Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Brick Wall Imparts Upon Us All

Obstacles are defined as something that stands in the way that must be circumvented. Why then stop when happenstance greets the day with anticipation. Each time an obstacle becomes surmounted is an opportunity for growth and reflection. There is no vicissitude unworthy of performance, no discouragement beneath adjustment, no obstacle beyond repair.

The heart determines the ability to conquer obstacles through understanding. The body will quite long before the mind, and the heart is the determining factor in successful circumnavigation. Every barrier is an opportunity for success. A path will always present with forks, turns and twists. Those finding their way no matter the circumstance are the ones that become champions. This is the stuff legends are made of. There is no road map to success. Follow the heart and remember to maintain an open mind. Success will find you if your heart is in the right place.

Champions know that success is inevitable; that there is no such thing as failure, only feedback. They know that the best way to forecast the future is to create it.

Michael J. Gelb quotes

Champions know there are no shortcuts to the top. They climb the mountain one step at a time. They have no use for helicopters!

Judi Adler quotes

The mark of a great player is in his ability to come back. The great champions have all come back from defeat.

Sam Snead quotes

“Champions do not become champions when they win the event, but in the hours, weeks, months and years they spend preparing for it. The victorious performance itself is merely the demonstration of their championship character”


T. Alan Armstrong quotes

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Better Edge

I have noticed in Amateur MMA a lot of schools/teams/gyms ignore the importance of elbows and leg submission. Some amateur competitions allow elbows and others don't. I would imagine that many people don't want to spend the limited practice time they have honing skills they may or may not use; understandable, but risky.

After working with one of my teammates and mentors, Ivan, I have gained a new understanding of the importance of the underrated techniques. (I say underrated because I have not seen them very much in competition.) Ivan and I were going over the fine tuning of my last fight. I am a firm believer that there is something to be learned in everything. So, yes, I was victorious but I also have a lot to learn based on the way I fought. During one of our advanced practices Ivan demonstrated for me how to use elbows and strikes to advance my position further. That is the beauty of being able to work hard with people that know so much. I am now more capable of seeing openings that I was not looking for. I have something to work on at practice to help advance me to the next level of my game.

After we had gone over the fine tuning from the fights I asked him to help me out with leg submissions. I will make this generalization and swear by it: most amateur fighters have no clue how to do any leg submissions, nor do they know how to see them coming and defend them. Every time I role with Ivan or T.J. I find myself tapping to a knee bar, leg lock, toe hold, etc. I have been submission grappling for five years and I am decent at it, but I know there is a big hole in my game. After we talked and worked on some stuff, I van dedicated an entire practice to a leg lock series. I did not even realize how many ways there are of submitting people using legs in just one series.

And that is the thing about martial arts: there is always an art to beat yours in one respect or another, always a competitor that knows more, always more knowledge to be gained, always changes and new moves, always a next level. The key to having a better edge is to find a team and coach that you trust, so that you can learn together and build on what you are and who you are. The learning is never finished. I feel like martial arts is a lot like teaching; once you feel like the job is easy, the job is done, then it is time to hang up your shoes and move on to the next.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Where I Have Landed

I have been around for a long time, going on five years. I have met a number of people and have seen my fair share of everything in this sport; good teams, bad teams, poor sports, true martial artists, phenomenal coaches, terrible coaches, inadequately trained teams, teams that do not have a clue, guys with a lot of heart and "cage fighter bar brawlers." I have experienced enough to know that I have landed in the place that I need to have landed to become successful and live my dreams.

I do not, for a second, take for granted where I am and who I have become as a fighter and as a person because of it. There are very few places that make each and every one of their students feel like they are a part of a family. I have had people bend over backwards for me and for my career without asking for a single thing in return. I have never met more kind-hearted upstanding individials as I have training at Lightining Kicks. I am far away from the place that I called home and from the family I grew up with, but Lightning Kicks is a place where every person can go and know they have a home and a family to back them.

My skill level has immeasurably grown in all aspects in the time I have spent with Master Amir and my teammates. I could never have foreseen my reaching my full potential, but now I know I am capable. I have coaches that give up time with their families and friends to be there for all of us, to help us get better and watch us succeed. All of these sacrifices that each of us make are a testament to our work ethic and sense of family and team.

I know how privileged I am to be where I am and to train with the people I train with each and every day. I can never thank all of my teammates and my coaches enough for all they have done to see me succeed and to live out my goals so that I may achieve my dreams. All I can do is live with the indomitable spirit and demonstrate my knowledge and growth in the cage.


Back To It

Summer school has kicked my butt, so I have been unable to get on here as much as I would like.

Since my last post:

1. Awesome Akimma has decided to sponsor me

2. I became the 125 lb Capital City Cage Fighting Champion


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

some vids

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Thinking Outside of the Box

I am pretty broke... Well I guess most people struggle after grad school so I am not alone. I am trying to find creative ways to get in extra strength and conditioning outside of practice. Work keeps me super busy with the two and a half hour total commute and the fact that teaching is a job one takes home. I also do not have the money to join a fitness gym. Yesterday I ran all the way to the pet store and then back with a 40 lb bag of dog food. I am looking to find practical, inexpensive and quick ways to get in small strength and conditioning work outs! Suggestions are welcome! Any ideas out there?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tonight's Lesson

I need to hit more. I know my stand up has become so much better in the past year. I know I have the skill and capability to be a great stand up fighter. I am quicker now, I can kick, I can throw combos; but there is still that little voice from the past telling me to hard block so I do not get knocked out by my teammates.

I guess what that boils down to is trust. Like Pavlov proved: a behavior is learned through consequence. At one time, if I threw some punches and left myself vulnerable I would pay a price for it. So, my brain is hard wired to believe that if I make a mistake at practice I will pay for it.

I have become much better at trusting my teammates and knowing that my past is not my present. I do not "pay" for making mistakes at practice; rather, I learn from them. I have very good teachers and teammates. Yes, they do often teach me lessons, but it is never out of cruelty. I know that all of these people want to see me tap into my full potential and would like to see me achieve my goals.

So last week my lesson was "circle left." This weeks lesson is "trust fully in myself and my teammates." That means I better throw some combos :)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A True Fighter is a Believer

In retrospect, the place I started MMA was not where I should have been. I was already lacking confidence in my life and capability and I began to lose more as the years continued. I did not believe in myself or my fighting ability. During those years I was struggling to find who I am as a person and as a fighter. I was, in a sense, lost. I was in that place between adulthood and childhood where one has to struggle to define his or her role in the world. The best thing I could have done for my life and fight career was attend the University of Michigan where I discovered my true path set out for me.

I now have a firm understanding of what it means to be a part of a brotherhood, a family of fighters. I would do anything for the people I train with and I know I can expect the same loyalty from them. I believe in my coaches, teammates, my family away from home, my best friends, my brothers. I believe in the bond we have and the support we create for one another.

I believe in the message Professor Crabtree sends to his students. He has instilled in me something I always strove for all along; working for what I have and earning what I want. I have known Professor Crabtree for a long time. From the outside I saw how much his students loved him, the sport and each other. I envied that bond and instruction. I am thankful to both Professor Crabtree and his team for accepting me as a part of their family.

I have become more than I ever thought I could have because of his instruction and the support of this family. I have tapped potentials I did not think could exist. Only a Mixed Martial Artist could understand this, but the proudest day of my life was not receiving two bachelors degrees, a masters by the age of 24, having the President of the United States address my graduating class or even becoming a teacher; the proudest moment in my life was accepting my blue belt from one of the people I admire most in this world. I know I worked for it, and I know I earned it. I am thankful for GRBJJ and their support in my pursuit to earn my place in this world.

There are no words to express the sincerity in knowing how blessed I am to train with Master Khillah and Team Lightning Kicks. Master Amir is one of the most talented people I have ever met and he has opened doors for me that I did not even know existed. He has fostered my growth as a fighter and is the truest and kindest heart I have ever met. He cares very deeply about all of his students and spends more time with all of us, helping us excel, than I have ever witnessed. I am blessed to train with the most talented crop of fighters in the state of Michigan and to train with some of the best fighters in the world on occasion. I can never explain what all of these people have meant to my career and more importantly my life.

I am a believer. I have faith. I have been accused of dreaming entirely too much, but then again do fighters not have to dream and believe and put complete faith into the trainer and team they are a part of. I believe in who I am and who I will become despite those who do not think I can make it. I have pushed through door and windows for five years and I am proud of where I have landed. I know the road will still be full of twists and turns but that is all a part of the journey. I know I will do great things... just wait and see.

I am back

It has been a long while since my last post. Since the last thing I wrote I have received my M.Ed. and I have nearly completed my first year as a teacher. The fight career is going well. I moved to the West Side of the state and I am training with two of the best instructors and teams I could have found. I have grown as a fighter and I am looking forward to showing that to myself and everyone else when I hit the cage June 18th at the Lansing Center. Legion! Oss!