You're never told to train and be in shape. Check out the shape of this young guy.
The young often ignore wise words of the old. Yet, people are always trying to reinvent the wheel. It's fine to be creative and to experiment. What we have to remember is that while we can teach ourselves, there are many things that we can learn from those who are experienced at doing what we are trying to do. Often I see young fighters reading what the latest training methods are and they try to train like their favorite fighter they see on TV. When analyzing the successful atheletes out there, I see most of them using old principles with new names. The human body hasn't changed much over the last few centuries. Sure we have supplements and better machines to train on, but we function the same. I have had the opportunity to train with Olympic and Professional athletes from several disciplines and I will say that dispite the many trends and new training routines that have popped up over the years, they all trained specific to what they were doing and everything else was supplemental. So, what I'm saying is don't be whooed by the new and don't forget the old.
I enjoy all combat sports. I have sought out what I believe to be the most practical combat methods to train in. Kickboxing, full contact Karate, Judo and JuJitsu, etc. My first martial art was Tang Soo Do. I trained for almost 10 years before doing and type of competition. After seeing professional kickboxing on TV, I imagined myself becoming a kickboxer. During the 80s I watched Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, etc. box on TV. In high school I was sparring with some friends and got hit with a body shot so hard, that I asked the guy "where did you learn to punch like that?". It was obvious to me that there was something really different about this body shot. He said that he also boxed. Years later, I went to a martial arts demonstration by former World Welterweight Kickboxing Champion, Jeff Gripper. In addition to being a kicboxer, Grip held a couple of blackbelts and was also a boxer. He referred me to Asa's Gym run by an old boxer named James Asa Gordon. At this time all the top kickboxers would come to this gym to train. Some of the top pro boxers in town would frequent Asa's too. Evander Holyfield even came by the gym. I ended up training with boxers and kickboxers. Kickboxing fights became hard to come by, so I started competing as a boxer to get fights. One of my trainers, Bernard Styles, asked me to try it for atleast a couple of years before I actually did. I would say, "I'm a Karate Guy, not a boxer". He said, "Well, you're in here everyday boxing, so why not?". He had a good point. From my boxing experiences, I learned about hard training, mental and physical toughness. I now realize that my 13 years in boxing gyms help make me that martial artist I am today.
From time to time, I going to break down some of my fight footage for you. Hopefully you can use some of my methods in what you do. Movement and angles are key in fighting. Movement creates offense and defense. Here's a sample of me applying these principles in the 2002 Shidokan World Open. My opponent is Muay Thai Champ, Matee Jedeepitak. You will see me move in and out in angles and move away from his power (i.e. strong left leg kicks). I try to stay inside or outside his strengths.
Like everybody else in martial arts, when I started, I thought you were supposed to try and hit things as hard as you can. What I mean is, that you have to exert external force (use your musccles). Over the years, I've found that I can generate more efficient power throw being relaxed. When you are taught to execute a strike, you are told to stay relaxed and at the moment of impact, tighten and exhale, and then relax. You try to hit hard and feel that you need to lift a little heavier and maybe get your muscles bigger and what not. Even experience fighters get tight while trying to deliver a hard blow. This tightness is seen through body language and even though they may be able to hit hard, they are not always maximizing their power. I am going to share two clips from my evolution in relaxed power. Here's me in my 20s. I used a lot of muscle and there is explosiveness in moment but a lot of tension. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LFd2nwrHbA Here's me in my 30s. You will that I am relaxed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZiKwilIjbCw So, relax and develop your technique. Endless repitition is the key to perfection. No short cuts.
Sure, you've seen or heard about the last UFC fight show. Tate defeated Holm and Diaz defeated McGregor. Many are happy to see the "Notorious"lose. Are these upsets? No. This is the fight game. Both Holly and Conner stepped up to the plate. Both Meisha and Nate stepped up to the plate. The are warriors. Warriors fight. Belts, titles, wins, losses, etc. are all part of fighting. At the end of the a fighter wants to be able to say, "I went in there and laid it on the line". If one can say that, win, lose or draw the can be content. While many will rest on their laurels or never step up to the plate, those who do will always be fulfilled. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what others think of you. It's what you think of yourself. And if you have the courage to challenge yourself to do something others will never try, then you feel good about yourself.
Working out in boxing gyms over the years, I was able to meet all kinds of martial artist coming in to sharpen up their hands. I was able to meet boxers, kickboxers and Muay Thai Fighters. Muay Thai is known as "The Art of Eight Limbs" and is one of the toughest ring sports. I met Pedro Villalobos at a martial arts gym in Atlanta. He moved to the States from Madrid. We began training together and sharing our knowledge. Back in the late 90s I worked a job where I traveled back and forth to Boston for about 8 months. When I was up there I would work out at gym run by a talented instructor named Jerry (now Boston Muay Thai). He and a fighter named Steve ran the place. He trained in Thailand at the famous Fairtex gym. I was exposed to true Muay Thai. Pedro would later go to Thailand. He stayed for a period of time training and fighting. When he returned we delved deeper into the art and trained like we were in Thailand 6 days a week for 3 years. We started Thailand Arts Institute and trained a group of several fighters for several years. Pedro became the ISKA U.S. Middleweight Muay Thai Champion by defeating Russian fighter, Gregory Flintsanov in Atlanta in 1998. He later fought in the first MMA event in Atlanta (the Submission Challenge later to be called the Gauntlet). Pedro left the states in 2002 to make Thailand his home. He established a gym and continued his study of Thai Martial Arts and now teaches Muay Sangha. His website is www.muaysangha.com. He is an author of two books (one on Muay Thai and another on Krabri Krabrong). He travels internationally giving seminars too. He along with Champion Kelly Leo were my main training partners for years. Pedro helped us to develop our Muay Thai foundation and he was instrumental in helping the art develop in the Southeast.
World Champion Richard Trammell shares his experiences, views and thoughts on fitness, martial arts and fighting.