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Gym of Dreams: Mike
|The weekend’s finally here and Armstrong and I have some big plans for Mike. The work day flies by. They finally got me some new clothes, but I think the tailor is in with my co-workers because it’s only slightly looser than my old clothes. Then again, I could just be growing since they measured me 3 months ago. Who knows?
I pull up in my jeep as Armstrong pulls up in his car. As we’re greeting each other, Mike pulls up with his father. He hops out with his bag and starts walking toward us. His father parks the car and Mike looks back. “Why are you parking dad?” Mike says. His dad grabs a bag out of his trunk and I direct him to toss it into my jeep. Armstrong says to Mike, “Don’t worry, it’s a surprise.”
We go through the day as normal, and I see an anxious look on Mike’s face. I can tell he’s thinking about the surprise. Boy is he gonna be shocked when this weekend is over. “Mike is lifting good and hard. He’s got moxy.” I think as the day progresses. We finish up another pumped day and Big Mike’s getting compliments from all the guys at the gym for how hard he’s working. He smiles and holds himself with pride. “Yup, he’s doing real well. This weekend should really test him though.” I say to myself. After we wash up and change, we grab our shakes and head out. We jump into our vehicles and drive over to Armstrong’s place. I see Mike’s head bobbing up and down with questions as we pull into Armstrong’s driveway. Mike hops out and asks, “What are we doing? My dad is expecting us at 9.” I grab our bags and walk up to him. I put my hand on his shoulder and I say, “Don’t worry, your parents already know. You’re going to be spending each weekend here. We need you handy for what’s in store for you”
Mike looked up at me in wonder. Armstrong grunts from across the car, “Don’t worry. It won’t hurt…much.” Armstrong and I bust into laughter and we lead Mike into the house. Armstrong gives him the tour. Living room, dining room, small gym area, then upstairs to the bedrooms. Armstrong shows him the guest suite where he will be spending his weekends. Then it’s back downstairs to eat. It’s a special mix that Armstrong has prepared. Stir fry veggies and boneless skinless chicken and wild rice. Then Armstrong sends him off to bed, he’s going to need his energy in the morning.
The next morning Armstrong and I stand over Mike’s bed at 6 am. I can’t help but giggle as Armstrong holds the bullhorn over Mike.
Armstrong bellows into the bullhorn, “GET OUT OF BED YOU LAZY ASS!!!!” and I swear Mike jumps 10 feet into the air. He’s standing on the bed in his boxers and Armstrong growls “GET YOUR ASS IN THE SHOWER AND BE AT THE TABLE IN 15 MINUTES!”
“Well, that woke him up,” I laugh at Armstrong as we walk down the stairs.
“Yeah, I bet he thought this was going to be a relaxing weekend,” Armstrong chuckles.
“Boy is he in for a shock!”
We head down to the breakfast table and start laying the food out. Fruits, meats, oatmeal with whey protein mixed in, a few shakes and some multivitamins. We also mix up the midmorning shakes and put them into some bottles and we pack a cooler with it. We also fill up a cooler with water as Mike is walking down. He’s still slightly drowsy, but the aroma of fresh food perks him up. He comes into the dining room and we tell him to sit down and eat up because he’s gonna need his energy. He’s slightly confused and doesn’t realize what’s going on yet, but he eats a good amount.
It’s around 7 am when we finish breakfast and washing the dishes. We hand Mike the cooler and we tell him to put it on the lawn outside. Armstrong heads to the garage while I grab the water. I head outside and place the water on a chair and go to grab some cups for today. As I’m coming with the cups, Armstrong is hauling a load of items including some practice clothes for Mike. He orders Mike to take off what he has and put them on. Mike takes of his good clothes and puts on this jersey that looks 4 sizes to big and some gym shorts that he has to tie very tight to fit in. “We’re gonna work every weekend until those are too tight for you.” Armstrong laughs. I walk up to Mike and tell him the plan.
“Every weekend, we’re coming here, and for the two days, you’re gonna be in your own personal football camp.”
“My own camp?” he asks with utter amazement and glee.
“Don’t think it’s gonna be a beauty spa. We’re gonna work you harder than you ever thought possible,” Armstrong remarks as he marks a few lines in his yard.
“Stand here,” he orders as he grabs a giant red blocking pad. Mike stands on the line and I stand next to him.
“I want you to crouch down like this,” I tell Mike as I hit a three-point stance. “Bend your knees like this and straighten your back like so.” He attempted and I helped adjust him a little more.
“Now hit me!” Armstrong ordered. Mike slams into Armstrong.
“Again!” Mike tries again.
I’m looking on from the side and it doesn’t seem that Mike is trying his best. From the way Armstrong is bellowing, I don’t think he thinks Mike is trying his best either.
Mike stands up and starts to pant. Armstrong growls at him, “You’re not even trying. Hit me harder damn it!” Mike goes to hit him a few more times, each time making less and less of an impact. “STOP!” Armstrong shouts. Mike stands up and starts breathing heavily.
“What are you, afraid of getting hurt?” Armstrong growls.
“I’m trying! Really!” pants Mike.
I watch as Armstrong’s face tenses up. “Uh oh” I think to myself.
“RRRRRRROOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!! !!!!!!!!!!” Armstrong starts charging Mike like a raging bull as Mike stares into the eyes of this on-coming train. Armstrong uses the blocking pad to plow over Mike, giving him a really firm but not too painful hit. Mike lands on the ground with a thud. I begin to smile as I walk over. “Did that hurt?” I ask.
“Yeah it hurt” Mike responds.
“Are you injured?” Armstrong responds knowingly.
“Well, no” Mike whimpers.
“I know. You’re not gonna get injured either unless you do something very wrong. But you’re not gonna be good if you don’t hit me with everything you have. Just like you hurt right now from my hit, that’s about all that’s gonna happen. You get hurt but pain fades. You have to push beyond that mental limit that says hold back. Stop holding back. Give it everything you’ve got. Only then will you be great. Unleash that rage and use it to hit me!”
Mike gets up and dusts himself off. Armstrong walks back over and sets himself up again. Mike steps up to the line and gets into his three-point stance.
“HIT ME!” Armstrong bellows and Mike hits as hard as he can. I smile because I see the impact and while Armstrong doesn’t move much, I can see the way the bag moved. Armstrong smiles and says “Good. Now do that again.”
An hour passes and Mike is getting tired from the hitting drill. It’s time for me to step in.
“Break!” I yell and Mike and Armstrong walk over. I hand them both some water and tell Mike the next phase.
“Now that you know how to hit hard, I’m gonna teach you where to hit.” Mike nods in agreement. I tell Armstrong to break us up at 10 for a snack and I guide Mike over to my area I set up. Here there are pads lined up against the wall with different areas highlighted and colored. I go through with him showing him how the safety pads fit on people and how to use that to your advantage.
“If you hit a person here,” I say as I point to the bag “You can get slightly under their pads and use the leverage to move them easier. Now, hit here, and here, then here.” He follows my instructions, and I show him how to lift upward after the initial impact. He gets better and better at it as the training goes on when Armstrong comes over.
“Working hard Big Mike?” Armstrong says as he pats Mike on the back.
“Y…yeah” Mike pants as he takes a quick breather.
“Well, it’s 10, time for your midmorning meal. C’mon, let’s head to the house.” We sprint towards the house and go inside for a quick break. Mike is drenched in sweat and he devours the shake. After he gets to rest for 30 minutes, it’s back outside for more training. Armstrong is working on breaking down his fear and I’m teaching him control. Later I plan on teaching him some of my Taijutsu, but for now, teaching him the basics of letting himself get pass the fear is our primary goal.
It’s around 8 pm before we finish up the day. Mike is on the ground almost passed out; the workout gear Armstrong gave him completely drenched in sweat. Armstrong tells Mike to get out of all his clothes and hand them to him so he can wash them for tomorrow. Mike barely lifts up his head and says weakly, “Tomorrow?”
“Yeah,” I remark “It’s gonna be even tougher tomorrow, and the next weekend is gonna be tougher than that and so on.” He sighs and his head falls back and Armstrong and I chuckle. “C’mon, time for dinner.” He has trouble getting off the cool grass, and I lean over to help him. He strips down to nothing and hands his clothes to Armstrong who leads the way into the house. Armstrong and I head to his washer while Mike heads upstairs. We take off all our clothes and toss them in the washer then head back to the dining room. Mike yells from the top of the stairs that he’ll be down in a minute. We work our way to the dining table and kitchen to bring out the food.
“You guys are naked again” Mike says from the hall.
“Yup,” Armstrong says, “does it bother you?”
“Not really, I guess. Just never been around people as carefree as you two.”
“Yup,” I say. “Me and Armstrong don’t care about little stuff like ‘clothing’. We’ve ran around the house naked just because we felt like it. Boy did we get some stares that day!”
“Yeah man, I thought Ms. Barley was going to jump us and mount us the way she was looking.
Mike looks at us while we burst into laughter. “Well don’t just stand there, come on in and have a seat, we’re almost ready to eat.” Armstrong says. Mike looks down at himself then at us and then he takes off his clothes. He rubs his arms a bit and comes into the dining room. “I want to be like you guys a lot, so I might as well start with the easy stuff like clothes,” he laughs. We chuckle a bit and sit down and have a nice meal.
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