Traditional Shaolin-style training goes beyond combat preparation, mental acuity and spiritualism. Disciples are also schooled in philosophy, calligraphy, cooking, vegetable growing and other non-martial arts endeavors. As these traditions are fading, during the pandemic, with much reflection and being a staunch practitioner of what he preaches, Herb Perez decided to create a comparable method of student selection and education while incorporating more than just the combative/fighting aspects of training into his Gold Medal Martial Arts schools.
Herb Perez, a 1992 Olympic gold medalist in taekwondo and the creator of the TORCH program, explains in The Black Belt Magazine Podcast how his unique business model focuses on personable teaching, stricter student-acceptance procedures and the value of introducing new metrics to evaluate growth.
These are just a few of the many topics he details during the interview, helping listeners become privy to his steadfast art of setting and achieving goals. Although Benjamin Franklin’s famous words, “You can do anything you set your mind to,” are a powerful sentiment, Herb Perez — the former mayor of Foster City, California, and holder of a law degree — explains the importance of setting attainable goals, achieving them and then moving on to other goals.
As he shares the experiences he had en route to winning Olympic gold, Herb Perez not only covers the common motifs of doubt, failure, psyching out one’s opponent (aka “brain bullying”), success, arrogance and self-sabotage but also discusses the virtues of performing a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats). Best of all, he relates everything to the martial arts and to life in general.
Herb Perez also reflects on the power of self-affirmation and self-actualization (aka emotional intelligence). He explains how you can train your mind and use visualization to enhance your martial arts capabilities, induce calm and counteract defeatist thoughts. It’s a lot of self, yet it’s not about the ego.