Hate Is My Pre-Workout 

   Language/Rant Warning. 

I probably shouldn’t listen to Rollins while writing…

I sometimes wonder how coal miners, farmers, dock workers, and iron workers were able to function in the days before supplements such as pre-workout drinks existed. I’m relieved that nobody told Rosie the Riverter she couldn’t start kicking ass and taking names without her pre-workout. “Sorry boss, I realize we need this battleship built but I’m all out of magical powder” probably wouldn’t be an acceptable reason for a slowdown in production. There was Nazi, Socialist, and Fascist ass to kick and those planes, tanks, and ships weren’t going to build themselves. Those folks did, (and do), the work regardless of whether they were hungry, exposed to cold or intense heat, thirsty, sick, or injured. 

Sometimes I run into trainees that feel they can’t lift, run, roll, or bang unless they are well hydrated, or have eaten the proper ratio of macros, as well as taken their pre-workout. They just can’t get motivated without it. How about the thought that somewhere out there is a violent criminal offender that is waiting for the opportunity to prey on you and/or your loved ones?! When that day comes, will we tell the bad guy to give us a few minutes so our pre-workout can kick in before we get it on?! Murphy’s law tells us this is going to happen at the worst time for us. The day we haven’t eaten properly, hydrated enough, and aren’t on our “A” game. That’s exactly the day the violent criminal actors will come knocking. Here’s the thing; nobody cares if we’re not ready. In that moment we’ve got to bring it! We are all we’ve got no one is coming to help us, and if recent trends are any indicator most people are just going to video the event and post it on YouTube or Facebook live it. They won’t help us. 

Imagine this for a moment; the only thing between this violent criminal piece of shit offender and your loved ones is you. Maybe it’s someone you know or are aware of, they’ve stalked and threatened you, your significant other and/or your family for a long time, now they are acting on their threats, and you were just waiting for this day. Maybe it’s someone(s) you’ve never seen before but for some reason they selected you. Are you badass enough? Are you ready? There is only one acceptable answer to that question. 

With that thought in mind, do we need magical powders to get it up for another session on the mat or in the ring, to dry fire, hit the weight room chasing those numbers, or do another conditioning session. Loving all this stuff we do, and reaping all the benefits this pursuit brings should be enough motivation to do work however, on those days when we’re dragging ass? Look around at the life we’ve built, the loved ones we cherish, and think about those violent criminal actors that would take it all away. Fuck that noise. The rush I get when I think about that day is greater than any powder that can be found on your local supplement store shelf. I’m sure you feel the same way. 

The vast majority of the time I need no assistance to do the work. The positive benefits of this endeavor on my life are countless, and seeing those benefits daily are usually enough. However, on those odd days when I’m just not feeling it I don’t reach for a tub of the latest proprietary blend. I look inside and remind myself of the martial nature of this pursuit. That’s all I need to obliterate excuses, crush weaknesses, and prepare for the day. Anything else just gets in the way. 

Continuing Education 


I’ve had the fantastic opportunity to spend the last week at the Straight Blast Gym in Kalispell, Montana. Working on a daily basis with Coaches Travis & Kisa Davison, Leah Taylor, and Gus Nolte has been awesome! The days have been long, and the learning intensive. Just the way I like it!

Excellent competition team practice run by Coach Leah Taylor. I’d highly recommend contacting Coach Leah for seminars, and private lessons.

One of the things I’ve heard Coach Travis say at least a hundred times is; “if you want to be good at something make everyone around you good at that something. Also find people that are good at that something, and spend time around them.” It’s such an important piece I wanted to share it with you. At times I have been so caught up in my own journey I’ve done a really poor job at bringing others along, and making sure they’re getting better. I’ve also been guilty of not continuing to seek a deeper understanding, and continue my education. This week has been a reminder of the importance of spending time around people that inspire, and motivate us to reach our potential. 

Working with some of the area peace keepers. Always thankful for a chance to give back.

At the heart of the journey is this; the more I learn the more I realize how much more I need to learn. To paraphrase the World’s Most Interesting Man, stay hungry for knowledge my friends. 

Think Negative 

As much as we might not want to do it, thinking about every possible negative outcome could be one of the most positive things we can do in this endeavor. Thinking about the firestarter that won’t fire start, the shotgun that goes click when we need a bang, or the right cross that lands perfectly on our opponent’s chin with no visible affect are not pleasant thoughts. However, having contingency plan upon contingency plan requires us to think of every possible negative, and plan a response. This form of mental gaming sets us up for a positive outcome as we’ve already considered every failure point. We can’t be surprised by something we’ve already planned to address should it show up. In this endeavor failing to plan is almost a guaranteed plan to fail. If it can go wrong it will. Mental gaming, the ‘what if’ game, allows to go through a process of mental rehearsal. There are many studies that show mental rehearsal decreases reaction time, and in this game time equals life so we’ll take all the time we can get. The only cost involved in mental rehearsal is time, and the payoff is eliminating failure so it’s to our benefit in every way to use the power of negative thinking.

“It turns out that the mental load of management is primarily around experiencing failure.
Actual failure, sure, but mostly potential failure. Imagining failure in advance. All the current things that could go wrong. And more important, the things you’re not doing that will be obvious oversights later. Our brains work overtime to cycle through these, to learn to see around corners, to have the guts to delegate without doing the work ourselves (even though that creates more imagined points of failure). Scan, touch, consider, analyze, repeat.” – Seth Godin

Top self protection trainer Mick Coup has talked and written quite a bit about the power of negative thinking. The book; “The Positive Power of Negative Thinking” by Julie Norem dives into this subject as well. I would highly recommend reading everything you can find by Mick, and Julie on this topic. Playing the ‘what if’ game is crucial to predicting, preparing for and/or preventing problems long before they become an issue. It would appear we should spend some time thinking negative to guarantee ourselves a positive outcome.

Why Am I Working Out On The Range??

A few years ago a friend and I attended a very high energy, fun, and challenging shooting course. During the course we essentially did a CrossFit lite workout while shooting drills during each block of instruction. This was done in the form of various bodyweight exercises, sandbags, tire flips, sprints, and buddy carries which preceded each course of fire. I had a blast. Sitting in the car during the ride home I felt like I had been through fight prep workout. I was sore, covered in dirt, sunburnt, and mentally drained. I looked at my friend, and said dude this was a great class. He said, “What did we learn? All I could think is why am I working out on the range? I have a gym membership. I run miles every week. I came here to learn how to shoot better. All we did was workout, in between shooting. I didn’t really learn anything.”

At the time I chalked it up to him being a little salty because during one exercise he was having a hard time getting his hits. When he asked the instructor what he was doing wrong the instructor said, “watch your front sight. Sights and trigger man, that’s what you need to do.” My friend thought this was a less than stellar answer, and from that point forward he was just not into the class. Or so I thought. After some more conversation I realized he wasn’t butt hurt by the instructors lackluster coaching, he really wanted to know what I had learned? My response was that I can function well while in oxygen deficit, that if I execute my technique correctly I will still get my hits even if my arms, and/or legs have turned to mush. My biggest takeaway was to always trust my technique, the only times I struggled with making my hits was when I got ahead of myself, and didn’t focus on hitting my technical performance points. While he could see my points, he still thought he wasted his time at the class. I also could see his point which was; no amount of physical exhaustion would prepare one to perform optimally under duress. In his words, “it’s just not the same animal.”

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Burpees with a pullup at the top of the jump in between the course of fire? Sure, why not!

Fast forward a few years, and I’m talking to the same friend about a recent competition he participated in which involved a lot of running and gunning. He said, “I had a rough start but then I remembered your takeaway about trusting the technique, and focusing on the technique when you were tired. I started focusing on the front sight, trusting that it was where I needed it to be, and working the trigger. I did that, and ended up finishing in the top 5.” Sometimes when we take a class it might seem like we’re not getting much from the effort, and we might have to overcome a metric ton of internal resistance. We might even think this is a complete waste of our time and energy. However, sometimes we aren’t ready for the lesson yet. We need a little more experience, or the right circumstances to bring meaning, and value to the lessons we’re learning. Train and practice as often as you can, do the work, and trust the process. Educate yourself as much as possible through training and experience, which includes the classes or practices that feel like a waste. When the time is right, you’ll have the knowledge necessary to do what you need to do.

Natural Born Heroes

“There was a time when that question wouldn’t be a mystery. For much of human history, the art of the hero wasn’t left up to chance; it was a multidisciplinary endeavor devoted to optimal nutrition, physical self-mastery, and mental conditioning. The hero’s skills were studied, practiced, and perfected, then passed along from parent to child and teacher to student.

The art of the hero wasn’t about being brave; it was about being so competent that bravery wasn’t an issue. You weren’t supposed to go down for a good cause; the goal was to figure out a way to not go down at all. Achilles and Odysseus and the rest of the classical heroes hated the thought of dying and scratched for every second of life.

A hero’s one crack at immortality was to be remembered as a champion, and champions don’t die dumb… It all hinged on the ability to unleash the tremendous resources of strength, endurance, and agility that many people don’t realize they already have.” – from the excellent book Natural Born Heroes by Christopher McDougall.

Reading Natural Born Heroes and the story of the Isle of Crete resistance is an incredible story of ordinary people that did extraordinary feats. There are several interesting avenues we can take with this book however, for me the most compelling aspect of this story is simply this; resolve to be an adept. In a moment of crisis or urgency be ready to act. Despite whatever odds are stacked against us, or whatever cards life has seemingly dealt us we must resolve to always be ready, and prepared to be useful.

Think about arriving on the scene of a rollover accident in a rural area. We don’t have the luxury of getting a little stronger, or refreshing our knowledge of ditch medicine, nor do we have the opportunity to run to the local pharmacy to pick up expedient medical supplies. Whether we like it or not we have what we have, in all those areas, with us at that moment. Life changes rapidly, and at times unpredictably. Maybe we are the ones involved in the rollover accident in the middle of nowhere. No help is coming, you are your own hero. Only I know the answer to the question; am I ready? Regardless of the answer at the moment, I can choose to begin to improve my odds. Make a pact with yourself to always be ready so you don’t have to get ready.

 

Changing Mental Habits

This is somewhat of a departure from the normal material I cover on this blog however, I think it’s as important if not the most important aspect of multidisciplinary work. Developing a proactive, adaptable, problem solving mindset. This is one way, of many ways, I’ve found to reach that objective.

Over the years I have had the opportunity to attend several events that featured fantastic pubic speakers such as Tony Robbins, Stephen Covey, as well as other business leaders, self-improvement gurus, time management experts, and subject matter experts on every area of human performance. I still employ almost everything I learned at these events. One of the challenges we were charged with is the 7 Day Mental Fast. Essentially I was to go 7 days, (which was the duration of the course), without a negative thought, without complaining, and without gossiping. Any thoughts that would be considered negative or leading to negativity were to be abandoned. Now here is the catch; if at any time I reverted to negative thinking the 7 day clock starts over. That’s the subtle beauty of this challenge, there is a possibility it will never end. It’s structured in such a way that almost 17 years later I’m still working on perfecting this since every time I will eventually fail, and the clock resets. Learning to love and embrace the process is a post for another time. 

I know what you might be thinking; to walk around refusing to have a negative thought is unrealistic. Life happens, things happen, and we might have to think about negative things. I get it, and that’s part of the process. However, this is the challenge. Rather than dwell on the challenge or obstacle, and allow negative thoughts to overrun us we want to, as quickly as possible, recognize the negative thought pattern and direct our thoughts back towards solution based thinking. We want to start dwelling on a way up, over, around or though obstacle rather than spin our wheels talking about how much this sucks, this is bullshit, why does this have to happen to us, and all the other thought patterns we might be used to engaging. This challenge is about building new mental habits. As multidisciplinary trainees we are always striving to become more adaptable, and this is one of the tools we can use to develop the mental agility we might need to take on a life threatening challenge. I would encourage you all to pick up a copy of The 7 Day Mental Diet by Emmet Fox where he goes into detail on this process. It’s an old book, fairly short, and an easy read yet the message is powerful. I’ll post a segment of the book below.

Here are a few things I noted while going through this process. Much like when we physically diet, our cravings are a clue. When we start paying attention to our inner dialogue as well as what we allow our thoughts to dwell on we start to pick up on patterns, and pitfalls. There will be negative patterns we “crave”. For some reason, beyond my pay grade, we all find a bit of comfort in the normal or the usual even if that normal or usual is a negative self defeating thought pattern. Recognizing this pattern is the first step to breaking it, and establishing better more productive patterns. One of the things I noticed in my mental patterns was a tendency to say this is bullshit, and just accept that because things have always been a certain way things will continue to always be a certain way. This is simply not true however, addressing the things that needed to change to make sure things don’t remain this way was a lot of work, and extremely uncomfortable. It was comforting to just accept that things can’t change. Once I recognized this pattern, now that I was paying attention to any negative thoughts, it became easier to see this pattern coming and shut it down before it built too much momentum.

This practice of a mental diet becomes increasingly important as our training load increases due to competition or some other deadline. Everything becomes a struggle between the diet, S&C work, skill work, getting your sparring sessions in, and attempting to maintain some semblance of a home life the negative starts to creep in. Stay on your mental diet, and refuse to allow yourself a mental cheat meal. It’s just not worth it. Keep yourself in a proactive positive mental state. You’ll find dealing with the nagging injuries and fatigue that accompanies competition prep easier to deal with if you refuse to allow a negative thought to gain a foothold.

As promised here is a segment from the book. The language reflects the time in which the book was written but the truths in the book are timeless. I hope you enjoy it, and consider starting your mental diet today.

The Seven Day Mental Diet

by Emmet Fox

The subject of diet is one of the foremost topics of the present day in public interest. Newspapers and magazines teem with articles on the subject. The counters of the bookshops are filled with volumes unfolding the mysteries of proteins, starches, vitamins, and so forth. dust now the whole world is food-conscious. Experts on the subject are saying that physically you become the thing that you eat — that your whole body is really composed of the food that you have eaten in the past. What you eat today, they say, will be in your bloodstream after the lapse of so many hours, and it is your blood-stream that builds all the tissues composing your body — and there you are. Of course, no sensible person has any quarrel with all this. It is perfectly true, as far as it goes, and the only surprising thing is that it has taken the world so long to find it out; but in this article I am going to deal with the subject of dieting at a level that is infinitely more profound and far-reaching in its effects. I refer of course to mental dieting.

The most important of all factors in your life is the mental diet on which you live. It is the food which you furnish to your mind that determines the whole character of your life. It is the thoughts you allow yourself to think, the subjects that you allow your mind to dwell upon, which make you and your surroundings what they are. As thy days, so shall thy strength be. Everything in your life today — the state of your body, whether healthy or sick, the state of your fortune, whether prosperous or impoverished’, the state of your home, whether happy or the reverse, the present condition of every phase of your life in fact —  is entirely conditioned by the thoughts and feelings which you have entertained in the past, by the habitual tone of your past thinking. And the condition of your life tomorrow, and next week, and next year, will be entirely conditioned by the thoughts and feelings which you choose to entertain from now onwards.

In other words, you choose your life, that is to say, you choose all the conditions of your life, when you choose the thoughts upon which you allow your mind to dwell. Thought is the real causative force in life, and there is no other. You cannot have one kind of mind and another kind of environment. This means that you cannot change your environment while leaving your mind unchanged, nor — and this is the supreme key to life and the reason for this article — can you change your mind without your environment changing too.

This then is the real key to life: if you change your mind your conditions must change too. Your body must change, your daily work or other activities must change; your home must change; the color-tone of your whole life must change, for whether you be habitually happy and cheerful, or low-spirited and fearful, depends entirely on the quality of the mental food upon which you diet yourself. Please be very clear about this. If you change your mind your conditions must change too. We are transformed by the renewing of our minds. So now you will see that your mental diet is really the most important thing in your whole life.

This may be called the Great Cosmic Law, and its truth is seen to be perfectly obvious when once it is clearly stated in this way. In fact, I do not know of any thoughtful person who denies its essential truth. The practical difficulty in applying it, however, arises from the fact that our thoughts are so close to us that it is difficult, without a little practice, to stand back as it were and look at them objectively. Yet that is just what you must learn to do.

You must train yourself to choose the subject of your thinking at any given time, and also to choose the emotional tone, or what we call the mood that colors it. Yes, you can choose your moods. Indeed, if you could not you would have no real control over your life at all. Moods habitually entertained produce the characteristic disposition of the person concerned, and it is his disposition that finally makes or mars a person’s happiness.

You cannot be healthy; you cannot be happy; you cannot be prosperous; if you have a bad disposition. If you are sulky, or surly, or cynical, or depressed, or superior, or frightened half out of your wits, your life cannot possibly be worth living. Unless you are determined to cultivate a good disposition, you may as well give up all hope of getting anything worth while out of life, and it is kinder to tell you very plainly that this is the case. If you are not determined to start in now and carefully select all day the kind of thoughts that you are going to think, you may as well give up all hope of shaping your life into the kind of thing that you want it to be, because this is the only way.

In short, if you want to make your life happy and worth while, which is what God wishes you to make it, you must begin immediately’ to train yourself in the habit of thought selection and thought control. This will be exceedingly difficult for the first few days, but if you persevere you will find that it will become rapidly easier, and it is actually the most interesting experiment that you could possibly make. in fact, this thought control is the most thrillingly inter’ interesting hobby that anyone could take up. You will be amazed at the interesting things that you will learn about yourself, and you will get results almost from the beginning.

Now many people knowing this truth, make sporadic efforts from time to time to control their thoughts, but the thought stream being so close, as I have pointed out, and the impacts from outside so constant and varied, they do not make very much progress. That is not the way to work. Your only chance is definitely to form a new habit of thought which will carry you through when you are preoccupied or off your guard as well as when you are con’ consciously attending to the business. This new thought habit must be definitely acquired, and the foundation of it can be laid within a few days, and the way to do it is this:

Make up your mind to devote one week solely to the task of building a new habit of thought, and during that week let everything in life be unimportant as compared with that. If you will do so, then that week will be the most significant week in your whole life. It will literally be the turning’ point for you. If you will do so, it is safe to say that your whole life will change for the better. In fact, nothing can possibly remain the same. This does not simply mean that you will be able to face your present difficulties in a better spirit; it means that the difficulties will go. This is the scientific way to Alter Your Life, and being in accordance with the Great Law it cannot fail. Now do you realize that by working in this way you do not have to change conditions What happens is that you apply the Law, and then the conditions change spontaneously. You cannot change conditions directly — you have often tried to do so and failed — but go on the SEVEN DAY MENTAL DIET and conditions must change for you.

This then is your prescription. For seven days you must not allow yourself to dwell for a single moment on any kind of negative thought. You must watch yourself for a whole week as a cat watches a mouse, and you must not under any pretense allow your mind to dwell on any thought that is not positive, constructive, optimistic, kind. This discipline will be so strenuous that you could not maintain it consciously for much more than a week, bur I do not ask you to do so. A week will be enough, because by that time the habit of positive thinking will begin to be established. Some extraordinary changes for the better will have come into your life, encouraging you enormously, and then the future will take care of itself. The new way of life will be so attractive and so much easier than the old way that you will find your mentality aligning itself almost automatically.

But the seven days are going to be strenuous’. I would not have you enter upon this without counting the cost. Mere physical fasting would be child’s play in comparison, even if you have a very good appetite. The most exhausting form of army gymnastics, combined with thirty mile route marches, would be mild in comparison with this undertaking. But it is only for one week in your life, and it will definitely alter every’ thing for the better. For the rest of your life here, for all eternity in fact, things will be utterly different and inconceivably better than if you had not carried through this undertaking.

Do not start it lightly. Think about it for a day or two before you begin. Then start in, and the grace of God go with you. You may start it any day in the week, and at any time in the day, first thing in the morning, or after breakfast, or after lunch, it does not matter, but once you do start you must go right through for the seven days. That is essential. The whole idea is to have seven days of unbroken mental discipline in order to get the mind definitely bent in a new direction once and for all.

If you make a false start, or even if you go on well for two or three days and then for any reason “fall off” the diet, the thing to do is to drop the scheme altogether for several days, and then to start again afresh. There must be no jumping on and off, as it were. You remember that Rip Van Winkle in the play would take a solemn vow of teetotalism, and then promptly accept a drink from the first neighbor who offered him one, saying calmly: “I won’t count this one. Well, on the SEVEN DAY MENTAL DIET this sort of thing simply will not do. You must positively count every lapse, and whether you do or not, Nature will. Where there is a lapse you must go off the diet altogether and then start again.

Now, in order, if possible, to forestall difficulties, I will consider them in a little detail.

First of all, what do I mean by negative thinking? Well, a negative thought is any thought of failure, disappointment, or trouble; any thought of criticism, or spite, or jealousy, or condemnation of others, or self-condemnation; any thought of sickness or accident; or, in short, any kind of limitation or pessimistic thinking. Any thought that is not positive and constructive in character, whether it concerns you yourself or anyone else, is a negative thought. Do not bother too much about the question of classification, however; in practice you will never have any trouble in knowing whether a given thought is positive or negative. Even if your brain tries to deceive you, your heart will whisper the truth.

Second, you must be quite clear that what this scheme calls for is that you shall not entertain, or dwell upon negative things. Note this carefully. It is not the thoughts that come to you that matter, but only such of them as you choose to entertain and dwell upon. It does not matter what thoughts may come to you provided you do not entertain them. It is the entertaining or dwelling upon them that matters. Of course, many negative thoughts ‘will come to you all day long. Some of them will just drift into your mind of their own accord seemingly, and these come to you out of the race mind. Other negative thoughts will be given to you by other people, either in conversation or by their conduct, or you will hear disagreeable news perhaps by letter or telephone, or you will see crimes and disasters announced in the newspaper headings. These things, however, do not matter as long as you do not entertain them. In fact, it is these very things that provide the discipline that is going to transform you during this epoch-making week. The thing to do is, directly the negative thought presents itself — turn it out. Turn away from the newspaper; turn out the thought of the unkind letter, or stupid remark, or what not. When the negative thought floats into your mind, immediately turn it out and think of something else. Best of all, think of God as explained in The Golden Key. A perfect analogy is furnished by the case of a man who is sitting by an open fire when a red hot cinder flies out and falls on his sleeve. If he knocks that cinder off at once, w without a moment’s delay to think about it, no harm is done. But if he allows it to rest on him for a single moment, under any pretense, the mischief is done, and it will be a troublesome task to repair that sleeve. So it is with a negative thought.

Now what of those negative thoughts and conditions which it is impossible to avoid at the point where you are today? What of the ordinary troubles that you will have to meet in the office or at home? The answer is, that such things will not affect your diet provided that you do not accept them, by fearing them, by believing them, by being indignant or sad about them, or by giving them any power at all. Any negative condition that duty compels you to handle will not affect your diet. Go to the office, or meet the cares at home, without allowing them to affect you. (None of these things move me), and all will be well. Suppose that you are lunching with a friend who talks negatively — do not try to shut him up or otherwise snub him. Let him talk, but do nor accept what he says, and your diet will not be affected. Suppose that on coming home you are greeted with a lot of negative conversation — do not preach a sermon, but simply do not accept it. It is your mental consent, remember, that constitutes your diet. Suppose you witness an accident or an act of injustice let us say — instead of reacting with pity or indignation, refuse to accept the appearance at its face value; do anything that you can to right matters, give it the right thought, and let it go at that. You will still be on the diet.

Of course, it will be very helpful if you can take steps to avoid meeting during this week anyone who seems particularly likely to arouse the devil in you. People who get on your nerves, or rub you up the wrong way, or bore you, are better avoided while you are on the diet; but if it is not possible to avoid them, then you must take a little extra discipline — that is all.

Suppose that you have a particularly trying ordeal before you next week. Well, if you have enough spiritual understanding you will know how to meet that in the spiritual’ way; but, for our present purpose, I think I would wait and start the diet as soon as the ordeal is over. As I said before, do not take up the diet lightly, but think it over well first.

In closing, I want to tell you that people often find that the starting of this diet seems to stir up all sorts of difficulties. It seems as though everything begins to go wrong at once. This may be disconcerting, but it is really a good sign. It means that things are moving; and is not that the very object we have in view? Suppose your whole world seems to rock on its foundations. Hold on steadily, let it rock, and when the rocking is over, the picture will have reassembled itself into something much nearer to your heart’s desire.

The above point is vitally important and rather subtle. Do you not see that the very dwelling upon these difficulties is in itself a negative thought which has probably thrown you off the diet? The remedy is not, of course, to deny that your world is rocking in appearance, but to refuse to take the appearance for the reality. Judge not according to appearances but judge righteous judgment.

A closing word of caution: Do not tell anyone else that you are on the diet, or that you intend to go on it. Keep this tremendous project strictly to yourself. Remember that your soul should be the Secret Place of the Most High. When you have come through the seven days successfully, and secured your demonstration, allow a reasonable’ time to elapse to establish the new mentality, and then tell the story to anyone else who you think is likely to be helped by it. And, finally, remember that nothing said or done by anyone else can possibly throw you off the diet. Only your own reaction to the other person’s conduct can do that.

Inside Game part II

Let’s talk about a few concepts and principles that apply to in-fighting, and inside game. In part one we talked about the why’s so now let’s talk about the how’s.

The key to successfully landing shots inside while stopping our opponent from landing shots is connection. Weird right? Just like in grappling the easiest way for us to know, and control the direction of our opponent is to be connected to them. Think of this as standing grappling with strikes involved. There really are more similarities than differences. If you’ve spent time grappling, particularly standing grappling, you are well ahead of the average trainee when it comes to learning how to read, and react to an opponent when working inside. I could type a thousand words to describe it but this one minute clip of Roberto Duran coaching in-fighting will teach us more about connection, angles, contouring, and hitting in the spaces then any amount of words.

Pure mastery. Connection using forearms, elbows, and shoulders to monitor, and control the opponents arms. Notice how Duran’s position, and posture create pressure which causes the opponent’s arms to open or look for other ways around Duran’s arms. In so doing he opens himself to strikes. Don’t force openings inside, time them, wait for them, and then strike in the breaks. The breaks are those moments when the opponent pulls away or tries to go outside or around our arms. When you feel that space, throw your shot. We never want to wait, we want to throw first, and when there is space we’ve lost that connection. The fastest way to re-connect is to land a solid shot.

Where are we looking to make this connection? The top of our opponents forearms, inside biceps are optimal. If we can’t get there we can take the outside of the arm however we never sacrifice good technique which would mean our elbows are still against our ribs, hands are up with our knuckles touching the skin under our eyes or our eyebrows. Our body position is almost identical to everything else we do since we can’t forget we’re multi-disciplinary athletes.

Spend a few rounds each day isolating the inside game. Glove up, bite down on your mouthguard, set the timer, start from a point of connection, and do your best to not break connection. If you lose connection stop throwing punches, and go back to the drill, get connected again. Work a few rounds with one side on offense, and one side on defense. Then work a few rounds with both sides able to throw however, keep it light. We’re working here so there is no need to try to take anyone’s head off. There are no win/loss records in the gym so let’s act like it. Practice to learn, to discover what works, what doesn’t. Now is the time to put together combos that flow easily for you, and how to best set those combos up. If you’re getting your bell rung when you get hit you’re going to hard. However, if you’re not a little concerned about shutting them down, and avoiding any shots you need to go a little harder. We need to spend a lot of time in here to master the inside game so we can’t get knocked silly every round however, we also need to remember how dangerous it really is in here, and treat it with the required respect. This is the area where headbutts, elbows, knees, sweeps, throws, and assorted mayhem happens. Everything is a weapon in here, and it all has knockout potential. We have to master it, or it will eat us alive.

Fortunately the way is pretty simple, there’s nothing to it but to do it. Glove up, and do work.