Workout of the Day

It's All Fun And Games Until You Get Kicked In The Face


As the story goes, an alleged martial arts champion and Kiai Master, with a 200 - 0 record (that means 200 wins, 0 losses) named Yanagi Ryuken believed he could beat any MMA fighter the world sent his way. He believed it so much that he put $5,000 on the line and took it to the mats with a local MMA fighter.

This doesn’t sound all that unreasonable, except that Yanagi was a “master” of an out-there aberration of martial arts that is somewhere between a bad parody of a kung-fu movie and the most poorly acted WWE match you’ve ever seen. I won’t claim to understand it, but it has something to do with manipulating chi and your breath to, without touching your opponents, toss them around with ease. You can have a glimpse of Yanagi’s “talent” below. Fair warning: it’s weird.

Back to the story -- Yanagi confidently put it out there that he, with his alleged 200 - 0 record (did I mention that all 200 of his “wins” were against his own students?), would take a fight with any MMA fighter, and Yanagi was sure he would win handily. A local fighter named Tsuyoshi Iwakura gladly accepted the challenge.

You can imagine what happened.

Paperwork was signed, they shook hands, and within about 30 seconds, Yanagi, the unbeatable Kiai Master, had taken a handful of fists and elbows to the head, and a solid kick to the face, and was down for the count. Somehow, his magic air-bender fighting hadn’t stopped a swift kick to the face. Color me shocked.

(The video of this fight is somewhere on YouTube if you want to dig it up)

What’s most remarkable about this story isn’t that there’s someone out there who believes they can manipulate the air to take down an opponent of any skill and strength, or that they willingly put $5000 on the line and ended up kicked in the face. Rather, it’s remarkable that he had managed to create an environment so insulated from criticism and so indulgent of his delusions that he couldn’t even fathom how he could be wrong. Yanagi, after receiving the first blow, looks at his opponent in utter disbelief. If the rumors are true, he truly believed he couldn’t be hit in the face like every other human on earth, and I’ve read that he even carried on with his wild beliefs after the fateful fight.

While this story sounds fantastical and one-of-a-kind, this situation isn’t all that uncommon (see: positions of high political power). And it’s no secret that humans are very good at believing their own falsehoods if they’re never faced with any resistance.

Does your environment look like people re-affirming your beliefs or perpetually nodding in agreement? Does it look like softened edges, absence of discourse and disagreement, and no critical feedback? If so, I suggest you change things, stat.

It’s easy to sit comfortably in your own delusions; that is, until eventually reality kicks you in the face.

- PS


  • “Daniel”

  • For time:

    • 50 pull-ups

    • 400m run

    • 21 thrusters (95/65)

    • 800m run

    • 21 thrusters (95/65)

    • 400m run

    • 50 pull-ups