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Motivation By Kicking Butt

Some people respond to being yelled at and even sworn at. This brings out that extra bit of effort and they become highly motivated. Others are just angered by the apparent lack of respect shown them and will walk out of whatever training program they are in.

However, if you can accept a kick up the butt in the spirit in which it was intended it can provide useful motivation. When I trained in Shotokan Karate many years ago, the instructor, Graham, believed in kick butt or kick stomach motivation.

He would have us running over each other's stomachs in the warm up and in one lesson commanded us to kick each other in the stomach as hard as we could. He warned my partner that he must kick me harder or he would kick him. My partner took the hint and I could feel the vomit rising up into my throat. The threat of being kicked hard by the instructor had definitely increased his motivation!

This kind of kick butt motivation does work so long as the students do not leave the class but it is not too healthy. I now have stomach problems which might have had their origins in that one lesson. On the other hand, Graham, who worked in a hospital, once skillfully restored my finger which had been dislocated by a kick from that same partner, Dave.

Balance was restored a little when Dave threw a kick at my ribs in a free sparring session and his instep connected with the point of my elbow. He collapsed in agony on the floor. I felt no guilt or pity; just quiet satisfaction!

Gordon Ramsay is a three star Michelin chef who yells and swears at the people he is training. Some people hate this approach; others admire it.

What motivates Gordon is a quest for perfection. His father prompted him to be the best at what he did and Gordon used his own steely resolve to reach high standards at whatever he was interested in.

He became a soccer player for the top Scottish club, Rangers. The great Rangers manager, Jock Wallace believed in a tough approach and this probably influenced Gordon Ramsay.

Jock Wallace was a fitness fanatic. He made his players run up and down the sand dunes until they dropped. He would punch his players in the stomach as they were walking down the corridor. If they collapsed in pain, he would make them go to the gym and do 200 sit ups to toughen up their stomach muscles. He reminds me of my karate instructor!

Jock became one of the greatest managers that Scotland has ever known. His methods obviously worked. Probably his players shared his ambition for success and were ready to put up with some harsh treatment to reach it.

Often the tough men have a real liking for their protgs but do not want to show their softer side. The players sense their affection and grow to respect and like their managers in return. They also find that the harsh treatment raises their standards to a point where they can see the benefits of hard work for themselves and no longer need to be kicked into working hard.

Gordon eventually had a knee injury and became a chef instead of a footballer. He still gave 100% effort to achieve his goals even though his former friends felt he was taking up a woman's trade.

He was not prepared to settle for anything except 3 Michelin stars. He would swear and bully his trainee chefs to gain perfection. When criticized for bullying them he would reply: "We're on a mission and that mission is perfection." Eventually he got his 3 Michelin stars and has become a household name in the UK.

I don't like his swearing and bullying but can't help liking his dynamic energy and zeal for perfection. Some one commented that he was like a man with a firework up his backside. He can't stand still. His swearing is objectionable but it does express energy and force and generates a swift response.

He can also give people confidence and energy and really cares that things should be done properly. Sometimes we all need a kick up the butt to motivate us and need kindly Beelzebubs like Jock Wallace and Gordon Ramsay to provide the kicks.

If they are not around, we may need to give ourselves a good kicking. Kick butt motivation definitely does have its place but needs to be used sparingly and in a way which does not cause permanent physical or psychological damage.

If you would like a great kick butt book to help you give yourself a good kicking, try this one by Larry Winget:


He gives three reasons why you and I are not successful:

1. You are stupid
2. You are lazy
3. You do not give a damn.

He comments: "The common word in each of these reasons is you. You are the reason your life sucks. In other words, if your life sucks it is because you suck. It is not because conditions suck. It is you."

Great stuff!

About the author

John Watson is an award winning teacher and martial arts instructor. He has recently written two books about achieving your goals and dreams.

They can both be found on his website along with a daily motivational message.

The title of the first book is "36 Laws To Ignite Your Inner Power And Realize Your Dreams Now! - Acronyms, Stories, And Pictures...Easy To Remember And Use Everyday To Grab Your Life And Soar With The Eagles"

The book can be found at this URL:

The book uses acronyms, stories and pictures to help readers remember 36 laws that can gradually transform your life if you apply them.

You are welcome to publish the article above in your ezine or on your website so long as you do not alter it and keep in the words about the author and the 36 Laws.


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