Archive for December, 2009


A Post Concussion Moment…#1

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intex pool

Image is not of my actual pool or house

Sometime during 2007…

It ended up taking nearly a quarter of an hour to get the damn thing from my car to the spot that I was standing at now, at the back end of the customer service line at Walmart. I had done the best I could to fold up the gigantic square of thick vinyl which acted as the lining to the steel frame swimming pool my wife purchased sometime yesterday. Looking at the huge mass of blue material as it now hung wildly off of the dolly, partially impeding the thick flow of customers that were heading towards the exit doors, I realized that I had not done a very good job.

My two kids and I were all so excited when my wife had brought home the pool yesterday. The weather had been scorching over the last few days and my six year old daughter was getting angrier by the day, as she would commonly hear her eleven year old brother having a blast while he and his friends swam in the neighbours below ground pool. Telling her that she was too young to swim with only the boys did anything but calm her down. Getting our own swimming pool was the only solution.

The entire pool, made up of the blue vinyl liner, many attachable plastic pieces that formed a frame, and a connectable salt-water pump, had been set up in a matter of hours. I had read that the water filling process would take a long time. Throwing in our garden hose, I realized that the word long was an understatement, as the pool began to fill at a ridiculously slow rate. The kids and I jumped around in the inch or two of water that had be inserted into the pool before it was time for them to go to sleep. I’m sure we all slept well that night as we anticipated some super fun times in our pool the next day.

The next morning, I had woken up first and had quickly inspected the pool. Noticing that it had not filled as much as I had thought it would, I decided to take a closer look. A long search ended in me finding a slice in the liner that was allowing water to leak out of the pool onto the concrete base below. After two hours of disassembling, folding, packing and carrying, I ended up in this line at Walmart with my monstrous pool liner behind me. I was a little embarrassed as I stood there but was comforted by the thought that I would soon have a brand new liner packed nicely inside an easy to carry box.

My wife had told me that she had spoken to John, a manager at the store, and that he would take care of me when I arrived. Reaching the front of the customer service line, I told the young lady behind the counter something along those lines.

“Hold on for a moment please” she said, her eyes processing the image of the large blue liner that rose up behind me as if it were a tidal wave about to crash down upon all of us. A puzzled look crossed her face as she turned to enter one of the offices behind her. A feeling of worry set in as I imagined them not being able to exchange it for some reason.

Five minutes passed when a large man appeared from the office and introduced himself to me as the manager. His name was not John. It must have been a different manager that my wife had spoken to, I thought to myself. I proceeded to tell him about her conversation with the manager named John that she’d had over the phone earlier that day. Using an almost identical motion and with a similar facial expression, to that of the young customer service girl I spoke with initially, he excused himself, turning to retreat to his office.

Another ten minutes passed as the line-up behind me, and behind my mountain of blue vinyl, grew substantially. What’s the problem? I thought to myself as I began to feel a little uncomfortable about monopolizing the entire customer service area. The office door finally opened and out came the manager not named John. The puzzled look on his face had morphed to a mixture of confusion and a little frustration.

Stepping up to the counter he said, “We don’t have a manager here named John”.

“He’s not here today?” I asked him but before he could give an answer I continued, “My wife said she spoke with him and he said we could exchange our liner for a new one.” I replied, immediately noticing the voices of the customers waiting behind me getting louder as I finished the sentence. They didn’t sound very happy.

“We don’t have a manager named John.” he stated. My face took on a near mirror image of his, slightly different but I’m certain we both appeared equally confused.

“Can I see your receipt?” he asked. I shuffled throughout the pockets of my jacket. Pulling out a long piece of paper, the receipt he was looking for, I handed it over to his outreached hand. A split second later he looked up at me.

“This is not from our store Sir.” A massive amount of blood rushed to my face as the Walmart manager’s words set in. As soon as the receipt was returned to my hands, I scanned it quickly to confirm his statement. Zellers! My mind screamed at me. Zellers! You idiot! It repeated over and over again, seemingly mocking me, as I grabbed, turned and aggressively pushed my pool liner out of the store’s exit. In my mad rush to flee the store, the embarrassment and the line of customers whose time I had wasted, I nearly lost control of the dolly. After working my way back to my van, and repacking the liner inside the vehicle, I was seated in the front seat, deep in thought as I tried to remember what my wife had told me.

I could have sworn she said Walmart?
Man, this sucks!
Where the hell is Zellers?

Zellers turned out to be about twenty minutes away so I slammed the vehicle into drive and set out towards that new destination. An hour or so later, I was home, and we were all back in my backyard setting up our pool for the second time. Not one person knew anything about my embarrassing moment at Walmart and I’m sure it would have remained that way had I not acted on my intense urge to ask my wife what we had discussed about the pool prior to my item exchanging adventure.

It turns out that she had told me to return the pool liner to Zellers several times, and had even mentioned, the day before, that Walmart didn’t sell the type of pool we were looking for.

My excuse? This all happened during the time I was dealing with the initial symptoms of Post Concussion Syndrome. Was it the fatigue I was feeling due to the PCS? Or the problems it was causing with my short term memory? Maybe the uncommon anxiety I felt about getting the pool up and running was the culprit? Or did I have difficulty concentrating well enough to read the receipt properly? I have no clue.

I’m glad and I’m sure all customer service employees around the Hamilton area are unknowingly glad that I’m feeling back to normal now and that the symptoms of Post Concussion Syndrome are behind me. Please do something for me in return for my sharing of this embarrassing moment. Next time you punch someone really hard in training, please pass them on this vital tip…Double Check your receipts before heading out to make an exchange.

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Related Stories

==> My MMA Concussion Story

==> A Post Concussion Moment #2 (The Car Incident)

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The UFC's "Just Bleed" Guy!

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Once and a while, UFC camera men pan into the crowd to catch some spectator action. Once in every lifetime they get lucky and find a guy like this…

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My Concussion Story…

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When a doctor diagnosed me with my first concussion –I was around twelve years old—it was no big deal. I was back to normal in little time, playing hockey again within the next day or two. There were no lingering symptoms other than the amusing memory of how strange I was acting –super talkative, forgetful and spaced out– in the dressing room the night I was concussed. I still remember the laughs of my teammates as I made light of the situation. We had a lot of fun with it.

Concussion two was not any different. Number three barely bothered me at all. I remember thinking to myself, what’s so bad about a concussion? I feel fine!

Concussion number four occurred while I was teaching a self defense class at a local high school. I was around twenty years old at the time. After the class I was rolling around with some of the guys, showing them some Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu techniques. Somehow I managed to misjudge the location of the ground and as I swung back for an arm lock and I cracked my head on the thin matted area they had set up for us. Again I became forgetful and spaced out for a short period of time but the following day I was my normal self.

A quick but really hard fall my head during a grappling tournament resulted in concussion number five for me. I had somehow managed to make it all the way to the finals with a really bag hangover from the party the night –and morning– before. I wasn’t at my best and I paid for it that day. Being twenty one at the time, I took it as a lesson for the future, and never did that again.

The only good part about the incident was when my vision cleared and as I was lying on the floor looking up, the hottest girl in the building had jumped over top of me to see if I was alright. With the haze that was my view and the buzzing sound ringing within my ears, I honestly thought she was some sort of angel. I’m guessing that she must have had some medical training to react like that. Regardless, I seemed to feel a little better immediately.

Over the course of the next week, things were different. I didn’t feel like training at all and I was having some issues with my vision. Anytime I would look downwards things seemed off, a little blurry and it seemed to take an extra amount of time and effort to focus on objects on the ground or off in the distance.

Regardless, I was back in the gym doing my thing after a week or so.

Several years later I sustained another concussion, raising my total to six, in training. Two months! For two months I couldn’t train, lift weights or run a treadmill without feeling nauseous. Even worse I had to pull out of an MMA in which I would have been fighting for the “King of the Cage” championship belt. That sucked! Eventually I started training again, working with Eric Wong at first who was my new strength and conditioning coach at the time. Boxing, wrestling and kickboxing followed and soon I was back in the ring battling it out for the Apex welterweight world title.

Winning that bout early in the first round by Knockout I soon got the call the fight Josh Koscheck, 4 weeks later, at UFC Fight Night 7. They mentioned that nobody available in the division wanted to fight him and asked If I would. After realizing that it was indeed the UFC calling and not my buddies trying to punk me, I excitedly said that I’d fight.

In Early 2007, after battling inside the Octagon with Josh, I was in the gym preparing for the second UFC bout of my three fight contract. Chris Lytle was to be my opponent and we were excited to face him. I was hoping we could have won the fight of the night bonus check that night at UFC 72 in Sacramento.

The fight never happened.

I couldn’t exercise for the next year.

It was the worst time in my life!

Another concussion, the seventh one of my athletic career, which occured during a training session in preparation for the Lytle fight, combined with all the buzzers and light dimmers and bell ringers that us fighters experience while training and competing, had thrown my world into a chaotic spin. Zero of my concussions had come as a result of a knockout, they will are just a result of solid hits in the head, an accumulation of a lifetime of training. The UFC gave kept me under contract for nearly a year and a half but I just couldn’t get well enough to train hard let alone fight.

Learning to live life as something different than a pro-fighter while dealing with the depressive symptoms that post concussion syndrome brings was insanely challenging, a tougher task than facing any opponent in a ring or cage. Replacing the extreme high that fighting had given me for so many years presented even more of a challenge. The first few months after the injury were the most depressing and down times that I’ve ever had to experience in my life.

When my brain could handle the chore, I began reading many books in an attempt to fill my desire to learn. The same desire that I believe helped me become the best martial artist I could be. I’d read books about anything that I thought would improve myself as a person, teacher, father, husband or entrepreneur. I quickly realized how much there was so much to learn but was really excited by it all.

It’s been nice to finally have time to hang out with my two kids and wife. Training two or three times a day, as I did for the past 10 years never allowed me to do that. I am now very excited for the future. I see myself building other fighters up so that they can reach the top of the fight game.  I want to write some books, create many instructional DVD’s and open up several martial arts schools so that some of my students can make a living through martial arts.

Will I fight ever fight again? I’m not sure but for now the reward is just not worth the risk.  I do miss getting punched in the face a bit though which may be a little strange. I do feel totally fine now, in fact better than ever before, able to train hard by doing a lot of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, wrestling technique and striking practice, working on new things and keeping the old stuff sharp. To keep myself from jumping back into the cage, I try my hardest to remember how bad I felt after my last concussion because who knows how long the symptoms from another one would last. Potentially for a lifetime which is very scary o me. That being said, I miss fighting professionally more than you could imagine.

Hope you’re enjoying the blog. It’s been a lot of fun for me to write, talk MMA and share ideas with all of you. I’ve got lots more to come!

In my next article I’ve got three super funny and embarrassing (for me) concussion related stories to tell you… I’ll post it up soon.

P.S I just transfered the voicemail, of the message the UFC left me on my phone, to a computer file (I kept it saving it on my phone to show my grandkids 🙂 ). Click here to listen

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Many times when applying the basic kimura (click here to watch) from the 1/2 guard your opponent will defend his arm by placing his body over his hand. Here’s a great way to counter that sort of defense.

==> Click here see the counter

=> For complete access to over 75 of my free fundamental MMA instructional videos including ground, striking and takedown technique  CLICK HERE.

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Good news for MMA in Ontario?

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I was recently sent a link to this on Facebook (Thanks Jay). Looks like with the recent granting of a 2 year probational period for MMA in Vancouver and the news that the UFC will be putting on a show there in June, that the Ontario Government may be next to take a look at giving the sport a chance within it’s borders.

That’s great news!. I guess we’ll have to wait and see if anything comes out of it.


McGuinty leaves door open to Ultimate Fighting

Ontario’s Premier Dalton McGuinty is considering allowing the staging of Ultimate Fighting Championship matches in the province.

“No, no, I’ve got an open mind to those kinds of things,” he told CTV Toronto on Monday when asked if he’s opposed to the martial arts events being staged here.

“I’d want to hear from people who train kids in the martial arts, how popular is it among the younger age group and all those kinds of things. It’s not the kind of thing I’d want to drive underground. In other words, I’d want to bring a thoughtful approach to it.”

For the entire article visit the site by CLICKING HERE.

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Training Tip – Mindset #1

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mindsetAs an MMA instructor I’ve encountered many different types of student over the years and I must tell you there are some that I love to teach and others that make things extremely difficult if not impossible. Work to be a great student and you will learn a lot more in a shorter period of time. You will find that you instructor will begin to provide you with a some extra attention and will often take the time to correct even the smallest details in your technique because he/she knows that your mind is open to learning and that you will take their instruction to heart. Rather than giving you tips on how to be a great student, I will do the opposite in giving you examples of the type of student you should try not to be. Here’s the first one.

The “I already know that!” type
This is probably the most difficult type of student an instructor can have. Fortunately I’ve only run into a few students that possess this terribly annoying type of attitude.

Here’s how a lesson would play with this type of mixed martial artist in the class. Noticing that a technique was being applied incorrectly by that student I would walk up to him/her and suggest a few adjustments that should be made to improve the movement. At some point, usually half way through my explanation, they would cut me off with a “Ya, Ya” and appear to want to get back to practicing it. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, I’d walk away then glance back to see if they indeed did make the necessary adjustments and they rarely would. They simply went on making the same mistakes, over and over again, that in their mind were non-existent.

In some cases the mind of this type of student would open up over time and they would become much easier to teach. I’ve also had some cases where the student never changed and ended up learning next to nothing in a really long period of training. Their money and time was wasted but I guess in their mind they felt good because they never had to really admit to themselves that they didn’t know something.

If you are a martial artist or someone with a combat sports background be careful not to fall into this type of mindset when you branch out into other combat disciplines. I know it can tough to become and be treated –by an instructor—like a beginner again when you are highly proficient in your chosen combat sport or martial art but it’s the only way to learn that new skill set properly.

I’ve had to do it several times over throughout my career. I took my licks in kickboxing, then in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, then on the mats with national level wrestlers and in the ring with some of the top boxers in the country. I am proud to say that I persevered for many years through some very tough training in each discipline until I could compete at a high level in any aspect of mixed martial arts.

Being humble and open to the process of learning is ultra important if you are looking to make it to the top levels of MMA competition. You’ll learn faster, learn much more, and gain all the important technical details your instructor has to show. Avoid being an “I already know that” type student at all times as it will lead you off track and make it next to impossible for you to acheive your MMA goals.

Other articles in the “Mindset Series”,

MMA Mindset #2 (The Rough Guy)

MMA Mindset #3 (The Lazy Guy)

MMA Mindset #4 – Don’t be the Bragger!

MMA Mindset #5 – Leave Your Ego at the Door
MMA Mindset #6 – “The Ungrateful One”
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3 Second Knockout!

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Just came across this video of a 3 second knockout in MMA competition. This has to be the fastest win ever.

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First MMA/Fight Shirt?

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tapoutcamoNowadays, so many people are wearing shirts that represent our great sport of MMA. From Punisment,Tap Out, Warrior to Sinister, Affiction and many others, the list of companies jumping into the mix seems to be growing steadily.

I don’t own too many fight style t-shirts but I do recall the first one I bought many years back at a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournament in the states. A camoflage Tapout tee (pictured top left) if I’m remembering correctly.

Back in those days it was the original Tap Out Crew manning a small booth, stocked with t-shirts, hats, beanies and more, selling to the small crowds of fighters and spectators that would pass by throughout the day.

I think it’s awesome how much the sport has blown up and that you now find so many people wearing MMA sytle clothing in support of their favourite companies and fighters.

What type of Fight style clothing do you wear and what was the first thing you bought?

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New Series – Before the scrap!

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Over the next few weeks I’m going to be writing a series of articles. Each will describe a piece of the process that a professional fighter goes through before every single fight. I’ll share my personal experiences when it comes to signing contracts, preparing for bouts and fighting the fights. You’ll also get an inside look at some of the after party celebrations.

I’m really looking forward to writing this one!

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Great weekend!

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I spent yesterday teaching a bunch of classes including kids BJJ, adult BJJ (both a beginner and an advanced one) and then today I headed out to Waterloo to teach the final lesson in my “Intro to MMA” program.

We focused on using the Guard for MMA. I showed a few ways to stay safe from punches, a way to stand back up to your feet and several submissions.

Due to the great response, I’ve decided to create and run a follow up program in January which will cover more advanced techniques that build upon what we covered in the intro program.

After the 1.5 hour MMA session, we had a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu  team training session. With over 40 people on the mats, everyone had a great time and 4 white belts walked away with their blue belts after it was all said and done.

I’m off to watch a movie… Hope everyone enjoyed UFC 107. I haven’t had a chance to watch it yet. Once I do –which will probably be tommorrow– I post my thoughts.

How were the fights?

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