Turkish women love to beat ‘stress coach’

Turkish women love to beat ‘stress coach’

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish women love to beat ‘stress coach’

Rıza Günay says that 70 percent of his customers are women. As a stress coach, he thinks that he fills a gap in this field. AA photos

For the past two years, Rıza Günay’s profession has been allowing people to beat him up, as a way to relieve stress – and most of his customers are women in an age when violence against women seems to have become an epidemic. According to Günay, he is “Turkey’s first officially registered man whose job is to be beaten up.”

Günay, 41, was born in the eastern province of Kars, and worked as a bodyguard until two years ago. “I always wanted to invest in my own business. I was inspired by a character in an old Turkish comedy film to invent the job of a ‘stress coach,’ and registered it,” he told Anatolia news agency. There are life coaches in the United States but no stress coaches, Günay said, adding that he was filling a gap. “I have realized my dream by inventing this job.”

Explaining some of his methods, he said: “Sometimes I am a ‘human sand bag,’ which is a method where a person works out stress by hitting me to music and defending him or herself. Screaming and shouting can be used as a method for discharging negative feelings like worry, anger, envy and fear. People also throw things like glasses, eggs, and cake at me as a way to relax.”

Most customers are women

One session with Günay lasts 20 minutes, and one method or a variety of methods can be used in a session. “The base price is 200 Turkish Liras, but it is 500 liras if bare hands are used. I give a 50-60 percent discount to my regular customers. I have customers from art and business circles. My target group is elite people. I have 30 to 40 customers each month in addition to my regular customers,” he said.

Günay said 70 percent of his customers were women, which is not a surprising thing in Turkey, where almost half of women are exposed to domestic violence, according to studies. Günay earns plenty of money and has received numerous applications from unemployed people who want to work with him.

“There has been an explosion of applications. I don’t have anyone working with me, but the number of regular customers is increasing. I work seven days a week and sleep five hours a day. I have approximately two sessions a day, sometimes as many as four or five. I have registered the name ‘stress coach,’ and if I have applications in the future, I plan to franchise,” he said, while claiming to be the only person in the world involved in the business.

Günay’s family did not approve of his work at first, but came to accept it later on. “Now that I am doing this professionally, they have more sympathy for it.” He has not been seriously injured and has had no bones broken so far. “I get beaten up in systematic way,” Günay said, adding that he enjoyed being beaten up to the music of Bob Marley, as well as Latin and pop music.

Günay said one of his male customers called him once a week before meeting with his employees. “He discharges his negative energy before the meeting, so he can be more relaxed at the meeting.”

Günay mostly wears sports clothing while being beaten up. “One of my customers asked me to wear a suit. I understood that he wanted to see me as his bullying boss.”