Published 16 September 2020
In conjunction with Malaysia Day, we celebrate RJ and his SAFWAN WOD journey dedicated to the late Corporal Safwan Muhammad Ismail and our Malaysian frontliners fighting the battle against COVID-19.

Tell us more about your honorary WOD for the Malaysian frontliners!

With over 18 million already infected, and more than 700,000+ have died, medical teams everywhere are still fighting to save lives of others (and their own) while they fervently hope the wave of new infection will at least slow down if not cease. Every morning, we are flooded by data updates of the global COVID-19 pandemic. A grim scenario indeed - more so with W.H.O. not being able to give any sort of assurance that conditions are on the mend.

Our very own Malaysian frontliners are not spared from the danger they are exposed to in this horrifying combat. We are often reminded of their struggles and sacrifices to ensure the lives of our population are not at risk and overwhelmed beyond control. Unfortunately, some have lost their lives in the process.

If we can recall, one of our police personnel – Corporal Safwan Muhammad Ismail was fatally knocked down while on duty during the MCO phase.

With this backdrop, I felt obligated to do something to honour our heroes. I thought about it thoroughly and braved myself to commit to a particular effort that I have never myself done before. I wanted a challenge that would come close (if not equalled) to the struggles of our frontliners. Their current predication is unprecedented hence my effort to honour them must at least be unparallel to anything I have ever done before too.

After the tragedy happened, Coach Dann, the head coach of CrossFit Pahlawan, created a hero’s WOD in the honour of Safwan and an invitation was distributed to everyone and anyone to do this honorary WOD. The WOD description is as below:

The numbers signify Corporal Safwan's 11 years in service, the 4th phase of the MCO, his age (31 years old) at the time of tragedy and the 47th day of the MCO
11 rounds
for time
4 reps
ground to overhead ("GTO")
31 reps
flutter kicks
47 reps
jump ropes
("SUs / DUs")

It is with this “SAFWAN” WOD that made up my effort to honour frontliners. I committed to doing as many SAFWANs as the recorded number of death (due to COVID-19) within our Malaysia borders.

The RMCO was implemented on 10 June and at that time the death toll for our country was just 118. That meant I need to execute the same number of “SAFWAN WOD” before the end of RMCO - 31 August 2020.

My first "SAFWAN" was on 11 June at my apartment gym because at this time gyms were not allowed to operate yet. I started with a light-weight of just 8 kgs for the GTOs, being mindful not shock my body after being sedentary for quite some time. After 15 June when Union Strength re-opened for business, most of my "SAFWANs" were done in this wonderful gym.

For the next 40 consecutive days, 77 "SAFWANs" were reeled in. By this time my GTOs have increased to 16 kgs and my abs movements were mixed with russian twist and weighted sit ups. Also, I tried to add some double-unders in between my 47 jump ropes.

Within the RMCO period, we, unfortunately, had more deaths from COVID and the number increased to 125.

At the time of writing this, it was already 68 days into RMCO and so far 121x of "SAFWAN" had been completed and there is just four left. I am praying very hard that there are no more deaths. May those who have perished due to COVID-19 rest in peace and their souls be received by the Almighty within the gatherings of those HE accepts their good deeds.

By the end of this effort,

5500 GTOs + 42,625 ab movements + 64,625 jump ropes would have been executed. A grand total of 112,750 reps!

( I can't believe this myself! )

All these numbers are not as important as the criticality of our COVID crisis management the nation (and the world) is facing. My effort with this honorary WOD is worth nothing compared to the severity of the situation and the stress and pressure our frontliners have to deal with. Have a heart and feel for them and say THANK YOU if you know anyone who is these heroes.

While some of us might feel relaxed and settled with the new normal lifestyle… clear and present danger still lurks and we all should still remain mindful and keep to the prescribed SOPs.

What would you say to someone who thinks it’s too late to kickstart their fitness journey?

There is not a better time than now to assess the way we approach our health and fitness. The unfortunate reality is this aspect has (for too long) been taken for granted - before COVID came. It’s probably fair to say we have been careless and reckless too.

A community that looks after themselves with great respect to incorporate diligence and discipline in the way they move about their spaces in this COVID world – a new world order - will help encourage others to do the same.

Individuals should maintain high regard for managing their GOD bestowed health, and fervently believe that staying healthy is not merely a choice but it is also an obligation. The call for keeping health and wellbeing has never been more important than now…and this impacts global citizens of all ages.

"Let's make our life worth living!"

RJ Rahman Mansor
Union Strength Member