I didn't think I would be writing another blog this soon or ever again actually. But sometimes life can change in a day, if not a minute. The bond between a Coach and his trainee, esp in combat sports, is exceptionally close, unique, iron-clad- the two invest a ton of time and energy in developing whatever skill is being sought. I am very lucky- I had really good Coaches: in boxing, I had a former Showbox professional train me & in wrestling, a former All American; both treated me w respect and admiration not only due to my age but because of the athleticism I showed at my age. But I was extremely lucky to have an exceptional Coach, a Man from this site whom many of U know as Radner Bearman, file now deleted. What started out as an ordinary Monday training session w Coach, wch went off on time as usual (Coach is a railroad man who was rarely late and expected punctuality) ended w great sadness that has me devastated. Before rumor, gossip or anything else spreads, I'm writing this post as a tribute to and legacy of an excellent Coach, a superior fighter and an extraordinary Man.
I first met Joe almost 3 years ago when he posted a few ab exercises online- they were extremely helpful to this guy and I reached out and thanked him. Anyone who knows him knows he always reached out and he asked me if I wanted a trainer who would help develop my abs further, an offer that was irresistible. If U remember his file, he was a very tall guy (6'5" ) w the elongated BUT extremely ripped abs; he was a boxer (Golden Gloves & AAU), kickboxer and ref who was trained by his Dad, a Navy vet who won his weight division while in the service- his Dad was not very tall BUT trained his son to take punches in the gut because due to his size, he knew that most fighters Joe would meet would not be as tall so his mid-section would be a primary target. That is how/why Joe got such amazing abs, wch most of U admired- I know I did so I jumped at the chance to train w him.
& Coach knew his stuff- he would develop a training program to work Ur abs and then being a fighter w amazing abs would introduce U to forced impact training, wch I have tried to explain in a comment in the Gut Punching Group. W each session, he would gauge Ur progress and take U further down the road- at this time in my life, I can say and have said I have the tuffest mid-section I ever had & harder than most on this site even if my 6 pac is not as visible as some of U. Coach always said "there are muscles to show and muscles to go" & w his training, I have both. Our sessions would normally last two hours and we would work out every other day, sometimes every day, sometimes twice a day. We would even have competitions to see who could take the medicine ball in the gut the most (he usually won but I always gave him a run for his money). What made him exceptional was not only his knowledge BUT he never once in almost 3 years said a negative word, was never condescending or pretentious, always encouraging, always challenging- taking me to the next level w each session (I cannot speak for others but he always used trash talk, saying he wanted to break me but never could tho in a few sessions, he got me feeling busted up) & it was always fun. And no matter how tired I was, I always felt gr8t after our sessions due to what he called the "endorphin rush", grin. I have rarely met a Man who was as genuine, generous, good natured as my Coach. He gave me what I needed and wanted- a hard gut w the confidence to prove it- I am in much better shape and a better fighter because of my Coach, Radner Bearman.
We had our differences- me, an openly gay, extremely liberal New Yorker & him, a married straight conservative Man in the South BUT we both respected and understood our opinions and rarely did it influence a workout session. In fact, I recently told him that this country would be a much better place if folk were more like us, respectful of each other's opinions and backgrounds- the point is he is also very smart, would listen to what one would say and could them make his judgement. In fact, that is how our training sessions worked- he would explain the exercise, I would repeat it back, do the drill and make modifications- each body is different and he appreciated the fact that my history in body building gave me the knowledge to work the muscle groups that he wanted me to work- it was very symbiotic and it worked well. Our interaction was also amazing and as I am sure all his trainees will say, we developed a special connection (sorry Guys, my connection was THE most special). We got along extremely well because despite differences in our backgrounds and size, we were very similar- stubborn (Joe always reminded me he was the Coach, lol, but called me an obstinate old Yankee, grin), smart (we knew our muscles wch is why our sessions went so well), always called out BS and we both were "loquacious" (his words except for me, it's obviously my writing, wch he always appreciated since he asked me to edit his comments). Joe became a Big Brother to me, always giving me advise concerning many things and always right on. And HE was an exceptional friend as well as trainer- after my accident hiking in the mountains, he would call to check in and inquire when we could resume training; I told him that it could be problematic since after my surgery, I had clotting issues wch required blood thinners; while on blood thinners, one cannot fight because U bruise more easily and develop serious consequences such as damage to one's internal organs, hemorrhaging, etc & therefore, no forced impact training. And altho he said he would work around that, because of our special relationship and his excellent training, I discontinued taking them and have achieved incredible results. So I understand his decision to lead the next chapter in his life the way he damn well pleases w/o medical intervention.
Not too long ago, I posted a comment because s/one from this site said he wasn't "masculine", wch just friggin pissed me off- Joe has been fighting since he was 16 years of age and coming from a railroad family, he worked for the railroad working on the railroad, working as a police officer for the railroad and inspecting derailments of railroads- when U have that background, do NOT say that MY Coach isn't "masculine"; and for all who may wonder, I can assure U he was/is VERY heterosexual- he has an amazing, beautiful wife, also a trainer. Joe's primary job w the railroad required him to be on call 24/7/365 and as a result, being a former fighter who never lost the bug, joined MF to discuss boxing and offer his advice to anyone who sought it. Thankfully, I did.
So what happened on Monday?? Monday was a little different- he ended our session after only an hour and then told me that he & his wife would be taking time to go to Alaska, her native state. He said he would be leaving MF, wch left me wondering, and then told me he had cancer (never once before did such a BIG, vibrant Man who showed such a zest for living and our training even hint that he was ill so I will assume his diagnosis came over the weekend). My Momma used to say " what U can't have, U shouldn't miss or U may make Urself unhappy" and I will assume that is why he left the site- being on this site and feeling the way he is at this time just may not make him very happy. He did not tell me much afterwards and I can understand why- when U develop the bond that we had, it is way too difficult to explain to s/one so close w/o getting too emotional. Afterwards, he texted me saying that Monday was our final session & told me about his terminal diagnosis- and that is why I am devastated and heart broken. But I, more than most, understand his actions.
25 years ago, after living through the AIDS epidemic for more than a decade, losing all my partners, all my friends and many men w whom I was intimate with, after testing negative for 5 consecutive years, I crossed over to the dark side and was diagnosed poz- it was a shock to get the test results because after seeing what happened to my lovers and peers and how quickly they passed, I didn't think I would make it past 45 years of age; it took time to process and accept the fact that I would be dead w/in 2 years so I completely understand Joe's actions because he now has to process and accept his diagnosis. I was lucky cause I survived and thrived all these years due to the miracles of modern medicine but I cannot say the same for my Coach- my heart aches for the pain he, his wife, his family and friends have.
Having said that, I know Coach is an extremely proud man- as s/one said a long time ago, "I am not here to bury him, but to praise him", wch is what I hope I have done- I am here to honor the Man that, through his generosity, knowledge, training and good nature has made me a much better person and a harder fighter. During these past 3 years, he gave me s/thg to look forward to every other day, to tuffen up and have a gr8t time. No thoughts and prayers BS- I wish him & his wife all the best in Alaska and know he will be back home in Memphis when the time is right. Coach- gloves up, go raise hell, have a blast!
If anyone wants to post a comment about Coach Radner, feel free but don't offer thoughts & prayers- this isn't an elegy but a fond tribute to one of the best men I have ever met. I miss/will miss my Coach, my Friend, my Big Brother and am eternally grateful for having met him and been trained by the best over these past 3 years.

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Last edited on 6/10/2021 6:21 AM by Pwers1103
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Comments

18

BamaJDon41 (5 ) 12 days ago

Thanks for sharing. Hope it helped.

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Pwers1103 (4) 12 days ago

It did, thanx- but w/o him, this is one gutpunch that's difficult to handle- he motivated and inspired not only me but many others and there is a big void in my life right now.

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WrestleBob (50) 12 days ago

Beautifully written tribute to a wonderful friendship. Thanks.

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Pwers1103 (4) 12 days ago

There is something I wanna add- even tho my blog is titled My Coach, he was the Coach to many, it wasn't just me that he motivated and inspired but ALL the men he trained- he listened to each of us and and tailored our sessions to each of our needs (I've had discussions w other men whom he trained) as well as any other factors that could help in their training. And what motivated and inspired us was his generosity of spirit- each and every session was fresh and he always brought positive energy, a true sportsman; he was like a kid who couldn't get enough of the activity except he was always giving and transferring that energy to his trainees- that's what made training w him so damn exceptional and I and others will greatly miss that.

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JHK49 (39 ) 11 days ago

(In reply to this)

I couldn't have said it all so well. Joe has been a friend and a great coach to and for me for 3 years, and Monday's call from him was a shock. We'll all just have to take the ball in the gut double for him. Thank you for sharing.

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Mike100 (1) 12 days ago

Your words in tribute to Coach Radner Bearman were terrific. It takes a caring human being to understand another, even when there appears to be a divide that is too wide to span - and you both did that. You both met and found, as athletes, common ground that had you both overcome your differences to achieve a lifelong friendship. Bravo!

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jimmyterrific (42) 12 days ago

Hi, this is Jimmy terrific on here, I have been on meetfighters around 3 years, I was on meetfighters for only about 2 or 3 months when out of nowhere I got a message from my personal trainer, Joe, he told me I have 8 abs and wanted to know if I was willing to be trained by him for free, I was never hit in my stomach before that, I was so surprised when he told me that, he started out slowly with me to develop my abs, also knew I started to wrestle also, so he would give me exercises for that also, when I told him i did not think i could do something, he would motivate me to try and do what he asked me to do, we would do the exercises on the phone together at the same time, i thought i would have him for the rest of my life, i am 70 years old, he would tell me he could see my abs, and guys I wrestled said they could feel them, i owe him my body, which i never would have done those exercises without his motivation, he was my only coach, and i will never have another coach, he never gave up on me, other coaches probably would of have given up on me, but he never did, somehow i have got to workout even harder now than ever, this for my coach, thanks for listening to me, Jimmy

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jimmyterrific (42) 12 days ago

Thankyou Powers1103 for starting the Blog, I know he will be my only Coach, no one will ever be able to replace him , but I will try and workout even harder for him, not me, I really respected him, a hell of a man

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Pwers1103 (4) 12 days ago

Thank U Jimmy for your comments (actually, it was Jimmy that motivated me to write the blog)- Joe always spoke highly of U as he did of anyone he trained on a regular basis & like U, I thought he would be around for a long time; our words only illustrate how extremely appreciative we are for the time we spent w Coach, training w him & getting to know him. I'm sure there will be more.

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jimmyterrific (42) 12 days ago

Thankyou for everything you said, it was very honest, very true, it is very sad for me to say he will not be able to call me and do the workouts with me, one way he challenged me, other way was he always found time out of his busy schedule to show me how to do the workouts

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MixedBear (7 ) 11 days ago

I had been on MF a few months and was told about this guy who helps others on the site with training. I was given his name and I looked at this gentleman's profile and his pic hits you dead in the face. A tall, lean, muscular physique with abs that were intense. I contacted him and has been a life changing moment for me. That man was Radner Bearman. We chatted a little on line and gave me his cell number. He asked me many questions about what my goals were, and would I be dedicated to his style of training.  He did give me the option to think it over a few days.  Radner did make a parting statement during that call I will never forget, “IF you are truly serious about losing weight and conditioning (more conditioning than weight lose) them I will agree to help you, but only if you follow EXACTLY what I tell you to do with out question or hesitation. I will not waste your time or MINE if you do not". That last comment told me this man is serious and would not stand for any BS.  I said I would and he proceeded to instruct me on my eating, drinking, and life style habits.

Radner guided me though an obstacle of exercises and motivated me along the way. Each time he knew when to stop, usually because he’s constantly listening and asking “how do you feel and does anything hurt”. That showed he is intently monitoring how you are progressing and IF you were truly doing the exercise routines as he had directed. He knew what you should be experiencing.

As I progressed and the weight was coming off I was introduced to the two handled medicine ball. I HATED THAT BALL, and every time I stated how much I hated that ball, his comment would be “I know now continue pounding those abs. Another 100. You love me yet?" followed by his infectious laughter.

I finally met my goal and lost 70lbs and gained muscle. Today I am the leanest I’ve been in decades and have a mid section that can and have taken 100’s of punches both by hand, with the ball, and in matches.

There were times I wanted to quit, or not workout but Radner wasn’t having any of that.  We've gotten to a point where we worked out together,  him pushing me and me pushing him. My upper, mid, lower, and obliques are tuff and I’ve proven over and over I can with stand a lot of punishment.  Punishment I never would have been able to take a little over a year ago.

This past week, Radner called me telling me of his diagnosis.  I am devastated.  Radner has not only become my trainer, he became my confidant and friend.  I wish only the best for Radner on this difficult journey and he is fighting this with everything he’s got. My prayers are with him, his beautiful wife and family during this journey.

I respect, honor, and admire you Radner Bearman (Joe). But most of all I love you for being that friend that helped through tough times.

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COwrestler53 (7) 11 days ago

Joe, RadnerBearman, was also My Coach. He was recommended to me by a man I had been talking with here. I contacted Joe, and we developed a quick rapport. He lives in the south, as had I at one time and we have many places in common. He went through the process with me , too, would I be dedicated, was I willing to do whatever he told me to do, and he said I would learn to trust him and the training. It had been a very long time since I had trusted anybody but myself with my training, but there was a cool confidence in his voice and we developed a connection. He took me on a journey through forced impact training that I had my doubts about, but the results were/are there for all to see. I followed his nutrition guidelines, training regimen, and gained a newfound confidence and quite literally just felt better overall. He knew what a difficult time I was having caretaking an elderly parent, and during that time I developed some health issues of my own culminating in a couple of surgeries. His training had made a huge difference in my recovery process. He was there for me then, at my mom’s passing, and at others stages just to listen as friend, confidante, and Coach. Though we also differed in some political views, I can truly say we became friends. I can only hope he will reach out to all his friends, trainees, and contacts through this devastating journey he and his family are on. He is one of the most giving men I have ever met, dedicating his time to help others overcome obstacles, never asking for anything in return. His knowledge was shared absolutely freely, no gimmicks. The strength he helped me achieve I would gladly give to him in this fight he and his family are facing.

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ursamajor (0) 11 days ago

Wow, great post. I wish we all got to experience his coaching.

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jimmyterrific (42) 11 days ago

(In reply to this)

I wish all of you could

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ruck95 (23 ) 10 days ago

I don't know where to start. Coach contacted me in the fall of 2019. We began training, telephonically 2-3X a week for the next several months. He had offered out of the blue, asked nothing in return, and we became friends as I sweat and improved! He definetly helped me peak some plateaus and I enjoyed the challenge of our workouts. I still use a number of exercises he introduced me to in my regular routine. We also became friends. During our workouts, which could go long on occasion, we would talk about....everything! He was and is a good friend, coach and mentor.
I'm sending all my best energy and prayers your way, Coach! I know you'll fight with everything you got. I know you'll live the rest of your life with everything you got too. I am proud to call you a friend, Coach!

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Pwers1103 (4) 9 days ago

I wanna thank all the comments that have been made- when Jimmy first reached out to me, I wasn't sure what to do because I did not know who knew what and did not wish to violate Joe's privacy; once I realized we were all contacted, I wanted everyone on this site to know what an EXCEPTIONAL Man and Coach Radner Bearman was- the above comments attest to that. I entitled this blog "My Coach" because I do not presume to speak for anyone other than myself and it's heartening that he left such an indelible impression on the men he trained as expressed above. He gave w/o expecting anything in return except our success, he pushed us to limits we never thought we could achieve, he encouraged, he inspired and he became your friend. I can't say that about many people and in fact I don't think there are many men who reach that bar (remember, most coaches get paid) but I can say that about Joe and wanted everyone to know- isn't that the sense of community U want in a contact sport, on this site? We may all be older and we may not all have that desired 6pac but we ALL can say that our guts are way tuffer than almost any other man on this site thanx to our Coach (but he will always be MINE, lol- I was the spoiled child in the family) & we love him for that. He's not gone but he is sorely missed.
L

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COwrestler53 (7) 8 days ago

We’ll said you spoiled brat! Lol

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Pwers1103 (4) 2 days ago

The prettiest child is always the most spoiled (but U wouldn't know that, would ya?? Double LOL)- I miss him, every damn day & hope he has gotten busy living, finding peace, inspiring others.

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