Sunday, January 22, 2012

It's Sunday evening January 22nd, 2012 and I'm sitting on my couch watching the 49er's play the Giants in the NFC Championship game.  I am winding down my training camp that I've been so dedicated to for the past 7 weeks.  Today was my last 'hard' day, and the rest of the week is all downhill.  The hard work is over and it's near time to go reap my reward. 

I have been involved in MMA for over 4 years now and I've been fighting professionally for about 3 1/2.  I have always been a hard worker.  That being said, I took it to another level with this training camp.  I can confidently say that I have put absolutely everything I have into this camp and into my preparation for this fight.  From waking up at 6:20 am most of the week for early training sessions to taking my necessary ice baths after our grueling Sunday 'fun' runs and taking beatings with 'the stick' twice a week. 'see below'

That alone will not make you a fighter, or even a better fighter.  I'm not saying sitting in tubs of ice and getting beat with a stick has made me any better of a martial artist.  But what it has done is taken my mind into a place that it needed to be, that it has never been.  At the high levels of MMA we are all talented. We are all great athletes with exceptional skill.  What separates the best from the rest is the ability  to remain mentally strong, especially when you are tired or hurt.  What those two practices have helped me with is accepting that things are not always going to go my way.  I'm going to get beat with a stick, and I'm going to have to sit in a tub full of ice, but I can't just get out or quit when it hurts or is uncomfortable.  I have to go deep inside my brain and rally that pain into something greater, into something that's going to set me apart.  This also works into getting beat up in sparring sessions by Tim Kennedy, and running miles upon miles of an unknown distance of interval sprints in a run.  I have not been allowed to slack, nor would I accept that as even possible.  I've gone the extra mile in everything I've done, every day.

Part of my drive has come not from my accomplishments and triumphs in the sport, but from failure.  I'm on a 2 fight losing streak and it does not sit well with me, at all.  It's unacceptable in my eyes.  I definitely have something to prove and when I get tired or I hurt or don't feel like continuing in training, I dig deep in my mind and find that fire. The fire to prove myself pushes me.  You've gotta have that fire. That will to win.  More importantly you have to put that fire into practice.  You can't just WANT it.  You have to prove you want it by putting in the work.  It's easy to say 'I wanna be the best', but much different to conduct yourself on a day to day basis that says and proves 'I will be the best'.  Live like a Champion! That's what it comes down to.

I've also found inspiration in 2 close friends and training partners.  Daniel Pineda and Andrew Craig, who both signed in the UFC in the last month.  Daniel just fought this past weekend and looked like the killer we all know he is and is now undefeated in the UFC.  Daniel's story is unique because just a couple years ago people had written him off after a 4 fight losing streak.  He never gave up though.  He came  back stronger than ever. He dedicated himself like never before and tore off 6 in a row all over great opponents.  He has gone from overlooked, to rising UFC star.  I find inspiration in him and am very proud of him as a friend.  Proud of both those guys equally.  No one deserves it more than they do, and I am determined in my mind to do everything I possibly can to be right there with them shortly.

It's fight week. A week where my mind changes and my intensity is at all time highs.  This week I'll go to school, do my work and continue to be excellent in all that I do. BUT I will be focused on fighting the whole time.  My weight is on point & I have done everything possible in this camp to earn victory.  Yoshiaki Takahashi has no idea the kind of animal he's about to step into that cage with.  I will be ruthless and I will go for the kill.  With all that being said, I hope you have enjoyed what's going on in my head right now. It's rather one tracked.  I want to leave you with one of my favorite quotes from the great Vince Lombardi.

"The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will."

This week I get my mind right, and Saturday night, I'll be in the winner's circle.

Friday, January 6, 2012

It's Friday night around 11:30 p.m. And instead of out and about like most normal single Men my age, here I am, computer in lap, lying in bed watching none other than MMA fights on HDNet. What else would I be doing?

I'm in the heart of my training camp. Where doing the right things and going that extra mile isn't even an option, it's just second nature. To tell you the truth, I didn't realize it was even Friday. Friday to me is no different than any other day because I'll be up bright and early tomorrow morning with my Coach working on my striking. With only 3 weeks left until showtime, I am in what I like to call 'tunnel vision mode'. Which means no distractions, all Bid'ness!

Sacrifice. That's what it's all about. I wish the normal person could see what I go through on a daily and weekly basis. When I started in MMA I had no idea it was going to take this much time and effort to succeed. I haven't missed a training session in 5 weeks. I haven't taken a day off since Christmas! Which was almost 2 weeks ago. Granted I only do 1 training session a day on Friday, Saturday and Sundays. But they are intense.

One of the biggest sacrifices I have to make is Diet. I LOVE food!! I have to sacrifice just a little more this time around because like most people I got a little EXTRA fat over the holidays. It's all good though, it feels good to eat clean and healthy. Here's an example of my daily diet as of right now with my routine.

630AM-Banana/Nutrigrain Bar
930AM-Protien Shake
4PM-Protein Bar or meal replacement
8-830PM-Protein Shake

Sounds delicious right?? haha I know, I know :) But it fuels my body perfectly. I'm lean, mean, and ready to go. With every week, my energy levels are increasing and my stamina is getting longer and longer. I will be ready to go to battle on January 28th and come out on top. Even with all that dieting I still give myself a little cheat day. I am obsessed with Pho'. For those of you NOT in the know, Pho' is a Vietnamese Noodle soup. I have what I call Pho' Fridays and treat myself to a nice bowl at the end of every week. Today was no different, and I must say.....  It was Delicious!!!

My social life definitely takes a severe downturn when it comes to training camp. I'd say 100% of my time is spent A)In the gym. B)On my laptop, or C)Asleep. When you are a single guy, you have to REALLY want it, because there is no time for playing around. Socially I stay to myself during training camps. The less distraction the better the focus. If you don't go to the gym or the same grocery store as me, chances are we won't cross paths while I'm in training camp. I see the same core of guys on a daily basis, which really draws you closer to one another. There is a common goal in mind and you form bonds by punching each other in the face and pushing each other to give more when you don't think you can. I have a great group of guys pushing me directly led by Elton Wells and Tim Kennedy. Those guys are nothing but class and I am very blessed to have them in my corner.

That being said....  there is one reoccurring thing in fight camp. You are constantly around nothing but GUYS!!!! Seriously. I have only talked to one single girl(in person) in the past week other than my Mother, and that's because she works the front at the gym. Which really sucks because I LOVE girls. But sorry ladies, you just don't get it. Girls LOVE going out, LOVE having fun, LOVE the excitement of the fights and the attention that comes along with it. But they don't understand the sacrifice. They don't understand that you CAN'T go for ice cream, not even a little bit. You can't have even JUST ONE drink. They don't get why on that Friday night you don't want to go out because you've trained 25 hrs already this week and have to wake up early for more tomorrow morning. During training camp I'm 'boring' to them. So therefore I just steer clear, because the less distraction, the better. I know that there are those girls who do get it, and are committed to their Men and what they do, but they are few and far between. And I sure as hell haven't found it yet.

If there is one thing I miss during training camp. It's being around pretty girls that make me smile and smell good. I'm pretty excited for that to happen again. Who knows, maybe one day I'll even be able to incorporate the 2 together. Always the Optimist :)

With all of that being said, I would not change my decisions. I choose to do what I do because I love it. 2012 is starting out on a great note and I have plenty of exciting and fulfilling endeavors coming my way in the near future. I'm starting college in a week and a half. I'm fighting against the Japanese in 3 weeks and WHEN I win, I'm pretty sure I'm going to Japan to fight(check the bucket list), and that's just the beginning. The sky is the limit and as long as I keep my faith and devote myself 100% to what I do in a good cause, I'm positive that life will continue to bless me.