So you wanna be a fighter? A how to guide.

I have had a few emails recently that have led me to understand that the path to becoming a competitive mma fighter, competing out of the Griphouse, is not as clear as it should be. One of the more common questions I get is “I want to be an MMA fighter, what classes do I do?”. We have a large timetable, a lot of different coaches, multiple classes going on at the same time and it can be confusing for those trying to decide how to proceed.

With this blog post I hope to cover the path for the athlete looking to compete in MMA representing the Dinky Ninja Fight Team.

The Prerequisites

  • The time to develop

Learning the fundamentals of numerous complicated combat sports takes a while. The bottom line is that if you are not able to commit 10-12hours a week to developing your MMA game. It is unlikely that you will compete representing the DNFT.

That figure is a minimum, our top athletes and those guys who got good really, really fast usually do a lot more.

  • Work Ethic

The volume of training outlined above is tough on the body. There will be times when you want to miss a session, duck the tough spars or loss concentration during a technique class. It becomes easy to make these single occurrences a habit. Not every training session will blow your mind and by around Friday all of our fighters hate anything that involves them moving.

Becoming a fighter must become a part of your identity. You are making a commitment to the future, scarier, more dangerous version of yourself not to slack off.

  • A genuine love of the Sport.

You will only ever persist in improving in an activity that is difficult if you have a genuine passion for it. Novelty and excitement can get you through the first few weeks and months but you really need to enjoy what you are doing in order to keep going when it gets really tough. Joanne Calderwood was the lightest member of the pro team and  once mentioned how much she loves fighting as it means she “gets to win a round of sparring”. It takes a lot of determination to keep going when you are constantly competing against team mates who are larger, more skilled or more experienced. When you start out you tend to be the nail and ball your sparring partners are hammers.

  • An absence of Ego and a desire to improve.

As mentioned in the paragraph above. When you start out it can seem as if everyone else is moving in fast forward. The stuff you are trying to learn your opponent does instinctively. Your team mates have more experience and it will be a long time before you are taking rounds from them. One way to stay sane and avoid falling into a pit of self pity is to concentrate on winning the small battles. You may not win the round but you can stop that single leg takedown a couple of times or land the cross counter on a decent opponent. Each one of these is an indication that you are improving and reinforces solid technical abilities.

The path of the MMA Athlete at the Griphouse

So if you can handle the above prerequisites here’s how you go about becoming a fighter

  • The Foundation

The back bone of your training should be the two MMA fundamentals classes Tuesday 6pm and Sat 1pm. These classes, coached by Dean Reilly and I (Paul Mcveigh), will introduce you to concepts unique to MMA. These are also the guys who will be putting you forward for bouts so let them know you are interested in competing and they will let you know when you are ready.

As well as these two classes, when you become comfortable sparring, the Friday 7pm MMA sparring class is added to the foundation and is now the single most important class in the week. This is the class where you will develop your own style and adapt techniques to work against resisting training partners in a chaotic environment.

Another hour of Muay Thai sparring will be a useful addition when you are experienced enough Mon 7pm or Thurs 11am.

  • Building on the Foundation

If you are a complete beginner it will be a little while before you are fully sparring so you have another 6-8hrs minimum of training to account for. Those with more experience can guide their training towards weaker areas but in general an equal distribution of wrestling, Muay Thai and Jiu jitsu works well. Our full timetable is available here the fundamental classes are geared to those new to the sports so feel free to round out your training week depending on your schedule.

Training week example (no sparring experience)

Monday

8pm Muay Thai fundamentals

Tuesday

6pm MMA Fundamentals

7pm Wrestling

8pm Muay Thai fundamentals

Wednesday

6pm Jiu jitsu fundamentals

Thursday

6pm Wrestling

8pm Muay Thai fundamentals

Saturday

11am Wrestling

12pm Jiu jitsu fundamentals

1pm Mma fundamentals

Training week example (sparring experience)

Monday

6pm Jiu Jitsu fundamentals

7pm Muay Thai sparring

8pm Jiu jitsu sparring

Tuesday

6pm MMA fundamentals

7pm Wrestling

Wednesday

6pm Muay Thai fundamentals

7pm Jiu jitsu sparring

Thursday

6pm Wrestling

7pm  No gi Jiu Jitsu intermediate

Friday

7pm mma sparring

Saturday

11am wrestling

12pm Jiu Jitsu fundamentals

1pm mma fundamentals

Total 13hours per week.

Before your first bout.

Prior to taking your first amateur mma bout we have a number of recommendations. We strongly believe that competition breeds excellent. Nothing can refine your training like competing in front of crowd. Mistakes are highlighted and strengths are noted. By competing in various formats out with the main sport of mma you can experience the stresses of competition but as it is not your main goal you can concentrate on the performance a little more objectively.

  • Compete in grappling tournaments

Grappling tournaments are great for destroying the ego. If there are 8 guys in your division 7 guys are going to lose at some point that day. Learning how to deal with a lose in a positive manner is a vital component to becoming a successful mixed martial artist. A defeat should drive you to be better and plug the holes in your game. Upon making the transition to mma one of our Muay Thai coaches Sean Wright entered many Jiujitsu comps to refine the grappling aspect of his game.

  • Compete in a novice striking bout

Over the course of an MMA career you will be hit a lot. Being comfortable in uncomfortable situations is vital for the mixed martial artist. By competing in a striking discipline you are helping refine offensive and defensive skills that will serve you well in MMA competition.

  • Get 5-10 inter club bouts

Inter clubs offer burgeoning fighters cage experience but in a relatively controlled environment. Opponents are often team mates and there is a crowd of people watching. However contact is controlled, shin guards are worn, submissions do not end the bout and technical proficiency is emphasised.

This is one step removed from competing and is a valuable tool to ensure the fighter is comfortable competing in the unique mma environment.

  • Be an asset for your team mates.

Probably the most important prerequisite. By the time you are ready to compete you will be an asset to the entire team. You will be able to hold pads and spar with the pro team guys. It may just be you in the fight but you have had an entire team of guys who have got you ready for this experience. You can call upon their knowledge and past experience at every turn.

The vast majority of those getting involved in MMA would be better off financially if they put the same hours into a minimum wage job. Many fighters, even successful ones, can come to the end of their careers with a catalogue of debilitating injuries and very little financial security.

If you are interested in MMA as a means to become rich and famous, things probably won’t go your way. Instead if you have a true passion for the sport and that passion is supported by a strong work ethic and the constant focus on gradual improvement you have got everything you need to be a successful competitor.

The Big Griphouse Nutrition Experiment

At the Griphouse we have a large number of wonderful people who are all interested in health, fitness and the ancient arts of arse kickery. The nutritional side of things is something we haven’t really tackled as a gym. Sure guys have been passing around knowledge and supporting each other but we have never had a large scale Griphouse approved eating plan.

That’s what this experiment is all about. A big pile of us doing a nutritional intervention and seeing what happens.

One of the things I’ve picked up from cutting weight is that accountability makes for serious body composition change. Our fighters routinely lose around 5-10kg in the week leading up to a weigh in. They have a time frame, a date to be a certain weight. If they miss weight you are accountable and your team mates will hold you to it. To that end we have set up this Facebook page, where you can discuss the diet, share results and suggest alternative recipe ideas. Feel free to add yourself here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1555194391370658/

We are interested in fat loss over weight loss though so don’t worry about having to sit in salt baths and saunas for ages. All you need to do is follow the program for a long as you like and reap the rewards.

Program Principles

Eat the same thing everyday

We tend to run into trouble with this question “what do I want to eat?”. By the time we ask it we are usually pretty hungry and cake seems to be the answer. By planning your meals and preparing them in advance this problem is dealt with.

On Sunday decide what you will eat and make a big pile of it. Enough to do the entire week or half of the week as I tend to do. Refrigerate or freeze it to keep it from going weird. Tupperware is your friend here.

If you have your meals prepared any poor food choices are on you.

You do not need variety. Yes it will be boring and by Friday you will hate the taste of it but it’s an easy path to improved body composition. This will involve mostly low carb fare such as soups, stews that sort of thing. More details tomorrow.

2. Drink 5cups of green tea a day

This isn’t because I think green tea has any mystical properties. It’s mainly down to ensuring hydration is maintained and well …..I like green tea. If you are caffeine sensitive any other herbal tea is fine.

When we are dehydrated we get hungry and eat stuff as the body can get a lot of hydration from solid food sources. It is often difficult to distinguish hunger and thirst. All of your systems tend to run sub optimally when in a dehydrated state.

The act of making tea also seems to distract from thoughts of food. That might just be me though.

3. A protein shake used when you start to get hungry and want cakes

Protein is the most satiating of the macronutrients and is a great weapon to stave of hunger. Most protein company’s get their whey protein from the same places so the individual brands sell pretty much the same product. More important get one you like the taste of it should almost be like a treat (sort of, it’s not really as good as a snickers, but chocolate protein with hazelnut milk tastes like Nutella which is pretty boss)

4. An apple of your choice as snacks whenever you want something crappy.

Again these should be with you wherever you go in case you start getting hungry. Apples are nutrient dense and have a sweetness that exceeds their calorie content. Pretty decent if you have a haribo problem.

So if after eating 3 meals, 5 cups of tea, a protein shake and 2 apples you still want doughnuts….well that’s pretty impressive actually.

5. Replace two meals each week with whatever you like.

Two meals a week eat something you want. It can be burgers, pizza , doughnuts whatever. Try not to go absolutely mental and stop when you’ve had enough. Plan it in advance and enjoy it.

And that is pretty much the program.

Tomorrow I’ll post the meal plans and dietary guidelines with the aim of kicking off on Monday 22nd

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Consistency: Embracing the grind

These days everyone appears to be looking for the quickest way to get results. They want to lose 20 pounds in ten days, they want to be a black belt in 3 years or have their first fight in 6 months. The vast majority of us know that training and sensible nutrition will lead to long term sustainable results yet we would much rather do 6 weeks of the Angry Viking diet and a strength program designed for Bulgaria’s National Olympic lifting team.

There is always a time and place to “Train Insane” but the vast majority of your training should be at a level that is sustainable. This ensures that your training remains consistent and consistency is the key to learning.

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Embrace the grind.

Im not suggesting that your training should not be difficult far from it, but if someone were to say that your current schedule was one that you would adhere to for 5-10 years you should not be overly traumatised. Now try suggesting the same thing to a fighter who is training for a bout. Most guys train 6-8 weeks specifically for a fight, at an incredibly intense level. If you suggested to a fighter that they would benefit from being in camp for a few years you may have a discussion on your hands.

Going all out and pushing yourself to the limit everyday sounds cool and makes you feel like Conan but it is ultimately unsustainable. You may find professional fighters back in the gym a day after they have competed (particularly at the Griphouse) but they are almost certainly training at a lower level and enjoying themselves more. Seven weeks into an eight week fight camp very few athletes are truly enjoying their training. The level of intensity combined with pre fight pressure and other stressors takes its toll on the athletes. Many mention looking forward to getting back to regular daily training where they can focus on getting better as opposed to winning a fight. It is not uncommon for some fighters to only train when competing.

The expression “Embrace the Grind” seems to have come from the wrestling community and is the counterbalance to the Train Insane ethos. Its the long slow “grind” to improvement and mastery. Its turning up every day, doing what you are supposed to do and slowly dragging yourself towards your potential.

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You are training hard but in a way that does not leave you ruined for your next session. You are putting in the time and enjoying the process, the small victories that lead to the big improvements.

Enjoying your training and being consistent are the keys to mastery. If you do not enjoy what you are dedicating yourself to you are unlikely to be consistent. It is no coincidence that the guys who train the most tend to be the better guys. Books like the Talent Code, Bounce and Mastery have all suggested that the concept of innate ability or talent is overrated. Particularly in sports where technical ability is so prevalent. It comes down to a simple equation

  • Hours of deliberate practice + skill and ability of coaches and training partners + physical attributes = level of badassery

Jiu Jitsu guys will roll light , in Thailand fighters will rarely spar at a competition level instead they play around, wrestlers will flow wrestle. All of these interventions allow the athelete to get more mat/ring/cage time in and anything that increase the amount of deliberate practice is highly beneficial to those commited to getting better. Sparring at 100% could maybe be done for 3 rounds twice a week, maybe? But drop that intensity down to 60-80% and you can be doing 30+ rounds. The further we get away from 100% the less “real” it becomes but with 10 times the mat time, who is learning more?

Getting better at any activity is actually quite simple. Do you want to be a great guitarist? Well you should probably get a good teacher and practice as much as you can. The same goes for any activity. Want to get good at it? Do it a lot.

Embracing the grind means turining up and paying your dues. It is the tougher path as it is sustainable. You wont have the luxury of burning out, giving up or picking up an injury as the intensity is optimised. Everyday you will have the battle with yourself to train or not to train. This will happen forever as you have commited yourself to life long improvement. Missing a session here and there has no effect in the short term but in the long term this adds up.

Eventually you will be where you want to be you just have to keep going.

 

 

Mega Smasher: Murilo Santana’s guard passing breakdown

Murilo Santana is one of those guys who has a lot of success in tournament jiu jitsu but is relatively unheard off. He does not have a DVD instructional series, a subscription website or a host of moves named after him. What he does have is a highly effective and brutal passing style that has served him well competing against the some of the best guys in the world.

Posture in the over under position

Snapshot 1 (04-03-2014 13-54)

Murilo’s passing game is based around working from the over under. He will often pressure from this position for up to 6-7mins in the round and not really commit to a pass. In the last 3mins the exhausted opponent is passed and often submitted in rapid succession.

The over under position provides a number of advantages for the athlete:

1. Being latched onto the hips negates the advantages many flexible guard players have.

2. Inversion is incredibly difficult with this degree of hip control.

3. Adopting this passing strategy completely avoids all the cool guard positions. There is no spider, de La Riva or inverted DLR options.

4. The opponent is carrying your weight the entire time. This is exhausting for the bottom player. Their options are limited to destroying the head position and framing against the top man in an effort to recompose some sort of barrier. This is tiring work, doing dumb bell presses for 7mins will knacker anyone.

5. The top mans has minimised a lot of the bottom guys offense and only really has two main concerns. Which are, the leg escaping into a triangle on the overhook side (this can be minimised by constantly contouring the hips to the overhook side) and being tilted or swept to the underhook side (this can be minimised by posting with the underhooking arm and keeping hips contoured to the overhook side). Keeping your opponent off the leg on the overhook side eliminates a lot of tilt sweep options.

Murilo Santana’s passing breakdown.

There are two really interesting things about Murilo’s personal passing game. First of all he is highly proficient in the passes outlined below on both sides. This is pretty unusual and is probably due to the fact that his passes are determined by his opponents responses.

Secondly he rarely does the traditional shin circle pass to side control. Perhaps he feels this methods offers up too much space when compared to the options outlined below or more likely he prefers passing directly to mount.

The side smash position

Snapshot 1 (27-02-2014 14-33)

After pressuring his opponents long enough to make them start hating life he begins moving towards the opponents mid line I.e. the underhook side. This makes tilt sweeps more difficult as the leg grab is tougher. It also opens up the elbow and knee space for the shin circle pass, but as we know Murilo has no intention of going that way.

Instead he is moving all the way round to the side smash position. Lateral movement is the key here. He is actively raising and lowering his elevation, contouring his hips and moving to the underhook side. You an see this in action whenever anyone tries to elevate him with butterfly hooks. At times he appears to be floating on the end of these hooks before gracefully landing in the side smash as the opponents legs fatigue.

From the side smash he covers the top leg with the shin and moves to the side. The bottom mans hip positioning makes it really difficult to re guard, they are left with a crappy choice, accept side control or expose the back.

The flattened half guard

flattened half

Often in the face of this pressure the opponent will shoot for half guard to increase the degree of control they feel they have in this situation. This rarely helps them. Instead of fishing for the underhook; very difficult to do on elite player, Murilo stays low and pins his head to the ground removing the threat of his opponents underhook while freeing up his own hand to actively post or assist in freeing the trapped knee on the way to mount.

With only the foot now trapped in guard the underhook is taken and solid forward pressure completes the guard pass. The opponent is mounted and in a seriously vulnerable position. The frequency with which Murilo taps an opponent after the pass may be due to the way in which he passes to this incredibly dominant mount.

Jiu Jitsu from a Newbies Perspective part 2 4 Sparring Tips (2014 edition)

So carrying on from the previous blog post we have established the importance of identifying the positions we are in and adopting the appropriate postures. You can tell when you have started becoming accomplished with this stage when more experienced training partners, with similar physical attributes struggle to sweep, submit or advance up the positional heirarchy (guard <side control < mount < back control).

The next stage will be to add techniques to these positions. At the Griphouse we have a 12 week rotating syllabus that addresses the fundamental positions and the most common techniques that arise from them. There are many options for those looking to learn new techniques. There are many YouTube videos, DVD’s and subscription sites out there. What these options do not have is interaction with an experienced and knowledgeable coach. Ask questions and take the answers on board. Your coaches are your best resources, you are paying for their knowledge so you might as well use them.

If your coach suggest that learning to pass guard is preferable to falling onto footlocks at every available opportunity, it might be because they have a point. They might also have spent way too long trying to tear peoples feet off to the detriment of their own passing game……. not mentioning anyone in particular though……yeah ok It was me.

Drilling side control escapes might not be as sexy as drilling a De la Riva tomoenage sweep, but in the initial stages its almost certainly more beneficial. All those guys pulling of amazing, ninja highlight reel sweeps and submissions are all truly amazing at the basic stuff that makes Jiu Jitsu such an effective combat sport.

4 Sparring Tips for the Newbie

At the Griphouse we want to get our athletes sparring as quickly as possible. Usually this is in the form of a drill with a specific goal in mind. Everything in jiu jitsu must work against a resisting opponent. Below are some tips to get the most out of the experience.

1. Win the Small battles.

If you have no previous combat sports experience and can walk into a jiu jitsu school and dominate everyone, you have probably not walked into a very good school. Jiu Jitsu is devestatingly effective. If you do not know the principles behind the art and you are on the ground with someone who does, you are in trouble. Watching a big guy getting dominated by a much smaller, more experienced athlete is so common it does not even bear considering as something unusual.

With that said when you start expect to be submitted a lot. Expecting to chain techniques together like a mundials champion is unrealistic. Instead focus on winning the small battles.

  • Try  to avoid being submitted, mounted, sweeped etc within a round.
  • If your guard has been passed focus on maintaining solid side control posture and escaping back to guard.
  • When in guard work on preventing your posture being broken by your partner.
  • Concentrate on breaking all of your opponents grips.
  • If your stuck, cant move and are being thoroughly crushed try to work on controling your breathing and finding your happy place (super important, the jiu jitsu athlete must develop being comfortable being uncomfirtable.

By assaigning goals to sparring you will find your round more productive and enjoyable. Winning the small battles will prevent the ego crushing that can sometimes put off those new to the sport.

2. Relax and get more mat time.

With  matches lasting up to 10mins and sparring classes often lasting over an hour jiu jitsu is an endurance sport. Then why do we see new guys latching onto a training partners gi and turning purple like a powerlifter trying to deadlift a gigantic personal best. Trying to do any activity above 80% effort or so usually results in a decrease of technical proficiency and a subsequent decrease in performance.

Its the common problem with new guys they try too hard. Very little can hold back technical development like trying way too hard. It will also negatvely effect the amount of training you can do. Holding your breath and squeezing someones head for a 6minute round really limits the amount of mat time you can get in.

Every situation is an opportunity to improve. If your guard is passed its a great time to work your escapes, if you pass it is an opportunity to work on maintaining side control.

3. Think about whats happening

I like to think that jiu jitsu is a perfect art. It’s our application that is sometimes lacking. If a training partner is preventing you from applying the armlock your coach just showed you, try figuring out what the problem is before abandoning the technique.

If you spend enough time on any technique you can make it work for you. Take for example the flying armbar this requires a lot of technical skill, athleticism and an almost suicidal disregard for your own safety. But because it’s cool spending tonnes of time on it isn’t too hard and it seems to land with a lot of regularity.

Try to address why a certain technique isn’t working. Slow your game down and analyse it. Is it a grip that’s stopping you? Is it counter movement? Maybe you are in the wrong position to implement the technique (this falls under identifying the position mentioned previously).

I have had so many ah ha moments that have stemmed from a desire to make a certain technique work. This is after many years of giving up on a technique as soon as my training partners were able to defend it.

4. TRAIN PURE HUNNERS

The simple fact is that the guys who are really good train a lot.

The athletes that are consistent and work hard always seem to surpass the guys who seemed to have all the advantages early on.

In our next part I will address some points on effective drilling and technique development.

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Brazilian Jiu Jitsu from a newbies perspective part 1 (2014 edition)

This was one of the more popular article series I wrote for the old maccavelli blog. As its now 4 years old I decided to update it and let it see the light of day here on the Griphouse’s blog. Hopefully a whole new bunch of athletes can benefit from the ideas shared below.

Those who coach or are otherwise totally immersed in it often fail to see just how complicated Jiu Jitsu is to learn. If you look at jiu jitsu comps today versus those from a few years ago they look like completely different activities. As a fairly new and innovative sport Jiu Jitsu is constantly developing with strategies and techniques changing from year to year.

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That being said we can break all these variations into 6 basic starting positions. From this point there is an endless list of techniques and strategies that can be utilised. With so many options no wonder the athlete can sometimes feel lost and overwhelmed by it all.

The chess comparison is thrown about a lot, but I would argue that Jiu jitsu can be even more confusing, as physical attributes are involved, blurring the effectiveness of any “correct response” to a situation. On top of that no one is trying to throttle you with your own clothing in chess.

I wake up everyday thankful that the UFC became popular and I no longer have this conversation every few months:

Me: So this is Guard what I want you to do is wrap your legs round this guys hips and…..

Newbie: Hold on a minute, why the hell would I want to do that.

Me: Well if you don’t, he can get past your legs and hips and beat the crap out of you and lets not forgot all those points you will be giving up. Plus from here you can actually win the fight from your back.

Newbie: this all sounds turbo gay. How would I win a fight off my back?

Me: well what I want you to do is wrap your legs round this guys head and ……

*Newbie leaves*

The rise of mma has improved peoples awareness of jiu jitsu but it is still a vast and confusing sport. What I encourage new guys to do is to break there learning up into stages.

Stage 1- Identify the 6 major positions and their postures

Well it’s actually 12 positions as we must address each with postures for the top and the bottom athlete.

The six major positions, Top and bottom are:

Guard

Side Control

Mount

Back Mount

Turtle

Half guard

From the perspective of the top guy and the guy on the bottom we need to know what these positions are for. What is our aim in these positions and  what is the posture I want to adopt when I find myself there?

Posture is a big deal and cannot be overestimated. You cannot even begin to do anything effectively if your posture is wrong. Without correct posture everything you do will require a lot more effort and will ultimately not work against experienced players.

Again this is a broad simplification. There are many different variations of side control top posture and this corresponds to a different postural response from the bottom man. But as with all complex topics simplification is the first stage of learning.

Example

Side Control Bottom:

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My goal from here is to re-guard, turtle up or turn away in an effort to improve my position

Posture- On my side as much as possible, near arm blocking the cross face, far arm on opponents neck, body crunched up small, feet planted and prepared to shrimp.

Once you have identified these 6 positions and determined the basic postures they require, write them down on something.

When training keep thinking:

Being mounted = this posture

Guard top = this posture

Half guard bottom = this posture

“Identify the position” is a great mantra to have on repeat while rolling. As a coach it’s a much easier cue to use than “no put your hand there and your hips here and do …..”.

With experience you can start free styling it a bit, but our initial aim when starting out is to limit the individuals options. When you are mounted for the first time, you have millions of options you could:

  • Bench press the guy
  • Rollover and give your back
  • throw your legs up in the air
  • push his hips
  • underhook a leg
  • bridge like a mentalist in no particular direction
  • Cry

Once you have identified the correct posture to adopt the game becomes infinitely simpler. You only have one option, the right one.

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How you think is affecting how good you can be.

A change in perception.

The primal nature of combat sports has a tendency to bring out our competitiveness. Forget about football, if you really want someone to bring serious effort and intensity to the table punch them in the head or try to bend their arm the way it doesn’t go.

It’s important to understand where that competitiveness is aimed. For the vast majority it’s aimed at the external; we are comparing ourselves to our team mates and opponents. In the gym this tends to create an environment where we have a food chain. There are guys who you can handle and other guys who can ruin you with ease.

This can be disheartening in the beginning as you will inevitably struggle with those who have more experience than you. A more useful mindset is to focus internally and concentrate on winning the small battles that occur in training everyday. Escaping that big blue belt’s side control or checking all leg kicks for example. When you focus on your own development training is more enjoyable and productive.

If you concern yourself too much with the “result” in sparring you may find that you are distancing yourself from the guys who cause you problems to preserve your ego. To the detriment of your own development.

You will only ever really be as good as your training partners. Top class coaching aside, an abundance of technically excellent training partners is perhaps the Griphouse’s biggest resource. If you are not taking advantage of this you might not be as great as you could be.

I’ve seen the destructiveness of this mindset many times. A guy who has the food chain in his head takes some time off and the order has shifted. Guys whom he could dominate now start tapping him or using his head like a speed ball. These guys will sometimes quit as the effect on their self esteem is too great.

The guys who are focused on self improvement and posses a solid work ethic always outshine those who are trying to protect their position in the gym environment. The tough guys make you tough, iron sharpens iron. If you want to get better, grab your most feared sparring partners and work to get to their level.

Lets face it wanting to be better than others is a fundamentally bankrupt concept. There will always be someone better than you. If you derive your sense of purpose and happiness from being better than others then how can you possibly be truly content.

So what’s the alternative? It’s pretty simple, compare yourself to yourself. If you can consistently kick the arse of yourself from 3 months ago you are on the right track. Competition is great, but the best indicator of success is how much you have improved.

If you understand that your goals should not be dependent on how you compare to others, then you will find them much easier to achieve.

At the Griphouse this is a culture we encourage and it’s probably one of the reason we have the country’s top athletes in a whole host of combat sports.

Paulus Maximus