While we want to train intensely and intelligently we also want to recover as intensely and intelligently. Having studied and applied almost every possible recovery method I can find I want to share with you a stripped down and to the point recovery plan.
Here’s my recovery plan in four simple steps. (This list is compiled from multiple sources over years of doing the work so forgive the lack of citations.)
1) Sleep well. As in 7-8 hours of sound sleep. I’ve been guilty of getting quite a bit less than that. For years. Studies show the cumulative affects of less than 7 hours sleep a night can be detrimental. If this is an area where you’re slacking then this is an easy fix. Hit the rack earlier, and get those hours.
2) Get moving in a non-strenuous way. A couple easy 10-15 minute walks a day are immensely beneficial. This is not a training session, this is recovery. You want to get some blood flowing, breath some fresh air, and move your body. Listen to a podcast, make a few phone calls, or just unplug for a few moments while your enjoy the air.
3) Eat enough water-rich, nutrient dense colorful food. Folks don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables. Eating well ensures we will have the full spectrum of vitamins, aminos, and minerals necessary to fully recover between training sessions. Also hydrate. Add some sea salt to your water so you hang onto to some of that hydration. Eat and hydrate as well as you can everyday.
4) Guard your thoughts. Negative thoughts will sap your recovery ability as much as lack of sleep or poor nutrition. We all have those moments. However, we can’t allow ourselves to stay in a negative state. Just like we physically pick ourselves up from the mat we must mentally pick ourselves up when knocked down. Stay focused on our goals, and commit to daily improvement.
Those are four key steps to recovery in a streamlined package. Execute these steps everyday and recovery will never be your Achilles Heel again.
One of the first of many cool sayings I heard as a young man in the fight game was; hit first, hit fast, hit last. I’ve heard this attributed to a number of folks so I really don’t know who I should say I’m quoting. Teddy Atlas? Cus D’Amato? Salim Assili? This would seem to be one of those universal truths that apply to any fighting art. Bottom line, as one that was brand new to the game this was an important lesson for me to learn.
It would seem self-evident but sometimes we need an outside voice to give us permission to make the first move in defense of life and limb. Putting my hands on someone without waiting for them to put their hands on me was a foreign concept. Most of us have been taught by family, friends, and society to avoid throwing the first punch. The person throwing the first punch is always the aggressor therefore, wrong. At this point I realize how wrong I was to accept this as true back then, and after having witnessed a few violent confrontations I can assure you I have no issue throwing the first punch. Think about it this way, how many hits can you take before you’re unconscious? Once unconscious you can no longer defend yourself or your loved ones. Don’t let that happen. You need to act, and act right now. You can solve the legal challenges after the fact, with the help of competent counsel but right now, in the moment when your gut is screaming that something just isn’t right? You gotta get it on before he makes his move.
One of the things I struggle with is imposter syndrome. That nagging feeling that I’m not really deserving of any accolades, or recognition I might receive. I worry that I’m deep in Dunning-Kruger and as a result don’t know enough to know how much I don’t know.
I don’t know how to stop those thoughts from running through my head. All I know is I train like a madman to make sure I’ve done everything I can do to deserve anything I’m given. I’m actually envious of people that have no clue how much they suck. Their confidence in their non-existent skills has to be a great feeling. I mean that sincerely. I wish I could be that but I can’t. I will continue to struggle with whether I deserve to even wear a black belt, or have anyone listen to anything I say on the topic of self protection.
And I will continue to work my ass off to ensure that those that have trusted me enough to invest their time and effort in passing on their knowledge to me aren’t disappointed. I will continue to work my ass off to make sure folks that trust me enough to train them will find that training valuable.
That’s the only answer I know or have ever known.
In police work recruits are taught to watch the hands when making contact with citizens.
In the first course I took from Paul Howe we were given a scanning hierarchy when dealing with folks we encountered. Guess what the second item on the list is? You got it, the hands.
In the first seminar I attended by Megaton Diaz he made a statement that has stuck with me over 20 years later. “Never let them touch you. If they grab you grab them back.” Megaton was speaking to the importance of never allowing our opponent to establish a grip on us, to always monitor and control the opponents hands.
It seems there is a string that threads through every potentially violent endeavor. The opponent’s hands will hurt you if you don’t control them.
In particular I can’t over emphasize the importance of monitoring the hands of an unknown contact. Your ability to apply your avoidance, deterrence, and deescalation skills are greatly enhanced by your ability to monitor the unknown contacts hands.
Uncontrolled hands for some reason, (looking at you Murphy), seem to migrate to our weapons, don’t let that happen. Control the hands, control the space/distance, get to a dominant position, and finish them.
I had the fantastic opportunity to co-teach Dominating the Entangled Fight with two of my best friends; Cecil Burch of Immediate Action Combatives and Larry Lindenman of Point Driven Training.
This is an interesting class to teach as we cover a broad spectrum of material with a wide variety of skill ranges in a short period of time. This can be a challenge for some coaches but when you have the opportunity to work with coaches of Larry and Cecil’s caliber there is no challenge they haven’t faced at this point so I knew we would be good to go.
There are always lessons to be learned in these courses for the students as well as the coaches. However, one of the lessons that’s consistently reinforced is conditioning matters. We all could use a little more conditioning, and I know I’ll be working hard on improving my conditioning.
The next lesson that is consistently reinforced; a little bit of Jiujitsu goes a long way. You don’t need a black belt level knowledge or even a blue belt level knowledge. However, just a little bit of Jiujitsu in the form of several months of consistent effort will pay huge dividends in an Entangled Fight.
When we’re talking about Jiujitsu as it pertains to fighting there can be only one objective; to win in the most efficient manner possible.
Assuming we are starting on our feet our first objective is to win the takedown battle. We want to hit our opponent with the Earth as ballistically as possible. A secondary objective is to hit the takedown in such a manner as to be past my opponent’s legs. I start my guard pass with my takedown, while still on our feet.
Next I want to move towards my opponent’s back. Either cause him to give his back or find a way to take his back. This limits his offensive and defensive capabilities.
Lastly I want to lock in a choke and put him out. While getting to mount or knee on belly and raining knuckles on my opponent is a fantastic option, the most efficient way to end the fight is to choke him out. The human skull is fairly durable and can take a lot of punishment. Compare the number of strikes it takes to knock out most fighters versus how quickly even a highly skilled fighter succumbs to a properly applied choke. A choke also limits the possibility for me to damage my hands while trying to punch a hole in my opponent’s skull.
Once the choke has helped you achieve your objective, disengage from your opponent. Sit them up or turn them on their side so they can regain consciousness. Now get out of Dodge.
Not so coincidentally this strategy works regardless of whether we’re on the street or in a sport environment.
Injuries suck. There is no way to sugar coat this, if you are a multidisciplinary practicioner you will experience an injury.
Sometimes the injury is unavoidable, but sometimes we could and should take steps to avoid injury. I’m rehabbing a shoulder injury. It’s not severe enough to require surgery but it was a closet call. My strength training was progressing quickly, my overhead and bench press numbers were approaching my previous best… And my shoulders were killing me. I kept working through the pain. Pain purifies right? And with all the pain I was working through I was as pure as first snow. I was starting to be unable to sleep due to shoulder pain. Then it happened, something popped my shoulder during an overhead press, and things got bad. Then I landed on that shoulder during a vigorous sparring session. Things went from bad to worse. I immediately booked an appointment with Dr Sikorsky of Sikorsky Chiropractic and Dr Steve was able to begin my recovery process. Also massage therapy sessions with Nikki, massage therapist at Sikorsky Chiropractic has done wonders to speed up my recovery.
The reason for sharing that is to share this, my shoulder issue was avoidable. Completely avoidable. I have neglected mobility work when it comes to my shoulders for several years. Sure I’ve done some mobility work here and there but that’s not the same as dedicated consistent effort. Now I’m doing my shoulder mobility work daily, multiple times a day to get my shoulders back into the game.
With that in mind I wanted to share with you a resource I found on YouTube that’s a gold mine of rehabilitative information; Smash Werx
My message to you my friends; be good to yourself. Do your mobility work. Make it a priority. Avoid the avoidable injuries.