Saturday, June 28, 2008


I am sitting in front of my house overseeing a yard sale so I figured I'd take the opportunity to muse on an argument that seems to be coming back into vogue. The idea that certain martial arts are too lethal to test in competition was bandied about a lot in the early days of MMA. Unfortunately, it's back.

There's a double-barrel kind of idiocy that keeps this argument alive and both sides bring shells to the shooting range.

First is the notion that so-called traditional martial artists are privvy to secret, dangerous techniques that would overwhelm a "sport fighter." Iron claw, dim mak, yada yada yada. I'm sure that in the mists of history some martial artists honed certain techniques to be lethally efficient. Because in the past martial artists actually, like, you know...fought. The average 2008 kung fu dude may have amazing chi and thousands of hours of practice slicing watermelons in mid-air with giant scimitars but he doesn't have a lot of experience, like, you know...fighting. You're going to tell me that your preying mantis strikes are lethal because your teacher was told they were by some dude at a seminar in in 1974? In a perfect world they might be. Those strikes are pretty accurate on a wing chun dummy - not so much in a real fight. So traditional martial arts dude - don't overestimate myth when you have no practical experience fighting people who know how to fight. You might end up like this guy.

Now, the truly amusing part of this tragic comedy is MMA fans and practitioners who think that wrestling, BJJ, and Muay Thai comprise the sum total of effective fighting styles. That's a stretch, as it seems that a lot of MMA fans think the double leg takedown is the most devastating technique in a fighter's arsenal. It's funny that fans of a sport that embodies Bruce Lee's "style of no style" are so quick to settle on a handful of arts as being the total repository of worthwhile fighting theory and practice. There are things to be learned from so-called traditional arts - the counter striking of silat, the fast gap-crossing attacks of point fighting to name two. To my mind, the point of MMA is to give practical experience to martial artists who want to distill the pure, effective elements of various arts into one seemless package. So MMA guy - don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Friday, June 27, 2008


Closing on a house. Packing and moving. Leaving for a week's vacation on Tuesday. Back to our regularly scheduled programming when I return.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Chariots of Fire

"Thirty four-forty," Jeff shouted. "That's your best time ever."
Actually, Jeff, it's my only time ever.

Today was day two of the Indy CrossFit Challenge. The workout was simple: Run a 5K. Problem is, the number of times I've run 5000 meters, or 3.1 miles for you 'Mericans, is between not-on-your-life and fat-fuckin'-chance. I had a decent pace for the first mile but I kept slowing down. The trick, I decided, is to not stop. Every time I stop in a CrossFit workout, it gets worse not easier. If you drop the weight you start thinking about how much it's going to suck to pick it up. If you walk during the run, you think about how much your lungs burn, or how heavy your feet feel. Better to suffer for the shortest possible amount of time. So mark it on your calendars, another milestone for Taffy.

Diet 8 a.m. Homemade sausage muffin with ze egg and ze cheese. OJ. Noon Chicken fajita sammich, chips, sodee pop. Haven't eaten dinner yet - the future is unwritten!

Strength & Conditioning I rode my bike to work and back. See above.

Skills Nada.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Have you ever asked a question you knew the answer to but were still stung by the response?

"Hey, Pat, honest opinion. Do I need to be in here more?"
"Yes." He didn't even look up from what he was doing.

All my workouts have been sporadic for the last month. My wedding, other people's weddings, packing up our house, closing on another one, changing jobs and getting busier: my "project" has taken a backseat. But that's kind of the point. "Supposebly" there will be a much more flexible, and later, schedule at Red Cobra/Integrated Fighting so I can go in on Mondays, Wednesdays, or Fridays to work on my jiu jitsu or Muay Thai.

Diet 8 a.m. Eight ounces of milk, EAS protein powder, banana, assorted berries. Delish. Noon Tuna sammich, chips, water. 4 p.m. Grilled chicken salad, water. 7 p.m. Steak 'n' Shake meal, dog. Father-in-law paid so it was his call.

Strength & Conditioning See below.

Skills Jumped in on the latter part of the MMA workout and worked takedowns and armbars. It was one of the more constructive drills I've done in a while and made me more excited for a formal BJJ class. After that we did shots back and forth across the room, then shots with resistance. After that we did pushups in the round which suuuuuuuucked.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


I was listening to National Public Radio the other day and there was a piece on a Japanese heritage celebration in Sao Paulo, Brazil. It bore no immediate relevance to MMA but it set some thoughts in motion. Dana White talks about how MMA is THE global sport because everyone understands fighting. While that's true I think he is glossing over a greater truth, which is that MMA embodies globalization. The open-source sport sprang out of challenges issued by masters of Brazillian Jiu Jitsu, itself a mingling of Japanese science and South American soul. Now MMA, like the economy, world music, fusion cusine, is a multi-ethnic stew, the true sport of the future. More on that thought as it develops.

Diet Soda in the morning, couldn't eat lunch until 3 p.m. because of work bullshit, sandwich and chips for dinner, sandwich and chips after the gym.

Strength & Conditioning I missed the MMA workout today so I went swimming at the Y. I feel really good after we swim laps but it makes my heart pound like crazy, so hard that it hurts my sternum.

Skills Nopers.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Workin' for the man every night and day

Still tired from last night, I overslept CrossFit and went to work at 8 a.m. so I could leave early. The ride in was super easy, I felt like I was gliding. Ran around like crazy, at like crap, but I did get shoot clay pigeons all morning and sit in on Ice-T rehearsing with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

Diet 9 a.m. Sausage egg McMuffin, Dr. Pepper. 2:30 p.m. Pizza and breadsticks. 7 p.m. Qdoba, goddamn.

Strength & Conditioning 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 Sumo deadlift high pull, box jumps, and double unders. I asked Jeff what a good time would be for me. He said 12 minutes. I pushed and pushed and pushed and stopped just enough to breathe and finished in 11:34. Not amazing but competitive with the other guys lifting to prescription.

Skills Nada.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Yes, dear

I've been dealing with women, oh, all of my life now, but I'm still slow to catch on to the fact that discussions are never just about what you are talking about, noooooo, they are about 100 other things women won't mention until they burst into tears and make you feel like an asshole for not being psychic. The moral of this story is that when your wife asks you to go swimming at the YMCA at 8 p.m. after dinner with her family which was after your MMA workout which was after work the simple answer is, "yes, dear."

In other news my weight is holding steady now at 250. I am down a pant size and my overall fitness level is rising, but I am not losing a pound. My diet still sucks and that is the hardest thing to fix when my home life is so chaotic. Hopefully we can close on the house and not live amidst boxes forever.

Diet 8 a.m. Small bowl of leftover spaghetti, two eggs. Noon Two slices of pizza, two breadsticks, small soda. 7 p.m. Italian beef sandwich, small soda. 9:45 p.m. PB&J, chips, carrots.

Strength & Conditioning Swam laps at the Y. Nothing serious, and definitely not high intensity, but it was definitely tiring.

Skills Two five minute rounds of shadow boxing, two ? minute rounds of grappling. Pat wasn't there today and almost everyone there was getting ready to fight on Saturday so I drilled by myself for a bit - boxng, Muay Thai, BJJ - and took off.

Monday, June 16, 2008

I'm back

(My sweet steed.)

I did more before 9 a.m. than most people do all week. I felt really good all day. Strong like bull, a little sleepy in the afternoon, but I crushed my ride home.

Diet So damn hungry today.8 a.m. Spaghetti with meat sauces. 10 a.m. PB&J and half an apple. Noon Tuna sandwich, chips, couple cookies, carrots, can of soda, water. 3 p.m. can of soda, water. 7 p.m. Split a frozen pizza with the lady.

Strength & Conditioning 6:30 a.m. CrossFit - Five pull-ups, 10 push ups, 15 squats, max rounds in 20 minutes. I knocked out 11 which a good performance? At least I am doing workouts to prescription and my GPP is improving. After CrossFit I went to the Y for a little and kept the sweat going on the treadmill, went home, ate breakfast, and rode my bike to work.

Skills Nope.

Friday, June 13, 2008

(Sweat lodge from Prairie Net.)

Yesterday was my first day back at MMA workouts. The garage doors were up in the gym and there was a nice cross breeze but after the six rounds of ground and pound against the cage I was sopping wet. Jake O'Brien worked on takedowns with me and another guy and for the first time I think I may actually be able to include them in my tool box. Two five minute rounds of rolling with strikes wrapped up my day. Then I walked over to the garage door and dry heaved before wringing the sweat out of my shirt.

Diet Nothing in the morning. 12:30 p.m. Indian buffet - salad, rice, vegetables, chicken, bread, water. 7 p.m. Two beef hot dogs, baked beans, mac and cheese, potato salad, steamed broccoli. Can you say wedding weekend barbecue leftovers?

Strength & Conditioning See above.

Skills See above.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


(GIS for sleep.)

I got off work late yesterday and couldn't fight through traffic and construction to get to the gym on time to workout. We're already packing up the house so I ran some errands and picked up a truckload of boxes from Amanda's parents. I crashed out at a reasonable hour and felt halfway human by 7 a.m. this morning. Ate a little less like crap yesterday but I did kill another salad. Club sandwich today, looking forward to getting in the kitchen tonight to prepare some better food to take to work with me and clear the remaining soda and beer from the fridge to donate to the homeless. With any luck I'll make the PM CrossFit workout this afternoon.

Diet Noon Club sammich, chips, soda. 6:30 p.m. Spaghetti and meat sauce, water.

Strength & Conditioning 21-15-9, hang clean press, wall ball, box jumps. 18:28. I started out like a maniac, flamed out by the second round but finished strong. My back hurt so goddamn bad today.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Thunder thighs

(From Exrx.)

Yesterday was my first day back at Indy Crossfit. It wasn't the worst experience of my life, but I was gassed about a third of the way through the work out. It seems that taking two and a half weeks off from the gym, working two weekends in a row, getting married the weekend after, and living on a diet of meat, chocolate, and booze makes you feel like shit. Whoodathunkit?

Diet 8 a.m. Soda, leftover pizza. NoonTurkey and bacon wrap, chips, diet Coke, big salad. 8 p.m. Qdoba burrito, soda. Not a lot of water, lots of soda. It's funny how far and fast you can veer off track when you stop making a conscious, daily effort.

Strength & Conditioning Seven front squats (115#), seven knees-to-elbows, seven ring dips, 385 meter run, max rounds in 20 minutes. The squats and knees-to-elbows were cake, the ring dips were tough, and the runs killed me. I almost finished my fourth round but didn't have enough time for the run.

Skeeels None.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Day After

Day one of married life. It would be nice to relax now but we are closing on a house in early July so there is no rest for the wicked. Back to work on Monday - at my job and at the gym.