When I first started training my students at Evolve Bootcamp, they came to know and repeat the phrase “Show No Weakness”. They would say it to each other to encourage their team mates and hang tough during grueling workouts . However, they did not know the story behind the phrase nor did they know why I would tell them this when they were completely winded after running bases several times or doing hard suicides up Beacon Hill.

I learnt the phrase when I was training for a fight at Sityodtong Muay Thai Academy. The preparation was brutal! I was 46 years old at the time and thought I was in pretty good shape. My coach would have me cracking pads (that’s punching, kicking & knees for five to ten rounds, lasting five minutes of no-stop action!) to the point of puking!

During the 1 minute break between rounds, I would be hunched over gasping for air feeling like I was about to die! My coach would order… “Stand up tall. Put your hands behind your head. Breathe in through the nose, out through the mouth. Whatever you do show no weakness to your opponent!”

He explained “you don’t want to show your opponent that your tired or gassed after a round of all out fighting, even if you are!” He told me, that I should go back to my corner looking fresh as a daisy.

He continued saying “they too, will be going back to their corner feeling tired and gassed. You want to have that mental edge over them, so a piece of them will quit in their mind, even before they come out to face you in the next round.” The strategy was to psyche out my opponent. It’s a myth to think that you’re either born tough or you’re not, its all about your mental attitude!

This was drilled into my head. My coach would firmly say after each exhausting round “Show No Weakness”! Soon, I was standing tall, reciting “Show No Weakness” on my own, quietly in my mind after each round, as a mantra to clear out all those thoughts that wanted to make me quit.

Kru Toy Holding Pads For Me

That strategy made a lot of sense to me then, but what my coach did not tell me, and I realized after that first fight, was that by saying “Show No Weakness” when I was feeling like I couldn’t go on for another second, was not only about showing my opponent that I was stronger than they were….it was also when I heard myself making those sounds of physical distress because my cardio was maxed out that I didn’t let the physical pain of exhaustion overcome ME! Instead, I used the mantra to overcome my minds response to self-doubt, so I could persevere even when I thought I had nothing left to give.

My coach wanted to teach me how & where to draw every once of strength I had left when I felt I had no more to give to dig deeper. That mantra helped me find that space within that was raw, primal & utterly an instinct to survive. This seriously toughed me up where I developed stamina or back bone that made me more resilient to weakness.

I discovered that by using the mantra Show No Weakness and the erect body stature I would rout out any signs of weakness in my mind & body.  It helped to keep me moving forward to achieve my goal.

Eventually, my bootcampers got to the point where they too were no longer hunched over gasping for air when running hills and drills. Their minds no longer succumbed to the physical pain or discomfort they felt from the high intensity workouts they were doing.

They even jokingly added to the phrase by saying Weed Out the Weakness to new recruits. Signifying that to be part of the team you must endure the 4-week session by showing no weakness. The recruits that have survived, return to camp month after month. The ones that don’t, well according to my bootcampers they got weeded out and they don’t Evolve…they get left behind!

So, when you are out there running your first 5k, 10k, a half or full marathon, or you have your first fight and that little voice inside your head is telling you “I can’t go on”, pointing out every uncomfortable pain you could be feeling…you have a choice. You can either listen to that negative self-talk or you can drown it out with the mantra Show No Weakness” and become victorious!


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