Tuesday, June 16, 2015

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Losing sucks.. maybe...

“If the systems involved in energy production can generate ATP (the fuel your muscles run on) fast enough and for long enough, then you have good conditioning. If they can’t…well then you gas out”
– Joel Jamieson, Ultimate MMA Conditioning

I decided to challenge myself by enrolling at the national championships. It was a decision which I thought long and hard. Then I discussed with my coach and he agreed that I was ready and I had some aces in my sleeve. I trained rigorously, both technically and in terms of fitness and nutrition. I must admit that the days before the match I was very anxious. Not afraid to lose, but to lose face, as Thais say. In fact I was eliminated in the first round. The match was three rounds. In the first round, by all accounts (even the coach of my opponents) have dominated. But midway through the second round I started not being able to pull shots clearly. In the third round I was a horrible moving target (and not so mobile). Going down the ring I felt terrible. I felt that I had let my coach, my friends and training partners. I could not, and still can not, understand how it happened. I devoted a significant part of my Strength training and conditioning with sprint hill twice a week. And progress has seemed remarkable. I did not imagine I could be more ready than that on the physical plane. But I was wrong. I will continue to think about what may have gone wrong, what I eat or not eat. The only consolation the guy who defeated me won the tournament: it is not the first time that happens. It 'a consolation and also my coach says that since I gave him a hard time for half of the match I would have been able to compete with opponents of the semifinals and the finals. A good aspect of martial arts you can lose against someone but from then on, your opponent is just another person with the same interests and then become his supporter. Would you want him to win, because if you have been defeated at least want to think it was the best of all to do so. So as I try to shed light on the reasons for this loss I also see that in the end I was not out of place. I belonged to that tournament. I have seen with the most talented and I come out after all head on. And this leads me only to do more. Not only in training but in all fields of life. Sure train more, but also work harder, study more, love more live longer.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

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Stretching the hard way ( episode 1)

Courtesy of deviant art
This is part 1 of a serie of post about stretching.

Is stretching part of your workout program? You know Stretching is a fundamental part in the practice of martial arts?
Yes you know it, but let's face is: stretching is boring.
Almost all courses of Martial Arts and Combat Sports have parts dedicated to stretching.
Stretching it is an important work for any type of sport, from running to athletics, from team sports to individual ones essential for martial arts.
This discipline is basically defined as stretching:  the lengthening of muscles that allows us to achieve the important objectives,
including the prevention of injuries and tendon of the same muscles, thus avoiding strains and sprains (and kicking other people in the face).
Stretching actually gives us a good maintenance over time muscle work during training that we do every session in the gym, in a nutshell greatly improves the efficiency of the sport in general.
The work of muscle stretching helps us to relax the muscle fibers, consequently reduces general stress, improves our neuromuscular condition, relieves pains especially at the level of the spine, also increases the ability to manage your breathing, so you can use as cheaply and efficiently as possible.
A good practitioner, a good fighter must not neglect this aspect, indeed must put it on par with the work of strengthening and technique, since it is closely linked to them.
The techniques of "soft" martial arts require muscle elasticity that only with a good and continuous work of stretching can be achieved;
 in fact acting on the joints, improving the degree of mobility and range of motion thereby creating a situation of better dynamism that involve the whole body.
Pairing intense workouts and accurate stretching develops and improves flexibility, another key point for our beloved disciplines; flexibility and efficiency depends on the characteristics of each joint, the level of coordination and elastic capacity of the muscles ligaments and tendons.

Breathing also plays a fundamental role, but also to manage only a combination to hitting or packed even in the work for muscle stretching is important to control the mechanism of the same;
it is important to breathe slowly and in a relaxed way trying to exhale when the muscle is lengthening, the best way is to take air from the nose, expanding the abdomen through the diaphragm, holding the air for a few seconds, then exhale slowly through the nose and mouth.

During breathing the diaphragm should work without any particular effort, alternating a contraction phase to a phase of relaxation; this alternation allows both the parts necessary oxygen and carbon dioxide in order to carry out our training is a better blood circulation.
So to put it simple: don't hold your breath while you are stretching or you end up to hold your breath while sparring / fighting too!

In the next episode of " stretching the hard way": "Stretch the right muscles"

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

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Redbelt ( movie review)

I have recently seen the movie Redbelt by   with Chiwetel Ejiofor

Here a quick sinopsis from IMDB:
A fateful event leads to a job in the film business for top mixed-martial arts instructor Mike Terry. Though he refuses to participate in prize bouts, circumstances conspire to force him to consider entering such a competition.

This movie tells the story of a strong but sensitive man , always ready to help - be it a student or a
traumatized girl who is seeking to recover her security - that begins to move, however, in a  very different ( and amoral) world.
The aim is not to paint like a Mike Terry 'Candid' and even an unaware man but a simple man, not stupid,
 that really believes in what he teaches and devoted his all lifetime.
Similarly the movie does not point the finger, scandalized, to the immorality of the star system of Hollywood and television programs
 that tend to turn any event into a show at all costs in order to make money (here is the Jiu-Jitsu,
 but what happens in skateboarding with the X-games),
but simply uses these elements to build an elaborate plot where they move three-dimensional characters with which it is easy to relate to.

As someone has summarized, "Redbelt" is a good film on martial arts (ie on the art of war, not the war) and the meaning they have for those
 who practice them, but deprived of that agitation from action movie glowing at all costs that seem obligatorily accompanied many of them,
 with the result, then, that even the fight scenes benefit from this perspective ceasing to look fake.
The fact that the Jiu-Jitsu (here, to be precise , it is brasilian Jiu-Jitsu) aims to make harmless the adversary using less acrobatic moves.

It is the excellent acting of the protagonist who, similarly,
causes that even the "mantra" with which Mike accompanies and encourages
his students on the trainig mat does not have that taste of a phrase taken from chinese forune cookie,
but instead prove expressed with authentic, real, conviction.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

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Interclub fights: Episode 1

Ok I know I havent written for a while... sorry folks. Life has been erratic  lately.

Most notable news is that I actually participated at the interclub tournament I'm training for in the last two month.
Ok I know that interclubs are not a very big deal, but I'm at THAT level. Let's face it.
I'm gonna in a bit of detail on this one...

I arrive at the gym hosting the tournament in the morning. There has been a big seminar, with lot of people divided in smaller groups. I had mixed feelings about this kind of "events" but it was fun to train with new guys from other gyms.  Than I had a light, stress free lunch with my gym mates and spent half an hour chatting pool side in a near by restaurant.
Then I went to the practice hall:it was already packed with people warming up skipping ropes and hitting pads. The smell of thai oil was strong.
I found a free spot and had my hand wrapped. Since there was plenty of time I decided to put head-phones on listen to some music from my "fighting" playlist.
  • Daftpunk
  • The Prodigy
  • Linking park
  • System of a down
  • 300 OST
There was only one tatami so thing went a bit slowly. First came the ladies. My friend from the gym had a bad luck pairing with a very tall opponent. She fought well but did not make it at the end. I started warming up with another friend hitting focus mits. Then my weight category has been called.
We lined up for pairing. I immediately noticed that  I was the oldest. The others contenders where guys in their early twenties.
 And then I was paired with a guy from Morocco I trained once last year. He is extremely fit and athletic and has ton of experience ( like 8 years of kickboxing) and in a previous tournament defeated the best guy in my gym.
 "Ok.. I'm crewed... game over" I thought. I saw him winning his first match, and he was good as I remember. Then, happily , something turned off in my brain. I was calm, I was not afraid: I step in to the square tatami, bell rung and the fight take place. The thing I noticed is that this guy used the teep as opening move. So the first teep he threw I step aside pushing away his feet, putting him off balance and with a right , left hook, right combo. The rest of the fight went almost in an autopilot way me countering his attacks. In some occasion I anticipated his teep with mine with a good final "switch teep".
Final decision: a draw, and to me it was like winning. This dude was really badass and at the end of the day won the tournament.
I had another fight with a young guy. The first round start fast. I noticed he was a boxer. He did not like low kicks. So I started throwing lot of them. Then out of nowhere it came to my mind to faint a low kick and then go for a high kick , taking advantage of being the taller dude. My feet landed on his face. Plenty.He went down and I won. Simply as that. I felt great with my hand raised and my coach and gym mates were super happy.
So at the end of the day I had good fights, I was proud of myself, event if ti was just... and interclub tournament.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

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About supplements

I’m not a doctor. Just a dude on the INTERNET sharing some hits of INTERNET gotchas end personal experience.

Unless you have a particular illness, a nutritional/hereditary problem, or are required by a doctor to take a supplement, NONE of them are requirements.So, long story short: YOU DON’T NEED SUPPLEMENTS.

And most of all: medicines are not supplements!
  • Weigh loss pills (don't even get me started on this)
  •  Performance Enhancers: most of the time they contain an absurd quantity of "doping" substance that would make a pig fly. Even the one that are labeled "natural"
  • Diuretics
  • Laxatives
  • Detox[whatever] this is a very interesting article by Mark of marksdailyapple.com
  • Multivitamins: although vitamins are an important part of  a healthy diet if you are ALREADY eating healthy chanches are you don't need it anyway. I would like to quote Dot. Sheldon Cooper on this topic

What about proteins? There are three different types of protein powders:
  • Whey protein
  • Egg protein
  • Soy protein
My personal preference is for whey proteins: I do not have any lactose intolerance problems so this kind of powder have an optimum ratio of protein/everything else

I would leave Soy protein as last resource since it has many side effects. Food industry is pushing soy hard cause it sounds healthy and is cheap to produce, so they can up sell it.

What Do I take?

Fish Oil: It all comes down to Omega-6/3 balance. Eating (lot) of meat you have to balance. It basically "oil your metabolism". Many friends who practice BJJ told me it is beneficial for joints too.

Glucosammine: this was a great discovery for me. I had issue in my ankle and hips joints. After 3 weeks of glucosammine (sulfate) intake washed away all the pain. It is commonly used for arthritis. Scientists have studied it extensively for this use. It is most often used for a type of arthritis called osteoarthritis. This is the most common type of arthritis. Joints are cushioned by the fluid and cartilage that surround them. In some people with osteoarthritis, the cartilage breaks down and becomes thin. This results in more joint friction, pain, and stiffness. Researchers think that taking glucosamine supplements may either increase the cartilage and fluid surrounding joints or help prevent breakdown of these substances, or maybe both. If you are a 30+ years old fighter and want to stay on business another 20 years give glucosammine a shot.

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