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Athletes like us!

Updated: Jun 10, 2022

trisutto triathlon Brett Sutton age group coaching groupers

This week we would like to highlight a special athlete who first joined us for a camp in 2017.

JP had decided that his next sporting journey was triathlon. What made this a standout was JP had not previously swum, biked or run in any focussed way. Here was this huge guy, in the deep end of a fired up age group camp, no-one to swim with as, he would not be upset if I said, he couldn't really swim. Sitting on a bike was a new phenomenon to him. Running, well we have all run at some stage but JP, lets say was carrying a lot of extra baggage.

We were a little perplexed, as how we could make his camp enjoyable for him. To my surprise, my first impression was this guy is getting flogged by even the slowest beginners; and he seemed to be enjoying it!

His background was also unique. JP lives in Japan, was educated in the USA and is French. During his and my frustration of how I could connect what we were trying to teach, the penny dropped when I asked 'have you any other sports experience at all?' To my surprise he said 'yes, I am an ex MMA fighter.' From then on all techniques were delivered with explanations around the martial arts. From that moment on all just clicked, he understood what we needed to achieve.

Here is his story:

Like all things, triathlon can be approached in many different ways. For some, it’s a way to feel better about themselves by being a little faster than their neighbor or someone younger. For others, it’s a way to have a social identity (“I’m a triathlete!”). Another group sees it as a way to podiums that can’t be reached in mainstream sports. And there’s yet another category, to which I belong, for whom it’s a tool to better themselves internally. For us, it has nothing to do with speeds, race results or accolades, but rather personal overcoming, daily discipline and inner-strength. If you feel this might sound like you, then read on. My initial background in sports was in martial arts, starting from a young age with Judo. The first thing you are taught in Judo is how to fall! You don’t learn to take down the opponent, you don’t learn winning techniques, you learn how to fall safely and get back up, over and over and over, the entire training session, for months. This creates a strong fundamental base upon which you can safely build. To me, this is one of the most important things in life and this approach to the basics can be used at Trisutto too. In fact, with Brett, you’re never told to focus on winning, or times. Instead, you’re constantly reminded to concentrate on the fundamentals (consistency, enjoyment and life itself). The other aspect of sport fighting is that there isn’t much room for dishonesty, to oneself or to others. It’s brutally direct. I dabbled in MMA, which includes all the various physical hits you can think of: kick, punch, elbows, etc. It’s as direct as it can get, and I relish this head-on outlook in life as well. I’m always amazed when I hear athletes whom I know trained super hard and are hyper-competitive say things like “I didn’t do much for this race, I’m just going to take it easy”. What a waste of precious hours of life to live this way, saying things that are the opposite of reality! This disingenuous way of living is anathema to my own ethos. With Brett, I can trust that communication is always direct, since he’s someone who used to be punched in the face for a living. He’s typically quite relaxed in his talks with athletes, but occasionally will give a tough speech to us as a group to get a message across. I’m sure some of the athletes are trembling when this happens. In my case, I always have a big happy smile inside when it occurs because intensity mixed with honesty is very much my comfort zone. I’m tone-deaf to subtleties and mind games. I always train alone except in camps, and I mix indoor and outdoor sessions. The Trisutto training really allows for that flexibility. In fact, I am often provided with a run set I can do at the track, together with the treadmill equivalent. This allows for the all-important balance of variety, consistency and flexibility. What does all that have to do with bettering yourself? Brett’s approach helps create the mental, physical and emotional space in which you can focus on giving your honest best every day, every session. You’re not looking to beat some artificial number spit out by a widget, but rather to develop the self-discipline and courage to honestly feel how you’re doing and get the session done in that context. Some days you feel fantastic and really go all out. Some days it’s just a victory to finish the session. Most days it’s in-between. But in all cases, you walk away having made yourself a little more courageous, self-aware, and a bigger human being for having overcome whatever hurdles were in your way. Races are the same. So you really have 365 victories per year, rather than 362 days of anguish mixed with artificial highs on the 3 days when you win a chocolate medal or beat some random competitor whose personal circumstances have nothing to do with yours. That to me is a life worth living!

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