Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I Love It When A Plan Comes Together

"Start warming up," Pat McPherson says. The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Officer is the head trainer of a stable of professional fighters that includes Ultimate Fighting Championship veterans Chris Lytle and "Irish" Jake O'Brien as well as up and comers like Nate Moore, Johnny Rees, and Shamar Bailey.

I came down to Throwbacks Boxing & MMA gym to talk to McPherson, manager and promoter Keith Palmer, the owner of the gym, Travis, and the elusive Muay Thai instructor Adam who Amanda trained with under Sakasem Kanthawong. This group of fighters is an extension of the Integrated Fighting team founded by Pancrase veteran Jason Godsey in the mid-1990s. They are a bit nomadic, moving from gym to gym for reasons I am not privvy to. Their current home is Throwbacks, a warehouse on the back side of a strip mall on Indy's far south side.

Tonight was supposed to be an introduction. It was, but not the one I was expecting. "Walking knees around the mat," McPherson says. Shit. Several minutes later my hips are seizing up, my feet are slipping on wrestling mats soaked through with sweat, and McPherson glances over to tell me I am almost done. Adam finishes with the fighters for the night and runs me through basic body mechanics of Muay Thai punches, kicks, and knees. My second round of walking knees leaves my calves numb. I can't tell if my heels are touching the mat - I can't tell if I have legs below my fucking knees.

I explain my plans to Adam and he is on board and stoked. McPherson wanders over and give him the same spiel and ask him if I can start working in with his guys, probably in a couple of months when I am in better physical condition. "Nah, just come in Monday," he says. I express my concerns but McPherson says they'll push me until he feels I can't go and he'll ease off. "When guys say they'll start coming in when they are in shape they never do it," he says. It's interesting to consider how much slack you cut yourself without realizing it when you don't have anyone to push you. I've received martial arts instruction but I've never had a fight coach, someone to tell me that I can do another rep, I can throw 10 more kicks, I can grapple another five minutes and I will do just that.

Travis works me out for another 30 minutes, dismantling my boxing mechanics and shooting the breeze about the Sweet Science. Some stuff I like, some stuff...the jury is still out. So as of right now I'll be starting twice-weekly workouts at Throwbacks, working on boxing, Muay Thai, and submission grappling with whoever is there. "It's not like a regular school," McPherson said, "We have 20 fighters and 21 people" who train. Add one to your total, Pat.

Diet I don't want to talk about it, haha. I drank a lot of water, that's today's victory.
Conditioning Just two 30 minute sessions at Throwbacks.
Skills Worked on footwork and punching mechanics for boxing and Muay Thai and found out I lean a lot on my front foot so I need to work on correcting that.

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