In this episode of Burning the Boats, Oscar interviews entrepreneur and special guest, Chris Romulo of Rockaway Beach, New York’s CROM Physical Culture. Chris shares the journey of being a professional fighter and ultimately owning his own gym to grow, train others to have a mindset of respect and growth, and serve the community around him by giving back.
- Chris Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chris.romulo.crom/
- Chris Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chris.romulo.crom/
- Chris Podcast: http://www.chrisromulo.com/podcast/
Show Value Bombs:
- Oscar and Chris talk about the power of a defining moment to form goals and focus.
- Chris shares the importance of having a champion’s mindset especially in life.
- Oscar and Chris underscore the value of a respect mindset for both yourself and other people.
Today on The OMG! Show: Burning the Boats with special guest, Chris Romulo.
1:32 Oscar asks Chris to share his upbringing and if he ever saw himself doing what he does now.
- Chris describes his life growing up in Queens, NY as a scared, confused kid in a dysfunctional family.
- Chris decided he wanted to do something bigger than what was around him at 8 years old.
- Chris shares about his family’s relationship with his dad.
- Chris shares that the impact is still something he has to work through.
- Chris shares his story of abuse in 4th grade and how he’d try to drown the pain in exercise but began making bad decisions which escalated when he was 15 years old.
9:00 Oscar encourages listeners by the loving marriage and family Chris has now and how he’s turned his life around.
- Chris shares turning his life around took a turning point event in his life.
- He shares about that event that happened in the street when he was 21.
- He decided he didn’t want to be the “street guy.”
He encourages listeners there will be the same defining moment for them.
- He shares more about the person with whom he had an altercation leading to his own defining moment.
12:58 Oscar asks Chris if he felt like the environment where he felt safe ever turned his back on him and where he changed his direction.
- Chris shares that it wasn’t that he didn’t feel safe but he realized if that environment wasn’t working for him, he needed to change directions.
- He became involved in martial arts again which he’d given up for street life.
- He searched martial arts magazines.
- He knew martial arts was going to put him on a better path.
- He ran across a full page ad, “Become an Unbeatable Street Fighter” which was a 3 tape VHS series that he ordered and did with his brother.
- What stuck out to him was the moi thai and he focused on that for a year until he found a muay thai gym in the city in a rough place, The Bowery.
18:28 Oscar recaps Chris’ defining moment and journey to Muay Thai and asks him if his mindset was changing as all of this was happening.
- Chris said it definitely was but he was discovering a whole new culture.
- It helped him understand he could take it and do something more than just being an unbeatable street fighter.
- He could become a better him and do something better with his life.
20:24– Oscar asks Chris if he had a role model growing up in the streets as a teenager.
- Chris shares that he looked up to Bruce Lee.
- Even though it was through movies, Chris feels mentors don’t have to be in your life directly.
21:05 – Oscar recaps Chris’ journey to discovering Muay Thai and asks what happens after he gets into the Muay Thai gym.
- Chris meets a trainer from Thailand, Tommy, who’d had 80 fights- a lot for American standards.
- He took Chris in like a son and formed a bond with his training mates.
- He learned the culture of respect, especially for yourself, and learned a lot of life lessons.
23:41 – Oscar asks Chris how respect transformed him from the person he was to now.
- Chris shares he’s gained a deeper appreciation for the world around him.
- Once you respect yourself, you respect others around you.
- We’re all in the same fight and have the same struggles with different stories behind them.
- In turn, you will get more respect from the world around you.
25:16 – Oscar asks why he stopped training with Chris
- Tommy was a full time entrepreneur and opened up Thai restaurants along the coasts.
- Chris continued training with his teammates.
- Unfortunately, he’s lost touch with Tommy but has tried to find him over the past year.
26:38 – Oscar asks what happened after Tommy left.
- Chris shares that in Tommy’s absence, he strayed back into the streets and started making bad decisions again.
- He worked up to his first muay thai fight with a slow start.
- A couple years later, his first son was born.
- His whole entire existence changed once his son was born.
- He decided he was going to break the cycle of his grandfather and father.
- He went full force to become a family man.
- He took a break from Muay thai.
- He was working for a big shipping company making ends meet to provide for his family.
30:32 – Oscar asks how Chris returned to muay thai.
- Chris shares how a death and taking in family members that he wasn’t ready for led him to drinking and anger again.
- He made bad decisions as a young father and split up with his son’s mother.
- He stood by his commitment to be a father.
33:14 – Oscar recaps Chris’ life as a young father at 23 and how he was trying to survive but recognizes the theme of the respect mentality and at the end of the day, he didn’t let circumstance affect his responsibility. He asks what happened from there.
- Chris moved back in with his mom, was fired from his job and had to start from scratch.
- Chris recognized that he was self destructing because he gave up on a dream that lit a fire inside of him which his parents had done.
- He recognized what caused the disappointment and reevaluated what he needed to do.
- He realized he needed to quit drowning his pain and get back into the fight.
- He found another Muay thai gym in the city and went to train with them.
- He fought consistently for five years and became a professional fighter.
- Circumstances bounced up and down but he had a goal, a focus.
40:35 – Oscar asks Chris what becoming a professional fighter meant to him.
- Chris recalls his 8 year old determination to make a name for himself.
- He feels that it put him back on the path which he needed.
- He shares what Muay Thai is
- Chris shares that being a professional fighter wasn’t what he thought it would be and you can’t make a living doing it.
- But, he still had the passion for what he was doing.
43:00 Oscar quotes Mike Tyson and asks Chris to help him understand the mentality of a fighter and how he prepared himself for that.
- Chris says you need a champion or fighter mindset, because just like life, you are going to get hit from every angle but if you accept the challenges, you are going to move forward.
- 60% of the ring fighting has nothing to do with the fighting but with self talk.
- Don’t think about what someone is going to do to you. What are you going to do to him?
- Chris compares that mindset to life and identifies it as a “growth mindset.”
- Chris shares it’s not about winning, it’s about wanting to win.
47:21 – Oscar asks Chris about starting his gym, CROM PC.
- Chris wanted to have his own facility that could grow and show people you can physically empower yourselves.
- He began training people individually from 2003-2010.
- In 2010, he opened his gym doors.
49:00 – Oscar recognizes it took Chris 5-6 years to become a fighter and 7 years to start his gym and asks how long it took for him to get to the next level in his business.
- Chris shares the journey of the gym and how it began as a whole in the wall where he first trained.
- Chris shares it all goes back to his “WHY.”
- Chris also shares how Hurricane Sandy hit and they lost everything.
- He opened CROM MT in 2010 and two years later to the day, the hurricane hit and destroyed the gym and entire community.
- They reevaluated whether to stay where they were and rebuild.
- They decided to stay and fight.
- They were determined to come back bigger and better than before (champions’ mindset).
- They began teaching again out of a yoga studio, in their apartment in their living room and rented a hall to teach on the dance floor.
55:18 – Oscar shares about the gym, the members and the Instagram and reiterates that over the course of Chris’ life, the theme of respect propelled him along with his goal.
- Chris shares it wasn’t only about making a name for himself but service and giving back.
- Chris shares you can reach him on Facebook, Instagram and his podcast.
- Chris also mentions his memoir available on Amazon, “Champions Uprising: Fall 7 Times, Stand Up 8.”
Watch The Episode!