Like Tony Stark said, “Sometimes you gotta run before you can walk…”

As of late everything has seemed to be a whirlwind of work and change in my life. The last article I wrote was about the very special trip I took to Germany which involved visiting the town where my Grandfather had been shot down during the World War. But to say that moment alone made my trip to Germany meaningful would be a false statement.

Since my return from Germany life has been a roller coaster. My first weekend back I was the Best Man in one of my Best Friends weddings, then its off to teach a course. Then I have another event and then another and then before I know it I’m teaching another weekend course for the third weekend in a row. These aren’t really bad things but they do take away from something I promised I’d get back to, writing.

And not just writing but writing about things I found important, and this article is one that is overdue. When I boarded the plane to head to Germany back in November it was coming off 7 or 8 months of pretty heavy work and life obligations. This including taking the time to get myself in line and create LiveForward. So when I took off for Germany I was just happy to get some time out of the States and see some old friends and do what I do best, teach.

But what I found in my time in Germany was much more then just time with old friends and teaching. And honestly what I found there brought me back to what it means to be a part of what we call the Club.

When I first went to Germany years back, we had no Iron Club Charters there. I just had athletes and friends I worked with. But after spending time with my friend Rob Powell and getting to know his gym and community, I knew Ansbach was a pretty special place. So when I left Germany, I left with an I/C stamp of approval on Rob’s gym and our first overseas Charter.

Since that time, others I view as close friends have earned the title of Charter. We have a Iron Club in Miami led by my buddy Eddie Ramirez and another Charter run by Jerome Boitelle in Cassel, Germany as well.

It’s not an easy road to become a Charter and it can take years.

But the hard work it takes to become a Charter is a source of pride to everyone who has earned it. What I didn’t realize though was just how much pride every Club I visited out there had in it as well.

Every gym associated with the Club has its own community and culture. But one thing tied us all together and that was the I/C. Folks rocked Club colors every class I visited, and were excited to let me know just how much it all meant to them. It was a very humbling experience to see people have pride in something that may seem so simple to other people. And that experience reminded me that not everyone wants to be part of the mainstream and we’re proud to be part of something that connects us in our diversity.

While I was there I also made a trip to Weiden to visit a coach I had spent a fair amount of time mentoring online named Philipp. Rob made the trip with me and after a long train ride from Ansbach we arrived in Weiden. We were met by Philipp who took us back to his gym so I could work some classes with his gym. His crew all does the I/C program though his gym is not a Charter, he has been working towards it.

When we got to his spot it took me back. It was barebones and it was just the way I remembered things from when I started out myself. It wasn’t the larger facilities that most of the Charters now find themselves in. It was small, and to me it was a trip back in time to when things were real simple. As his folks started showing up I got to meet more and more of Philipp’s community. And though they weren’t a Charter they had just as much pride as those carrying the title.

When I took a step back Weiden was what the Club was all about. Every Charter head started out the same way Philipp did. We all grinded, sweat, hustled and put everything we had into what we had to work with to create what we have now. And Philipp is doing that now.

Seeing that desire inspired me to get myself back in the game. It was time to get back to leading from the front. I had felt burnout creeping in on me before my trip to Germany. But being there among the Charters and then visiting Philipp’s gym and seeing someone in the early stages of where myself, Rob, Eddie and Ome had started left me with a fire lit back in me and one choice to make.

I returned to the States and called for a vote for the hard working young man from Weiden and his gym to be considered as a Charter. You see there must be a majority vote among the Charter heads to allow a new Club to be established, we take this pretty seriously.

I presented my case and waited to hear what my colleges had to say, I was especially interested to hear what the other German Charters thought about my submission. I also let them know my mind could be changed if any case against Weiden proved valid for me to vote against my own submission.

One by one votes came in and not only votes of yes or no but votes showing great support for Philipp. I couldn’t say how proud I was of the other Charters for seeing the same starting point we all had taken and wanting to support the journey Phil and his gym were on.

So after the unamimous vote was cast I reached out to Phil and let him know what had happened and want to know if he was ready to join the ranks of an official Iron Club Charter. The response I got back let me know we had all made the right choice with our vote.

Sometimes all a young coach needs for his community is the belief of his peers and we are all very happy to announce our 5th Iron Club the RedBear’d I/C located in Weiden, Germany.

Congrats to you and your community Philipp, welcome to the family. You may be still finding your feet but we got your back and its time to start running with the pack. Makes us all proud boss, Pals.

Posted by: Z

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