Schellas Hyndman is not only the 2010 MLS Coach of the Year, but he's also a well-traveled martial arts master.
Steve Davis writes about Hyndman's fascinating life story.
All the while, even in Brazil, Hyndman doggedly pursued martial arts training. By his late 20s he was coaching at Eastern Illinois, simultaneously teaching a popular martial arts-based self-defense class and fighting professionally on the side.
Along the way toward earning a 10th-degree black belt, Hyndman also earned two master's degrees, one in physical education and one in psychology. SMU hired Hyndman in 1984 after Eastern Illinois appeared in college soccer's Final Four. In Dallas, he built SMU into a college soccer power while also running his own successful martial arts school.
Hyndman teaches Toide, an Okinawa style similar to the more familiar Aki Jujitsu. It's a "combat art," heavy in debilitating blows and holds, dangerous and destructive. Hyndman never accepted students under 18, reluctant to combine such knowledge with youthful immaturity. He has provided classes for police and military personnel.
"It's very hard, very disciplined. It's to protect you for life. It's also to hurt, maim or kill an opponent. It's designed to protect you and your family … not to get a point in a contest, or a pin, or a submission."
Avoiding a fight is a central tenet of most martial arts teachings. On the other hand, Hyndman won't shrink in the face of a challenge.
"I have that understanding in my life," he said. "I'm not going to take it from any human being. No one will talk down to me or treat me in a way I shouldn't be treated. It won't ever happen."
Hyndman, 56, has no compunction about telling a colleague, co-worker or subordinate when he believes they are out of line. He won't dance around an issue, and it may be that edgy disdain for insincere pleasantries that inspire some of the stories.
Most people who know Hyndman respect his candor and enjoy being around him; indeed, he is generally jovial and sociable. Still, everyone has heard the stories of pugilistic exploits.
"Yes, I know the stories are out there," says Hyndman, acknowledging that there is some truth to them. Some are undeniable, like videos of pain management demonstrations, where blows to his chin and groin are dismissed nonchalantly.
"It's something I don't really talk about," Hyndman said. "People who know me, they know my abilities. … But I don't want it to be an intimidating factor for people."