Things You Learned in 2009

A little off topic but should still be fitting here. Feel free to add your own but these are some things that I’ve learned in 2009

  • Flexibility/Mobility

This has become one of the most important aspects of my training. For one it’s injury-preventative, two it helps my recuperation (personally), three a lot of higher level MMA skillsets require a certain degree of flexibility. There’s way too many benefits to ignore prioritizing it in your training.

  • Speed curls.

Yep some aesthetic stuff haha… I never really curl’d all that much previously so just to balance my physique and prevent injury I’ve thrown in a few sets here or there. I usually went pretty heavy, but one day I decided to use 1/2 my normal weight but keep the reps the same but rep it out as fast as possible. I’ve never had DOM’s like that before in my biceps. Explosively doing curls really actually put some size on my arms.

  • weighed vest

holy shit you can use this for everything. Just a slight 10-15lbs if you wear it while your shadowboxing really changes how you move when you take it off. Doing regular conditioning with it as well is a whole other ball park. Just the slight additions in weight adds another level of difficulty. Jumping rope, sprinting, db swings, etc… Just wow.

  • Rings

Even a TRX system or whatever will be one of the best investments you make. Your dynamic strength, shoulder stability, isometric strength, and maximal strength can all be trained with just slight adjustments.

  • Running

Yes for distance. All the MMA guru’s say that it’s unnecessary or not specific. Yet every professional combat athlete does some form of long distance cardio. Running is the toughest form imo and most realisitic for combat sports. I don’t think it needs to be an everyday sort of thing but it’s just my opinion that if you’re not doing it you’re missing out.

  • Health conscious

shifting my focus from what’s good for just my performance in the gym to what’s good for my overall health has really enhanced my recovery. I mix a serving of “Superfood” into 2-3 shakes a day. I drink a lot of “raw” food shakes, really watch my mineral intake, drink a LOT of tea, sleeping, managing stress, getting adequate fiber, concerning myself with my digestion (taking probiotics and what not), etc have all really changed how I view what enhances “performance”.

  • Time management

Every evening I set aside a few hours and prepare for the next day. All my shakes, pills, powders, meals, clothes, etc all are ready before I go to bed so the next day I can just automatic pilot through all my activities. I’m 10x more efficient through the day and surprisingly have quite a bit of time to rest up during the day and way more time to read. Without the stress of thinking about things I NEED to do or should have done during the day I sleep earlier and way better. Go figure.

  • Meditating

I guess I sound very homeopathic now but taking the time to center myself at some point during the day and before training has really helped my focus. While stretching I focus on my breathing. I often shadowbox for 30-40min straight (with a HR monitor to make sure I stay above 150) which is something like a moving-meditation to me. One of my favorite drills is just calmly sitting seiza or however I’m comfortable and letting thoughts drift through my head and the moment things get crazy I imagine blowing out a candle and dispersing the thoughts back to calm. After 15min or so I feel unshakeable. It really helps right before training to leave everything outside the gym and to become singular in purpose.

  • Hydrating.

It seems REALLY obvious but I see it going on all the time. We go to the gym and carry water with us and will drink plenty DURING our workout but what about prior? By the time you feel thirsty you’re already dehydrated. So I started drinking 48-64oz of water 30-45min before training taking a big piss directly before practice it takes a lot less tenacity to finish training. The oddest thing to me (which I thought would be moreso attributed to sugar) is that I feel REALLY clear headed. Not having enough water made my head feel a lot “cloudier” than I ever realized till I started increasing my water intake for the day.

yet again, good post by Xen!

a couple things from me…

-train your neck if you grapple. i always do some neck rotations, and yes/no’s before and after i do any grappling now, and rarely have any issues with my neck. plus, i prolly added about half an inch of muscle there…

-if you compete in a sport that has time limits, train for time, not reps. i recently took a PT test for Guard, and my pushups and situps sucked. i could knock out the initial reps, but as the 2 minutes progressed, i got really, really fatigued from simply holding the position. obviously this is more important in something like MMA…

I like the topic idea, I thought about my goals at the start of 2009, but not what I learned in 2008.


if you work hard you can not make the mistakes you made in your previous competition, but that doesn’t mean you won’t make new ones.

if you find yourself screwing something up in practice, especially if people call you on it and tell you not to repeat it, it’s worth taking the time to prevent that mistake in the future.


drill, drill, drill.

Some other stuff…

  • I hate high reps. I hate them beyond anything I can ever imagine. I can do sets of 3 all fucking day. I could probably do 30 sets of 3 and be cool. But anything above 10 fucking toasts me. That said, I get the best growth somewhere between 5-10 reps. And with squats 15 & up. 3-5 sets for 15reps of (relatively) heavy rack pulls has given me a bullet proof back. But it saps my recovery ability like 30%.

  • Sheiko programs work really well for me. I think being in that 70% ish range helped to teach me to accelerate even with heavier weights. Usually speed work is 50% but 70% just works way better for me personally.

  • Smolov is the best bulking program (for me). 3 weeks & I get visibly thicker. Only leg work I do is squat (other than some glute activation drills) but I basically make it 4 full body workouts a week. So the frequency and overall volume are pretty high. I wouldn’t do any other training at the time though and remember I’m used to training 2x a day so my recovery level is way different than most and I still wouldn’t do this if I had to do any sort of skill training. And this is probably TMI but it sends my testosterone sky-high. I boned a girl in the morning & evening and still needed to jerk off a couple times. I slept WAY deeper and I couldn’t stuff enough food down.

I’ll be contributing to this thread tomorrow… been trying to gather my thoughts all day to make a good post.

I’ve learned a lot this year.

In 2009 I learned that the people I wrote off because they blew me off & told me I was too-small-too-girly-too-weak would be willing to change their minds once they saw me working my ass off for months on end. Turns out they weren’t being jackasses, they just wouldn’t give their respect until it was earned, long term. Seems fair to me now.

I learned that my body doesn’t recover like it did when I was young & my pre-hab & recovery efforts are no longer optional. Xen’s first post will help with that.

I learned that when I kick Matt in the groin he will kick me right back. I wear a cup when we spar now. Girl cups make me look fat, but I’d rather look fat than have a bruised hoochie again.

I’ve learned that in spite of how far I’ve come I still have a long, long way to go.

I’ve learned that MMA guys get mad when you bite them really hard on the nipple because they pinned your arms & you weren’t strong enough to get them off you. They’ve learned that if they use their superior strength against me I’m going to use every possible thing I can in return. Krav guys don’t get mad, they just bite you back.

I’ve learned to accept that I’ll never be the biggest or strongest person in the room, but that by being the most determined I’ll be okay.

[quote]Miss Parker wrote:
I’ve learned to accept that I’ll never be the biggest or strongest person in the room, but that by being the most determined I’ll be okay.[/quote]

word up!

What I learned in 2009:

  • I learned that I wasn’t working hard enough in the gym. Sure, I’d go in and bust my ass for an hour, but over the last 6 weeks I discovered that, even though I was busting ass, I was only giving it 85-90%. I’m in the middle of my first run at Smolov, and there is no room for 90%. 2010 will be different.

  • There’s no shame in taking some time to heal up after an injury. Bruised femur and patella, arthritic and imobile hip, hyper extended elbow, concussion. Things I trained through to be ‘hardcore’. Stupid. A couple weeks off the mat and no randori when I did get back on, and I’m feeling a ton better.

  • My conditioning sucked. Being strong doesn’t matter if you can’t go for more than 2 minutes without wanting to hurl.

  • Living with someone can be challenging, but extremely rewarding.

  • My family is very important to me. After all is said and done, they are what really matters. I didn’t just learn that this year, but there were some tough times in '09 and everyone pulling together reaffirmed it.

I learned that I’m not as focused on the things(my health,diet,fat loss) that set the bar for how successful I can be with my sport and the training it requires. As a result I am holding myself back.

Also that my health should never put on back-burner no matter what opportunities I miss out on(fighting in front of Fairtex CEO,Team USA,etc.). I have to be healthy…which is not saying that I will always be injury-free…but internal medical issues can’t be worked around…you have to take time out to focus on being healthy and ready to go once things are back in order.

[quote]Steve-O-68 wrote:

  • My family is very important to me. After all is said and done, they are what really matters. I didn’t just learn that this year, but there were some tough times in '09 and everyone pulling together reaffirmed it. [/quote]


This was my first year getting punched in the face on a regular basis so lots of lessons.

Powerlifting is not fighting. While my strength and size helps me a tremendous amount, my accomplishments on the platform do nothing if I can’t use that strength for more than 3 seconds.

Do light sparring with anybody and everybody. Big aggressive people will get you tough (asswhoopins are underrated), big reserved people will teach you, small aggressive people will let you be calm under pressure, and small reserved people will let you refine or try out new techniques. Hard sparring is probably best once you get a little bit more experience and I prefer it with someone right at my level or someone thats big, highly skilled, and reserved.

Shadowboxing is underrated. So is roadwork.

If you have no base in a discipline of combat (i.e. never been in any kind of striking sport) its probably not best to try and do several other things at the same time. I tried to learn muay thai while learning bjj and improving my wrestling skills. I was also spending a lot of time on other physical activities. The last couple months of the summer I got a nasty cut on my elbow that wouldn’t close for weeks and MRSA was going around my gym like crazy so I dropped the grappling. Low and behold my muay thai progress skyrocketed.

Never trust a small gym to take automatic billpay from a debit account.

Community center boxing gyms are definitely underrated. They’re usually cheap, have experienced trainers, and filled with kids who are really serious about it. As opposed to most current MMA gyms that are filled kids just there for the fad and rediculous prices.

I learned a lot this year.

As a 25 year old who now works a desk job, I learned that diet is EVERYTHING, and you truly can’t outtrain a bad diet.

When you have an injury, go to a fuckin doctor. I suffered with this should for so long that it’s incredible, and the whole time thought it was something other than what it was. Surgery is probably coming this year.

As someone who isn’t competing, I learned that I don’t have to focus solely on boxing… I can lift as well, and still maintain my skills in boxing. If anything, lifting more is helping me up my work capacity.

Range, distance, and timing are just as important as power and speed. Without them, all the strength is useless. I spent a lot more time learning about that this year. defense is also paramount, as if you get hit once by an bare fist, you’re probably going to go down, and it could end you.

Punching the bag without gloves is a good thing to keep up on, just to remember what it feels like to hit something with a closed fist, as opposed to with gloves.

There are no bad martial arts- they’re all useful for something, and any of them can be used for “self defense.”

The people that teach these arts are crooks at least half the time, and want nothing but your money.

For real self defense, learning about crime, the OODA cycle, and how to detect problems is just as important as learning how to throw a straight punch.

At 25 years old, I have nothing left to prove, and unless something major happens, no one is going to convince me to fight. I had two incidents this year- the first was a fight that I was walking right into with a full head of steam… when the cops showed up- and the second, I walked away from. I know which one I should emulate more.

Good idea for a thread Xen, I like the positive theme.

2009 was the year I made the transition from fighter to coach, so every day it seemed like I had learn everything over again. I found out that teaching something is WAY harder than just doing it, but the process of explaining/demonstrating made ME a better fighter. In that regard I wish I’d started coaching earlier.

I’d become so used to adjusting/bastardizing techniques for myself that I forgot the original forms lol… I actually had to buy a Judo book because I couldn’t remember the names of at least half the throws, or how to teach them properly.

Coaching has given me new motivation for not only my fighters’ goals, but also for my own training. At 34 years-old I have to keep up with the 21 year-olds, so it keeps me from getting lazy. I do everything I ask my athletes do.

PED’s (Performance Enhancing Drugs) is the elephant-in-the-room of combat sports whether we like it or not. I’ve trained with numerous world champions in Judo, BJJ, and MMA, and every single one of them has used something illegal at one time or another, be it pain-killers, diuretics, stimulants, or steroids. I don’t judge people’s choices, and I don’t debate the ethics, it is what it is. I think education/knowledge is a better way of dealing with it than condemnation.

That’s all I can think of at the moment. I’ll echo Xen, training vest, flexibility, and running are all worth repeating.

Happy New Year guys,


Hey I guess Im not too late for this thread, yet. Thanks for this Xen.
I thought a bit about this so this got a little long.

what I learned in 2009,

the bad.

I need to get Anterior Cervical Discectomy, I have whined and wrote about this before,
basically I have 3 or 4 vertebra in my neck that are fused, and have little mobility remaining go figure.
Ive wrote about this too, that I cant much if at all.
I end up rolling hard once maybe twice in a 2 months and need ice/chiro/other work right after.

this surgery scares me.

I dont eat enough.

exercises that I should not do :

incline barbell bench
any kind of pin pressing
sumo deadlifts
I have to limit OH work, including , push preses, push jerks either from front or back and snatches

sadly pull-ups might be off the menu too- and I live for pullups

weight training gets boring :slight_smile:

I have a very hard time being around wrestling/judo/bjj and not playing
to the point where I own no shoes, gi, ear gaurds etc.
this was like 2 huge ass hockey bags of shit but letting go is good too.

I will agree with Xen and say that High reps suck , triples indeed are the shit.
I can pull or squat in the 85% for 3 all day, however pulling or squatting 315 for anything over 12
shit over 10 left me for dead.

that squatting 2x a week left me feeling good, squatting and pulling big in the same week not so much.

the good.

Prilepin’s table work. I don’t care what anyone says.
track your shit.
stick with a program
clean up your diet
Its ok to get older.

I could end right there. And probably should have.

working with percentages, how else can you track how much more you can do
its easy it works it can work with any style of training

logging your shit- its not just about beating the log book, put it online
let your peers, critique, motivate and give support great motivation.
I will give props to the over 35 forum here, very dedicated group of lifters who have given me lots of e support advice and criticism when needed.

I put on 15 pounds with not too much fat by sticking to solid programs.
they keep me honest and I got stronger.

I can not say enough about jumping repeatedly- either standing broad jumps or hurdles or depth jumps
all improved my speed and power

a steady regimen of zerchers, anderson squats from both front and back will get you strong.

Bodyweight OH squats are the shit.

I need to do OH squats 2x a week or I am not right.
I need to do hanging leg raise 3x or more a week or I am not right.

what else?

that I absolutely need mobility PVC/ball/foam work daily or I cant move.

that eating more and yes cleaner is something most people need to do

running hard before pulling or squatting is great - running hard after is real work

that weighted pull ups- trump a big bench almost any time.
I have absolutely no aptitude for striking even though I have huge hands.

that although training is a Huge part of my life, work , family and life are more important .


Terrific post KMC

Yep, good stuff.

That i suck at fighting and am weak…

and that i have to fix that.

[quote]kmcnyc wrote:

I need to do OH squats 2x a week or I am not right.
I need to do hanging leg raise 3x or more a week or I am not right.




what do you mean by this? do these have that dramatic of an effect on your daily mobility, etc?

just curious… if they do, i need to implement them more…

[quote]cycobushmaster wrote:

[quote]kmcnyc wrote:

I need to do OH squats 2x a week or I am not right.
I need to do hanging leg raise 3x or more a week or I am not right.




what do you mean by this? do these have that dramatic of an effect on your daily mobility, etc?

just curious… if they do, i need to implement them more…[/quote]

OH squats I do them every lower training session, and Ill throw them into a complex too.
they open my hips, chest shoulders and ankles. you can go light 95x20 or 135 x15 or so
or aim for body weight 185x5 is about where I’m at- thats about body weight.

Really they force you to squat correct- sure so can box squats and their are other things to fix a squat , these work for me, to keep upright and not dump the weight you have to have good form, it also helps me to initiate the squat with my hips and to force the knees out.

They are my number one diagnostic tool when 10x95 feels shaky or I have depth or stability issues then I know Im too stiff, or have something going on, and Im not ready to train.

Hanging leg raises, feet to bar- always- aside form decent ab work they fix what ever is going on in my back, its probably from hanging and I don’t do much other grip work then these.
3x10 or more pretty much every time I train.
when I dont do these, I can feel it right away.

Xen, what sort of stuff do you put in these ‘natural food shakes’? Any recipes?