Andy Hrovat  | Episode 5 Transcript:

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Speaker 1 (00:07):

Welcome to strength in numbers, the podcast where we show you that together we can overcome any obstacle. Join us as we bring on world renowned experts in the field of grit, determination, and perseverance. Lean on us for a prosperous future. Together. Here's your host, Colonel Tim Nye and Neil Cohan.

Speaker 2 (00:32):

Welcome everyone to strengthen numbers. My name is Tim nigh and I'm joined today as always by my cohost Neil Cohan, and today we have a very special guest and that's Andy Roback. Is that correct, Andy? They said it correctly. You did? Yes. Yeah, they the age. Kind of a fools me there for a second, but before we get started into that, I want to take a minute to remind everyone that the subscription and shares help support veterans. That's always important, but it's obviously important today and it's veterans across the whole country. So whether you're listening on Spotify, Apple podcasts, Google Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts, please hit the subscribe button and know that you're making a difference in the life of a veteran. All right. So as I said today we're going to talk to Andy robot who is a former Olympic wrestler, a former, obviously to be an Olympic wrestler, has to have a a resume to match to get to that level first.

Speaker 2 (01:27):

And he does a three time all American two time state champion at one of probably one of the premier wrestling schools in the country historically probably one of the best programs around. So I know you're working with Spartan race now and I know you've got some other things going on so we're just gonna nail, we'll get into all this, but we're going to talk to you kind of about the highs and lows of all of that and how do we manage, do it seems to me you've been surrounded your entire life by excellence and achievement. But I got, there's no way to have done that without kinda overcoming some challenges along the way. And I think that's what that Neil is going to want to talk about. Alright, now let's get to it.

Speaker 3 (02:12):

There you go, Colonel. Thank you sir. Hey Andy, how you doing man? I'm doing well, thank you. Thanks for having me. Yeah, of course. Thank you for taking time out of this. Say especially the special day, Memorial day. We were all remembering the fallen in that we're blessed. Said to me even to even be here today. So thank you for doing that. The background looks amazing. You're in God's country. I can see. Yes I have. Yeah, there you go. Hey. So listen to Andy. I don't know if you remember me. I was clean shaven when we first met, but I met you at Spartan headquarters with Joe. How you doing? Good. Okay. And I know you've talked to, you've talked to Colonel night before. Have you just,

Speaker 2 (02:52):

yeah, we have. We've had a couple of phone conversations with Joe.

Speaker 3 (02:56):

Oh cool. Alright. So listen Andy, you know, this podcast is called strength in numbers, embracing and empowering human beings. And when we first started this criminal NY and I, we, we were really just aiming to help nonprofits and their executives get through this tough time because I came from a nonprofit called special ops survivors and we were just trying to do something on grit and resilience that tied into Joe. And as you know, Joe is a thousand miles an hour. I mean texted me one night and said, I need you to do a nonprofit channel. And then so really isn't specific for nonprofits. It's more about the way Caroline and I kind of go through it is really just on grit, determination and perseverance and how to get through tough times. So we're going to be talking today a little bit about your life and how you came from humble beginnings to really the top of the world. And then something happened and you found yourself in Russia fighting something and you never stopped learning or trying a person yelling because of what you see, which most people would perceive as a huge success, but you perceived it as me being a failure, but it made you stronger and find something halfway across the world. And so why don't you tell us a little bit about your story and how you reached into where you ended up and where you started learning things about life that you didn't know about.

Speaker 4 (04:28):

Yeah, so I, I grew up wrestling. It was the first sport I played cause I was too young for T-ball at a January birthday. And so I missed the December cutoff. And so my father got me into wrestling through a friend of his who was a coach and I fell in love with the sport. And you know, I grew up doing every sport, you know, I applied a dozen sports total, but I always gravitated towards wrestling and growing up in Cleveland, it's like a hotbed for wrestling in the country. And so I was fortunate enough to go to one of the top high schools in the nation. You know, they had, up until three years ago, they had an all American at the NCAA level for 35 years in a row. Something around it. Amazing. So, you know, so they expectations, you know, going, you know, as a 14 year old kid and expectations were, you know, Hey this is what you can become.

Speaker 4 (05:26):

These are the people that have done it, but you have your own path and you could do it your way. But, but obviously you have to follow certain guidelines, you know, to be successful. And so, you know, they had people that went to big schools, small schools, traditional schools, not traditional schools and they were all able to have success. And you know, success breeds success. So I use that high school momentum, went to college at university of Michigan, you know, had good success there. But I really didn't find myself until internationally where I was able to be just more free, you know, you know, planning my own schedule, training myself, you know, just seeking out the best competition. And so I did really well, but, but it wasn't, I didn't really learn a sport until after the Olympics when I, you know, failed to get a medal, which was my dream.

Speaker 4 (06:24):

And you know, I was in a 2008 Olympics and then, you know, after that I, I started looking and researching where all the best wrestlers came from. And they all came from this little tiny part of Russia and the caucus mountains, specifically Northwest Saudia and Dagestan and there was two regions and they're tiny, tiny regions. And so four months after the Olympics ended, I went there for the first time to learn from them, which ended up, you know, me living there for a whole year and studying the sport. And you know, I was at that time, I was 30 years old by the time I'd lived there full time. And you know, I learned a sport for the first time at 30 years old. And ever since then, I've been trying to break it down and, and understand how that translates to life and how you can use the lessons within the sport to improve yourself. Not just in wrestling but in every aspect. And so I've been able to apply that in many parts of my life and, and starting to be able to help other people in their lives with the same formula that I learned.

Speaker 3 (07:41):

Yeah, it's pretty amazing how you came from hotbed in the country to have teammates go on and do incredible things and you're telling us that you go to the Olympics, you didn't medal, so you consider that a failure, which some people would, some people would have been content with that. And then you at 30 something years old go to Dagestan. Am I pronouncing that correctly?

Speaker 4 (08:04):

Well, I went to, I went to Northwest Sattia so there was a Christian part in a Muslim part and they, the Russian Federation advised me to go to the Christian part as I was a Christian.

Speaker 3 (08:18):

Understood. It's a rough neighborhood. I know that. But so, but you, you just said you didn't learn the sport until you were in your thirties which shouldn't tell everyone that you, you really were a master at your craft and you realize at 30 you weren't and you needed to get better. And that's a lesson for every one of us who will listen and watch this is that we can always get better. And my whole thing, and I've talked to Colonel nigh about this many times, is the day I stop learning is probably the day I die. I just think you can always learn. And then I think it's really ignorant of people who say, I know enough. I don't need to search, I don't need to study. I don't need to learn anymore. So it's a pretty amazing, how old are you now, Andy? Do you mind me asking?

Speaker 4 (09:00):

I'm 40

Speaker 3 (09:01):

so you've taken the last 10 years of your life and you kind of redefine yourself and now you're teaching what you've learned into other people, correct?

Speaker 4 (09:09):

Yes, I have. And that's just in wrestling, but other facets of life and health and wellness.

Speaker 3 (09:16):

Yeah. So why don't you, why don't you tell us about that journey?

Speaker 4 (09:19):

Yeah. So when I retired, you know, I, I went and lived there, right? And so in order to have faith, you have to, to believe something, but in order to believe something, you have to have done it right. And so I went over to Russia and I did it and I, and I saw what they were doing and if I explained it to you, you wouldn't believe it. And you know, an example before I moved there full time, I had just spent the second month. So I spent the first month there in January, right after the Olympics. And the coach told me, he said, look, I want to train you. I know you want to learn. I know you want to be a coach. And he goes, but you have to live here and you have to go through it or you're not going to believe it.

Speaker 4 (10:01):

And he told me about the German coach who asked for their program. And when he got the program, he ripped it up, threw it away, call them back up and said, give me a real program. That's not what you guys do. And so he told me, he's like, look, nobody's going to believe you. You're going to come back and you're going to have to just do it and keep doing it until people see it for themselves. And so, so that's what I had to do, you know. So I went there full time, learned it, and then when I came back at it, I understand why it worked. I had no idea of any of the psychology, any of the science, like physical development, any of the technical like development. But I did it and I did it blindly, but I had faith that it worked and I, and I sought work right away.

Speaker 4 (10:44):

And within the first six months of coaching, I took the first ever unseated wrestler to win the U S open. And from that point people started doing job offers at me over and over again. But I had a good friend and mentor that told me to turn them all down and, and go into business for myself. Because if I was at that point working for somebody else, I wouldn't have been able to truly study why it all works. And so, so, so the first thing I understood was the physical development, right? And so I learned the first lesson I learned, especially in a combat sport, if you can't control yourself, you can't control somebody else. Right? And to me that translates into life too. Because if you can't control your own self, you're never going to be able to control other people around you if you're going to be a leader or just in general in terms of like working with others.

Speaker 4 (11:41):

Right? And so in wrestling, that's physical and life, that's emotional, that's just controlling yourself mentally. You, you know, your body language, how you speak to others. And so yeah, so I learned the physical development first. So you have to first be able to control yourself. And then I learned some other lessons along the way. And so I learned how they, so the second lesson I learned was the technical development. So I learned the physical development that I learned, the technical development and the technical development. I, it, it didn't hit me until I listened to Josh white skin talk about how he learned chess. So he was the character in searching for Bobby Fischer. He was America's youngest chess prodigy. And he talked about how his Eastern European chess, Grandmaster coach taught him how to play the game. And so in Eastern Europe they teach you with the King and a queen on the board, and then they add the next most important pieces.

Speaker 4 (12:42):

Well, in the U S they teach you with every piece on the board and there's too much to comprehend to even get to the end game if you have every piece on the board. And so I was like, okay, well that's how the Russians teach their wrestling because you know, they're great at chess and they know how to teach that. And so they just took the sport and they taught backwards, meaning they taught what to control and how to finish first. And then they taught how to attack and then they, they just started going backwards. Right. And so like reverse engineering. Exactly. And which was exactly what I was also doing with my system, right? I'm reverse engineering. Why this all works. Cause they gave it to me but they didn't give me any science. And so I learned that. And then, and then I, it took me a long time to understand the mental, but I needed that long time to understand the mental components because in my mind, the mental aspects are, your mind is set for two things to automate and to create.

Speaker 4 (13:45):

Right? And so I had to automate the habits of training others in and watching people go through the process of training before I could understand what it is that we were capable of creating for myself, for the system, for wrestling, for the individual wrestlers themselves. And so once I understood how to break the mind into those two components, I became better at programming the system to work with the mind. And so, like I said, there's certain things in your life that you could automate where you don't have to make decisions, you just do it because that's what you have to do. But then there's also things that you want to be and you want to create. And so you could use that mental energy to basically manifest who you want to be as a person and who you want to be as an athlete. And so once I was able to understand that my coaching just increased tremendously and the impact that I was able to have, you know, was becoming greater than ever than I ever imagined before that.

Speaker 3 (14:56):

Yeah, right. Well you, you, that's amazing Andy. I just, it blows my mind that you were at that level and then you just completely broke everything down and really started from scratch. But I know you got, you've conversed with Colonel nine before, but he's probably chomping at the bit to ask you a question. He is a former wrestler. His son was a, I almost want to say a prolific wrestler at West point in his novel green Moray. But you guys have a lot in common. So kernel, why don't you, why don't you jump in here?

Speaker 2 (15:27):

Well, well thank you. But, but as Andy is well aware there are multiple levels of the sport. So I was a high school wrestler who was on a college team, right. So notice I don't even say a college wrestling. I've managed to get on a team and some was the state champion and then he did wrestle at West point. So a little bit higher level but, but nowhere near the level where we're talking here. But a couple of questions I had as you were talking that come to mind quickly. So how, how with your system, how malleable are the kids? I say kids because I'm 63 so how, how, how malleable are the kids that you're training to learn this system?

Speaker 4 (16:14):

You know, I've seen, I've seen multiple levels of that, right? Like one of the first college athletes I've had that. So I was, I took coach at the cliff King wrestling club at the Michigan regional training center. So I went to Michigan, went back there to coach after I left Russia. And we had a kid from Illinois, so he came from Illinois, came to Michigan, and he was like, I always say his name was Jimmy Kennedy. Ended up being one of my best wrestlers that I ever trained. He was like, I'm a shelter dog. Right? And so he came in and in college the coaches are always like, they don't really have plans and they move the goalposts and they're like, they're like up and down from day to day and you don't really understand what to expect from them in terms of your training.

Speaker 4 (17:03):

And so with that so much unknown in your training, you become like fearful, right? And you don't buy into the program. And so Jimmy was the first person that came into the program from out of Michigan that I was training. And he would always come up to me and he'd be like, look, I got to take today off. And I was like, okay, that's fine. I said, this is all we're doing. I just want to let you know. And so I would be upfront and then he'd take the day off. You'd be in the room doing his own thing. But then he would see what we would do. And then after like six months, I noticed that he took less and less days off and he totally bought into the system. And so you have people that are so standoffish because they were in programs where there was so much unknown that they couldn't piece any consistency together. But then there's also people who just gravitate towards it right away because it's a systematic approach. And both cases they meet in the middle and they really understand it and, and end up loving the program.

Speaker 2 (18:09):

And how difficult was it to take what you learned in Russia, which is for Neil, you know, the, the freestyle, I assume is what you're focused on and translate that into American style. The folk style.

Speaker 4 (18:23):

So it was, I always said it was easy without understanding that it was easy. And so, so when I go back to when I finally understood how the technique was broken down to, I took the core components, right? So there's only two things when, cause like you know, you being arrested, you can understand that there's wrestling moves, like just so many different wrestling moves. Right? Well when you break down what a wrestling move is, quote unquote, the only thing that it could be is it could be what you can control and what direction you can go in. And so any combat sport you have, the two basics are control and direction. And so when I broke down a sport and just control and just direction, it is transferable to Greco Roman style, freestyle, American folk style and even like jujitsu and other combat sports because there's only so much direction you can go in and there's only so many parts of the body that you can control.

Speaker 2 (19:30):

Yeah, that's fascinating. I, I'm going to ask one more question and hand it back here to Neil. So with your, with your training in Russia and you talk about North of Sedia and Dagestan and that whole area. And I spent six months in Northern Georgia Republic in Georgia, so probably a little bit different doing different things in you. But so I was a little bit familiar with that area. So I'm glad you chose or chose the side. You did that at training. But if any MMA, anybody looking to get you to coach specifically to the counter? Could be,

Speaker 4 (20:10):

no, no, nobody's reached out to me. You know, I have a lot of friends in MMA, but yeah, I don't think anybody's, I mean they've asked my, my, one of my best friends, Jake Herbert, you know, to coach him. But yeah, they just saw me more as a wrestling coach, not an MMA coach. I could do it, but I wouldn't want to do it.

Speaker 2 (20:35):

[inaudible] grappling aspect of it on, on. He's so unique and his skill set, it seems to be so much higher than everybody else's. And maybe maybe gauge, you can wrestle him, but we haven't seen you wrestle in

Speaker 4 (20:48):

six, eight, 10 years, whatever. I mean, he only wants to strike, so we'll find out. Do you have, that'd be interesting. No, he's, he's just a, he's a different animal. But he was, I mean, being raised in Diastat and I mean they have the same training. He was Sambo, but they have the same training techniques for Sambo as they do for their freestyle wrestling program, the Greco Roman wrestling program. And so his knowledge of combat is far superior to anybody in America, I think as well. Alright man. He'll go.

Speaker 3 (21:25):

Yeah. So, no, I, I'm, I'm just thrilled listening to this cause I'm a, I'm an outsider listening to, I remember where I was watching the first UFC fight when it was just a free for all. And I think there are only two rules, no eyes and no groin. And, and, and it was just, and then you look at a guy like always Gracie who w what did he weigh? 180 pounds and, and he was taken down guys, you know, almost twice as big as him. And that was all technique correct. And, and mental, obviously.

Speaker 4 (21:57):

No, absolutely. It was definitely a technique and, and just awareness, right? Like he had the confidence because they were so unknown with jujitsu at the time. People were, you know, literally scared to grapple with them. And when you have that fear, you become paralyzed. Yeah. Right. Where he, he wasn't paralyzed by any fear of another person's combat. He saw the potential of what, how he could use his combat to go against theirs. Right. So it's two outlooks of with the same two outlooks with the same unknown. Right?

Speaker 3 (22:41):

Yeah, totally. So let's, let's, let's jump off rustling a little bit. Cause I wanna I want to touch base and touch touch point with what you just said is fear and you know, it all comes back to courage and commitment and perseverance and grit. It doesn't have to be in an octagon or it doesn't have to be on a wrestling there. Right? So you take that, I know what I know. I'm going to try to be the best at what I do and I'm going to try to keep learning like you did any reverse engineer things when you fail it. Like I'm not saying that you said that, but, and then how do we bring that into everyday life? Someone who's not a combat sportsman or someone who's in business or a manager or a nonprofit world, or just a regular person who has to deal with a manager. How do we, how do we take that toughness, mental toughness, and almost like the chessboard, like you were talking about, how can we take what you've learned over your life and put that into just an everyday guy's life?

Speaker 4 (23:40):

Right? And so, so you know, like there's known and there's unknown, right? And the unknown. There's fear and there's potential. It's your choice, right? And so for me, I like to choose that there, there's potential in the unknown. But in order to do that, I like to apply what I've learned through the systematic approach. And so I mentioned it earlier, the first thing that you can control is yourself. The second thing you can control is your environment in life. That's, that's who you're hanging out with when you're hanging out with them, where you're hanging out with them, right? And you may not be able to change your overall environment, right? Like people are born into certain areas, certain countries, right? But within those areas, you can find the people that that could help you advance yourself, right? People that have a greater realm of knowledge than yourself.

Speaker 4 (24:40):

And, and so go surround yourself with those people. Absorb what they have and learn from them, right? And so, so then the next thing you can control all your actions in wrestling. It's your attacks in life. It's your actions and actions are what? What are you spending your time on? So audit yourself or you spending your time playing video games. Are you auditing or are you spending your time reading books and learning or listening to podcasts or you know, just talking with people, right? Conversation's a huge, I mean, as humans, conversations are hard. We learned for most of our existence is in humanity. And so audit your time and what you're spending your time doing and make sure you're getting the most out of your time. The fourth thing you control is your situation.

Speaker 4 (25:31):

You can't always control your situation. But what I mean by controlling your situation is each day you have a new situation. And in order to be able to control the situation you're in, you have to be present. You can't think about the past, you can't think about the future. There's times that you can devote those times that you can devote to the past and to the future to learn and to plan. But for the most of it, you have to be present and you have to understand what you're doing in the moment. And then, and then finally, the fifth thing you control is your story. And if I sit in, that's you're finished. But in life you, you get to choose a story that you tell. And so I always like to say be the hero, be the lead, and do it all. Because if you're not cognizant of what role you are in your story, you could be playing out a tragedy without even knowing it.

Speaker 4 (26:28):

And so in order to combat that, you have to write yourself as the lead. And so you have to tell yourself who you want to be, what you want to be, and how you want that portrayed into the world. And so to me, if you could follow those five things, it's a constant loop of all five of them evolving, right? Because the more, the more you change your story of who you want to be and you improve that story, the different environment that you're going to be hanging around, right? You're going to seek better people, seek better environments that, that are conducive to that story. You want to tell your actions are going to reflect that story and then you're going to improve who you are to be that person.

Speaker 3 (27:14):

Yeah. And you, you used the word action, but you can, you can substitute that with choices, right? So your actions and choices are make, make who you are. And last week Colonel nigh, and I talked a lot about with Kevin Undergaro, but we, we talked a lot about mentors and like you said, it's who you go after. If you, if you don't want to stop learning then you're always seeking someone to give you advice that knows more than you. And you have to realize that there were a lot of people out there who know more than you. So finding a mentor is, or mentors is crucial in someone's development. And I think what I'd like to listen to a little bit on this too, but I think, I mean I, we don't, we don't get into politics here, but then this country's been divided I think.

Speaker 3 (27:57):

And I really think it's because we're not free fingers anymore. I think a lot of it is a group thing. And I don't think Andy, that we're going to get a lot of people like you or a lot of people, what would kernel and I get for living are some of the guys I know that are active and the soft community without free-thinking. And when you buy into the group thing, you might as well just stop you. You're not even on the treadmill anymore. So what do you think about that? And kind of what Andy said about his five principles?

Speaker 2 (28:27):

Well, the five principles, he, he's spot on. I, I wrote them down. So that's how, you know, that's how impressed I was with him. So I mean, I, I liked that. I liked the, you know, I mean you can boil it down. Joe descent always talks about, you know, you're the sum of the five people closest to you and you know, you know, politicians, you know, I was born in the ghetto, but the ghetto is not born in me kind of thing. Right. So, so, so all of this has been said before, but I kinda like, I like the way he's got it listed out there and I, and I, and I truly believe all of it. Your question though, Neil, is, you know, the group thing, it's a little bit tricky because you speak specifically in the military, but if you join organizations, right?

Speaker 2 (29:11):

And once you join an organization, it's kind of like who buys into Andy's program? You start thinking and acting along Andy's lines, right? It is, it's hard to be, it's hard to walk that line to be a free thinker, right. To be kind of a, a team player at the same time kind of thing. Right, right. Certainly there's plenty of room for that happen, right? As long as you don't violate principles like those five principles you just talked about. But it, but it's tricky because people always want to be accepted and they want to be part of the group. Being a leader is hard, you know, walking your own path and looking behind you and find out, Hey, nobody's behind me. Nobody. Nobody's following me. You know? I mean, what am I doing here? And to keep going forward until you find out that people are falling, but you gotta be, that generally means you're successful.

Speaker 2 (30:05):

You've got to, if you're going to break out and make a name for yourself in whatever field that is before you get people to follow you, especially that first follower. And we've always talked about the importance of that. You're, you're going to have to demonstrate your, your abilities and your successfulness otherwise nobody's coming after you. Right? So it's, it's just, it's, it goes back to what Andy is talking about. Fear, right? I mean, when you, when you step out and say, look at me, I've got a different idea, a different plan, different way of thinking. It'd be prepared in this day and age. People are coming after you.

Speaker 3 (30:41):

Yeah, I agree. Andy. I didn't wrestle as a youth, but I did get into something sort of in the wrestling principle was I, I was a power lifter through high school, college and even into my professional life and I competed, never, never outstanding, but I always placed and for me that was good enough because I trained really hard and for me to even just be on a podium was was was success for me. I didn't, I guess what I'm trying to say is going back to high school, I was a little kid and tiny. I probably was, I think I competed in the one 23 weight class in powerlifting and my mentor, my dad was my first mentor, my and my second mentor in life. His name was Howie Waldron and I came from a high school of probably at the time, 150 kids, coed boys and girls and how we walked in and put together a power lifting team with nothing.

Speaker 3 (31:36):

We basically had a broken up concrete floor in the specialist room and he brought kids to the world championships and won out. So he had a system and people brought into his system and I, a lot of what I've done in my life was, you know, you, you'd like we said you need a mentor but you need those guidelines follow. And a lot of times I wasn't a great athlete. I mean I was in terrible athlete, but I learned technique and I learned that by showing up. There were some meats I won. I came in first because no one else showed up. They didn't want to put the work in. And that was okay with me, but I was okay with all the time I put in. But I think going back to mentors and techniques and principles, that gets you through a lot of things in life. Correct? Absolutely right. Like you know, obviously the mentors and those people in your life, a support group because there are ups and downs, right? There's, I mean, we define our own, but

Speaker 4 (32:40):

you know, you could be successful one day and then not be successful the other day, but it doesn't mean that you're worse, right? It just means that how you're judging yourself, those two days are effecting yourself. Right? And those are what the people surrounding us are helping us with. It's helping us manage pushing, right? Like if you have goals and you have aspirations, you are going to fail. Everyone's gonna fail. Right? And so, so yeah, that and then the principals is just, to me, it's just a systematic approach, right? It's like you go through it and you say, Hey, if I could do this, you have to have a path to do it. Because if you just do it one way today and another way tomorrow, you're not going to ever be able to know where your fail points are or where your improvements are coming from. Right. And, and so, you know, that's the way I look at it is as if, which is the automation, right? Like having, having a systematic approach is automation, right? And, and, and it doesn't matter what your automation is, cause I say this like it honestly doesn't like there are some systems that could, that could prove to be more successful than others, but no city us system is better than no system.

Speaker 4 (34:05):

And that automation is just how we as humans see patterns and the patterns of success and patterns of failure. And once you see those, then you can start improving. And yeah, I mean that's, I mean that's how I see it. Right?

Speaker 3 (34:23):

Yeah. And one thing I want to go in reverse on a little bit is that, you know, people probably look at wrestling or even power lifting as a individual sport, but people don't realize it's a team sport because you want that team goal as well. You, you want to go the points. And, and my coach Holly Waldron, I competed with guys in my weight class from one 23 to one 65 there were some of my best friends in life. I still hang out with one of them. We were competing against each other. But when he was on the platform, I was rooting him on him. I mean, I know it was detrimental to me, but if I wasn't a good teammate, a good coworker, a good human being, but what good is it? I, you know, I, I didn't want to be that way. And I think when you work for a team and individual, it just, you make a better role over overall person and you need a team in life. You need mentors, you need teammates and friends, but you need to take that upon yourself to go and get to another level as well. I think.

Speaker 4 (35:24):

Yeah, Neil, I'm super glad you, you talked about that. So, and for me, we have those five things that you could control, right? And in order to improve in those areas, you know, before my practices and, and the, the, the Spartan kids base camp that we're running and you know, we're like 50 days in, 60 days into this kid's class. We do it every day at 3:00 AM and every single day before we start, I asked the kids that say a pledge and the pledges that they will learn one thing and practice so you could learn something new. You could learn what you need to improve on. There's so many things you can learn to leave better than they started. Right? So learnings for the mind, leaving betters for the body and then helping somebody else do the same and, and so that, and then the last one is to enjoy what you're doing.

Speaker 4 (36:16):

So for me, that's mind, body, spirit, and soul. Right? And so when, when you help somebody that, that gives you that good feeling in your spirit, right? And you said that wrestling and powerlifting is an individual sport, but we need to have those peers, those people that are gonna help us. Right? Like even though it's individual, we need, we need those teammates to push us, to help us to, you know, just always, right. Yeah. Motivate. I mean, you know, I always say that, you know, kids will learn more from their peers and from their coach in terms of like techniques of the sports, what's currently working, like how to improve, you know, because they just understand and hear it differently from those kids, their own age. But if you're not helping somebody that nobody's helping you, and I'm super glad you hit on that because that's, to me, that's really important in life, is to just be able to give back. Cause if you're not giving and you're always taking your time, you have an expiration date because people are going to get, they're going to be done with you and they're not going to help you in your causes anymore.

Speaker 3 (37:28):

Totally agree. And, and I align with this is, you know, relationships and two way streets and if you're just a taker, I don't think you're going to get far in life. You might, you might be lonely, you might get money, but you're not going to have a lot of friends. You're not going to, I mean, what's life if you can't share that with other people. Right. And yeah, so I, I mean I can consider Colonel nigh a big brother to me now and we just met out of happenstance and we share a lot together offline and it's just gone from me hounding Joe DeSena on, on helping me get the nonprofit and get help there to Colonel I becoming great friends and we talk, we barely talk about Spartan anymore. We talk about life, great, great thing in my life.

Speaker 3 (38:13):

Cure my personal life. Often nails it. That's enough personal credit. But we talked about a lot of stuff. Yeah, there you go. But let me ask you this because I don't want to sound way off track here, but when I was, I was never, I was always a hard worker. I got that from my dad, blue collar and he worked hard to get what you want. There are some people who will give him mentally book-smart the whole nine yards, but you can be all that an athlete too. But if you don't apply yourself every day, you may get there, but you're probably not going to get to the pinnacle. It takes a lot of hard work. And if you have brains at the same time, that's an, that's an almost a, a double whammy. Right. When I used to do, especially when I got to wall street is I knew I wasn't the smartest guy in the room, so I knew I had to outwork everyone and there's a lot of times I couldn't outfit anyone.

Speaker 3 (39:09):

So what I would do, I literally would do this and I want your opinion on a world class athlete is, I used to visualize a lot, and Colonel, I'm going back to the late nineties it was a self, but it was a book written by someone called a remote visualization or remote visualizing. It was done by a CIA guy and it was out there. It was this crazy book. It was a fringe book, but I bought into it hook, line and sinker because the trader from reasserts told me about it and anyways, they think you can see something in another room. I'm not talking about that, but what I would do is if I had a big meeting the next day and I knew I was going to and that client was going to be superior to me mentally, but I needed that account to put bread and butter on my table, I would sit all night and I would think, okay, here's what I know. Let me think about what I don't know. And I would go through every objection that guy can possibly think of and that I would make myself have an answer. I'll learn that night and answer to come back with that rebuttal that I was thinking he might ask me. And that helped me out an awful lot. And I know in other sports, visualizing is big. Can you do that? Do you do that or did you do that as you were trained? Did you visualize a lot? Is that anything that you've ever done? No,

Speaker 4 (40:28):

I, I do do that. I have done it. I think it's super important because you have to, to me there, there's certain ways before you could articulate something, you have to see it in other people, right? You have to be able to observe it first, then you have to be able to see yourself in that scenario. And then you can articulate it and actually manifest it by creating it. And so that's a big part because if you can't picture yourself doing it, it's never going to happen, right? And if you're never exposed to those scenarios, then you're never going to be able to visualize yourself doing it, right? So first you have to be exposed to it, then you have to visualize it, then you can articulate it and create it. And so that, that's really big. Right? And I, I started doing it more and more every night before bed.

Speaker 4 (41:25):

But what you talked about in terms of being a wall street and going through certain scenarios is how I train athletes, right? And so, so I, I always say when I train them, I like to use, I like to say order and chaos, right? And so if there's too much chaos, you can't learn because you can't draw connections. If there's too much order, you can't grow during the same thing. And so part of the training that I do, like the, the, the skeleton of the program, the practices are, are pretty much the same every day. But there are certain parts within that skeleton that are constantly changing. And so we have, when we do the live wrestling, we have different situations that I put the athletes in and those situations starting stay start what you can control, right? So they'll either start on a right leg, left leg, a failed attack, or an upper body, right?

Speaker 4 (42:23):

And so those are the most important positions in wrestling. And from each one of those four, you have four different levels within those situations. And from those four levels. So that's 16 areas, those 16 areas, you have two ways to finish offensively and two ways to finish defensively. And so as you said, that you visualize what, what can happen if, if he says this or they say this or they do that, you already know your next move. Right? Right. And so that's super important because if you can do that and you can create that, it just becomes a scripted dance. There's nothing new. Just improving the speed and efficiency in which you can go to your next move.

Speaker 3 (43:12):

Right. And currently I'd really like to pick your brain on this. He mentioned the ordering chaos when you were in the ranger regimen, you, you were under stress all the time. They, they, they put you under stress personally know, but, but you were under stress, chaos and order. So I, I'd like to know how you guys dealt with training with that and how that you just became maybe a reflex when you're on the battlefield.

Speaker 2 (43:38):

Well, I think Andy articulated it perfectly. What you were describing is visualization, but it really, it really kind of bled over in, into rehearsal. Basically. You were, if this, then that and the quicker you can identify the mood, the counter, you'll know the quicker you can hit the countermove. Right, right. It becomes repetition doing it over and over and over again. Correct. Until it's muscle memory or second nature. Right, right, right. So that's, that's the same way the Rangers do it. I mean, they practice a routine, routine things routinely, right? Everybody's got to know everybody's job, and when you jump out of an airplane and it's two o'clock in the morning and you hit the ground and there's no lights on, you get into a tactical wedge and you start walking, right? You're moving forward to combat, but you don't have the time. A lot of times you don't have the time to, to gather up and say, okay, everybody, I'm the boss.

Speaker 2 (44:36):

I'm going to do this. I do that. Everybody's got to know that. So when that, when that group is already walking by you, you get into that formation and you take up that position, whatever is empty as it moves and not until it comes to set, you then move around and get everybody in the right position. But it's important because everybody has to know everybody else's moves up, up until that moment. Right? Right. That all comes. And so, you know, yeah, you're visualizing whatever in the future battle, but you've got to rehearse it and rehearse it, rehearse it, and you've got to throw every obstacle in your way. You know, every challenge in your way. What can go wrong? You know, the military has what they call, and I'm sure, I'm sure your world does two branches and sequels, right? So if I go this way and I'm going to branch off, it's forced me to do this, but then there's a CQL from that I can do X, Y, and Z as well. Right? A little bit different. And you have to know them all and you have to know them in your head and you've gotta be, the key is recognizing them quickly. Chance favors the prepared mind. Right, right, correct. Just that simple. The more you prepare the, you know, Larry Bird used to say, the more you know, the more you practice, the luckier he got. Right.

Speaker 4 (45:57):

And, and one thing I'd like to piggyback off of that is, you know, one thing I learned through training people is that if you don't know those sequences, your mental capacity is always geared towards what you should be doing, not what you could be doing. So instead of thinking of strategies and tactics, you're thinking about how to actually perform, right? So if you could automate how to perform by understanding your tasks and like you said, other people's tasks. If you're working as a team, until you truly understand all the tasks and everything that could go wrong and right, then you're, then you're not able to use strategies and tactics. And once you're able to use strategies and tactics, then you're a master and you could start moving circles around other people and units and you know, things like that.

Speaker 3 (46:55):

Right, right. So any Colonel, when I was, when I was young, I just thought high school, going into college, my Politan coach took three of us up to watch, not compete, but to watch the junior nationals a bit. It was South of Portland, Maine. This is going back to 1998 I think, excuse me, 1988 and I was impressed. I mean I was tiny. I was probably in the one 48 class at that point as a senior and these dyes were massive human beings. Even even the guys, my weight class was like, they were 20 pounds heavier than one 48 and I remember seeing this t-shirt and I'll never forget it because it was part of my growth period, is on this tee shirt. I'm this guy who was probably in a super heavy weight, so it was like a billboard and said what the mind can conceive, the body will achieve and I brought that with me every day in my life and takes action.

Speaker 3 (47:51):

That's just a saying, right? Unless you actually do it and act on it and make choices about it, it means nothing. But that premise, I wake up with that almost every day in my life. I don't think, I really don't think there's nothing I can achieve. It might take me 10 times longer than someone else. It really and truly, but I don't think I can't get there. I just need, I might need a lot of help along the way. I might need guys like Chromat and Joe DeSena and other people to help me get there. But I think, cause I'm wrapping this up, and I think the point we take away from this whole conversation is if you're willing to put the work in, you're willing to visualize, you're willing to, to do, make mistakes, fail. I hate to sing about people saying, well, he's failed 10 times.

Speaker 3 (48:34):

I don't care. I feel 20 times he got back up off the ground. Right? He's still trying. So I will take a guy who fails and keeps trying then a guy who just succeeds because there's no skin in the game. Right? So, so thank you so much for taking the time. I know you're really busy up there and your day is really pressed, but what we'd like to do at the end of the call is we just want to, I don't even know, I guess I should have asked you if you recall, but you have any nonprofits that you help focus on or want to mention here? Yeah,

Speaker 4 (49:07):

I mean, I was able to do this because I was coaching for a nonprofit to cliff King wrestling club. You know, they help support Olympic wrestlers at the university of Michigan and so, yeah, so, so they were a big part of my development professionally, you know, I was able to learn how to make websites by building theirs and databases and coaching. I learned social media, I learned fundraising by working for them. But the one that's closest to my heart right now is, is beat the streets wrestling and they're in like 30 plus cities across the country. They were started in New York city. One of my former wrestlers at the university of Michigan is a national director for pizza streets. And the, the programming that that I'm creating with Spartan, the base system, which stands for battle athletics, go and exercise. We have the kids class and then so it's a non wrestling class to help kids get in better shape, change their lives. And then we also have the wrestling program. And once Joe and I are done creating the programs, you know, we're gonna give it to beat the streets so they can have it as their national programming and they can have a consistent way to teach the sport and teach health and wellness across the country. And so that's a nonprofit that I love and that I like working with, giving my time and my resources to and, and so, yeah, they're amazing.

Speaker 3 (50:45):

Awesome. So just to be clear, it's beat the street. So it's be 80

Speaker 4 (50:50):

yes. [inaudible]

Speaker 3 (50:51):

yep. And do you have the website that people can go to? It was or

Speaker 4 (50:55):

I think so. I'm not a hundred percent sure what the website is, but yeah, it's, I'm sure it's like B. It's the It might be

Speaker 3 (51:05):

yeah, let me, we'll post it on our podcast next Monday. May be a link that they can go to if anybody's interested in giving back to that kernel. Do you wanna see any parting shots to Andy?

Speaker 2 (51:17):

Wow. You know you just hit me from left field parting shots right now. Really quick cause I can see you're at the farm and been when you were talking about being in Russia, compare contrast quickly. You like the farm better or Richard better? How's Joe treating you?

Speaker 4 (51:34):

Oh he's treated me amazing. I was asked that question recently. Somebody asked me is this year the best year of my life? And I said it's on par with living in Russia. I said when I lived in Russia I couldn't speak the language. They spoke ancient dialect of Farsi cause that tribe of the association, the [inaudible], they, they broke off the Persian empire like 1800 years ago. So I, I, all I had to do is wake up, train, eat, read books, learn, digest it. And then here on the farm I just have to wake up, train kids, do live workouts online and I'm filming classes. And so both of them are amazing to me. If you want to be happy, start eliminating things out of your life. And being here, there's so much has been eliminated out of my life that you could just wake up and be at peace and you know, your focus is just right in front of you. And Joe's been treating me amazing and it's been so humbling being able to see him work and do everything that he's doing, you know, for his company and for his audience. And you know, it's just amazing being able to work with his kids and family. And yeah, it's, it's been amazing. And like I said,

Speaker 2 (52:59):

standing right behind you or anything isn't, you're not and all that.

Speaker 3 (53:04):

No, he doesn't have a kettlebell over your head. Does it

Speaker 4 (53:08):


Speaker 2 (53:10):

And what about, what about the wrestling camp? What we see, one that summer or no,

Speaker 4 (53:14):

I'm not a hundred percent sure but, but we will have our programs available soon for kids across the country to help them, you know, obviously combat devices and combat inactivity. So you know, that's something that's near and dear to my heart and you guys know that's something Joe believes in and so, so yeah, we just want to do what we can to make people better. Humans

Speaker 3 (53:42):

you go, it's been awesome. Thanks for sharing your time with us and your, your knowledge very deep. Great. Yeah. Thanks Andy. And then we'll wrap it up with, with this. Today's a very special day. As we both know, all of us, all three of us know it's Memorial day and kernel. And I know it was, I am the most un-PC person on the planet. But there's one thing that I, I was getting used to saying going through life is happy Memorial day. But I've been around certain people from the past 18 years that today we honor and we respect fallen heroes. And that's what Memorial day is about, is honor, respect. And while we're all enjoying our weekend because people have the next day offering today, often Friday off, as long as everyone just takes a moment to honor them, respect all them heroes to be able to let us do this podcast is amazing.

Speaker 3 (54:35):

And the last thing I'd like to say is we can't forget ever forget what they've done, but they leave a lot of times families and spouses back home and you know, I just want to put a shout out to Goldstar spouses and go sell children. And there's a great organization called special ops survivors that helps and supports widows are survivors of special operations heroes. And so today's a special day. Let's not forget the spouses either because they easily forgotten about and any, it's been a, it really has been a pleasure and an honor to be able to speak with you and talk with you. Like I can't wait for when this lockdown is over that we'll be hanging out at in Boston at the headquarters again.

Speaker 4 (55:17):

Absolutely. Thank you guys for your time. And again, yeah, thanks. All the people who have fought for us and will continue to fight for us. Yes, sir.

Speaker 3 (55:32):

Yeah. Have a great, have a great day guys. Thank you. Take care. Bye.

Speaker 1 (55:38):

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