Oil & Water & other things that don’t mix…

…like greed and trust.

First of all this article about cross fit and the quite often fatal but generally rare condition of Rhabdomyolysis is truly appalling. Please read it.

The thing I find most shocking isn’t that a popular form of training has a potentially lethal side effect. Face it we all know we can damage our bodies in all sorts of ways in the effort to improve them. Under eating and over training either singularly or together can do untold cumulative damage, but many of us have been guilty at some time. It’s the betrayal of trust. The trainer in question (it seems to imply that it may be common knowledge among cross fit trainers as well) knew well enough about a rare condition and anticipated that this put a client in hospital.

Trust in physical training and martial arts is everything! I am not a health or fitness or MA professional, I can only learn so many things, I have limited time, so when I visit a dojo and decide to join up, or take on a PT to help with my health and fitness, or as I have done for some time, see a hypnotherapist, I have to be able to trust absolutely that they know what they are doing and they will not put me at undue risk. The fact is I do combat sports and martial arts, there is always some risk, hell I hurled myself into a wall and only the gum shield saved my teeth. But I have to trust that they know the risks, measure them and judge what is acceptable and what is not and tell me the things I need to know (wear your safety gear when training, that’s the point of it, that sort of thing).

acceptable hazards of kickboxing.

acceptable hazards of kickboxing.

I trust my sensei’s and my PT with my physical well being on a daily basis. If my PT says I MUST rest 60-90 seconds between sets then I do. I am sometimes interested in the reasons but mostly I just take it on faith that they will make me stronger, fitter and a better fighter and that the only risks I have to worry about are the ones I understand, like getting punched in the face. It’s more than just expecting them to be good trainers though, I expect them to provide a safe environment, I expect them to step in if things are getting out of control, I expect them to know where lines should be drawn because how the hell should I know? If I put myself in your hands as my trainer/sensei I expect to be able to trust you absolutely without question. If I can’t then I will find somewhere else to train thank you very much.

I also have to trust my training partners. It’s hard to train well with someone you know enjoys getting one up and sticking the pain on you for no good reason, but these activities come with a certain amount of pain, so you have to trust they aren’t trying to hurt you, or you find someone else to train with next time. It’s particularly important as in kickboxing it’s mostly guys who spar light continuous, and grappling arts still see few women, so I am often training with guys who are physically a great deal stronger than I am. I trust them. It’s all good. The odd over excited punch isn’t going to break that trust and face it i’m one of the worst for that anyway, so it’s all good, but they aren’t trying to make a point, they have nothing to prove, they just want to train.

Trust is possibly the single most important thing when you are training and the simple fact is it doesn’t mix with greed. I’m not going to tar all cross fit gyms with this brush, although I would say people need to be more aware for themselves as I can’t imagine many of even the best gyms raise the issue of Rhabdomyolysis as a matter of course. Where it is mentioned it’s made light of.



In the spirit of fairness, all sports and martial arts have their scandals, boxing has had a fair few over the years and a martial arts club recently had it’s instructors qualifications called into question (frankly I don’t care how rudely the question is put, you have a duty of care and should bloody well produce your documents for any member of your school who wants to see them) and lets not even start on football. There is no getting away though from the fact that cross fit is big business at the moment and that brings greed with it, it does also seem to breed competitive training. It’s not a great combination because it pushes individual welfare down the priority list.

Individual welfare should always be at the top of the list. I guess what I’m saying is be careful who you trust, listen to your body even if it conflicts with your instructor. As for the sensei’s, coaches and PT’s out their? For the sake of whatever deities you acknowledge don’t abuse the trust of people whose welfare is in your keeping.


About Aunty Fox

'Fox Spirit is the crazy young aunt who dances in the rain and conjures fantastic worlds out of cardboard boxes, loo rolls and sellotape'
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2 Responses to Oil & Water & other things that don’t mix…

  1. MikeW says:

    Good job posting Adele. I believe I’ll highlight the same piece at my blog with a hat tip to you.

  2. Adele says:

    Thanks Mike, not trying to launch an anti crossfit campaign, people can make their own minds up about that, but I believe very strongly we should be able to trust the people who coach us. 🙂

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