Training For Warriors (TFW) instructors certification level 2 with Martin Rooney

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Finally.

I’d been waiting for this weekend for a long time.

It’s been about six months since I took the level 1 certification, and during that time, I’ve coached a 10-week course based on a template by Rooney. I’ve also had the opportunity to coach some of the top-level fighters training under our roof at BFG. I’ve implemented some of the principles in my training and I’ve applied quite a few of the Rooneyisms to my personal life. It’s been a great six months, no doubt, but as much as I enjoyed the motivational part of the first certification, I felt like I lacked some specific training tools. Here I was telling people to sprint without really knowing or understanding the sprinting myself.

Not good.

The second certification fixed that!

Day one:

As usual, day one contained lots and lots of Rooney’s great little stories. I’m not gonna try to give you a resume of any of them, because they’re his stories.

So what else did we do? Talk about the essences of coaching for one – that one was a biggie. I’ve been guilty of focusing on the wrongs things for sure.

Also, we finally got to the part about the strength training, that I’ve been waiting eagerly for. It was very good and insightful and true to Rooney and his concept. He’s not trying to teach anybody the technicalities of training at these seminars. He will however help you realize how to operationalize the knowledge you already have better and get more from it.

This is actually the entire essence of Rooney’s teaching – getting the most out of what you have (and getting more obviously). Maximizing your talent – becoming a bumblebee for lack of better analogies. Rooney also said directly: this is not about teaching you how to train – I already expect you to know that.

After the seminar, I went along with Rooney, Gunshow, Affe, Dennis, Nikolaj and Jonathan to Albertslund, where we watched Micki and Patrick fight. What a night!

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Got back home at midnight (left home at 8 in the morning) – threw down some eggs and jotted down some quick notes before hitting the sack. What a day.

What. A. Day.

Day 2:

Speeeeeeeed!

Just a short week ago I was talking to a friend of mine who took cert 1. I told him I was hoping the whole weekend to be about sprinting and agility, since I want to know as much as I possbily can if I’m to teach something. My friend was like “how much is there to know about sprinting?” The answer is: a lot! There’s a reason NFL-prepping is a million dollar industry. Sprinting is a sport in and of itself.

Rooney had some very great insights on the basics sprinting, and the group had great energy. It was fun and humbling for me personally to work on some of the agility stuff, but hey – it’s gonna be real easy for me to improve. Remember – Rooney was one of the first guys to prep american athletes for the pro leagues, so he knows A LOT about this stuff. What’s great about him though, is that he keeps it so simple. He’s not going to overload you with shin angles and foot contacts – focus is on the big picture and how to get somebody to 85-90% proficiency. You’re not going to learn how to get Usain Bolt faster in a weekend after all, so I found it great and refreshing that he focuses on what you CAN change and not on theoretical stuff that only applies to one in a million.

More (fantastic) lectures on coaching and of course the test. I got a perfect 100%. Go me. I think Martin said the class was split about 50/50 between people scoring 100% and people scoring 97%.

What a weekend.

I even got to train with Rooney Monday morning and we stayed and talked business for some hours afterwards. Really really eye-opening. I’ve been clinging as much to him as possible for the extended weekend, and have learned a lot. Not just about training.

About life.

Cert 2:

Cert 2 is not at all like cert 1. Where cert 1 will definately FIRE YOU UP, cert 2 will fill out the blanks. After the second certification, I have so many more tools to aid my coaching it’s unbelievable. His books also all of a sudden speak to me much more, as I can literally hear Rooney’s voice come to life when I watch the pictures in either of the books: “elbows in, feet out, core tight”.

To me, the second certification was more valuable and I know it’ll take my coaching to new levels. Not that the first one didn’t, but the difference in their nature is pretty big. One thing to remember though is that the teaching from the first cert has already been ingrained in me, I’ve already put them to good use. Much of that stuff has become second nature now.

cert 2

There is a problem with the second certification. As the recruiting base gets smaller (you must have the first cert to be on it), it’ll be harder to find people for the cert. That means it’s gonna be harder to get to one, and that they’re gonna be spread out more. Martin mentioned that he was working on an online level 2 which I’d recommend to anybody with the first cert. Since you’ve already got the “Martin Rooney experience” on the first cert, you’ll easily recall some of the fire he lit inside of you, just be hearing his voice and seeing his face. In a way, I actually wish I had the seminar online, so I’d constant access to Martin’s coaching (apart from the Dojo that is).

To be honest, you NEED the second certification if you want to work with the system. There are some but’s though:

  • It’s limited how much you can learn in just a weekend. The second certification will make you understand the system as a whole, but it’s not going to take a random person off the street and make them a great sprinting coach. Only experience teaching will do that.
  • If you don’t have solid base of knowledge and understanding of training in general, you’re gonna be dangerous. BUT! This would require you to ignore essential parts of the system – not doing something for nothing, getting people sore not better as well as safety.
  • TFW will simplify and cut out all the white noise. It can make a trainer a coach, but you need to be a trainer already and you need to have ambitions.

So what’s so great about this certification? Let me tell you what it’s NOT:

  • It’s not Rooney’s supreme ability to correct your knee angle at the bottom position of a squat. (Though I’m sure he’d be capable of that – we’ve talked a bit about powerlifting as he’s one strong bugger for sure).
  • It’s not because the system is really revolutionary. (Unless you like me think deconstructing the complexity of strength and conditioning and focusing on the results is revolutionary). 🙂
  • Heck, it’s not even really about Martin Rooney.

The TFW Resistance is about ME! It’s about YOU – it’s also about what WE can do. It’s about what Martin Rooney motivates you to bring out in you. it’s about being a better YOU. Rooney often says: “you know you’re a coach when you care more about the accomplishments of your athletes than your own” – Rooney cares more about elevating people around him, than massaging his own ego. Ironically, that’s lead to him having a huge following. Martin listens. He listens alot (at least he had to listen to my ramblings alot 😀 ).

While I’m excited about the much more concrete training knowledge I got at the second certification, it’s just as much about my professional and personal life for me. Martin is extremely competent as a business man and a very focused man – something most of us can learn from. His insights on coaching and the fitness business as a whole are great as well but most importantly – Martin doesn’t put down others. Instead of making fun of how little this and that person knows about training, he’ll study what they know about making a connection with their clients (or something different) and try to learn a bit from everybody.

I had a basketball coach many years ago who said: “if you can’t learn SOMETHING from a person – it’s not because of them, it’s because of you”.

So what did I learn and what impact will it make on my own training and the way I train people?:

  • Speed is a skill that I need to work on. This means using sprint drills as an extended warmup on sprint days and strength days as well. There’s more to running than putting one foot in front of the other.
  • Speed, agility and “movement” are essential parts of fitness and wellbeing – this might sound weird coming from me, but during the seminar it dawned on me that I’d actually much rather be able to do a perfect tiger crawl than add 2,5 kg to my squat. Why? Moving around on the floor translates really well into the life as a parent, and the mobility and stability gained from it is a great way to simply feel better.
  • Since I stopped playing basketball, my lateral movement and general agility has gone DOWN HILL. I move like a sack of potatoes. Luckily, that means it’ll be easy to get better. 🙂
  • For 99% of the people I’m ever gonna work with, I have PLENTY of training knowledge. What I lack is coaching ability and motivational skills. To paraphrase Martin – I already know broccoli is healthy, but I still haven’t been able to get everybody I work with to eat it. I’m so far from being the coach I want to be. This doesn’t mean I “know everything” about training, but simply that I have other areas that are in dire need of improvement.

I’m a follower without a doubt and while I respect Rooney a great deal, I don’t idolize him or take his word as gospel. I am however eternally grateful for what he brings out in me and I truly appreciate the insights he has after a lifetime of training people. Actually I signed up for his Dojo at 7am on day two, something I expect GREAT things from. If nothing else, I’ll see Rooney’s face and hear his voice on a regular basis. From a couple of days of membership though, I’m already satisfied.

Thank you Martin, you’re a great friend, man and lion!

I hope to see you soon.

Martin Rooney Training for Warriors Instructors Course level 1 review

Let me be honest – I don’t really like seminars. After witnessing a seminar second hand where the head speaker was so disinterested he’d rather take a nap (actually he did while his helpers did the actualy coaching) I decided I’d never go to one. I’m extremely happy I changed my mind, and I’m extremely happy I got the opportunity to experience Martin. See the seminar was about training, but really it was about so much more.

As part of the Butchers team I also got to hang out with Martin a bit backstage and the conversations we had there were life changing for me. He even had some great advice on being a dad to girls (he has FOUR girls). He’s a class act in everything he does and an amazing inspiration. He’s also pretty funny. 🙂

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Click the pic for a cool show <3

As serious and American he can be in his motivational speeches, there’s one thing about Martin that stands above all else. Authenticity. He isn’t the kind of speaker that’s an entirely different person when he’s off. Obviously he turns it up a little in front of a huge crowd (50+) but he’s basically the same. The kind of guy you’d love to have a beer with, the kind of trainer you want your kids to have, the kind of guy you’d go to war with. Martin doesn’t just talk about strength, he’s actually strong. He’s hit a 1300+ lbs total in the 198lbs class without even being a powerlifter.

Disguised as a training seminar, it’s actually more of a personal leadership seminar, teaching and preaching attention to detail and being a good role model as little golden nuggets in between warmup sets or whatever. He has an amazing way of filling out every single second with something – even if it’s a ridiculous little joke about broccoli. With him – it’s just as much about what he says during the rests and whatnot.

Will I be following TFW workouts taken directly from the website? No. I’m not a mindless drone. I will however be following the philosophy of training that Martin stands for, in life and in training. You could say he changed my life. The rubber band on my wrist reminds me to follow my compass. I also got one of his books last night for inspiration as I needed that for my warmups in particular.

As for the training – without knowing it I’ve actually been pretty damn close to following the system. Actually not just the system – I’ve been pretty close to the philosophy as well as a quick talk to Martin on meditation showed.

I’ll provide a couple of quick notes to take home:

  • Showing up! Martin pretty much built his success on showing up. To quote Michael Jordan “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”.
  • Don’t give yourself “no”s. Let others turn you down.
  • Find and write down a listen of around 5 core values that drive you. Things that’re essential to you. Things you’d die for.
  • Finally a bit on exercise – don’t chase “hardcore”. Train as little as possible to create the stress and rest adequately.

Hopefully I’ll get to go on level 2 next year when he’s hopefully back in CPH. Level 2 is the strength/speed part, which is actually my primary interest. Yeah – some of you will make fun of me because I’m drinking the Kool Aid and that’s great. I don’t mind giving you a few laughs. If you know Martin from a couple of articles on T-Nation and a video on the tube – you really have no clue what he’s all about and that’s your choice. I strongly suggest that you reconsider and get a spot on one of he’s seminars if he’s ever in your area. Actually – even if he isn’t – you should travel to see him. He’s that good. If you let him, he’ll change your life the way he changed mine.

/C