Sunday, 22 April 2018

CSW Training Trip



I just got back from the annual CSW Coaches Conference hosted by MMA coaching legend Erik Paulson at his gym in California. It was a great experience and I learnt so much from  so many high level Martial Artists.

The first day we got there we trained in the regular evening classes which consisted of one session of Nogi Catch-wrestling/ CSW, followed by an hour of GI BJJ and then another hour and a half of MMA training afterwards.

Thursday was the first day of the CSW coaches conference and the event kicked off with a seminar from Coach Rigan Machado. This was probably one of the busiest seminars I've ever attended including around twenty BJJ black belts on the mat. This seminar focused on a lot of interesting submission set ups from side control and north south position.

The afternoon seminar was taught by Coach Rick Young. I'd always wanted to train with since reading his Articles and interviews in martial arts magazines back in the early 90's. This seminar focused on Judo Newaza style submission attacks from Turtle position including several armlock entries and the Judo Sangaku Jime Turtle Triangle attack. There was some really great details and instruction on this position and lots of pointers that will make a huge difference to my training.

That evening we also took part in the CSW Nogi grappling classes and the BJJ Gi classes.

Fridays sessions were taught by Coaches Erik Paulson and Greg Nelson. These guys are in my opinion the two best and most knowledgeable MMA coaches in the world and have between them trained many of the most successful fighters in the history of the sport. It was great to be able to learn directly from them about all the details of their system and training methods. One of the things that impressed me most was that even though they are two of the leading experts in the sport they were constantly on the the mat learning from all the other coaches and instructors while taking notes and asking questions.

On Saturday we got in early to take part in the Boxing class which was taught by coach Freddie Jin. This was a very interesting and technical session which covered a lot of the intricacies of the close range Mexican style power punching. After that was the Muay Thai / MMA Striking seminar taught by Coach Greg Nelson and Coach Ben Jones. Ben is the coach of the CSW Pro Fight Team and has been a great source of advice for me in the past with regards to training fighters and creating the right kind of culture for a fight team. This session was a great blend of the traditional Muay Thai style of striking with the cutting edge MMA style.

The afternoon seminar was taught by Savate Instructor Nicolas Saignac and covered lots of great footwork and movement drills. Coach Erik Paulson has always been a big exponent of blending the various striking styles of Muay Thai, Boxing and Savate into his own unique blend known as STX kickboxing. The last session on Saturday was another GI Jiu-jitsu session where all the visiting black belts taught one technique to the group. This was a great opportunity to learn from so many different instructors and I showed everyone my variation of the Back Control Straight Jacket position. 

Sunday was the last official day of the training camp and was kicked off with a very interesting session with old school Jeet Kune Do instructor Sifu Tim Tackett. Coach Erik Paulson and the entire CSW organisation have a strong connection to JKD with Erik being an original student of Guro Dan Inosanto so it was great get this exposure to some authentic JKD which has been so influential in the development of modern day MMA.

Sunday afternoon was a wrestling session focusing on takedown set ups and combinations taught by Coach Fergus Mc Taggart.  This session covered lots of great details on the double leg takedown and lateral drop takedowns and we got a really good insight into the coaching and teaching methods used to produce top level wrestlers. Then we finished off Sunday afternoon with some more Catch wrestling submission techniques taught by Coach Erik which flowed on from the takedowns.

Monday was my last day in California but we still made it into the Gym on Monday morning where my training partner Phil took part in the Pro Fight Team Training run by Coach Ben while I helped out play the role of Uke for Coach Erik in a photo shoot and technique demo for JiuJitsu Magazine.

It was a very busy five days but I learned so much in terms of techniques, training methods and experience that I will be able to implement with my team and students over the next twelve months. 


Tuesday, 13 February 2018

BJJ Sparring




The Purpose of Sparring and Rolling



The purpose of BJJ Sparring is to safely try out your techniques against resistance. This is not the same as fighting and I’ve found that people who are overly competitive in sparring usually make very limited progress in their training. Sparring rounds need to provide realistic resistance without being too competitive. One factor which makes BJJ so effective is that students can spar relatively safely and can try out the techniques in a realistic manner not long after learning them. This gives the student feedback about whether they were practicing the techniques correctly,


Safety


As with any activity related to training, there's no point in doing it if it can't be done safely. All techniques need to be executed in a controlled manner. As a student you should use only techniques that you know and understand. Also, focus on techniques that your partner also knows and understands. Don't try to catch your training partners with ’Trick’ moves that they haven’t seen before and which haven’t been taught in class. Training partners may not recognise the danger and might not tap or may react unpredictably.


Safety Rules



Apply all joint locks in a slow and controlled manner rather than jerking them on quickly. Make sure you give your training partner enough time to tap out even if that means they might have time to escape the submission attempt.

For all choke techniques make sure that pressure is actually being applied in an even manner to the neck rather than just cranking on the neck or jaw.

Move in a controlled manner rather than jumping around or swinging your hands, elbows, knees, feet and head into your training partners.

If you are heavier than your training partner avoid driving your weight into your partner or using your strength or weight advantage to muscle your way in or out of positions.


Avoid sparring in an overly competitive or intense manner


Make sure both your training partner and yourself understand the techniques which will be allowed



How to Start the Round


Its important to avoid wasting time in your training. One of the biggest wastes of time in BJJ training is to spend too long wrestling from your knees in an unrealistic situation. There are two options to get around this, first both partners can start off from standing position (however this is usually not suitable for injury prone beginners), The second option is to just start on the ground in a more realistic position, for example, one partner on bottom closed guard or open guard and then go live from there.


Have a Purpose


Have a few techniques and strategies in mind to work on during the round. For example, this could be one submission or sweep from guard or certain type of guard pass. I’ve found that its usually counter productive to tell your partner what you intend to work on as they will often feel obliged to let you do your technique which defeats the purpose or even worse they may try to block your attempts completely. It's also a good idea to have a few options for what you want to work on just in case you can't get to the position you need to get to to work on your chosen techniques.



Sunday, 4 February 2018

Guest Coaches Seminars

We have two exciting seminars coming up at our gym over the next couple of weeks.


Hiroyuki Abe


We will be hosting Japanese MMA and Grappling Legend Hiroyuki Abe on Saturday 17th February at 11am. Hiroyuki Abe is a one of the top MMA and Grappling Coaches in Japan and has fought extensively in the Shooto organisation (the longest running MMA promotion in the world). He is also a Black belt in BJJ, Judo and Karate and has an extensive background in Wrestling. We previously hosted Abe for a seminar back in 2012 which was very successful and looking forward to picking up some more great techniques and knowledge from him this time.



Carlson Gracie Junior


On Friday 2nd March from 6pm until 8pm we have another seminar with Professor Carlson Gracie Jr. I trained at Carlson Gracie BJJ London from 2001 until moving to Australia in 2007 and was awarded with my Black Belt by Carlson Jr back in 2012 while I was back visiting my old club. I have hosted Carlson Jr for seminars at my gym several times over the past years during his visits to Australia and they also come highly recommended by my students and all attendees.




Hiroyuki Abe seminar is $50 for Team Nemesis / ACSA Members and $60 for Non Members and can be paid on the day. Carlson Gracie Jr Seminar is $70 per person and can be paid via this link:

https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/carlson-gracie-jr-seminar-tickets-42375393944

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Beginners BJJ Classes



In my previous article I discussed how I run my Intermediate BJJ Classes


This time I'm going to cover how we run our beginner BJJ Program.

For Beginners Classes I follow an eight week program covering a different topic each week. I try to give the beginner students a good introduction to the most important positions and situations and then they can go into much more detail on each position when they graduate to the intermediate classes.

My Eight week program consists of:

Week 1 - Mount Position
Week 2 - Back Control
Week 3 - Side Control
Week 4 - Closed Guard Submissions
Week 5 - Closed Guard Sweeps
Week 6 - Open Guard
Week 7 - Guard Passing
Week 8 - Escapes from Positions and Submissions

Warm Up


Warm Ups for beginners classes consist of a light jog, joint rotations and then some basic JiuJitsu related movements such as hip escapes. Intense warm ups which are usually not a good idea in these sessions as beginners will be too exhausted to focus on learning techniques properly.

Standing Techniques


Each Class starts off with drilling one basic standing technique such as an escape from a grips, basic throws and takedowns. I always make these techniques relevant for self defence situations as this is the primary reason that most students are learning martial arts. An example of a technique in this section of the class might be to clinch against opponent throwing punches, get body-lock takedown, secure mount position.

I will break each technique down into five steps and give a 'Cue' word for each step. I find that any more than five steps tends to be too much to remember for  new students. If necessary I will give each student additional information or technical feedback about the technique as I'm walking around the class.

Ground Techniques


Next we move on to techniques based around whatever theme we are covering this week. I stick to just the highest percentage techniques from each position to expose the students to what I feel are the most important movements. These are the moves that I feel they need to learn and understand first before moving onto more complicated techniques. For example in Mount week I teach the students how to maintain Mount position and how to counter the most common escapes then we will work on Americana from Mount, Arm-lock from Mount, Cross Collar Choke from Mount and Transitioning from Mount to Back Control. 

Where possible I will stay away from Techniques which are too Sports BJJ specific and stick to fundamentals which work with or without the Gi and whether or not the opponent is trying to punch you. There will be plenty of time in the Students training career to practice Sports specific techniques but I feel its important to get the basics right first.


Positional Sparring


In some Beginners Classes I will also include positional sparring. This helps beginners get an idea of what the techniques should feel like against resistance in a safer environment. I don't believe its a good idea to let beginners Spar right from the beginning. Beginner students will not to be able to apply any actual Jiujitsu techniques and will instead just spend five minutes trying to headlock each other. There is also a higher risk of injury and it will probably be off-putting for the majority of new students. 


Fight Simulation Drill


At the end of the class we try to link all the techniques learnt that day into a Fight Simulation Drill. This is a good way to revise the techniques and also linking techniques together based on a specific response from the opponent. An example of this could be:
  • Close distance and Clinch against Partner Throwing Punches
  • Get Body-Lock Takedown to Mount Position 
  • Maintain Mount for ten seconds as Partner tries to escape with 50% resistance
  • Execute Americana or Arm-Lock Submission based on Arm Position of your Partner
  • Get up and Switch Roles
I have found that drills such as this are a great way to bridge the gap between learning techniques and then applying the techniques in sparring.





Wednesday, 24 January 2018

My BJJ Class Format


Heres a brief description of how I run my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Classes. Since I began teaching full time eight years ago I've been experimenting with various methods of running classes and tweaking the formats to see what works best. 

I have trained at a lot of different BJJ academies across the world and I have tried to implement the best ideas I've come across when running my own classes.

This is the format for my Intermediate classes which are an hour and half, I will cover my Beginners program in another article.

Weekly Schedule


One of the first things I did when I started teaching was to create a weekly schedule focusing on a different theme every week. I think this is much more efficient than just having an instructor turn up and teach whatever ever he feels like that day as it ensures all the important areas of BJJ are covered.
I've changed around my weekly schedule many times since I began Teaching but my current system is as follows.

Week 1 - Guard Passing 1 - Passing Closed Guard and Half Guard

Week 2 - Guard Passing 2 - Passing Open Guards

Week 3 - Closed Guard 1 - Revision of Submissions, Sweeps & Transitions from Closed Guard

Week 4 - Closed Guard 2 - Using Combinations of Submissions, Sweeps and Transitions

Week 5 - Half Guard Bottom - Submissions, Sweeps & Transitions from Bottom Half Guard.

Week 6 - Open Guard 1 - Focusing on Basic Open Guard, Butterfly Guard & Sitting Guard

Week 7 - Open Guard 2 - More Advanced Open Guards such as De La Riva & X Guard

Week 8 - Top Control Positions - Side Control, Kesa Gatame, Knee on Belly 

Week 9 - Mount - Control, Submissions & Transitions from Mount Position

Week 10 - Back Control - Taking the Back from various positions & Submissions from Back Control

Week 11 - Turtle Position - Submissions, Turnovers and Transitions from Turtle & Front Headlock

Week 12 - Leg-locks - Entries, Setups, Controls and finishes for Leg-lock Submissions

Week 13 - Escapes 1 - Positional Escapes

Week 14 - Escapes 2 - Escapes from Submissions


Class Format


My Intermediate classes follow the following format:


  • Warm-Up
  • Takedown Technique
  • Ground Techniques
  • Specific/Positional Sparring
  • Free Sparring


Warm Up


I've experimented with a few different options for Warm Ups over the last couple of years from high intensity cardio warm up to completely skipping the Warm up altogether and just getting straight into drilling techniques. At the minute we are doing some functional warm up exercises and a sequence of BJJ specific movements such as Technical Stand ups, Oma Plata Stretch and Sit outs. I have found these work really well as they get the students warm but also get them doing moving the right way which transfers well into the skills training.


Take-down Technique


I teach one takedown technique at the beginning of every class. We work Judo throws on the Gi training nights and Wrestling Take-downs on NoGi nights. I feel its important that all students have at least some basic level of Takedown ability in order to progress in BJJ. Although BJJ is primarily a Ground-Fighting art, its very important to learn how to take an opponent to ground in order to use your techniques.


Ground Techniques


Next we move on Techniques on the ground based on the theme we are covering that week. I encourage my students to drill as many reps as possible and try to make each rep as perfect as possible. I've seen many differing opinions on the value or effectiveness of drilling techniques throughout the last 25 years that I've been training in martial arts. Some people believe that drilling techniques is a waste of time and that students should just roll. Although I think this method may work for the exceptionally talented athlete I've found that the average student paying to learn JiuJitsu just will not make much improvement unless they put in the time drilling the techniques over and over to build muscle memory. 


Specific/Positional Sparring


This is where we take the techniques that we've drilled and try to apply them against resistance. I use a wide variety specific sparring drills that I use in this portion of the class. I have different Drills that I use depending on what we are working on that week. For example, during Side Control week we might just spar with one person starting on top in side control and also building up the objectives for each round. Round One might be Top person just pinning / holding while the bottom player tries to recover guard. Round Two we might move on to Top Player also trying to get to Mount or Back Control.

Heres another article with more detail on the benefits of Positional or Isolation Sparring Drills:

http://deniskellymmacoaching.blogspot.com.au/2015/07/isolation-sparring.html


Free Sparring


In the last section of the class we put it altogether in Free Sparring. We usually do 5 x 5 Minute rounds with 30 second rest between rounds. We encourage everyone to do every round of sparring unless there is uneven numbers in the class. If a student feels that their cardio isn't good enough to roll every round I'll just tell them to roll at a pace they can sustain for the rest of the class rather than going crazy for one round then having to sit out for the next 25 minutes. We also have a zero tolerance policy for dangerous sparring in class. All techniques must be performed in a safe and controlled partner. If you hurt your training partner and he cant roll the next round that means you have to sit out the next rounds too.

As previously mentioned I am continually tweaking and adjusting my class formats and adding new techniques and drills based on what I learn in my own training but I've found that I've seen really good results with my students using this format.

Check out this article about the Gym Culture we have tried to create at our Team

My Gym Culture



Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Boxing Pad-Work



Working on some Boxing and Muay Thai Combinations with one of my Students at Team Nemesis MMA.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Being a Pro Fighter

There are several definitions. I have fought under professional MMA rules with punches & elbows on the floor, 5 minute rounds, getting paid in some way to compete. I wouldn't say though that I've ever been a professional MMA fighter. Throughout my fight career I've always had another job to support myself, fighting was just an ambition, a hobby & something I had to pursue on my own time.

Professionalism is rare in the world of fighting sports. Pretty much anyone can be a professional fighter, as long as they agree to fight a certain person on a certain date under specified rules. After that they will forever be considered as a professional fighter, this is in spite of the fact that we can clearly see from their performances & attitude that they’re preparation hasn't been professional.

Unfortunately for us, fighting sports are something that literally anyone can do & can become a professional at. People will turn up (& pay) to watch literally anyone having a punch up. The same cannot be said for other sports, for example no one will turn up to watch two untrained people having a tennis match or playing golf.

The lack of professionalism in fighting sports both from competitors and coaching staff is something that would not be tolerated in other professional sports.

This is from a typical daily schedule from a professional Rugby team

Monday

9:00 am
Skill work for the Backs followed by a strength training session

10:00 am
Skill work for the Forwards followed by a strength training session

11:00 am
Team video study, includes notational and statistical analysis

12:00 pm
Coaches meeting
Player Massage appointments

2:30 pm
Team Defence and aerobic conditioning.

As you can see the schedule is organised and everyone knows where they have to be and what they have to do at a certain time. In professional sports teams players are fined if they miss training sessions. If they are injured they still attend training to do rehab exercises & still work on other skills which will not interfere with their recovery from the injury

To me this kind of organisation is the real meaning of professionalism & it’s something I haven’t seen in the world of fighting sports anywhere in the world, bearing in mind that I’ve trained in Brazil, Japan, USA, Australia & all over Europe. Fight sports in general are the opposite of professional.

I understand that not everyone can commit the time required of a professional athlete but I think this is the standard that we need to aim for in terms of professionalism & organisation. Don’t be happy to just do what everyone else is doing & kidding ourselves that we are professionals when in reality we are treating the sport like a hobby.

If you truly want to be a professional the first step is to act like a professional.

Check out my Article on How many Hours a week you should be training to be successful as a fighter here:

http://deniskellymmacoaching.blogspot.com.au/2016/04/how-many-hours-week-should-you-be.html

Busy BJJ Classes to Kick off 2018



BJJ Beginners and Intermediate Classes at Team Nemesis MMA. Focusing on Takedowns to Mount Control and ArmLock from modified Mount for Beginners and some Oma Plata options and variations with the Advanced students.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Becoming a Coach




My Fight Career


During my fight career I had 16 Professional and 25 Amateur MMA Matches. I had mixed results but I learned a lot from the experience.
Throughout this time I never had an MMA coach. I trained mostly at a BJJ club and did additional training at wrestling classes and Muay Thai and boxing gyms. I paid gym membership or casual class rates at each place I trained because I realised that the coaches were passing knowledge onto me that they'd spent many years acquiring.

I booked all of my own fights which generally meant phoning or emailing promoters and offering to fight on their next show. I only received payment for probably 5 of my 16 pro fights.
Promoters would offer to pay for a train ticket for me and one of my training partners to come along to corner me. We'd set off on a long train journey from London to some remote location, weigh in, warm up, I'd fight then head back on the train so I could be at work on Monday morning.

Check out my Fight Highlight Reel here: 

My Fight Highlight Reel


Having a Coach


Over the years I've come to realise how important having proper coaching is. I've seen lots of fighters who's results and fight records would be much different if they had different coaches.
Coaches can decide for the fighter which fights to accept and which to decline at each point in his career, the coach can organise the training of the fighter, telling him what to do and when to do it (but he can't do the training for him). Coaches can make tactical and strategic decisions about how to fight and what techniques should be used against an upcoming opponent.


Real Coaching


I believe there's more to coaching than just showing techniques. Teaching techniques is important and unless an instructor can break down and explain the techniques properly the student won't be able to learn and perform them. The instructor must also be able to explain the 'whys' of each technique so the student has a clear understanding of when to apply it.
These days however there is so much access to techniques via instructional videos and online subscription sites that anyone can learn anything. So what is the point of having an instructor or teacher?


Guiding the Students


For me the most important element of coaching isn't the actual techniques. It comes down to guiding and managing the progress of the individual student. The Coach must understand what is best to teach (or not teach) the student at any given point in time. The Coach must know what advice to give the Student and what changes they need to make to maximise their learning and improvement.
This is not something which can be picked up from an online video. Showing someone how to do a new tricky way of setting up an armlock and then having them successfully do it in live sparring is relatively easy.  Guiding a complete beginner from having no knowledge to winning fights and tournaments is much more difficult. Unfortunately I find that many people coming to the martial arts have this quick fix short term mentality and they will also find a coach out there to offer them the quick fix they think they need.
Over the years I've gained a lot of knowledge and experience about how to be successful in combat sports but I'm still learning more and more every week. I've been training for almost 25 years, have competed in many combat sports, gone on training trips all over the world, attended many seminars, private lessons and lots of research, planning and note taking.
I believe that one of the best skills that I have developed is knowing how to best guide and develop the training career of my students. I've trained all over the world and learned from many different instructors. I think I've learned just as much about how not to teach as I have learned about teaching.






Monday, 16 October 2017

Gym Culture


I've trained at lots of gyms all around the world. I've trained all over Europe, in the USA, Brazil, Japan and Thailand  I have tried to pick up all the best elements of each place i've trained while avoiding the things I felt didn't work.

My dream was to create a gym with high level training in striking, grappling and MMA. I'd been to many places that had excellent BJJ but non existent or very limited striking, or MMA gyms which had fighters but no real technical BJJ or Striking training.
The things that I've tried to do which I believe will lead us to being one of the best teams in the world include the following.


Train Smart


Smart Training methods - Not just everyone smashing each other in every session. Using progressive resistance and trying to learn and improve with each round of sparring or rolling rather than treating every round like a fight.

Fundamentals


Focus on important fundamental techniques - We work on high percentage techniques 99% of the time. If you get those working well then its easy to add the rubber guards, berimbolos and flying heel hooks to your game. If you start with the fancy flavour of the month techniques you'll never get them to work.


Keep Getting Better


Focus on continual improvement - working on getting better every session, improving your game by 1% every day and after a year you'll be 365% better. This is a long slow process but you get better results than just training hard for 4 weeks leading up to a fight and then slacking off.


Team Culture


We have a culture of more experienced members helping the new guys and turning them into better training partners - This benefits everyone, New people get better quicker and experienced people have more quality training partners. The opposite to this is gyms where the people who've been training for 6 months consider themselves too good to waste their time on the new people.


The Right Atmosphere


We have a friendly atmosphere - Theres no need to convince people that you're a tough guy if you actually have the fights, wins and belts to prove it. Toughness is how you train and fight not how you act.
We still maintain the atmosphere of a martial arts academy. Everyone lines up, follows the rules, shows respect to their training partners, keeps the place clean and hygienic.

Respect 


We don't disrespect other gyms or teams. I think if you spend all your time talking about how bad other gyms or teams are it shows insecurity, we focus on making ourselves and our students the best that they can be in every session rather than worrying about what others are doing.

Check out this Documentary about our Team and our BJJ Program:

http://deniskellymmacoaching.blogspot.com.au/2016/09/team-nemesis-documentary.html



Monday, 9 October 2017

Becoming a Fighter

Long Term Athlete Development in Combat Sports





Since the beginning of our fight team we have consistently followed a long-term development program for our fighters. The Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) Program is commonly found in elite level sports but is often ignored in the world of Fight Sports.


Stages in Fighter Development


The first stage in our system is to make sure the students have a solid foundation in the fundamental skills before progressing onto sparring in the gym. If they train consistently they can then progress to local inter-club/novice sparring events. After that they can move on to amateur fights and then finally onto Professional fights. 


Why do we follow this structure? 


We want to produce world-class competitors not just fighters who can win at local level events. Some coaches don't believe its necessary to follow a long term system like this. They believe their fighters are already good enough to go straight to Professional fights. In my opinion taking short-cuts in this area may seem like a good idea in the short term but can seriously damage the long term prospects and growth of a fighter.

Learning about your fighters


One of the reasons we follow this Fighter Development Program is because we learn just as much from the novice level events as the fighters do. Coaches can learn the strengths and weaknesses of their fighter, how they perform under pressure, how they respond to coaching and instructions during the fight and what areas they need to work on and improve upon as a team before the next event.

Improving your coaching


Becoming an effective coach takes constant learning, practice and evolution. Novice fights are a great opportunity for the coach learn how to best warm up the fighters, what instructions to give before and during the fight, how to adjust strategy during the fight and learning about how the fighter copes with and responds to the stress and pressure of competition.

Development of the Fighter


Becoming a great fighter is a long process. Novice fighters need to make mistakes and learn from them. They need to try new things in an arena where there is less risk if it goes wrong. Mistakes in Novice fights are no big deal. They are actually beneficial because they highlight areas of you game that will need improvement before you step up to professional fighting.


The Cost of Making Mistakes


If you make those same mistakes in professional fights there is usually an additional risk of serious injury as you will be up against much better opponents. There's also a risk to your career as a professional fighter of losing your fight contract, losing your motivation and confidence and ultimately derailing your career before its even started.

Taking time to develop as a fighter


Novices are not ready to jump into Professional fights straightaway. Not everyone is cut out to be a fighter. Novices need the opportunity to figure out if the sport is actually for them. They need to gradually experience the fear, stress and adrenaline dump in a safer environment. The fighter can then begin to figure out how to deal with the pressure of competing, managing the stress, fatigue and fear and learn to not let these factors affect his performance in the fight.

Better for the sport


I believe it's detrimental to combat sports to have first timers fighting on professional events. The public shouldn't have to pay to watch fighters who haven't yet mastered the basics skills of the sport. Seeing first timers with no amateur experience fighting on professional fight shows makes fighting sports look amateurish. Fighters should have a minimum of 10 matches away from the public eye before stepping into the ring in front of paying spectators. 

No shortcuts


I believe taking short-cuts may seem like a good idea to some young up and coming fighters who want to make a name for themselves but will ultimately cost them a lot in terms of their long term development and future prospects in the sport.

Here's another Article I wrote on how to Prepare for your first MMA Fight:

http://deniskellymmacoaching.blogspot.com.au/2012/01/getting-ready-for-your-first-mma-fight.html



'I've found that taking shortcuts will get you to the place you don't want to be much quicker than they get you to the place you want to be.'
Lennox Lewis

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Tough on your Team.




Popularity Versus Performance


One of the great lessons we learned from sports coaching expert Wayne Goldsmith earlier this year was that 'popularity is the enemy of performance'. 

Popularity is easy; performance requires honesty. If you want your teammates to perform at their best you need to be honest with them even if this will make you less popular. You need to be tougher on your team than their opponents will be.

This does'nt mean trying to knock them out or cranking on arm locks in every sparring session. That would actually be counterproductive, it will not allow them to improve and may lead to injuries, which could derail their progress. 

Being Honest with your Team-Mates


If you care about your teammate’s progress and success then you need to be honest with them about their training. If your training partner is on a losing streak and you don’t want to see them get knocked out in their next fight you need to be honest with them and tell them that training two hours a week then going for a run on Saturday isn’t going to get the job done.

Wayne’s point was that most people would not be honest. They don't want to offend their training partner so instead they just say ‘good job bro’, give them a high five and tell them we'll get them next time. 


The Reality 


The reality is that your next opponent doesn't care whether you are a nice person and doesn't worry about offending you. He is going to be brutally honest with you over the course of three five-minute rounds and will highlight the areas of your training where you took shortcuts

Popularity is easy; Performance requires honesty. The more you care about each other the harder you will be on each other.

Tough Coaching


The same is also true when it comes to coaching. Most fighters early in their career are open to advice and constructive criticism. They want to be told where they are going wrong and what they need to improve on. They realise that there will be a huge price to pay if they don't fix up the holes in their game. The job of the coach is to identify these holes and fix them before they can be exploited by a future opponent.


Coaches Versus 'Yes-Men'


If the fighter follows the advice of the coach he will usually experience initial success early on in his career. But this is when something interesting starts to happen. Often the fighters early success will cause him to develop an overblown ego, he decides he no longer needs to be told what he's doing wrong and instead surrounds himself with people who will constantly feed his ego by telling him what he's doing right and how great he is.

This is always a recipe for disaster. The new 'coach' will either not be knowledgeable and experienced enough to highlight the mistakes of the fighter or will just refuse to criticise him for fear of losing his meal ticket. Either way, it will lead to fighter going on a downward spiral of worse and worse results.


“A coach is someone who tells you what you don't want to hear, who has you see what you don't want to see, so you can be who you have always known you could be.”

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