Friday, November 9, 2012

The Man Who Loved Dragons

There once was a man who loved dragons. He built his house in the shape of a dragon. He made paper dragon kites and told dragon stories to children. He also loved to carve dragons. His reputation grew far and wide. Then, one day a dragon flew by, and saw the man's house in the shape of a dragon and thought it would be a good idea to visit this man who, he was sure, would be pleased to meet a real dragon. So the dragon landed and knocked on the door. When the man opened the door, he was so startled that he screamed and scared the dragon away.
- Zen parable
My students saw this parable recently and were puzzled. "What does that mean sensei?" My interpretation was that "the man who loved dragons" is a man who does not live in the present -he lives in a fantasy world. In truth, he does not love dragons, he loves the idea of dragons.
In the training industry, there are internet gurus who don't train anyone IRL (in real life), including themselves to any appreciable degree. Toiling away to create the perfect training split, dispensing advice freely and unabashedly from the safety of their keyboards rather than the sweat and tears of experience. In this way, they are much like our friend above who loves dragons but is scared of the real thing.
It's nice to dream. Plans, models, and reflections are comfortable, and they can be helpful. But, without actual dragons, isn't it all just an elaborate game of pretend?

Picture from


Hanley Tucks said...

Just once when someone writes an article like this, I'd like them to name these people.

It's like when John Izzo said trainers should only go to useful forums for advice on how to train people. I've many times asked him to name these forums, he always rejects the blog comment.

Tell us the names of these numpties.

Boris said...

I'm not really trying to point out anyone specifically, but I know many trainers and and more than a few would-be internet gurus like this. They aren't hard to spot - they generally have a certification and little else to their credit. They have a very short training history and little coaching experience. Some of them stick around long enough to actually have something to offer - many of them do not. If you look, they aren't hard to find.

Hanley Tucks said...

I can certainly name a few.
Bret Contreras
John Goodman
Lyle McDonald
Mike Boyle

Bunch of guys who no longer train anyone, if they ever did, and make their living telling trainers how to train. "But this pubmed article says..." Yeah, thanks.

Boris said...

I have an online relationship w. Lyle - he's a pretty sharp guy and love his writing. He rubs a lot of people the wrong way, but, you know, he has strong opinions and I can respect that.
Mike Boyle's stuff I like. There was the "Squat is Dead" thing I didn't agree with, but if someone says the squat is dead, and in the next breath says the Bulgarian Split Squat is alive and kicking' (w. front squats), it's tough to get too worked up about it.
Bret and John - I don't really follow.
To be honest, I'M not training anyone except myself these days really. Just trying to keep the dragon close enough to ride once in a while.