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  1. #1
    Eats carbs @ 11pm Simmo0508's Avatar
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    Advice/opinion needed on how to kindly drop a group class participant (srs)

    I teach an MMA class once a week, for our studio members whom are interested in partaking. The class naturally is based on technique first and foremost, that's the aim. Bringing certain elements of how pro MMA fighters train and prepare their conditioning for fights.

    One of our participants, is also one of my PT clients i look after on another night.

    I've had to stop numerous times throughout these classes, stalling the x number of other participants from moving onto the next exercise etc., to personally coach 1 person on how to do something properly, repeatedly time after time, when it's even one of the more simpler concepts to grasp and perform. He also has a few contraindications, but is adament on turning up for these particular classes (needs motivation to train and only really trains for the social aspect) when he knows a lot of the movements get quite complicated and technical. His co-ordination is very poor and it resembles a pensioner dancing at his RSL club as opposed to a caged animal ready to tear his opponent apart. Think a beginner style client (with exercise in general, not just MMA), doing an advanced-intended class with other competent intermediate-advanced technicians.

    When i quickly try to suggest modifications on the spot, as well as get him to stick to the meat of the workout program intended, he won't apply it (or ignores the advice) and will do something else without me asking him to (in some cases, even more dangerous) and defeats the purpose of following a group class.

    A type of person who genuinely needs PT guidance and supervision for ALL of his training, but takes away from the experience and purpose for the other x number in attendance (whom i might add only do group classes and are actually interested in MMA). How should i approach a discussion with him? When we're about to do some exercises and have everything set up and everyone else is ready to go, he'll complain that he doesn't want to do xyz, and that he's "i've never seen any fighters do this before, why are we doing thissss for" (even though again, he doesn't even follow the sport or the training behind the scenes), or "why are they taking it so seriously? we aren't actually fighting. it doesn't matter if you do it like this does it, this is easier". This is highly annoying to me a trainer and i don't appreciate participants trying to control the session too much. A bit of le-way and variety here and there, fine, but these people come to the class knowing what to expect, what muscles will be used, what general movements are involved etc.

    So my position is i'm stuck in two places. As a group class coach, one would just advise him not to attend and to do something else. But he is also my PT client, and recently just referred more PT clients onto me. So naturally we can't turn this guy against us. He generally attends all group classes since again he wants the social aspect for his motivation. So he just turns up to this particular class cos it's on the schedule and in a time where he usually attends the studio anyway. But you also don't want to lose group numbers and piss off the other x number of people who DO have a genuine interest to learn more about MMA and get a proper uninterrupted workout in. As long as his shirt is sweaty by the end of his workout and he's moved around a bit he's happy he says. This mentality and type of person isn't what an MMA class is intended for obviously.

    He's a bit of a fuddy duddy who will also take it easy when it gets too hot or if a fan isn't pointed in his direction. A very demanding and mentally draining style client. When he decides to just do his own exercises, mid-group classes, next to other people, without instruction, it just makes me wonder why not do that out on his own out in the main area with everyone else. That's still social.

    Your thoughts?! Much appreciated.
    Last edited by Simmo0508; 01-24-2013 at 02:45 AM.
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  2. #2
    Registered User Roidmonster55's Avatar
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    Sucks to be in an awkward position like that. Almost makes you wish he was just an overt jackass being disruptive for kicks and make it easier for you to tell him to just fck off.

    How does he handle criticism? You could explain to him that MMA just isn't for everyone. Perhaps encourage him to focus intently on the personal pt sessions and say you would be glad to welcome him back to the group once his basic training/coordination is in check?

    So in a nutshell: "I enjoy working with you and don't want to lose you as a client, but maybe we should work harder on getting you properly fit in the basics before we throw you into advanced exercises that MMA involves. I'd love to have you in my group after you don't suck so much. "

    Okay, scratch that last sentence. You said "politely".
    Last edited by Roidmonster55; 01-24-2013 at 03:04 AM.
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    So many, many times have I heard "I don't want to get too big". You're not going to throw in two extra sets and accidentally look like Jay Cutler. Getting huge takes obsessive dedication, eating to the point of nausea, becoming a mathematician at counting calories, attacking weights like they f***** your sister and never called her again, and devoting over a third of your life to sleeping. You don't get big by accident.
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  3. #3
    Registered User Roidmonster55's Avatar
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    Thinking more into it, (maybe over-thinking), this guy can/will hurt your business. He's degrading the quality of your instruction and it will inadvertadly reflect on you as a trainer. Say I took a class alongside this guy. Afterward I go and tell a buddy "Hey, I started taking MMA but there's this retard in the class that fcks everything up and makes the class suck". Word of mouth is a powerful thing. You should deal with this guy ASAP. Quite honestly, if you end up offending him and losing him as a client it could ultimately be a gain for you.
    Last edited by Roidmonster55; 01-24-2013 at 03:44 AM.
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    So many, many times have I heard "I don't want to get too big". You're not going to throw in two extra sets and accidentally look like Jay Cutler. Getting huge takes obsessive dedication, eating to the point of nausea, becoming a mathematician at counting calories, attacking weights like they f***** your sister and never called her again, and devoting over a third of your life to sleeping. You don't get big by accident.
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  4. #4
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    Originally Posted by Simmo0508 View Post
    When i quickly try to suggest modifications on the spot, as well as get him to stick to the meat of the workout program intended, he won't apply it (or ignores the advice) and will do something else without me asking him to (in some cases, even more dangerous) and defeats the purpose of following a group class.
    If he were just a physical idiot, this would be a difficult situation. But this here makes it easier.

    When you are dealing with something like MMA, or even just ordinary old barbell training, the person absolutely must follow all instructions to the letter for their safety and that of other participants. If they refuse to do so, they can't be part of the class. You can't say this kindly, but it is definitely reasonable.

    80-20 rule - 80% of your income from 20% of your clients, and 80% of your headaches from 20% of your clients, but the income-producers and never headaches, and the headaches never make you much money. I know, he refers you clients, but when you consider the benefit:effort ratio... Come on, Simmo, you know what to do, you just want us to pat on the back while you're doing it.

    Here is your pat on the back, mate. Now sort him out.
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  5. #5
    Eats carbs @ 11pm Simmo0508's Avatar
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    He does PT, does group classes, and does his own workouts. That's exactly our "ideal" member/client at our studio.

    He is the type of guy who if he's told he's not allowed to come to a certain class, he'll cancel his PT sessions, and bad mouth me to his newly referred friends for not being "supportive" (even though looking out for his body and trying to minimise harm IS being supportive... go figure, dumb logic 101)

    So whilst i WANT to do that, it would hurt business, which is why i need a good script to use if i do it. Everything we wanna say, will be interpreted as "you suck, you aren't good enough, go away".

    I understand and agree with both of you.
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    You have to seriously weigh out the pros/cons of dealing with this guy. Make sure you look at the long term business aspect of it. You could be the best, most sought-out trainer in the world (sounds kinda uber awesome, don't it?) but this guy will soil your reputation as a trainer. Class clowns in school were always a source of amusement to me, but if I were paying for an education and had a guy disrupting like that, I'd have a serious problem with it.

    Just keep in mind that it only sounds worse than it actually could be. If it gets ugly and he badmouths you to his referrals/friends, they probably know his personality and will see him for the buffoon than he really is.
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    So many, many times have I heard "I don't want to get too big". You're not going to throw in two extra sets and accidentally look like Jay Cutler. Getting huge takes obsessive dedication, eating to the point of nausea, becoming a mathematician at counting calories, attacking weights like they f***** your sister and never called her again, and devoting over a third of your life to sleeping. You don't get big by accident.
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    use non reflective glass board for teaching..

    you can use non reflective glass for your teaching,group discussion and project work..
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    During his one on one sessions teach him the MMA group movements.
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  9. #9
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    Originally Posted by Simmo0508 View Post
    He does PT, does group classes, and does his own workouts. That's exactly our "ideal" member/client at our studio.
    I would have thought the "ideal" included some other things...

    He is the type of guy who if he's told he's not allowed to come to a certain class, he'll cancel his PT sessions, and bad mouth me to his newly referred friends for not being "supportive" (even though looking out for his body and trying to minimise harm IS being supportive... go figure, dumb logic 101)
    And what will he do if he gets hurt? Wouldn't he cancel everything and badmouth you to everyone then? Blaming you for his injury? What will the other class participants do if he stays?

    Sometimes there is no best solution, only a least worst one. There is no script. Whatever you do there will be some drama, you just have to choose which drama you want.
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  10. #10
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    Originally Posted by UtahTrainer View Post
    During his one on one sessions teach him the MMA group movements.
    Thats was my thought....why is he incapable of picking things up?


    Just tell him for his one on one "I feel like we need work on x, y, z MMA drills so you can really get the most out of that class. Seeing that its a group its hard for me to really single in on you at the time, but I think we'll be able to address x, y, and z today. If you feel like you're not picking up on something let me know"....etc..

    I wouldn't think about giving him the boot if he's not disrupting other clients and he's referring you more business.
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  11. #11
    pirate ninja kitteh rockangel's Avatar
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    why not offer him a personal session, maybe that would be something he would be more receptive to? Like "hey i noticed you having some issues in class and i wondered if you would be interested in doing a one-on-one with me instead of the class, that way i could progress you faster and farther than those in class." or something like that, maybe tell him you are only offering it to the best pt clients.
    Maybe instead of having him leave, distract him with something else. Its a tough spot.
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  12. #12
    Eats carbs @ 11pm Simmo0508's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by UtahTrainer View Post
    During his one on one sessions teach him the MMA group movements.
    I already do. I dedicate 15mins towards the end of his PT session for the stuff that needs to be nailed and is considered "basic" striking so at least he can spar a little bit with the boys.

    However, he can't even grasp and comprehend a basic stance and what a jab or cross is. A jab cross combo turns into a double throat thrust whilst stumbling over face forward looking like a one-legged stiff-legged deadlift-like position. I literally hold his hand and motion him through what a punch looks like, literally move his feet into the stance, and literally have to move his hand for him to protect his face with the other hand. About 20 seconds to complete 1 punch.

    We've gone over it and over it, but you know how some people aren't naturally fluid and don't have that sort of instinct and technique in them? It's like that. He's never boxed before, anything, and approaches it with a very fuddy duddy attitude like i said. Like getting a politician to act gangsta. It doesn't look right and you're like bitchplease.jpg

    So he doesn't even stand a chance when we have clinching programs and ground work to even attempt week-by-week.

    Originally Posted by EdgarAllanPoe View Post
    Thats was my thought....why is he incapable of picking things up?


    Just tell him for his one on one "I feel like we need work on x, y, z MMA drills so you can really get the most out of that class. Seeing that its a group its hard for me to really single in on you at the time, but I think we'll be able to address x, y, and z today. If you feel like you're not picking up on something let me know"....etc..

    I wouldn't think about giving him the boot if he's not disrupting other clients and he's referring you more business.
    Depends what you mean by disrupting other members during the class. If stalling every 30secs or so, to explain a continuation of a combo or a transition, is not your idea of disrupting other people's flow, then no he isn't disrupting. But that's what happens. A beginner milking all the group classes (so everything's social and at least he trains) mixing it up with advanced guys who are only there for MMA coaching and nothing else with their membership.

    Why isn't he picking things up? He's an older man, about 55-60'ish, with niggles here and there. You have to have that fighters mentality to box effectively and with style. He's not that type of guy. The type of guy that needs exercise to be "fun" or he won't do it. We all know that type of client. MMA isn't about fun first and foremost. There's a lot of things to remember with boxing, and the basics are not taught every single week purely since it's a 30min class. I've taught him all the basics in his PT sessions week-by-week, which he's been doing for months now. Just still cannot physically apply it.

    Originally Posted by rockangel View Post
    why not offer him a personal session, maybe that would be something he would be more receptive to? Like "hey i noticed you having some issues in class and i wondered if you would be interested in doing a one-on-one with me instead of the class, that way i could progress you faster and farther than those in class." or something like that, maybe tell him you are only offering it to the best pt clients.
    Maybe instead of having him leave, distract him with something else. Its a tough spot.
    His PT budget is 1 60min session per week. Can't exactly tell him to add another 30min session on top when he's already stated a few times he can only do 1 PT session/week. Then has a studio membership on top of that which gets him all access to all classes obviously and the member's programs for his own training. So since overall weight loss is his goal, the main chunk of his PT session is geared towards that naturally.

    During group class time, I get him to do a lot of modified movements like i said in my OP, but then it does drag on and more time gets given to him since he needs overall supervision with all movement, with less attention given to the other x number of people. That's not fair. Then before you know it, the time is up.


    I appreciate all posts so far. Keep them coming. I'll nip it. A good chunk of my week's sessions come from something to do with him - be it classes, or PT sessions, or new PT referrals, or new referred memberships coming in. So the old 80/20 rule doesn't apply in this case. It's a small studio and numbers aren't crazy high as it is (intentionally i might add).
    Last edited by Simmo0508; 01-24-2013 at 06:24 PM.
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    Do you have a beginners' class you could refer him to?
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    Eats carbs @ 11pm Simmo0508's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Partyrocking View Post
    Do you have a beginners' class you could refer him to?
    For MMA, no. It's on the group class schedule purely as something intended for the intermediate-advanced guys of the studio (in terms of MMA and capability that is, not just in terms of general exercise and movement), compared to the other classes on the schedule that are a lot easier and targeted towards those beginners.

    There's an easier boxing class on Wednesday nights (that i don't intruct) that a lot of beginners go to just for some bash n crash and a muck around since it's just basic punches and running around, but that's the time we do our PT session. I'm booked out on evenings so there's no room to move to allow for any change right now. I'm mainly a PT mornings and nights, who does managerial tasks and group on the side here and there.

    He would get more value and benefit out of walking on a treadmill for half an hour at a steady pace, but that is "boring" apparently. One of those blokes who needs people around him to do any type of movement full stop.


    Edit: Actually I might look at the PT schedule and at least ask a few of my guys to switch around a bit. Attempt to get this guy to do the easy boxing class for a few months, get some basic skills up, annoy the other instructor lol, then see if he's able to do MMA again at a later date. I'm booked out, but you never know if you don't ask em if they can do another slot on another day. Thanks for the suggestion. Still appreciate more input, it's an interesting topic in it's own right i'm sure for a lot of other people too.
    Last edited by Simmo0508; 01-24-2013 at 07:22 PM.
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    R[̲̅ə̲̅٨̲̅٥̲̅٦̲̅]ution Mr.ILL's Avatar
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    I know what you mean Simmo. I have a client that it seems impossible to teach how to do a proper power clean.

    Are you sure you're not over reacting though to how he would respond if you simply stated that class is a little too advanced for him at the moment? I would simply tell him with a big friendly smile "Hey Mr. Jones, I appreciate your energy and enthusiasm but right now this MMA class is a little too advanced for you. After a little more 1 on 1 training we can come back and try it again "

    Make sure you give him some type of replacement workout so he isn't feeling robbed. Even if its as basic as some interval training.
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    Eats carbs @ 11pm Simmo0508's Avatar
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    I think the thing that irks me the most is that he doesn't even need to do MMA to meet his #1 goal - overall weight loss. It doesn't need to be included in his weekly plan. But it's his perogative as a member as to what class he attends. He's not even interested in boxing, or MMA, so why would a sane human being do a class that teaches things they aren't interested in? I know i know, the social aspect, but fuuuuuuuaaarrrkkkkk bro

    I might go do a pottery class. I don't like pottery or have any need to do pottery, but it's social so i'll still go and annoy everyone else.
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