Monday, October 25, 2010

If you woke up breathing...

 ...congratulations!  You have another chance.  ~Andrea Boydston

This morning at the Bat Dojo I woke up as early as I could....Which means something after 0730... I grabbed a rash guard, some sweat pants and a hoodie. It's late October now and the weather is perfect for morning jaunts. With the exception of a fairly wild Rottweiler down the street, my little workout should be successful. I walked my 1 mile loop at high speed, while listening to some sort of animal screams from some guy related to Vlad The Impaler. I don't know how fast I walked it, but I only got through a couple songs before I made it home. 

There is temptation of walking in the front door and plopping my ass back down, figuring this was enough. I resisted the urge to check my email, or compile a Linux kernel and continued my way into the Bat Dojo.

Once in, the feelings of despair instantly subside and I began smashing the heavy bag, and doing pull-ups on my pool ball apparatus. I love that stupid thing, it's so awesome!

Today, I experimented with an old school technique called a breathing ladder. I had read about this years ago and never really put much thought into it until today.

Basically it goes like this, you forget your timer and use your breathing as your stopwatch. Yet the kick in the pants is, you adjust your next interval on less and less air until you drown in your own saliva...

Here's what I did:
Smash the bag at 100% (power/speed) with two hand strikes, two knees and two strikes.
Count 10 breaths
Smash the bag at 100% (power/speed) with two hand strikes, two knees and two strikes.
Count 9 breaths
Count 1 breath
Smash the bag at 100% (power/speed) with two hand strikes, two knees and two strikes.
Then die.

It wasn't that tough mechanically. My lungs were a different story, I thought I was going to suffocate! The desperation for air, gets worse as the intervals continue. This was a test, I'll formulate a nasty workout around these principles later and give it a try. No stopwatch, purely breathing based intervals. Like the famous 300 workout, mine will be 300 breaths!


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pull Up Ball

So I'm rebuilding my house, room by room. Pretty much gutting it and starting from scratch. Starting with the room where The Dude was my live in pet, on multiple longterm occasions. Then he got all married and stuff....

The basic beginnings is ripping out carpet and splitting/removing carpet spike strips with a screwdriver and hammer. Both are GREAT grip exercises! When I yanked up the carpet, I literally tore the carpet, by hand into long 3 ft by 10 ft long sections. I kind of felt like I was in one of those 1940's strongman shows where some dude would bend horse shoes with his thumb. It's quite a testosterone filled event! I was shredding and ripping everything in my path, doing the sorts of things my parents said not to do. I was smiling so much I'm sure I had carpet fibers in my teeth.

Upon the sad completion of my shredding activity I contemplated my next Jurassic-like endeavor. I stacked the carpet and foam into two piles. Then using grip alone dragged the pile through my house into the Bat Dojo (garage). Dragging this shit was awesome, I knocked over pretty much everything in my house to include myself....

The spike strips require a different type of grip strength. One to hold the screwdriver, the other to grip the hammer. Then repeatedly smack the screwdriver or my hand in a ratio of about 4 to 1. Warning, gripping or stepping onto an old pile of spike It felt like an episode of True Blood, minus the hot sex and a semi-nude Sookie.

The cool thing about renovations is I get to play with the MASSIVE amount of tools I've collected over the years. I have a workshop about half the size of a garage, stuffed full of cool stuff to play with. One of which is a drill. Every guy needs a drill and today I got to use it.

My old pool table is going away and I decided to drill a hole through one of my old pool balls. Yes, right through the center to see what happens. I grabbed my Dremel too with a diamond bit and commenced cutting a small divot to center the drill. This was remarkably easy. Next I grabbed a real drill, a MAN's drill with a 3/4 inch chuck and about 4000 watts of power. I expected this was going to dim the lights in my neighborhood trying to bore my way through the pool ball. With a big stupid smile on my face I slapped on a 1/2 inch masonry bit and began the attack. Surprisingly, the bit chewed a perfect hole right through the ball with a mellow, smooth chalky smell, and purple powder residue. Whoa, my drill kicks ass!

I slipped some nylon rope though the ball and whipped it over my chin up bar. Slowly, I latched onto my new chinup toy and lowered my weight. It held! I was a little worried it would explode and shower me with purple powder. Not a good look for a guy. I tried a few pullups and sure enough, this little device will add all sorts of dimension to my grip strength training! I think I'll go build another!

See ya

Monday, October 11, 2010

World Tour

Well not quite worldly, but this weekend my friend Amanda and I visited Las Vegas for some MMA work. Amanda is working on her degree and wants to be a part of the MMA community as a whole. This overachiever decided to fly out to Vegas to meet the #1 top industry professionals to finish her school project.
We left on a Friday and U.S. Airways decided to overbook the flight. I had a seat, but poor, little defenseless (blue belt BJJ, black TKD...kicks like a dude) Amanda and her sad puppy dog eyes did not. So I manned up and and gave her my seat. Just kidding, I wouldn't do a thing like that. :)
Actually, we just stayed home Friday night and made our way back. At least U.S Airways gave us vouchers, cash and a 1st class upgrade for the next morning! How awesome!
We repacked our stuff, learning from the dress rehearsal from the prior day and made it to the airport in record time. Las Vegas was warm and windy. I could smell the prostitution and gambling immediately upon landing. Foreign to Amanda, I had to point out the lack of grass everywhere!

The hotel was right off the strip, right across from an In-N-Out Burger. I don't eat burgers and fries; I bring this up because someone I know loves this place. I immediately had to txt her and tell her I was within smelling range. Txt responses had multiple mentionings of "FU", "devil" and "evil"...

Today's stop was with Shawn Tompkins at the Tapout Training Center. Immediately upon entering the facility, Shawn was right there! He graciously let us in and showed us around. "The gym is yours!", he said. I've never been to a gym where that happened. It immediately felt like visiting someones home rather than a place to get punched. The facility is multiple thousands of squarefeet of pure MMA. The floors are stained concrete with hand drawn cracks and the Tapout logo artfully drawn in. The walls are my favorite part. Adorned with images of gorgeous MMA girls and MASSIVE painted Tapout/Samurai images. When I say MASSIVE, I mean 30ft high, 40ft wide paintings! Even the trashcans were painted with Tapout logos. Seven zones, each with it's own set of "tools". One zone would be hanging bags, another a boxing ring, several cages, grappling mats and weightlifting/strength training zones. Each area was immaculate! I don't know who cleans the gym, but I need them for my house. One could easily sit down next to the cage and eat dinner, knowing nothing bad would get on his plate. No smells, no grime, no dirt, no dust (amazing for Vegas) no nothing.

The back area is a cage and a caged in grappling arena for the pro fighters. When we walked in, there was a grappling class for kids going on. It was PACKED! Must have been 40 kids from ages 6 to 14 in there. They were doing so well dropping levels, double legging each other. These kids will be smashing fools in the UFC in 10 years for sure!

In the main cage, Shawn was mitting one of the UFC's top fighters: Sam Stout. Sam immediately showed why he is in the UFC, ripping out a amazingly fast, staccato of punches as Shawn called out the combo. In between rounds of of striking, Sam would jump in with the grappling cage full of willing and very capable opponents. It looked tough and fun, everyone was having a good solid class of weekend training.

We hung out for a bit and watched some of the other fighters jump in with Shawn. Each one received solid, personal training in the striking game. One of the fighters whom trained with Shawn was a young 12-ish year old girl. She received the EXACTLY the same, very high quality training Sam Stout did. No differences in training material or style. How awesome is that! One thing I did notice, everyone who walked out the cage after training with Shawn were smiling. Tired, sweating, shaking...but smiling. Happy to have trained and happy they are now a tiny bit better than when they walked in the door.

I also need to mention the super cool and friendly Robert McMullin.  He is the Tapout Training Center strength and conditioning coach. His website is on the way: Combat Performance I can't wait to see what will be posted so that I can steal borrow some of his training methods! His knowledge and experience in the S&C/MMA world is damn impressive! If you need your lungs worked on, or have a need for the ability to squeeze someones head off with one hand. Please contact him! You'll be very happy you did. He's on FaceBook.

In my opinion this is the #1 MMA gym I have ever had the privilege of visiting (and I've visited a lot!). The people were absolutely awesome, friendly and very family oriented. If you ever make it to Vegas, do yourself a favor, call first, make sure Shawn is around and go visit. Bring your mouth piece!