Monday, August 3, 2009
Student Profile - Part I
This week I would like to introduce you to one of my students, a man by the name of Henryk Mazur. Originally from Poland, Henryk has lived and worked in a variety of countries all over the world and is currently based in South Korea. Henryk is one of the most interesting people I have ever met and his story is one I would like to share with you.
I first meet Henryk in the lobby of our golf club’s hotel. He had just arrived on his flight from Korea. His reason for coming to Shanghai was threefold. He wanted to learn how to play golf, lose weight, and educate himself on living a healthy lifestyle. It was an unusual request to hear from a student, but I saw this as an excellent opportunity to help Henryk achieve something special. Weeks before his arrival, I had prepared an extensive program that we would follow during his visit in Shanghai. Henryk was like a small child on Christmas morning, filled with excitement as I revealed the week long plan I had prepared for him.
Later that evening, I took Henryk to enjoy a wonderful dinner at a Brazilian steakhouse. This might sound like the worst decision for someone wanting to lose weight and live a healthy lifestyle, but I quickly pointed out that the key for success is establishing balance, and sometimes there are reasons to celebrate. I wanted to celebrate the start of a good week together, and the start of our friendship. We allowed ourselves to indulge that first night, knowing that when we woke the next day, it was time to get to work.
For the next week our routine was very consistent. We started early in the morning with a workout at the club’s gym, followed by a healthy breakfast and a few hours of golf instruction. After breaking for lunch, we then went back to the range for more lessons. Finishing in the late afternoon, we then ventured into the city for dinner. Our evening meal varied each night, sometimes eating Western food and sometimes Chinese, but we focused on our goal of eating healthy fresh meals. After the end of each action-packed day we rewarded ourselves with a full body massage at the local studio. Costing a mere 60RMB (about 8.75USD) for a full hour, it’s almost a sin not to take advantage of this while visiting China.
After finishing his week training, Henryk was feeling healthier, achieved a life-long goal of learning to play golf, and lost 3kg in the process. He returned to Korea with a new level of self-confidence and maintained his healthy lifestyle back in Korea. Just three weeks ago, Henryk came back to Shanghai for a second visit. Having lost an additional 7kg, Henryk was looking great and wanted to learn more golf and get ready for his first 18 hole round on the course.
During his two visits to Shanghai, I was able to teach Henryk a lot of things about living a healthy lifestyle and in return I was able to learn a lot from Henryk’s vast experiences in Asia. Henryk’s work as an engineer is very specialized as he travels around the world completing 3-6 months contracts at various facilities. The result is he has lived and worked in nearly every Asian country at some point over the last 20 years. I loved hearing his stories and learned a lot from his experiences. Henryk further enhanced my knowledge and taught me a lot about dealing with Asian cultures. Despite not being able to speak any oriental languages, Henryk has a wonderful way of communicating through his vibrant expressions and unchanging positive attitude. This was something I realized I wasn’t doing, as sometimes the frustrations of China would result in me getting irritated and losing my temper. Henryk pointed this out to me and after spending a week with him, my experiences in dealing with the Chinese improved tremendously.
Despite only knowing each other a few months, Henryk and I already have a great friendship. We've helped each other out and serve as a source of motivation for one another. On Henryk’s final day in Shanghai, I took him to play his first 18 holes of golf. He played great for a first-timer and was there when I made the double eagle “2” on the Par 5. It was a special day for the both of us, and we both agreed it was destiny that I hit that rare shot during his first round of golf. Afterwards I invited Henryk out to dinner to celebrate my “Double Eagle”. We went back to where it all started enjoying a bottle of red wine and steaks at the Brazilian restaurant, a truly fitting ending to his second visit to Shanghai.