Friday, November 18, 2011

Time for my weekly digest. This week, I sucked. I got some good work done a couple days, but overall, I missed runs and fell behind on my weekly bodyweight routine and missed my normal big lift day. A messy week. But I feel great. Need to kick the intensity back up for turkey week.

Conditioning with coach tonight. Lots of jumping stuff, burpees, squats in fight stance, and of course running as a rest. Finished with wind sprints.

After training, Erica and I went for a short run. Felt good to burn off anything left in my legs. Then to eat, sleep, and back to fight training in the morning. The bodyweight routines are definitely helping all my other training. Even if only at psychological level. Just more relaxed as banging through continuous suffering (overheating core temperature, failing muscle endurance, pushing cardio limits, etc.).

This morning I started with MMA striking with the team. We worked on more flow drills and kick flow drills. We wrapped with a good set of bag drills.

Tonight was…eventful. I started with a private with MA. I wanted to work on chokes, and we focused on anacondas, D’Arces, guillotines, Marcello Garcia style guillotines (elbow-up), and finished up with north-souths. We spent an hour working through the mechanics of each of these in various positions and how to increase the percentages on hitting them (and how to defend against each). Some great notes from this. At the end, MA and I rolled for about 10 minutes and he diagnosed some of my grappling game (including a way of increasing my efficacy in escapes leading to better positions using the single-leg).

After my private, I stuck around to spar with the fight team. We had a guest fighter tonight. RP was a pro with 14 fights (though I didn’t know that until after a couple rounds). He was a lefty that came very hard. He stuck me with a nasty straight left that landed clean on my chin. It rocked  me and I dropped. I got back up and finished out my time, but spent most of that time trying to disrupt his flurries of hard punches. The second round, he came hard again, but I was better at maintaining range and began to experiment with ways to disrupt his nasty attacks. I was taking a beating, no doubt, but the second round, I was able to get in the game a bit more and land some of my own (thus slowing his barrages).
After sparring, I did an hour of BJJ in the gi. We worked on triangles and oma platas, then rolled for about 15 minutes. Good stuff. I was able to experiment with stuffing the head when my opponent works butterfly guard to great effect. That being said, he had a good neck and wrestled a lot, so he wasn’t vulnerable to being forced down into a guillotine. After that, I was done.

Today was a short training day. I couldn’t make morning conditioning due to teaching, and I moved m normal Tuesday private to tonight. Coach had me moving around a lot, diagnosing my work. We worked for a solid hour with the mitts. Worked a lot of the moving in and out and combo+stepping to create angle+ combo kinds of work. At the end, he gave me some feedback and showed me some variants of the jab to use in different situations. We then worked on making my jab serious for creating space. Good stuff. Feeling like training is moving into different stage.

This morning I was able to get in to train with the MMA team. We all warmed up with some rounds on the bags before coach had us all put on our headgear and get in the ring. We did round-robins wherein one of us is in the middle and every 10 seconds or so the rest of us would take turns coming at that guy. For my round in the middle, I started off clumsy (or at least I felt so), but as I started to get relaxed, I started seeing openings and feeling each guy’s style out better. Marcos really made me work for the last 10 seconds. Pushed me well past my comfort zone, but I finished feeling strong but exhausted for the round. This felt REALLY good.

At night, I trained with the boxing team. A bit slow starting and finishing with nasty bag drills. Skipped rope, shadow-boxed and worked on some of the ongoing technical stuff about stance, movement, shoulders protecting chin while punching, returning hands to protective positions when firing off the opposite hand, etc. The boxing for fitness class was going on, so most of the good bags were occupied. I grabbed a bag that was lying on the floor and worked some MMA ground and pound with knee on belly, switching from side to side then standing over it. Coach grabbed us and we then did about half an hour of bag drills. The guy on the other side of the bag kept having to stop due to shoulder exhaustion and being winded. For some reason, that just felt like fuel to me. I started playing games in my head like imagining that I had to discourage him with my intensity level (as if he was an opponent in a fight and the bag was his proxy).

I read a Tyson interview when he talked about overcoming some of his issues with fighting. I have started to play such games with myself. One of my favorites (meaning that it works for me but is torture for my body) is to look at all the bags hanging around the gym and to imagine that every one of them is a tough guy who I’m going to fight when I finish what I’m doing (and they are all watching me). Rather than saving my energy for them, I imagine trying to break their will from even coming to fight with the intensity of my work. I’ll turn to look at each bag during breathers and it kicks me into the time dilation performance space. While I’m training, I know that they’re watching me. I know…sounds weird, but I’ve stopped thinking things like this are silly and started trying stuff to see what works to get me through and pushes my performance. Silly or not, when I’m doing this I’m pushing past my perceived limits. I’m not thinking about how tired I am, or how much my shoulders hurt, or how hard it is to snap a punch and snap the hand back to the side of my face because each glove feels full of lead, or how I know that I have to stand up and breath deep because if I don’t I’ll vomit my lungs out. Instead, I feel all that, and I know that they know it. And they see me still going at this pace regardless. And I will not break. And they know it.

While I’m in the dressing room five minutes before I come out, I’m breaking my gloves down, I’m pushing the leather to the back of my gloves, so my knuckle could pierce through. When I come out I have supreme confidence. I’m scared to death. I’m afraid. I’m afraid of everything. I’m afraid of losing. I’m afraid of being humiliated. But I’m confident. The closer I get to the ring the more confident I get. The closer, the more confident. The closer the more confident I get. All during training I’ve been afraid of this man. I think this man might be capable of beating me. I’ve dreamed of him beating me. For that I’ve always stayed afraid of him. The closer I get to the ring the more confident I get. Once I’m in the ring I’m a god. No one could beat me. I walk around the ring but I never take my eyes off my opponent. Even if he s ready and pumping, and can’t wait to get his hands on me. I keep my eyes on him. I keep my eyes on him. Then once I see a chink in his armor, boom, one of his eyes may move, and then I know I have him. Then once he comes to the center of the ring he looks at me with his piercing look as if he’s not afraid. But he already made that mistake when he looked down for that one tenth of a second. I know I have him. He’ll fight hard for the first two or three rounds, but I know I broke his spirit.   —Mike Tyson