For the past 11 years, “Turkey’s first and only stress coach” has made a living by letting people hit him, without even hitting back.
Hasan Riza Gunay began working as a human punching bag in 2010, after finding inspiration in Turkish director Kemal Sunal’s classic film “Sark Bulbulu” (Oriental Nightingale), in which the protagonist voluntarily allows himself to be struck. The man realized that while some people relieve stress by exercising, meditating, or sleeping, others need to vent by yelling or, better yet, hitting someone. So he turned his discovery into an original business, allowing himself to be beaten up by strangers in exchange for money.
Gunay has worked as a “stress coach” for a decade, and has several methods to help clients relieve stress. Most of the time, all they need is someone to vent their anger on, and he’s more than happy to please them, but sometimes he’s in the right condition for his “treatment” to work. He dons a mask of the printed photo of the person the customer is upset with, and encourages him to insult him and let out all his frustration.
Things can get pretty rough, but Gunay never takes it personally. He always thinks of his stress relief sessions as scenes from a movie, with him and the person who beats him as the protagonists. So he is never offended by being hit or insulted.
The majority of Gunay’s clients are women (about 70 percent) whose strength is equivalent to that of boys ages 12-14, so he doesn’t really worry about hurting himself. In addition, he always puts on protective gear, and exercises regularly to keep fit.
Hasan Riza Gunay has all his clients sign a document stating that he does so voluntarily so that the client can relieve stress, without the added stress of potential legal consequences, in the event of physical injury.
Each session with the stress coach lasts between 10 and 15 minutes, and only accepts up to four clients per day.