Brian Kent is one of many inspiring individuals we’ve asked the same questions to at the start of the New Year. The two simple questions, “What goal are you proud to say you’ve accomplished in 2016?” and “What goal are you working towards in 2017?” may give you the inspiration to reflect on what you have to be proud of and to articulate something clearly you want to work towards this year. Whether you share that goal with anyone or not, set your intention this year and always move in the direction where you want to be.
After learning self defense with Nike Trainer Brian Kent during a #Sweatworking event at On Your Mark, his Ninja class there has been on my list of things to try. After taking his class on a Friday at 4:30 pm, Not only was I a sweaty mess just 45 minutes later, I learned I have pretty poor brain-to-foot coordination and I’m not great at maneuvering my way around a rubber tire with my eyes closed. If you’re wondering what I consider a fun Friday afternoon, this is actually it.
I sat down with Brian right after class to interview him for this series and as everyone else in class passed by on the way out, Brian called after them affectionately, hollering “Good work today, Ninjas” and “Ninja’s a lifestyle, be aware out there.”
Brian is a Nike trainer with a black belt in Tai-Kwon-Do, brown belt in Judo and purple belt in Brazilian jui-jit-su. His background in college football, college baseball and minor league baseball and his innate drive to “commit to be all-in,” as he describes it, sent him down the athletic training path with a martial arts edge. And his Ninja class at On Your Mark is the perfect expression of that.
You get in some serious cardio with the ladder drills, punching, kicking and circuit series’ of class – but you also learn movement patterns Brian incorporates from his martial arts training. “The grappling stuff was a whole new ball game (to learn),” Brian said. “It was something I had to work hard to understand. The application is hard. When there’s a little guy that holds you down and you can’t get up, physically that should not happen, but it does. So technique is always better than strength, and its helped me better harness my energy, too.”
After taking his self defense workshop through #Sweatworking, the entire room could feel his passion for this type of fitness. “If you never practice for the game, you can’t be expected to do well in the game,” Brian says. “If you practice for the game, and you’re presented with a game-like scenario, its just reaction.”
It was this passion that I knew would lead to a clear answer when I asked him which goal he’s most proud of achieving in 2016 and what goals he was setting for 2017.
In 2016, his goal was diving deeper into the Nike Chicago community.
BK: I’ve been a Nike guy my whole life. As a kid growing up in the Chicago area with Michael Jordan and the Nike era, I didn’t wear anything else. It’s been a huge, fun project.
And in 2017, he’s laser-focused on continuing his martial arts training, but with a fresh perspective on how that goal should be articulated.
BK: I don’t control when I get a (black) belt in Judo. What I control is the work I put in. So if I do the right work, I’ll be rewarded for it down the line. So rather than focusing on the belt which is an external goal, the internal goals are what I can control – my effort – my consistency. So my goal is to be at Judo once or twice a week, same with Jiu Jitsu. So I can keep progressing and keep adding credentials to my name. And be considered for a black belt by the end of the year.
Inspired to set a new goal? Make sure it’s SMART.