Jarvan asked me a question a week or two ago about what I'd learned over my years of having training logs at T-Nation, so I took my time and compiled this list.
Londonboxer read it and dug it, and said that he wanted to read a similar list from the regular posters ... and I happen to agree. So let's here it - what have you learned in your time training?
SHIT I'VE LEARNED!
Fighting is the most important thing to me. I don't know why - maybe it's because I was always smaller than everyone else and got in a lot of scraps as a kid, or maybe I'm just generally a little more violent. But my training revolves around developing the ability to hit someone and call it a day.
Punching power has nothing to do with how strong you are in the weight room. Trainers will say what they want about deadlifts and squats and posterior chains and shit and how important that is, but those dudes have never fought a day in their lives. When it comes down to it, you learn to hit hard by perfecting your technique and punching everything, all the time.
Fighter's lungs are different than runner's lungs. That's not to say that running is not of paramount importance when it comes to enduring a 12 round fight, but it does mean that if you're experienced, you can spar five rounds without being able to run 5 miles at a time. They're just different.
Mentality is everything in a real confrontation. 98 percent of the time, the scales are going to tip in the direction of the man who will take it furthest, fastest. And if you're a nasty fucker, and you know what you're doing, you're a nightmare to deal with.
Knowledge is king in the ring. There's a reason why guys like Marquez and Mayweather and Hopkins are still at the top of the game after all these years, and it's not because they're just faster or hit harder. It's because they're smart, and they know every individual facet of how to hit, where to hit, when to hit, and how to not get hit. Build your base of knowledge, and everything else will come.
Don't neglect your hands and feet; they're your contact point with the world. Develop the strength in your feet so you avoid plantar fasciitis, and work your grip incessantly - it will make a HUGE difference in punching power because hitting someone with a palm-sized stone is going to hurt way more than hitting them with a palm-sized pillow.
Small things accumulate into big things over time. My morning work might not seem like much - 6 or 8 minutes of exercise when I wake up, big fucking deal. But go back in my log and count what that's added up to; hundreds of rounds of extra shadowboxing and hundreds of reps of ab work, pushups, and hip raises that I wouldn't have done otherwise.
Skillwork takes precedence all the time, over everything. If it comes down to lifting or boxing, I box. If it comes down to pushups or shadowboxing, I shadowbox. Punch until you can't punch no more. That's how you get good.
Bodyweight exercises are incredibly valuable. That shit gets a bad rap on here because all the muscleheads want to act like they're too easy, but there's something to be said for running through the woods and stopping at a tree to do 10 pullups, and moving on. Or in climbing a mountain and doing hundreds of pushups when you get there. Bodyweight exercises are still around after all these years for one reason: they work.
Never stop moving. Ever. Take the stairs. Park as far from the store as possible. Shadowbox in the bathroom, even if it's just throwing 10 or 20 silent jabs. Stretch in the shower. Never stand still. Never rust.
Revel in the cold. It's lovely, and one run in the 10 degree cold makes your mind tougher than a million arid summer days could ever could. Workout in it. Walk in it. Live in it. Harshness breeds toughness.
Achieve balance. Fight, but weightlift too. Weightlift, but walk too. Walk, but meditate too. Meditate, but read every night. Being too aggressive and hitting the weights and fighting and fuck all the other shit - it's not good. Sound mind, sound body.
Practice strikes barehanded. Boxing is incredible, but when you get into the real world and some dude grabs your collar and pulls his fist back, you want to rifle that straight left in there with a clenched fist that's used to striking full power without gloves once in a while. Plus, it keeps you honest - with no gloves to protect your hands and no wraps to save your wrist, you must do it right or you're the guy that gets fucked over.
Green tea and fish oil. Fuck everything else ... green tea and fish oil. Only supplements that anyone needs.