, who enjoys coddling anyone along. The behavior already indicates that they may simply may not want to be there-have the polite conversation and allow them the liberty to ante up and join the team (if that’s what they really want) or to move on and find what moves them in life.

I see this approach as a courtesy. Life’s too short to focus on the unwilling. Focus your energies and attention on the can-do hard-chargers at hand, don’t make the unwilling watch your super-hero movie or read your pretentious books.

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