Monday, January 28, 2008


Persistence is the act or fact of persisting.

The definition of persist, is to continue steadfastly or firmly in some state, purpose, course of action, or the like, escpecially in spite of opposition.

How does persistence relate to your training?

How many times have you set a goal, and then set it aside because you did not succeed in the allotted time frame?


How many times have you gone back, over and over again, to continue pressing forward even on the hardest training goal you've ever assigned to yourself?

Depending on which question you answer, maybe it's even been both. How does persistence relate to the actions of your life? Do you give up and walk away, or do you press forward until all the possible options have been exhausted?

Hopefully you press forward, both in your training and in your daily life and all the options it offers you. Although persistence does not directly equal success, it's an important factor that accompanies it.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

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Friday, January 25, 2008

WTH Effect...Maybe

Anyone who knows me, knows I don't like to run and I don't like the cold. I'll include some 1-3 mile runs/jogs every once in awhile provided the weather is optimal, which basically means, I run at most 12 times a year. Not sure what got in to me this week, especially since it's only 30 degrees outside, but I ran some trails with Bella twice this week and felt great! Especially today, and it was cold! We were out for over an hour, I got completely side tracked with the scenery, and barely realized where I was, not to mention I found myself running up hills, jogging flats, and walking downhills.

To be honest I really wasn't that tired, and I actually enjoyed running, which hasn't happened in years. I had no muscle fatigue in my legs, any fatigue was in the lungs, and I'm not sure if this was due to lack of conditioning (I don't think so) or the cold air. Part of my enjoyment though had to be the scenery. The idea of running flat terrain, mile after mile, on a treadmill, or around the track bores me to death, but the variety of the hills, and the scenery, and just the piece of mind and serenity that I zoned into was actually relaxing and calming.

My training for the past few months had to be everything with my ability to run for the length of time I ran this week.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

How do you get strong?

This past weekend I was teaching a kettlebell workshop in a club that had more amenities than my own home. During a break I was speaking with a trainer, who asked me what kind of facility I worked in. I briefly explained that ours was studio space that consisted of mostly kettlebells, dumbbells, medicine balls, lots of rings and pull up bars, and few odd tools that make training a little fun and different. We don't have any machines.

He looked at me in utter confusion. The first thing he said was, "How do people get strong if you don't have cable machines?"

I paused for a second to make sure his question was was. I couldn't believe it, or could I? Here I was in one of the most beautiful and fully equipped gyms in the world and I was being asked how people get strong without machines.

I first want to clarify that I am not totally against all cable machines, but I certainly don't think they are the answer to everything, and I most certainly do not believe in their ability to make one the strongest they have ever been. So my reply, was, "Our philosophy is that the body moves through everyday movements as a whole so we train it that way. Rarely do we perform isolation movements, and we can create/encourage/motivate strong and conditioned bodies within all of our training programs."

Still I got a look of disbelief. Then, remembering the equipment that I just listed, he asked, "Well what do you for cardio if you don't have treadmills?"

Again, I had to pause to make sure he was serious, and he was. Again, I almost couldn't believe it. I mean I was there teaching him how to use kettlebells. We'd been "hands on" for an entire day, and were two hours in to the second.

So I again discussed the benefits of kettlebell training, I talked about using intervals instead of 60 minute treadmill sessions. I talked about the inadequacy of the recombent bike and the elliptical. I invited him to workout with me, he declined, and still looked at me in disbelief. All the while, I had demonstrated just about every single kettlebell lift with the 24kg bell.

I guess you can't break them all. I'm the strongest, most well rounded athlete/person I've ever been, through years of competitive swimming, soccor, track, and now jiu-jitsu. I left the converstation a little disappointed, and even when he walked past me after 15 mintues into my workout he still didn't believe.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Playing Around with 28kg

It's been a light training week due to circumstances beyond my control, so I thought I'd play around a bit. Didn't get it on film, but pulled off a Turkish Get Up with the 28kg too.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Working Through It

No, it's not an unassisted muscle up, it's assisted, but a good photo for using the self-timer.

Training by yourself can allow you to go into a zone that is unable to be interrupted. Training by yourself can also be boring, when you only have you to push you. Little words whisper in the back of your mind the things you should be doing, the motivational words you've heard over and over again, or the extra push from those you've trained with. Then there are other sets of little words that tell you to quit when it's hard and tell you to stop when something doesn't go right. It really takes determination and a strong desire to override the ill words, despite any sufferring you think you're going through.

It's like the red devil on one shoulder and the white angel on the other. Who do you listen to, who do you let take control over your training?

I try to use them both. I listen to the motivation, I hear the faint words that at some point pushed me to finish. I also hear the words to give up or to quit, but I use those words to push me harder, I use those words to get to the end, and to never give up. Even on bad training days I use those words to come back to it tomorrow.

"Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be." - George Sheehan

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Finally Back To Training

For the past 6-8 weeks I've only been spending about 2-3 hours a week working drills on the mat, and hardly no time training. Which, I must say is not enough, it's not enough to learn, it's not enough to practice, and it's not enough to get better. Despite having a mostly shitty weekend, I dragged myself to open mat today. I'm really glad I did. I spent about an hour training off and on, mostly on, and atleast I don't feel like I lost too much. I was a little tired, but I'm chalking that up to the weekend. I also noticed how two of my training partners have gotten significantly better as well.

John, who got promoted when I did, has dramatically changed his training. He probably weighs 20lbs less than me, but feels like he's 20lbs more. He doesn't freak out ever, just goes through the motion knowing what he's hunting. Dov comes from a wrestling background and I used to be afraid of training with him because of his crazy ass stunts that carried over from wrestling but today he was very calm and almost methodic. (Except for the time he smashed my head on the mat, ha!)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Assisted Muscle Up Variations

I'm debating which of these two assisted muscle up variations has the most benefit to actually doing a muscle up. I've noticed that while jumping into a muscle up I find myself much lower in the bottom of the dip when compared to the box assisted muscle ups.

The box assisted muscle up forces you to use pulling strength while minimally relying on the legs, teaching the movement to your muscles. The dip is still effective. It seems to be easier to control how tight the rings stay to the body in this version as well.

The jumping muscle up seems to have a stronger benefit in getting through the transitition faster and teaching you to almost dive over the rings and get away from just pulling yourself up as you would in a pull up. The dip is very effective. It seems to be a little harder to control the rings and keeping them tight in this version.

I do question the validity of being able to perform 15 dips and 15 pull ups prior to being able to do a muscle up.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


I just re-read my training goals from five months ago. I still have the same goals on my mind, but I forgot about one key component, the timeline. I know that everything I want to just that...doable, but I never gave myself a time frame for completing those goals, so I never had an urgency to accomplish them.

So before a whole five more months go by without marking off a single goal on my list, I'll be setting the time frame.

Referring back to the list from early September...
Single arm press 32kg... I have 22kg right now.
KB Snatch 24kg for 40/40 reps... I have 22/22 right now.
Ring Muscle Up... I have assisted ones now.
24kg Weighted Pull Up... I have 10kgs now.
40kg KB Snatch... I have 36kgs now.

I don't want to focus on just one goal at a time because then I will neglect other movements and other important aspects of my training. I don't want to set an arbitrary date because it isn't practical.

I'll train the heavy snatch, the press, and the weighted pull up with ladders. I'll train the muscle up through repitition of the movement. I'll train the 40/40 reps with descending ladders and adding reps weakly.

So, I still need the timeline.

Single arm press 32kg... by the end of May.

KB Snatch 24kg for 40/40 reps... by the end of March.

Ring Muscle Up... by the end of March.

24kg Weighted Pull Up... by the end of April.

40kg KB Snatch... by the end of April.

Keep me honest.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

What's The Point?

"You're crazy!"

-Maybe I am

"Why would you do that?"

-Because I can

"What's the point?"

-Because it's who I am

The top exclamation and the top two questions responded to in less than 12 words. Pretty damn simple.

"Technique is what you fall back on when you run out of inspiration." -Rudolf Nureyev

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Overhead Squats

The most weight I have ever had on the bar for overhead squats was 95lbs, I got 3 reps. It was ridiculously painful at the time. Right now I'm comfortable with 88lbs and about 5-6 reps. It still isn't easy, but if it was everyone would be doing it.

I'm re-writing my training program a little bit, since I have the tendancy to jump around on what I want to work on. Too many goals and so little time. Time to prioritize. Not exactly sure how I'm going to do it yet, but I know kettlebell training will go back in the mix at least three times a week, barbell work once maybe twice a week, BJJ back to three times a week with actual training one of those days, and finally bodyweight work mixed in on most if not all of the days.

It'll be a tricky little mix to work on strength, keep up with my conditioning, and work on my skill set both on and off the mat, without overtraining. Nutrition and rest are key. Lots to think about, but I'll have it together by Monday.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Never Turn Your Back

On your opponent or yourself. Three things happened to today.

One, I had a good, hard workout this morning, and as much as I hated it I wouldn't let myself quit. (Angie from 39:35 as rx'd)

Two, I went back to training BJJ after 5-6 weeks of not training. We worked on a drill that wouldn't let us take our eyes off of our opponent.

Third, I read an article in the Performance Menu titled, Mind Freak, and I couldn't agree with it more.

So what's the big deal? It should sound like a typical day in the neighborhood for me.

All three things happened in the order listed. Prior to my workout I was curious as to how many sets up of pull ups I would break my 100 reps into. I never once had any doubt about doing the 100 pull ups, I just wondered how'd I get there.

During jiu-jitsu I was told to not take my eyes off my opponent, never give up your back, always be able to see your opponent.

So far both have me staring my opponent in the face, whether it's the 100 pull ups or a real live person. I wasn't going anywhere.

I literally just read the article in the Performance Menu. The entire time I thought about my training. I thought about the lifts I struggled with or never got. I thought about the movements I couldn't pick up or the ones that seemed damn near impossible. I thought about some of the distractions I've encountered during tournaments.

I thought about how all those things weren't going to be an issue any more.

Even though I coach it myself every single day, to visualize the movement, to visualize the lift, the jump, everything, I have needed to be reminded of that simple task just recently. If there is any doubt, if you cloud your mind with other thoughts, if you don't keep your eyes on your opponent, you will have trouble succeeding.

Although I know all the things I'm writing, the three events of today have become a circular pattern and constant reminder, that I am only as good as I make myself.