Monday, March 31, 2008

The first day of the rest of my life.

I spent most of yesterday afternoon prepping food for this week. I have a meal plan, I am sticking to it (with a few planned deviations). I have a workout schedule, I am sticking to it.

Diet8 a.m. Breakfast quesadilla - half a green pepper, 1/3 cup onion, 1/3 cup of cheese, 1/3 cup of black beans, two scrambled eggs, two small corn tortillas. 11:30 a.m. Tuna sandwich - one slice of bread, five ounces of tuna with mayo, half an apple. 2:30 p.m. Tuna sandwich - one slice of bread, five ounces of tuna with mayo, half an apple. 8 p.m. Five ounces of baked chicken over two and a half cups of steamed kale, sauteed with onion, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Eight ounces of 100% cranberry juice because I was fiending for sugar. I only drank 64 ounces of water today but I feel pretty good as of writing this.

Strength & Conditioning Jeff at Indy CrossFit was concerned that the bruising on my arm was an indication of a torn bicep but after talking for a bit we concluded that it wasn't a major problem. We're no Docs, but Jeff thought the minimal discomfort and full range of motion indicated it was just a really...really...really...really...really horrible bruise. I'll post pics tomorrow.

We did a 21-15-9 today - squats (135#), burpees, and 400 meter run. I kept up a good pace and finished it in 16:38. I pushed the last 100 meters - it would have been a sprint if I had any legs left. I talked to a friend who watched my bout last Thursday. She told me that I "didn't have the fight" in me. She said I looked calm, casual. There is some truth to that. I need to stoke the fire in my belly.

Skills Nada.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


"You went out there and decided that you were losing that fight," John Eckles said. I had to admit that he was right. I felt good in the first round but I was tentative in the second and third. I didn't do what I have been trained to do. I didn't do what I know I can do.

The first round was a toss up. I felt like I landed at least as many scoring punches as he did if not more. Round two I started slugging more and round three I just didn't do what I have been training to do. I started feeling emotions welling up when the doctor gave me his spiel about the symptoms of concussions. I made a beeline for the lockerroon and fell apart.

I was overcome with a million different shades of disappointment. Disappointment that I lost. Disappointment that I didn't fight up to my ability, that I didn't win for my student Moises, for Amanda, for my friends who came to watch. I felt like I disappointed my trainers and the guys I work out with.

Pat McPherson and Josh O'Brien made their way to the locker room and hung out with me for a bit. Pat talked about keeping it in perspective and told me that I should remember that getting in the ring at all distinguishes me even from most guys who train martial arts and that the experience, the process, and the lessons learned are what I should remember. Josh told me the he didn't last a full round in his first ammy fight. It made me laugh but it didn't make me feel better.

I cried off and on for the next two days. It's weird considering how casually I dismiss so many happenings in my life. I try to maintain a Buddhist-like, "shit happens" outlook but I worked harder in the last six months than I have worked for anything and coming up short hurt bad. The loss was a character-builder for sure, and I have made several conclusion in the wake of it.

I am in better shape now than at any point since high school but it's not enough. I need to buckle down on my diet, get more consistent with my training, and be fanatical about rest and taking care of myself. I spent part of today prepping food for a one-week Zone meal plan. It's recommended by the peeps at CrossFit and I think I need some portion control in my life. The meal plan focuses a lot on particular food combinations/nutrient ratios which I am curious about as well. I am back to the three days of CrossFit, three days of MMA routine as of tomorrow.

This project will not be constrained by an arbitrary time limit. I'd really like to do this all in a year, wrap it up with a bow and move on, but that's not how life works. My goals have changed since I started this project, I've changed. The story was an excuse to immerse myself in the type of martial arts training I've always wanted to do but managed to find a reason not to. I want to become a good fighter, a skilled martial artist, and a better, credible instructor. If that means that I fight four, five, six more USA Boxing matches and pushing back my pro-MMA debut, fine. If that means I spend a year or more on my grappling before my pro-MMA fight, fine. If that means I fight in half a dozen Muay Thai smokers before my pro-MMA debut, fine. Not only do I want to see this this project through, I want to do it successfully. I want to win for myself, for my bride-to-be, for my gyms, my family. Of course time is my enemy - I turn 29 next weekm but I think that if I bust ass I could still pull this off in a reasonable amount of time.

Losing sucks. Back to the drawing board.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Step one in the competition phase.

I will post reactions later.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


This one's for Pat McPherson.

Evolutionary biologists, take note - this is justification for human facial hair.

Remains of the day.

I slept well, I feel good, and the only thing getting me down is the fact that I had to shave my beard. I'll update this entry with tonight's results as soon as I get home. I'll try to have the video up by Friday night.

Diet 8:30 a.m. Small bowl of oatmeal, two cups of green tea, fish oil caps, multivitamin. Noon Steak sandwich, fries, soda. On the run. 5:30 p.m. Not hungry. Mild twinge in my stomach. No butterflies or jitters, just the feeling you get when see an ugly situation unfolding slowly enough to respond to it consciously.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

One day to go.

I am fighting at Golden Gloves tomorrow and according to Pat I am peaking. I feel good physically, mentally, emotionally. Today I shadowboxed six rounds just to get a sweat going and visualize the fight. All I know is that my opponent is tall, but I've sparred with tall guys lately so I am not sweating it. Chances are he won't hit as hard as I do, as frequently as I do, and from as many angles as I do. I have sparred almost exclusively with guys who had a height or speed advantage or both in the last month so I think I'm solid. As long as I keep my eyes in the right place, trust my defenses, keep my feet moving and don't listen to my brain when it tells me to quit, I'll be fine.

It's an appropriate time to reflect now, six months in to what is supposed to be a 12 month project. While I am still battling with emotional eating and making bad/convenient food choices, my overall fitness level is off the charts compared to what it was last summer. It's obvious that I need to work harder on my diet and cardio in the next six months to shave off more weight. Then it'll be a lot of jits, a lot of Muay Thai, and a lot of sparring to get ready for grappling matches, Muay Thai smokers, and my ultimate goal.

Diet 8 a.m. Two cups of green tea, a small bowl of oatmeal, two fish oil caps, a multivitamin. Noon Two kosher hot dogs, chips, carrots, some small cookies. 8 p.m. Frozen pizza, steamed broccoli.

Strength & Conditioning Six rounds of shadow boxing.

Skills Concentrated on staying "in the pocket," tucked behind my shoulders when I throw punches, keeping my feet moving, and throwing punches in bunches.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Two days and counting.

Bruce Lee wrote and talked at length about how martial artists should be in peak physical condition. While few people have the genetics, time, and discipline to achieve the level of conditioning Lee did, I am starting to understand the value of being in better than average shape. While it's totally possible for a slow, overweight, sickly person to practice martial arts, that person cannot be a fighter. The distinction is an important one. It's true that street defense and ring sports are two very different expressions of martial skill, but I don't think that you can do one without preparing for the other. You can't seriously pursue a fighting art without fighting, and you can't fight well (in a gym or ring/cage) for any period of time without being in superior physical condition. My ideal is the martial artist/fighter - the person who has advanced skills, a deep philosophical and mechanical understanding of what it is he or she is doing, and has developed the ability to express those skills successfully through frequent full contact training or competition.

Diet 8 a.m. Ham sandwich. Money's tight, we're down to leftovers and scrounging in the cubboard, haha. 11 a.m. Banana. 1:30 p.m. Chicken curry over rice. 4:30 p.m. Apple. 7 p.m. Steak burrito and soda at Qdoba. I've upped my water intake back to at least a half gallon a day.

Strength & Conditioning Nada.

Skills Three rounds of shadow boxing, focusing on throwing lots of punches. Two rounds of focus pad work with Pat. My back kept locking up but I felt like gold afterwards.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Three days and counting.

I'm fighting on Thursday. I'm not apprehensive about anything except having to shave my beard off. I sparred three hard rounds on Saturday but I am taking a break from CrossFit starting a week out from the fight and trying to rest as much as possible. I am going to Throwbacks tomorrow and Wednesday.

Diet 8 p.m. Small bowl of cereal, muffin. 10 p.m. Apple. 12:30 p.m. Homemade chicken curry and water. 2:30 p.m. Small bag o' peanuts. 8 p.m. Chili, bread, steamed vegetables.

Strength & Conditioning Resting!

Skills Resting!

I came home and worked for hours - laundry, yard work, dishes, playing with/walking/bathing the dogs. A couple of days of no CrossFit, no MMA workout, and I feel GOOD.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Rip through it.

A couple days without unobstructed sunlight, the glacial pace of progress at my day job, the stress of bills and wedding expenses piling up while we're flat busted between paychecks have put me on edge the last couple of days. I didn't have the legs for training on Monday and Tuesday I skipped the workout so that I could accompany Amanda to a presentation. She's done a lot to accomodate me during this journey so the least I can do is return the favor once in a while.

Diet My diet has been pretty stellar lately. It's a mixture of no money for groceries and too distracted with work and fiance to plan meals. 8 a.m. Orange juice, a bowl of chili and noodles. 12:30 p.m. Two slices of pizza, soda, and cookie. My old boss was buying so I said yes. 7 p.m. Arby's. I spent some time in the kitchen tonight so tomorrow's feedings should be better.

Strength & Conditioning 21-15-9 at CrossFit. Deadlifts and handstand pushups followed by a 1500 meter row. I hit it pretty aggressively but I was wasted at 1200 meters.

Skills None. Tomorrow is one of my last two sparring sessions before Golden Gloves.

I'm so hungry, I could eat at Arby's!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Out of gas.

I was gasping for air before we finished our warm up jog at Throwbacks. I don't know what the hell was going on but I felt like total garbage, like I had absolutely no gas in the tank. I still sparred six decent rounds but...yuck.

Friday, March 14, 2008


Stayed up too late last night. Eight hours wasn't really enough rest but I am pleased with the new workout schedule. No burnout like I was getting with the two-a-days.

Diet 8 a.m. Smoothie, sausage, egg and cheese sammich. Noon French dip sandwich, small portion of fries, water. 3 p.m. Small bowl of chili, chips, water.

Strength & Conditioning Did a Tabata workout at CrossFit - five excercises, eight 20-second intervals of each with 10 seconds of rest. Add up the low reps of each exercise and that's your total score. It was hard but at least I could pace myself.

Skills Nada.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Shine on

Pat leans in and smears petroleum product across my eyebrows, cheeks, and the bridge of my nose. "I've always wanted to put vaseline on you," McPherson says. I sparred five three-minute rounds tonight, two with Chris Lytle, two with Dom, and one with Josh O'Brien, "Irish" Jake's twin brother and a reigning Indiana Golden Gloves champion. I got praise for pushing the action and taking punishment in the process but rather than get an ego boost I just felt like I got a Special Olympics ribbon for trying.

In the fourth round of jump rope Pat came over and told me my endurance is "fucking phenomenal." Sweating profusely, gasping for breath, I said something that sounded like a death rattle followed by "by comparison?"

McPerson said, "You look like a completely different person."

Today's lesson, in Pat's words, is "don't mindfuck yourself."

Diet 8 a.m. Homemade smoothie. 9 a.m. Green tea with honey. Noon A small Philly steak, fries, and a soda. 6:15 p.m. Small bottle of Gatorade. 7:30 p.m. Baked chicken breast over herbed rice, steamed brussel sprouts, broccoli and raw carrots.

Strength & Conditioning Five three-minute rounds of sparring, four three-minute rounds of jump rope, 200 sit-ups.

Skills I threw, and landed, overhand rights much more effectively this afternoon. I felt like my defenses were more consistent and I stayed a little more active, but amateur boxing doesn't reward hesitation. I need to be ready, willing, and able to turn each round into a two minute shock and awe campaign.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Winners never quit.

When I was in elementary school I got tagged as a kid with enough natural ability to skate by without putting in much effort. That stayed with me for a while even as I busted ass to accomplish what was important to me outside of school and normal extracurriculars. But like a lot of people I took measured risks, put myself on the line when I felt I had a reasonable chance of success. So for months I've been on this rocky ride, pushing into uncomfortable physical, mental, and emotional territory on a daily basis and it's changing me. Positively, I think. I don't sweat small small shit as much, I don't throw up my hands in frustration as quickly, I just keep my head down and grind. Each day I can grind a little longer and it gets a little easier.

Diet 8 a.m. Small bowl of oatmeal, sausage, egg and cheese sandwich, smoothie. I started taking fish oil capsules and multivitamins each morning. 11:30 a.m. Raw tuna over greens. Noon That last feeding was way too nutricious so I ate a bag of chips, two cookies, and a soda.

Strength & Conditioning CrossFit was brutal today. Four hundred meter run, 10 hand stand push ups, 20 35# dumbell thrusters, 30 box jumps (I did step-ups), three rounds for time. I finished in 22:17. The first round was ok, I didn't take more than a couple seconds' break along the way. Rounds two and three were tough.

Skills Nada.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Be cognizant of dissipation.

I sparred four rounds with Dom today and got hit with a lot of really badly telegraphed punches. He hit me with a lot of other punches, too, but he was setting me up, I could see it coming, and I still couldn't counter effectively. I did ok, I guess, I just see problems that need to be fixed before Gloves. Pat talked to me about being cognizant of throwing fast punches when I shift my weight back and forth and not letting the power dissipate by throwing punches when I am off balance. I think he tore two sheets from his vocabulary calendar this morning.

After the workout I got home and felt really weak and woozy. I didn't start to perk up until

Diet 8 a.m. Homemade sausage, egg, and cheese sandwich. 10 a.m. Soda, raisins and peanuts. Noon Fucking pizza again. Water to drink. 2 p.m. Raisins and peanuts. 4:30 p.m. Orange. 7 p.m. Soda, salad, chicken alfredo.

Strength & Conditioning 4x 3:00 of sparring, approx. 15 minutes of shadowboxing and 15 minutes of jump rope.

Skills Working hard on getting inside a fighter's reach advantage and throwing hooks and overhand rights.

Monday, March 10, 2008

T-minus two weeks

I will be fighting in Golden Gloves sometime in the next two to four weeks and I feel good. Switching from two-a-days to single daily workouts has helped tremendously.

Diet 6:30 a.m. Homemade smoothie with orange juice, banana, strawberries and raspberries. 8 a.m. Homemade sausage, egg, and cheese sandwich. Noon Job interview ran over and I went out to lunch with a friend who works in that office. Pizza and water. 6 p.m. Small cheesesteak, chips. 9:30 p.m. Did a massage (yes, I was a massage therapist in a previous life) after work and I was starving. Burrito and soda. This may be one of the worst days of eating since I started this project.

Strength & Conditioning Three rounds of 400m row, 10 hand stand pushups, 20 30# thrusters, 30 box jumps (I did step-ups).

Skills Nada.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

"Nobody gets pussy like that."

"You gotta think of it like pussy," Keith Palmer says. He's telling me that I have to sneak inside the range of taller fighters rather than bull rush. "Nobody gets pussy like that."

Diet 1 p.m. Burrito, soda. 4 p.m. French fries, water. 6 p.m. Spaghetti and meat sauce over greens, bread, steamed vegetables. 8 p.m. Homemade smoothie with orange juice, banana, cranberries, strawberries.

Strength & Conditioning Sparred four rounds with Keith Palmer.

Skills Worked a lot with Keith on working close but not too close, combinations on the inside, and getting out of the clinch.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

time flies

I didn't even realize that I hadn't written anything in a couple of days. I am on deadline with two freelance stories and I am busy at work (where a possibly promotion is driving me to distraction). I was so sore on Monday that I passed up my CrossFit workout in favor of limping around and struggling up and down stairs. I went to the YMCA on Monday and Tuesday, my diet was decent, and my weight is hovering around 244#. On Wednesday afternoon I made it back to CrossFit. It wasn't a spectacular performance but I gutted it out and my legs feel fine now. I think I needed some time to reacclimate to working out after having the flu and now my body is working again.

Today I went to Throwback's but Pat forgot the key at home. I had to leave at 6 p.m. on the dot so after waiting for 20 minutes, I went to Self Defense Systems and did nine two-minute rounds of work - jump rope, shadowboxing and heavy bag. Starting with Saturday, I have about half a dozen sparring sessions before Golden Gloves. My soda consumption is still low compared to sixth months ago but none at all would be better.

Slow and steady wins the race.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

off day / food prep

Driving to Bloomington today to do an interview for an International Tattoo Art magazine story. Watched video of Silva's win over Dan Henderson this morning - I wonder how long it will take for fighters to start taking technical boxing/kick boxing seriously. I also wonder how many really great stand up coaches are out there anymore.

I'm still really sore from Friday's CrossFit. I'm not going to be super active today and I am going to do the ice/heat routine tonight. After I get all my work-related stuff done it's on to food prep for this upcoming week.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

workin' for the weekend

Legs? Sore. Back? Sore? Shoulders? Sore. Really sore. Limited functional-sore.

Diet 8:30 a.m. Half a Naked juice, water, banana. 1:30 p.m. Arby's sandwich, fries, soda. Shit lunch, but we got out of a first-time homebuyers seminar late and I didn't have time to make anything. 6 p.m. Pizza at Amanda's parents while we worked on wedding planning. I feel like I need to fast tomorrow.

Strength and Conditioning 3 x 2:00 rounds: jump rope, shadow boxing, heavy bag, sparring.

Skills Nothing really, just trying to get back into a rhythm before Golden Gloves.