Cage Fighter Georges St-Pierre Teaches Forgiveness

Georges St-Pierre is a legend in mma (mixed martial arts). Inside the cage he is a meticulous and almost artful killer, who picks his opponents apart piece by piece. He is an incredible athlete with an incredible work ethic. He is also very kind and humble guy.

As a young child he was severely bullied. In the clip he shares the story about how he met his childhood bully as an adult. Only now the situation is different; Georges has become a world champion and his bully has become homeless and is begging for food.

The story is truly touching and inspiring. I find Georges honesty heartwarming. The story also reminds me of how I accidentally figured out how coaching works. I was participating in a martial arts retreat somewhere in 2007 or something. My teacher Ron had taken a young guy with him who was sent by a detective who was also an oldtimer in the martial arts world. This young guy, F., was heading for a criminal life and the cop tried to help him by introducing him to training. So I find myself in the same retreat as this kid. I took a liking to him, also because I found the other participants a little bit boring. A couple of funny things happened there. The kid was behaving like a jerk in the beginning. But all the other participants where people in 30s, 40s and older and on same sort of meditative path. Result: his provocations didn’t trigger anyone. Nobody got angry with him, nobody rejected him. Guess what happened? He became super kind, super helpful, almost over night.

In our free time we chatted. He shared his criminal stories with me. I told him about my time when I was not too impressed by the idea of laws. I also told him what I regretted and what consequences I had to face later in time. It was just nice to chat.

When the retreat was over this tough guy was crying his eyes out. An environment of people who cared, who were kind and who didn’t judge him was tough to let go of. It was so sad to see.

A couple of weeks later I got a phone call. The lady on the other side said ‘you don’t know me but I’m the mom of F. I want to thank you for what you did for my son’. Apparently he came home a changed kid. This was the first time I understood coaching: when we talked I had zero intention of changing him. I wasn’t teaching him anything, I was just listening to his stories and sharing what I had lived through. I was just being honest about my experiences. I learned that honesty and honesty alone can change people.

It is this kind of honesty what I hear in the story of Georges St-Pierre.

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