NZ Glen : BodyCombat fanatic

One Tribe?

Posted on: May 8, 2010

You’ll have to excuse this post as a departure from my usual fitness related musings – I’m going to have a little bit of a rant about a subject I’ve been putting some thought into over the last few weeks. It’s something that personally I’ve found a little odd given the Les Mills motto “One Tribe”…

Recently, an individual reasonably high up the food chain at Les Mills has been writing a lot of comments in a blog, on the Les Mills forum and on twitter that seemed to be aimed squarely at this blog, and perhaps a couple of the other Les Mills related blogs out there. I won’t name the person writing them, nor link to the blog or the original comments… however I’ll list just a few of them below and maybe you’ll see what I mean;

  • Stay up to date with <blog name> for all the back stage info and private Bodycombat 45 news! ” the real deal”
  • if you would like to find out 1st hand how? why?” when ? we do things, and All that is so exciting about BODYCOMBAT then no need to seek out others.
  • I promise I’ll keep u all updated on <blog name> no need to look any where else. πŸ™‚
  • thank you to all that are helping the “REAL” blog grow

More recently a participant from another country asked myself along with the person above if they could translate my/our blogs for other Les Mills fanatics who didn’t speak English and was told by this same person (about my blog) “These are NOT official lesmills – Information blogs and there for not advised to promote” (bold emphasis mine).

“Not advised to promote”?? I mean c’mon – everyone knows this isn’t an official Les Mills blog. It doesn’t claim to be an official Les Mills blog. It’s a blog written by a guy who started out a couple years ago as a participant, fell in love with Les Mills’ programmes, trained up and started instructing. My enthusiasm took me from participant, to trainee, to certified instructor teaching multiple classes in three different Les Mills programmes every single day of the week – and more recently to group fitness manager as well. I’m just a guy who loves group fitness, and who enjoys sharing my love the Les Mills programmes with others in a blog – why all the competition and drama??

I’ve blogged pretty much my entire adult life about all manner of subjects – from my random musings, to sports supplementation – I even used to have a blog that poked a bit of fun at Tom Cruise and Scientology (that was a laugh – you can read about that here) – blogging is an opportunity to share your thoughts and get others opinions on the same…. for all of us to compare our thoughts and ideas in a supportive environment.

At the end of the day, aren’t we all meant to be ‘One Tribe Changing the World’? I personally know of scores and scores of people who have been encouraged to get into Les Mills group fitness from not only the posts on this very blog – but from the thousands of comments made by other supportive instructors around the world. I personally get messages on my facebook wall almost every day from readers who appreciate being able to connect with other like minded fitness fanatics, and appreciate being kept up to date on all the Les Mills news from here in NZ.

So when I was asked if someone could translate this blog for others to read… of course I said yes! If you want to copy any information and share it with others from here… of course I’ll say yes! We’re meant to be one family, one group – working towards a common goal of Fighting Globesity. We’re meant to be Changing the World, One Class at a Time.

If I were a Programme Director for Les Mills, and I read this blog, I’d think to myself – wow, isn’t it fantastic this guy is so into MY programme! Isn’t it great he’s had over 1.1 million visitors to his blog reading about MY programme. Isn’t it great he’s doing all this free promotion, and encouraging more and more people to do MY programme! Wouldn’t that make more sense than telling people NOT to support this blog? Wouldn’t that make more sense than threatening me with the possibility of legal action? (for posting a track list? The same track list that is actually on anyway?) Why the competition? Why the drama? Can’t we all just get along??

As always love to hear your thoughts…


44 Responses to "One Tribe?"

As an aside I’m actually not the only one to notice this. A participant from Chile wrote a post last week on a similar subject. You can read that here:

You know…. I always avoid ‘official’ blogs and promotions because they’re biased.. ‘we are great!!!’ … blah blah, self promotion and all that.

I like to hear both good and not so good comments about LM from someone who’s passionate enough to observe, critique and LOVE the subject who’s got our (the readers’) interests at heart. It’s all about wanting quality and fun… sometimes it doesn’t work out 100% that way and I know that you will be honest when it’s not..that’s so important.

Gimme this blog anyday, it’s like a whole bunch of instructors and participants sitting around a room on fitness balls, sipping skim milk lattes and eating (healthy) nibblies, passing info and GOOD advice on BC, BP and BA and being excited about new releases, new moves etc.. showing the huge love we all have for Les Mills programmes.

There’s no ‘I am an instructor and you are a lowly participant without a certification’ attitude. You know I’m a short chubby, middle aged combat enthusiast but I also know you see me as important and just like any other LM junkie – there’s no hierarchy and no condescension like I just saw coming from whomever that rooster blogger is…(man he puffs out his chest eh?)

It should be one tribe of all nationalities, ages and levels of ability, all joining in unison, showing their passion for a wonderful fitness programme. I feel that here in this blog Glen. Thanks to you and all the others who visit and comment ..

Self promotion is ok… but NOT when you diss others. It’s just not professional is it?

Aww thanks Annie! I agree 100%. What I don’t understand is that this blog is called “BodyCombat FANATIC” – I mean, if you created something – and people are FANATICAL about it, then isn’t that a compliment to you – the person who created it? Bizarre.

As always appreciate your comments and support – give Tony a big friendly punch from me πŸ˜‰

hee hee I will…(he’s gonna read this anyway)

Glen, really enjoy your blog. I don’t think you are imagining it – when i saw some of those comments at the time, I immediately thought that they were referring to you.
To be honest I would have though the individual in question would have much bigger things to concentrate on – rather than worrying about a blog that gives BC positive press!!! πŸ™‚

I actually don’t think thats the problem- the fanaticalism of their programmes.
Its the fact that they can not control what is said, read & commented on, but this is the world of the www. LM is getting free promotion from these blogs from instructors that love it- u can’t ask for anything better!
Its purely a matter of control, although following your blogs with the immense restraint you have of the sensitive subject matter is inspirational to say the least!
Perhaps its not actually a dig at you but a blanket one, as where I’m sitting you never give the secrets away until its been published on the LM site. Much to the annoyance of us who want you to slip something out after the filming or get the tracklist out or actually give the chorey away earlier!
Without these unofficial, unregulated blogs- I feel the anticipation of new releases wouldn’t be as heightened as they are now!
Come on LM, come to the party. We love Glen’s blog. As Annie says it gives us participants an equal opportunity to give our point of view without being vilified. ONE TRIBE!!!

You’d think people would have worked out by now that threatening/complaining about sites they don’t like produces nothing other than the Streisand Effect. If you provide a better product then you get more eyeballs on your site. 1.1 million views is a pretty good indicator that the majority of those doing BC – keen participants who are never going to become instructors (such as myself) – find your posts accessible, interesting, entertaining and relevant. That why we keep returning.

Don’t let the bastards grind you down, Glen – and stay with the fight πŸ˜‰

Mate. I frikkin love your blog, love your passion . Don’t let them grind you down.

I think Les Mills needs to get the stick out of their arse and lighten up … love your work Glen!

Thanks guys!

Graham I never thought about the Streisand Effect but you make a good point!

When the comments first started I just assumed good faith and didn’t really think anything of them. They they continued, so I asked a couple of my ‘online friends’ on a forum – and they agreed. Then when the latest ‘you are NOT to promote that blog’ thing started – and my name was specifically mentioned I realised this wasn’t all in my head.

Maybe your comments will help change some attitudes, as we all work for inclusion not exclusion.

Thanks again x

Glen, I can see where you’re coming. I totally follow your blog and it really gives me good insights. Definitely a positive press for Les Mills. When a song from BC/BP gets stuck in my head after a particular session and i have totally NO idea what song it is, i would very well always check your blog out and somehow i always find my answers and stop that bloody itch in my mind!
Keep rolling!! You definitely inspire!

Guess which person’s very recent tweet included the line: [i]Suporting and helpin everyone![/i]. Hopefully that’s a sign of positive change and not merely unintentional irony.

Hey Glen
mate, talk about a green eyed monster!
Maybe we need to haul him along to one of your classes, and you can really beat him up!!! Then let him try to tell you that you don’t have passion or drive!!
You rock!! xx

This is a good post. It sounds like the person you are talking about has issues way beyond what’s addressed here… like selfishness? possibly arrogance? I’ve been through three LM trainings, and every single trainer I have had has made the same point time and time again – we are here for are participants, it is not the “look at me” show… get over yourself and be there for your participants. THAT’s being one tribe… That is encouraging and trying to change the world, being there for everyone who is passionate or interested in the programs, not only those who fit a certain profile, or read only specific comments and blogs, or only participate in certain programs. The type of attitude you are talking about here is childish; we need to be supportive of each other, not disparaging and insulting someone through the “mine is better” childish nonsense. This kind of attitude leaks through the system and through instructors, it takes one bad apple to ruin the whole pie… perhaps its time for LM to reevaluate it’s branding focus (one tribe) or have a sit down chat with this person and ask him/her if they really are part of the tribe or not.

You know what… I love you guys πŸ™‚

@Robynne – I initially thought the same too, though then measured up the behaviour against other people in similar positions but for other programs, and *none* of them have reacted in a similar way. If it really were a blanket statement, then how come it’s not coming through for other programs; case in point I haven’t ever been harassed for any RPM posts I’ve written. But I do agree that without the unofficial blogs, there would be *far* less anticipation and drama regarding the upcoming releases.

@Staci – perhaps its time for LM to reevaluate it’s branding focus (one tribe) or have a sit down chat with this person and ask him/her if they really are part of the tribe or not. THIS.

@NZGlen – You know how I feel about the situation, and how you’ve been treated. Your blog just exudes passion for BODYCOMBAT, and we need more blogs like yours out in the blogosphere promoting the programs, not less. The passion that is felt through your written word is infectious, and I wouldn’t be surprised if through your readings, other Combatters passion for the program has heightened and they themselves have shifted from participating to instructing. You keep doing your thing, we are all behind you, and will continue to be. πŸ™‚

Gday Glen,

@Annie Do I need to look over my shoulder in my next combat class at southlakes (31may for launch 7june for cover :-)),

Without the passion of your blog, I would probably be still sitting in Western Australia, still wondering what it would be like to go to a filming, but instead I found your blog and I reckon within a month I was booked and ready for my first NZ trip, yes I got to meet the Lesmills Icons (and we need our heroes, it is how we aspire for better things to become better people to become one tribe),

but the highlight would driving thru NZ to find this little place on the map, (well it was only an inch to the right on the map lol), and being a baby combatter still get to teach with yourself, and feel part of this family, now booked in for AIM next week for combat.

Thru this Blog I met Raina, and then in person at the filming’s, encouraged her to do training, which I’m sure so many people have, as she connects well with other people, and look how far she has come in a year, now an RPM instructor in her own right.look out JAM. πŸ™‚

making lifetime changes every time, every class doesn’t just stop at the group fitness room door.

anyway would be bitterly disappointed if you were to stop (or worse be told to stop) this blog as it keeps our family/one tribe closer from every part of the world.

my 2 cents

@Tony – You were the person who didn’t believe my bullsh*t and *really* got through to me that I could do the training. My certification video for RPM has been filmed and I’m about to send it in – the next time you’re in NZ, I’m buying you a drink!! If it weren’t for the passionate people that we connect with through the blogs & social networking sites, so many of us would be in a very different place right now, far less fulfilled in our own lives.

Aww Tony thanks so so much… it was so awesome to meet you too! And holy moly look at you now… you’re a lean mean group fitness machine!! Teaching, what, 20 classes per week!! So inspirational!

This blog has allowed me to meet so many people… I too met Raina through blogging (and look at her go – she’s only just done module and is about to certify already!!), met you, Amir from Dubai – in fact dozens upon dozens of passionate group fitness instructors and participants from around the world.

In two months I’m off on a mini world trip to London, Dubai, Singapore, Paris, to name a few places, and I’ve lined up meetings and classes to team teach in every country.

That truly is ONE TRIBE

Like I said, thanks so much, and honestly, you guys truly mean the world. You all rock.

Gday Raina,

Thankyou, I knew there was a passionate soul hidden in there, and just maybe needed a little push to make an extraordinary change. Hopefully will be for GFX later this year.

All the little things that connect together to create our Les Mills Family. you cant make a loaf of bread with just yeast

Glen, you are doing a great job with your blog, why do you think folks keep checking in again and again to catch the latest? Love your posts and love your unbiassed (!!!!!) opinions. Keep it up don’t let LM police you or, worse, take away the passion you have. You’re an inspiration man!

Oh BTW are you gonna publish your teaching schedule in Europe so we can try to join you somewhere?

Hiya Glen,

If you wrote about something I created I’d give you a public mention.

Dunno what’s up with some people. Your blog is a great read. I rarely go to the official LesMills site anymore, got sick of all the airbrushed superhero poster models and Bullsh1t. ( What’s wrong with real people and the bodies that they worked hard to create. )

I love the concept of LMI but the underlying msg is getting a bit sinister. Love us or leave.

For the record, I have never wanted to look at the ‘stay with the fight blog.’ Here’s a suggested title for a parody blog.

‘Stray from the Blight’ hahha.


Wow. I’m just amazed at the gall of some ppl o.O Keep doing what you’re doing, mate (as if you’d stop!) Your enthusiasm and passion just shine thru it all πŸ˜‰

@marshmellow- perhaps this and the more popular blogs are the start. And one day perhaps I’ll stop making excuses & transition from participant to instructor!
Afterall 1.1million people viewing this blog is going to get attention from LM whether u like it or not.
I’m just continually amazed that u get targeted for being passionate about group fitness. Isn’t the whole point of all this is to have a forum open to freedom of opinion, exchange ideas/knowledge and love for the same thing..
Keep it up Glen!

Hey Glen,
First – Your blog is what I would call a “quality” blog. There are other sites/blogs where you just go in, get the info you want and exit, but yours is not one of those. Totally enjoy your slant on the launches and releases.
A certain person not far from NZ used to put his entire launch on YouTube, and thought he popular for being such a cool dude, not realizing that people were just there to see the new tracks (in their entirety) – I totally saw LMI’s point on that one.
Your blog is nothing like that.
Second – on the Les Mills forums lots of instructors give their reviews on new releases long before the releases reach about 80 percent of the world… these are not ‘official’, but no one gives them a bad time, eh?
No idea who you are referring to, but I love the term “Streisand Effect “… going to have to write that one down.

Ok, I may be going out on a limb here but I’ll take my chances and speak/write my mind abt this topic.

Firstly, I totally agree with Tony that we need our heroes. And for the longest time (until the recent turn of ‘ugly’ events), alot of us BC fanatics have always tot meeting the creator behind all those great chorry could be as close as meeting God himself (no exaggeration here, really).

Then a couple of months ago, some of our friends (both instructors & members alike) actually met him in person. I think I’d leave all the details out and summarize it with – “They got their bubble burst”. They came back with a bitter taste in their mouths and questions like “Is that attitude of I-m-God-n-u-folks-r-beneath-me really necessary?”

Sad to say, that put alot of folks off.

But happily, it is thru the passion-sharing of folks like you, Glen and Tommy Damani (and many others) who kept us inspired and fueled our passion for the BC program.

So, all the way from Malaysia (we may be a 3rd world country but that doesn’t make our passion for BC any less ‘real’ than yours, U-who’s-sitting-up-there-looking-condescendingly-down-at-us-all)….. KEEP UP YOUR AWESOME WORK, GLEN.

We are definitely One Tribe!

Thanks so much for your comments and thoughts, you’re the best πŸ™‚

@glenn u ‘r so right…and I really love this post^^,

Team Glen!! πŸ™‚

Yeah, I have to admit that there’s been some stuff going on in the Les Mills universe lately that has left me loving it just that bit less lately……

It’s hard to believe that anyone from Les Mills could ever criticise your blog as it has to be some of the best promotion they could ever hope for as it from someone who has a genuine passion for it all and it has been interesting following it over the years.

I check your blog everyday Glen! I not only enjoy what you have to say, but also what other visitors post. This blog is postivite and passionate, just like you and others who read and post on this blog.

I know the blog and person you are referring to and I respect what they do, they have great passion as well and continue to produce material for instructors to fly above and beyond teaching just another group fitness class. But, they certainly have gotten a little out of focus with what Les Mills means to passionate participants and instructors. Les Mills is more than “one tribe” it is an experience. At my Pump training a couple of weeks ago, I felt something incredible. After the third day, having my certificate and knowing that I passed, I thought about what I had just been through. It was more than a training, it was magic. That magic is what Les Mills embodies, it is supernatural, incredible, unbelievable, awe-inspiring.

I love Les Mills, I love the program I am becoming certified to teach in, and I cannot wait to go to my next training, and the trainings following. What that person needs to realise is that Les Mills is mroe than a group fitness class for participants, and your blog does nothing wrong or contradictory to the Les Mills mission.

Glen, you give away no secrets on this blog. This blog hightens the excitement and anticipation for new releases, this blog is an oasis for Les Mills Freaks-the “One Tribe” we are all lucky to be members.

Keep blogging, and know that you have 1.1 million readers who have your back and probably have awesome roundhouse kicks!

Hi Glen,
I really like your blog and can’t believe ‘HE’ doesn’t like what you do. It’s not like you are publishing track info or chorry secrets before it has been made official by LM.
You are simply promoting what is already a great program and expressing your enthusiasm for it – the least he can do is thank you for doing what you do, but with comment like that, he obviously wants to have complete control over his program and frowns upon anyone who tries to do what you do.
It’s a shame really..

Don’t let the bastards get you down Glen – keep up the good work and we’ll keep on reading your blog!

Dear Glen,

I come to this blog every time it has an update, even though we don’t have some of the LM program at the gym I go to, but it’s fn reading your blog. Your enthusiasm… I even tried BC after i read this blog… =) Never had the courage to try the classes before especially after the sizzler of certain Programmes comes out… But after reading this blog it makes the ‘newbie’ like me feels like it’s fine to try out those classes and they are not just for really fit people.

Keep writing and we will keep reading…

glen i think you take it too personally (but i can guess why when potentially legal matters are threatened!) just keep doing your thing and let others get on with theirs…

no point having some kind of war over it. just take the high road.

fact is the programme does not “belong” to anyone – the directors are just the custodians and at any one time are pointing it in a certain direction…

personally not sure of the direction it is going at the moment.

can’t we just all get along? …or just agree to disagree on some things?

if les mills were really that worried about keeping stuff secret about new releases they should just have a global release date and get all LM Central/ international filming attendees sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement. Its only a good damn fitness class not exactly the new iphone lmao!!

richard @ 34

It’s all good to ‘take the high road’ and all that, but in my opinion, I think it has unfortunately gone beyond the point of “agreeing to disagree”. The recent behaviour of the person in question has been slightly dubious, to say the least, and I actually commend Glen and other people for calling then out on it. It is not the type of behaviour that people at that level should be exhibiting, and as Glen said, goes against everything that Les Mills stands for. I wouldn’t be surprised if said person was reading this comment right now, but frankly after what they have said and done to my friends in recent times, I don’t really care anymore.

I love Les Mills with a passion, but not when this type of behaviour ensues from the people we expect to do the opposite. The line needs to be drawn somewhere.

I’ve just re-read my post at #30 and cringed – I’m not that illiterate in real life, honest (cue the kiwi jokes about dody aussies).

I’ve been reading this blog for ages now and just think it’s a bit disappointing that there’s a minority who frown upon it when really, this blog epitomises the whole One Tribe idea.

And what I was trying to say (before I went all semi-coherent) was that it’s been interesting following Glen’s progress over the years, from participant, to instructor, then to two programs and then on to three – when’s the fourth one coming along then πŸ˜‰ ?

A little modesty, gratitude and mutual respect from this person wouldn’t go amiss. The way I see it all the programme directors should be grateful to us- the participants and to their instructors for being ambassadors for their programmes, and keeping them in a job. Many instructors don’t make a living from teaching, many barely break. LMI should never underestimate or take that kind of love and respect for granted. Without us they are absolutely nothing.

Thanks for your comments everyone – so glad I’m not on my own in my thinking here.

@Richard #34 – I understand what you’re saying but for the last few weeks I’ve watched dig after dig at this (and presumably other Les Mills related) blog(s), and not taken any of them personally until I received the message which blatantly stated that no one was to support this blog specifically. To be honest that hurt a little as I consider myself a bit of a poster boy for BODYCOMBAT and a lot of people have started the programme based on this very website. Which is all well good, I’m not asking for anyone to thank me, I’m not asking for support, or acknowledgement or anything, I do it cause I love it, but by the same token I also don’t think it’s right that the person in question is intentionally trying to drive people away from here – I mean, why??

Your statement “can’t we all just get along?” is dead right – I’m asking exactly the same thing.

Regardless I appreciate your taking the time to comment. πŸ™‚

I have to say that I completely agree. At the Filex workshop a couple of weeks ago someone asked why we dont do more complex moves as part of the release. Dan’s simple answer was that some of our participants struggle with the front kick. The whole point of the LM programs is that there are options which suit every level of fitness. Which is part of the reason why people keep coming back.
Its important that we make fitness and classes accessible to all, otherwise we are never going to win this battle. And part of that is letting people who are new to these programs see that its not perfect all the time, but you can still have fun.
Glen, you came and taught at St Leonards when you were in Sydney a couple of months ago. Its not always perfect, but everyone has such a good time! Thats what this is all about!

kelly i have been thinking for a while that combat needs more complex combinations. dan is always on about making combat authentic – but how many combinations are authentic these days?

making combat accessible and catering to the less able and combat newbies is good – but we should not forget about the old timers who might want more of a challenge (other than purely cardio-vascularly!)

maybe its time that we had combat + where we can optionally add more complex moves into the combos?

richard, I don’t think we need BC to have more “complex” moves — for someone with actual martial arts experience it may seem mundane to just throw side kicks and back kicks and uppercuts, but for participants anything beyond that can be intimidating enough to discourage them from coming to class altogether. I don’t think it’s the complexity of the techniques that’s missing, but variation in the combos. Sixteen knee strikes in a row? Eight fast punches, four strong punches? Those are our combos these days.

Participants may not be able to handle a hook kick too well or a series of different blocks, but they can definitely manage combos that creatively mix the handful of basic moves that they’re familiar with. Off the top of my head: L punch, L backfist, R punch, R backfist, L uppercut, L sidekick, R cross. There, a 7-hit combo that requires coordination and focus as opposed to just three of one move, four of another. We used to have more combos of the complex sort and seem to have gotten away from that in favor of just doing the same move fifty times in a row. I don’t know what kind of people prefer the latter, but none that I know.

dmitry that is what i mean when i say complex! more variation of combinations.

comabt just can’t be about perfroming as many kick and punch moves in the time period. i am currently getting fed up with the repetitive nature – ok agree its good to work up a sweat but thats all…

sometimes i want something to focus on that cannot be instantly mastered and presents a challenge. so if it take 3 or 4 classes before i master the combo routine perfectly is that necessarily a bad thing? surely participants would be a better sense of achievement then?

ok you need to cater for beginners and those with less than good co-ordination – that why try to have + choreo so they can do base

how about routines that builds and adds on moves until there is a 6, 7 or 8 hit combo? i’m sure there has been some before!

just add more variation to the workout please dan and rach!

Only just read this entry now, following your link re. the 3 millionth visitor.

I read this entry twice, I simply couldn’t believe this…But, google is a powerful tool, and yes, there’s the comments you described….I think it is really disappointing that this person puts you down like that. I’ve followed your post now for a while, and really enjoy the info and your thoughts on the programs and especially on BC. As you might remember, I’ve been a participant for almost 4 years at LM Central in Auckland and would never have thought a comment from this person like this…

Anyway, it’s been a while now, I hope that it has stopped now.

Keep up this good work and hope to read many more of your stories.
Enjoy the holiday season and be carefull on the roads (you kiwi’s drive like maniacs…..)

I’m laughing… I know its 2012 but I’ve just read this BLOG and all I can say is at least you can spell!!! (and yes, we all know who the other blogger is!!) – good for you mate.

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