Erik “Esik” Melland : Bulletproof

If you could have one superpower, what would it be? Would you want to be invisible or have the ability to read minds? Would you choose physical strength or master the art of persuasion? When wounded, would your body regenerate within seconds or would you be bulletproof? Although we may not be able to fly without an airplane or own the lasso of truth, pause for a moment and take inventory. What character traits do you emulate of your favorite hero? Is your work changing people’s lives? Are you the glue that keeps your family together? Do your strategies streamline tasks for your team? Do you lead with strength and kindness?

I sat with Viking Ninja Founder and TACFIT® Team Leader, Coach Erik “Esik” Melland to talk about his life and his journey to fitness. We shared what it was like growing up as a kid in a mixed-race heritage in Central Coast California. Although threatened by violence and poverty, he was raised by the strength of a single immigrant mother.  We talked about his passion for music, touring shows across the country, and what led him to choose a different career path towards health and fitness. That decision transformed his life. He now uses that same motivation and drive to help others. His story is complex, inspiring and overlaps many themes about life. I was intrigued, moved and inspired by his story. And although it is no fairytale, I did discover, this warrior has superpowers of his own.

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Alone – Together by Scott Sonnon

How are you doing?

Have you taken a moment to sit with your sensations, feelings, and thoughts? This can be a frightening, overwhelming crisis. Your physiology reacts to crises without conscious involvement. What our scientists have come to understand of “consciousness” is that we don’t have “free will” as we have thought of it.

We have this capability – generally called “anticipation” (what psychologists call “action projection”) that allows us to solve challenges before the problem occurs. Neither teeth or claws, nor tribal communication, but anticipation is what has brought our species to the grand (and potentially hazardous) heights we have climbed.

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Robert Miller: Leading from the Front

Sports movies are undoubtedly a source of inspiration. As the story unfolds, we become emotionally charged witnessing the struggles of the protagonist. Although innately talented, the main character lacks direction. We’ve seen it in Rocky, Million Dollar Baby, The Karate Kid; in every single movie. While the lead has the heart of a champion, there is one crucial piece their success depends on – the coach. The coach not only guides the student in drills and technique but in mindset. Intuitively connected and having amassed years of experience, the coach serves as a pillar, lifting the athlete to heights sometimes, never before imagined.  What differentiates a coach from merely teaching to inspiring? There is a vast difference between leading and pushing, training based on knowledge and being the knowledge. Coach Robert Miller, TACFIT® team leader and head coach at TACFIT Los Angeles, is just that, a living breathing example of a coach leading from the front.

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You’re Stronger Than You Believe

Wednesday. October 23.  I arrived at my TacFit™ class at 8:50 a.m.  I’ve been attending the 7:30 a.m. classes with the intention of getting my workday started earlier. But on Thursdays, there is only a 9:00 a.m. class.  After walking through the double doors, I made my way through Legacy Gym.  I was bewildered when I saw Coach Robert in the weight room and wondered, isn’t today Thursday – Flow day? It appears I skipped an entire day.  Coach Robert and I laughed a bit, and I shrugged my shoulders surrendering that I was meant to attend the 9:00 a.m. class.

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Better. Stronger. Faster

The memories of growing up in the 70s frequently evoke a certain television nostalgia. Every day I looked forward to watching Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, Sanford and Son and countless others.  In particular, I remember the first time I watched The Six Million Dollar Man.  Colonel Steve Austin (portrayed by Lee Majors) was a former astronaut who was in a near-death accident.  They saved him by converting him into a cyborg.

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FLOW STATE

Flow day.  Thursday, October 10th.  I enter the Legacy Gym with the same mantra that was instilled in me by Professor Alberto Crane and inspired my first TacFit™ post,  “Just Show Up“.  That phrase was promptly reiterated by TacFit™ Instructor, Robert Miller, “Even if you can’t do many of the movements” he looked at me with empathy, “Just keep showing up.  I do – keep showing up that is.  There are days where my participation is automatic and I am lured to the gym as if I were a ton of metal being pulled by a magnet, and other days where I take a deep breath, mumble out loud, I don’t want to go today. And then the, “Just Show Up” gods materialize in their etheric body.  Instantly the phrase incarnates within and I am compelled to make way to the gym.  I double-check the day of the week, Thursday, recovery day – class starts at 9.  My mind automatically aligns the word recovery with rest.  And while I may not be thrusting clubbells and attempting (or rather failing) to suspend myself with a pair of rings, there is a series of movements – a six-degree flow – that works like the universe – in your favor when you surrender to the flow of the movement.

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JUST SHOW UP

It felt like the summer of ’73; my first day of kindergarten. The classroom was standing reciting “The Pledge of Allegiance.” Because I arrived late, I did not want to walk in. I stood outside, perfectly still, with tears in my eyes, trying to be invisible; feeling nervous and wanting to go home. Then, she spotted me; my teacher that is. She approached me on the steps, bent towards me as she reached her hands out and squatted so she could be eye level. At this point, my tears rolled down my face. With the warmest demeanor and most beautiful smile, she said, “Don’t cry. It’s o.k. Come in.” With gentleness, she guided me through the doors to join the classroom

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