MA Business Success 65: Kyoshi Justin Boylan Interview - Part 2 of 2

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Phil: Good day, team. Welcome back to another amazing podcast. This is the "Martial Arts Business Success" and I'm Phil Britten. We've got Graham McDonald and yet again we got Justin Boylan here to tell us a little bit more about training in martial arts over a long period of time and you know, as I sit here with Kyoshi Justin, being trained by him, being mentored by him, you know, he's a wealth of knowledge and experience. And I can only hope that I am training as long Kyoshi Justin and some of the other guys also that train for many, many, many years. I look upon people who do that and some people who can't handle, I guess training in martial arts or participating in martial arts.

And something that we spoke about earlier was about knowing what season in life you're in and playing for that season. So welcome, guys, and we'll get Justin just to basically kick it off and I think last time we talked about how long we've trained, for 36 years which is pretty cool. What does your training I guess day or week look like now and then maybe what we can look about what it was back then as well? Like I'm sure you were full on like we all were when you first started and then how is your training? I guess let's go back to where it was, and how it's changed and evolved today.

Justin: I've been pretty lucky to keep a routine which I established when I was a young man and training in competitive swimming. I would do something early in the morning, I would do something at night time. So the things that I do all changed a little bit, I still hit the gym three times a week and do weight lifting, but more of a circuit now. When I was younger, a lot of heavy lifting. Like twice a week I tried to do two extended cardio workouts. It used to be you know, 10s, 3s on the heavy bag and then wrestle everybody. Now, it might be a long walk or a long cycle or a swim depending on the weather. I still teach every night and again you know, the times are the same, the classes are the same, and you know, for 30 years I did every round with everybody, but now I'll do rounds with the people that I want to do rounds with.

Phil: Justin, I know we spoke off camera and sort of off the podcast about keeping that interest, that hunger still in the martial arts because I know there's certain people who'll grind 25, 30 years doing the exact same thing and never deviate. What have you done? And you sort of touched on that about swimming and riding and walking. What have you done to include in your, you know, I guess fitness regime that's helped you balance that with your martial arts training?

Justin: You know, I think variety is very important. Variety in what you eat is important. There's 200,000 edible things on the planet and counting, but we get 80% of it from corn, wheat, and rice. So it's important to give yourself lots of variety. It keeps you interested. So I don't do the same weights workouts every day, I look for a different exercise, pair them together, have a training partner with a good sense of humor, it breaks it up, makes it a little bit of a social event even though the main thing is to lift, but if you've got a funny guy to do it with, the time goes pretty fast.

Phil: That's why I've got Graham.

Justin: Absolutely. [inaudible 00:03:07] you know.

Phil: It all works. It all works. Yeah, Justin, let's just touch on talking about, you know, advice to maybe your younger self or even some of the younger martial artists or younger generation coming through now, what are some of the potential risks or things that you may watch out for? I know that we touched on, you know, kicking the heavy bag for hundreds of thousands of times day after day. Now, it certainly builds a technique, but there's also the other side of things as well too.

Justin: Sure. There is a limit to how many revolutions the joint will do, and if you look at some of the all-time greats, guys like Chuck Norris, Bill Superfoot Wallace, Pete Sugarfoot Cunningham, even our own Billy [inaudible 00:03:40], those guys fanatical trainers, amazing kickers, you know, Billy not yet, but the other guys have all had hip replacements, sometimes double hip replacements. So they've worn the joints out.

So you certainly need to do that type of training. You need to build that level but there comes a time when you need to move on to something else. You need to listen to the body. And for me because I kept up my interest in swimming and my interest in weightlifting, I think those workouts became a type of physio that in the martial arts I might be working the front of the shoulder a lot when I punch, I might be working the front of the shoulder a lot when I wrestle or do Jujitsu, but when I hit the gym I make sure the back and the side of the shoulder to even it out to avoid that common injury of fracture on the dominance.

So, and look that's probably happened a little bit by good luck rather than good management, but again that variety of exercise keeps you fresh. And then if I've done a good conditioning workout in the morning, when I get to the dojo at night, I can focus on coaching and focus on technique. I can also get a workout myself, but I know that if I haven't done my physical work first, I've got that hunger for it, I want that adrenaline and it might be a great class, but a great class for me, not a great class for them, and they're coming to you for your knowledge. They can run around the block, they can run stairs if they want if they have that intrinsic motivation, again which a lot of people don't have.

Phil: Yeah. Yeah, well, I was gonna say I know we spoke about the multiple styles that you've trained in, and are graded in and able to teach and instruct. Do you think that's a big part of longevity in martial arts? You know, we hear a lot of, you know, the martial arts instructor not letting his students go off and train elsewhere like, "No! You can't train with that person either. You're part of my school or nothing." Does that limit someone's I guess learning, journey, experience? And how has it helped you being able to go from, you know, maybe this other class first and then move on, you know, to keep boxing...I'm not too sure what order, and then now I know you're focusing with jujitsu and Japanese swordsmanship.

Justin: What's kept me interested, what's kept me learning new things, if you can get a high-level coach who might share something with you, then you can take it back and say, "Does that apply to my Thai boxing? Does that apply to my karate?" And it normally should. We've got two arms and two legs, the brain mechanics are the same, the activities are similar, wrestling is similar to jujitsu, karate is similar to Muay Thai, similar to boxing. So the mechanics should be pretty much the same. So that's kept me interested.

People that don't want their students to go somewhere else, that could be insecurity. I've had students that have said to me, "Oh, look, now, [inaudible 00:06:27] a bit flat. I want to train somewhere else." "What are you interested in doing?" "I'm interested in this." And I've said, "Man, I recommend that coach, I'd recommend that school." Even, you know, fighters that we've promoted on our shows and have competed at the highest levels, they've left a gym for a reason. They might've had a relationship in the gym that broke down, and they wanted to go somewhere else. And I'll go and say, "Look, if you can go out and try one of these gyms, I will still promote you and still have you on my shows. If you go to these gyms, unfortunately, I can't help you because I don't deal with that person because I don't believe he's a good person. I don't believe he's earning a legitimate living."

If you're lucky enough to have the time or the structure around you, you can build a business where they can get most things in the one place, if you're lucky. You know, you might have a go...I trained with a grappling guy, he's a specialist in grappling. I trained with a weaponry guy, he's a specialist in that. He doesn't want to go and do any empty-hand arts, he wants to do his blade and weaponry stuff. That's great. He knows he's never gonna make a living out of it. He's got 10, 30 good students, that's it. He's happy with that. He's a professional guy. For the specialist grappling guy, he does need to make a living out of it, but he's got boxing coaches, he's got Thai boxing coaches. So his facility, you can still do that, he's also got a weightlifting room, you can go and do that.

Phil: Brilliant. I know that during our conversations over times we've always adapted and adopted this from yourself, as put yourself as a white belt on a regular basis. That is, don't be afraid to go and visit and try different things, and something myself I feel I've done on a regular basis in our journey going forward. And something that you've always tried to do and go out there and always and explore but we did touch on, you know, letting your team go out there but bringing those skills back, you know, being able to enrich your gym by going and learning a particular skill set and bringing it back home rather than sending them on their way and losing them forever.

Justin: Yeah, you want good people around you, could help you develop, you want to be around to share with them, but they won't all come back, but you know, for me I always wanted to do new things and bring it back [inaudible 00:08:30] to make the [inaudible 00:08:31] better. It certainly kept me interested, certainly met some great coaches and it's been a good form of martial arts, and hopefully with good students if they can do that. The other good thing about traveling is you can really, you know, put yourself on the world stage and be honest and say, "Yup, okay, I think that we really need to work on this part of our program." But in that part of the program I've been in some gyms, some grappling gyms where the guys were amazing, just incredible and then as you're getting changed and see the Thai boxing class start up you're like, "Man, I wish I had my boxing gloves here because I'd love to be sparring those guys. I just wrestled them and it wasn't a lot of fun but I can have a lot of fun on this side of it."

But again, I knew of the guy taking the class and within a short period of time, he will get there striking up to where their grappling was. So you know, for me I think you genuinely have to put yourself out there on the international stage, just to know where you're at. Not to be an egomaniac or to think you're better than anybody else.

And I remember when, you know, when Brazilian jujitsu really started to take off in Australia, you know, and many coaches started to grade their students fast and they're all talking about, "Oh, this is the Australian standard, this is the Australian standard." And you know, my coach was just horrified. He says, "Man, there is one standard." And he's been trained and learned from the best, you know, it's not easy but you don't go anywhere and people say, "That guy, how'd he get that belt?" I go like, "Man, he got it from Australia." "Good skills, nice guy. Nice person, good skills."

Phil: Yeah, so Justin, just sort of, I guess wrapping up with this question which is important, and I know I've had to deal with some personal injuries and situations and even, in fact, I'm recording on this day here is the 14th anniversary of when the Bali bombing terrorist attacks happened, I got burned on 60% of my body and all this sort of stuff and you know, I had to deal with that sort of stuff, and I know you've had some personal struggles with illness and stuff like that, injuries and lots of stuff. How do you manage overcoming illness, injury, still training? Do you think there's a lot to do with the mental toughness and the way that you think and behave and act less as much as repairing your body?

Justin: I think the mental toughness is a big part of it, you need to listen to the doctors, but take the positive out of it. Sometimes they give you the bad news, and then when there's better news than that they're all covered. If they give you the good news and it gets worse feels like, "Man, that goddamn doctor, he told me it was gonna be okay." So, but certainly, you've got to be positive about it, be positive with your treatments and manage your recovery. And you know, as you get older, you get injured more easily. You reinjure existing injuries.

So you need to get good at managing that and coming back from that, and I've got a little program that I follow now. If I get a get a niggle, I'll rest it, I'll get treatment if needed but then when I come back, say if I'm grappling, I'll start with kids, I'll have a lot of fun wrestling the kids. I'm not trying to break their arms, [inaudible 00:11:34] them up, you know, they're light, they haven't got a lot of experience.

Phil: You don't worry about them getting you...

Justin: I can be on top, they can get your back, not gonna hurt your neck. Just have a little fun with that, and then if I pull up and I feel pretty good the next week I'll wrestle the girls. And then if I pull up good next week, I'll wrestle the lighter males. Then if I get three weeks of that and I've got my rhythm back, I've got my timing back, the injury feels good, then I'll wrestle everybody like I normally do. A bit like if I've got a sore back and I don't get into the weightlifting gym and try to pick up something heavy. Get in there, do some light reps, see how you feel.

Coming back from injury is a bit like cooking. You can always add but you can't take away. So I'm better off coming back and doing a light workout and seeing how I feel. That feels great, add 20%. How do I feel? I feel great. Add another 20%. How do you feel? Little bit stiff today. Okay, I'm gonna repeat that exercise.

When I was sick, I went to the pool and I used to regularly do 40 laps straight, no problems, 2 kilometers, no problems. I'm either doing four and having the the lifeguard say, "Are you okay, buddy?" [inaudible 00:12:41] I say, "No, actually, I'm stopping there." And I think like, "Man, four laps? I made national finals. I've traveled all around, competing in swimming, four laps!" But I went back the next day and I did 6, and I did 6 again, and then I did 8, and then I did 10, then I did 14. I had to do that twice. Then I did 16, then I did 20, and then I did 20 twice and I was doing 40 again. Just had to give your body that couple of weeks, just to get going and get the blood going, get the lungs working again. I didn't get to the four and stop and say, "That's it, I'm not gonna swim again."

Phil: I just wanted to finish with the sort of catch like that because, and especially if you do get injury or you're sick or you have illnesses or stuff like that something that helped me is like just because you're sore, you're injured or you're hurt, doesn't mean you can't learn by watching. I really felt that when I first came home, I got injured and I had a spinal fusion and I was like I couldn't do anything. The doctor said, "Don't even bother." But I still kind of watched, I still learned mentally, you know, still engaging with my eyes and when I did actually get on the map, I felt like I'd never left. You know, I had too many people...

And I guess for students as well you know, when students have an extended period of time without training, they lose the motivation or the reason why they're there, so then they quit. I guess the same thing happens with instructors. If they own a school, build a school, the idea is, you know, you've got to train more because you've got a martial arts business. They don't train, and now they're teaching, then they get bored of it, and their skills aren't sharp as well.

Justin: Yeah, and when their skills fade they get very creative with how they cover that up, instead of just being honest and say, "You know, at the moment I'm flat. At the moment, I'm injured, at the moment I'm not that fit." Because if I want to get somewhere, I have to know where I am now. Just be honest with yourself, and you can quickly get back there just instead of playing and going for it.

Phil: For the people watching we'll wrap it up with this one, it was definitely a strategy that we have learned to in our journey, it's something that we've adopted definitely from yourself, and talking about how training sort of regime we've been doing recently with jujitsu whose limited techniques that I can do due to knee injuries.

But you know, Justin definitely gives you alternatives that you can do that works around whatever injury, and as a teaching point for the guys listening and guys watching, if you've got a class and somebody feels they can't do it, generally they're not gonna turn up next time. So if you give them choices and options where they still feel included, but will work around whatever limitation they have, you're gonna create such a great environment where people feel like they can still participate without having to be excluded. So that was something we definitely learned and I definitely enjoy it with jujitsu, not being able to bend the right way sometimes. So it certainly works.

Justin: I saw a gentleman with one arm do a judo demonstration recently that was amazing.

John: Wow. There you go, so if you know, if you're out there with one arm less than you should have, or one leg, or all these excuses why you can't do something, you know, there's always someone out there doing it or they've got it tougher. So you know, if you're finding it tough to train or don't know how to get over that barrier, that plateau or break through that glass ceiling, whether it's in business, in training or in life, get in touch with us [email protected]. We'd love to help you out. That's why we're here. So, gang, I'd like to thank Kyoshi Justin Boylan for sharing a couple of great podcasts with us, and I look forward to live training sessions when we get together.

Justin: Thank you, John.

John: Thank you.

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