Clean and Elegant

Clean and Elegant

Thursday, 17 September 2015

The Exuberant Bodhisattva Goes to the Gym

“Going to the gym tomorrow,” I told my friend. “Gonna get trained.”

“Trained for what?” asked my friend’s ten-year-old roommate. I didn’t have an excellent answer for her. I hadn’t been to the gym in over twelve years. Back then I was a seventeen-year-old stair master junkie. These days, if I were forced to have fitness goals, they would include vaguely figuring out a pull-up, reducing the crackling in various body parts, and perhaps a burpee or two.
“Let me try something,” said the ten year old. Before I knew it, she had wrapped her arm around my waist and had hoisted me a foot above the ground. I remained up in the air for a solid five seconds. The ten-year-old repeated this feat three more times. She did wonders for my Mammoth Complex.

“I think I can do a push-up,” she announced. Within seconds she was down on the ground. Her push-ups were spectacular.

“When I was on the swim team, we used to do clapping push-ups,” I recalled. Back then, despite having biceps and shoulders the size of my face, I typically maxed out after two and a half to four pull-ups. Same thing for chin-ups. My clapping push-up record was not remarkably impressive either. On the floor of my friend’s living room, I decided to give them a go. Long before my hands could come together, I landed on my face. Before falling on her face, my friend’s ten-year-old roommate was able to clap her hands together.

Bakasana, Somehow Easier than Clapping Push-Ups.
Yoga selfies seem to be good for my stats. And so, I am recycling my 2 and a half
to 4 yoga selfies with little to no restraint.
My personal trainer was a friend from high school named Nick Tritton. As fate would have it, my graduating class of Perth and District Collegiate Institute had three Olympians. Nick was one of them. A three time Canadian champion, Nick competed in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics for Judo. Over the years, Nick has represented Canada at 5 world championships. In addition, he has won five medals at the Pan American Games, including gold in 2010. As if that weren’t enough, his exciting career boasts 12 World Cup medals and 8 top-5 World Cup finishes. Always somewhat of a Renaissance man, Nick is also a talented wrestler, with national champion titles in both Greco and Freestyle Wrestling.  Although he retired after the 2012 Olympics, he made a bit of a comeback in 2014, competing in the sport of Sambo.  In case you don’t know what Sambo is, I didn’t either and so I did a rather moderate amount of research for you. I learned that Sambo is a relatively modern Russian martial art. In fact, SAMBO is an acronym for SAMozashchita Bez Oruzhiya, which is Russian for “self-defense without weapons.” Nick turned out to be quite good at this, winning the Commonwealth games and placing 7th at the world championships. In conclusion, Nick is a veritable tank. He even has the cauliflower ears to prove it. 
Nick at the Olympics, dressed in blue on your left. Note the convincing cauliflower ears.
Currently, Nick generously channels his vast talents towards Angry Monkey MMA, a gym that opened its doors in June of 2014. (By the way, MMA stands for Mixed Martial Arts.) All the trainers at MMA are elite athletes with diverse backgrounds in judo, wrestling, muay thai styles, MMA, grappling, wrestling, boxing, kickboxing and more. But you don’t need to be into boxing or throwing people across the room to train at Angry Monkey. Everyone is welcome, even the side plank virgins. Angry Monkey’s claim to fame is that they’ll meet you wherever you are, regardless of the size of your biceps, or the hideous crackling noise that comes from your hip joint. They offer classes and fitness regimens for kids, office workers, hardcore fighters, busy parents and retired yoga teachers.

Angry Monkey MMA

By some great miracle, this retired yoga teacher (me), was able to bike her crackling hip joint across the city to meet Nick for a training session. Located close to St. Henri, at 3700 St. Patrick Street, Angry Monkey is a few steps South of the Lachine Canal, and just a little west of the Atwater Market. There is tons of parking for folks with cars. Some gym members like to roll enormous tires across the parking lot. Others do not.
Parking Lot with Enormous Tire

Spacious and phenomenally clean, Angry Monkey is fully equipped with a room for judo and group fitness classes. They also have a boxing ring and a more traditional work-out space consisting of weights, a pull-up bar, exercise balls and any other equipment you might need.
The Judo/Fitness Class Room. 
Next to the boxing ring, there is a sign that prohibits all whining and drama. By the time I read it, I had already made a few groaning speeches about my clicking hip and crooked spine and insistence on always breathing through my nose. Fortunately, Nick forgave me and then promised we would take it easy. He proceeded to wrap my hands in belts and give me some boxing gloves. Never in my life had I ever worn boxing gloves, let alone punched anybody. It was quite a thrill.  Nick did an excellent job blocking my punches and correcting my stance. He said that he could tell I was quite violent. Between jabs, upper cuts and right hooks, we caught up on the last decade or so. I must say, this year has been wonderful for reconnecting with folks from high school. Though there are many parts of high school you might prefer to forget, it can be healing and comforting to spend time with people who knew you back when you wore braces and overalls. So if ever you have the chance to hang out with someone from your youth, I highly recommend it.

After our chatty stint in the boxing ring, Nick led me to the pull-up bar. Attaching an extremely thick elastic band around one of my ankles, he coached me through three sets of ten, hauling me upwards when necessary.  Thus, it only took a mega elastic and a former Olympic athlete to help me complete more pull-ups than my body has endured in the last fifteen years. After that, we did some abs and called it a day. In the days that followed, absolutely no obscene pain ensued, although on Saturday, my lats and inner elbows enjoyed a rather rewarding feeling of being inflated. There is much more where that came from, and I urge you to check it out for yourself. From now until October 2, Angry Monkey is hosting free trial lunch-hour fitness classes. Designed to increase energy and mid-day muscular response, these multi-level “Power Up” classes are held every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 12:15 to 12:45. As the experts say, everyone has thirty minutes! Give yourself a well-deserved fitness break. The whole world is welcome. You can sign up for packages beginning on October 5. Unleash your inner angry monkey from deep inside your pelvis. And/or your armpits.
30 Minute Power Up Classes
I promise you, it will be a blast. Big thank you to Nick for the thoroughly fun and satisfying session. Hope to see you again soon. Maybe next time, I can try rolling one of those enormous tires across the parking lot. Maybe not. Regardless, I feel quite grateful that my childhood was so high in Olympic athletes.
The End.
Angry Monkey MMA Website
Angry Monkey MMA on Facebook
Follow Angry Monkey on Twitter: @AngryMonkeyMMA (Justin Etheridge)

News from 2016: Nick has now branched out to build a new company, Tritton Performance/Harley Muay Thay. Here it is on Facebook!


In case you were wondering, in French, they call Angry Monkey “Singe Bagarreur.” And I forgot to mention that Nick is also an excellent father of two young girls. On that note, I cannot think of a better Judo coach for your kids. If you have some kids, be sure to check out Nick's classes.
Go, Nick, go!

Exuberant Bodhisattva on Facebook
Twitter: @mypelvicfloor
I Let Go, by Erica J. Schmidt

Move Your DNA, by Katy Bowman
Yoga For Core Strength
Why I am like Jane Fonda
Ecstatic Dance


1 comment:

  1. Ah Ha.....I too have rekindled my love of the gym.... It's fun. It works. And I still do yoga...Kismit! I just started back this week. Love your blog. Love your sense of humour. Love yoga. After all isn't everything just your yoga? ....have a great fun time at the gym!!