UFC Training Camp Journal – Day 21 – “MMA Fights, Guillotine Escapes, Running, Pads”


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A quick yell from Spencer from the top of the staircase again did the trick in waking me up again this morning. I downed a protein shake and ate a banana smeared with a little bit of peanut butter and headed out the door for the gym.

Spencer, Josh Neer, a bunch of other fighters and myself drilled guillotine escapes today. It’s great working with other fighters, sharing techniques, strategies and different approaches to MMA. In addition to me showing two of my most effective guillotine escapes, I learned two new ones as well. Every new movement I learn I jot down in my notes so that I can practice them more when I get home. The learning never ends in mixed martial arts and that is one of the main reasons I love the sport so much. The moment you think you know it all is the moment you start to go downhill as a fighter or coach.

After drilling technique for over thirty minutes I once again donned the hand mitts. I could tell Spencer had a lot of energy to burn so I really pushed him hard. Jabs, cross, combos, kicks, jump knees, spinning back fist, we did it all! For the last two minutes of the twenty minutes he worked steadily on the pads, I had him punch nonstop, mixing up straight punches, cross-hook combos, uppercuts and body shots. Doing the hardest punching drill there is, Spencer pushed hard through it all until the timer sounded to end the round; Right after i had him fire off a hugely powerful spinning back fist that rattled my arms.

Come fight time, he’ll be finishing his pad work with three minutes of non-stop punching. No doubt he’ll be ready for war!

In a few minutes we’re hitting the road for a run. I’ll be back soon…

Whew, that was a good run. Spencer’s working hard on getting his weight to where it needs to be for the day before the fight and I’m sure he’ll get it there. What’s cool about the runs is that we usually pass some of the time chatting about shit. It’s amazing how many similarities our lives as fighters have and Spencer’s got some pretty damn entertaining stories about his experiences over the years. It’s always good to hear someone else’s perspective on things.

I just downed some protein powder in water along with some pineapple. I’ve got about an hour or so to kill before we do some Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at the gym. I’ll be back…

We just got in from training and a few other places. It’s been crazy night.

First off training was great, we worked some slick ways of grinding your opponent into the cage in ways that prevents them from cage walking back to their feet. Partner after partner, the drill was to keep the other guy down while he tried to stand. It’s obviously much more fun to be the top guy but so important to practice being the bottom person as well. Ideally, during a fight you don’t want to find yourself on your back, pressed up into the cage but shit happens.

Anyways, just as training was finished, Spencer’s youngest daughter –who is 4 years old– bumped her head on a set of weights and cut her forehead a bit. Man, I hate seeing kids hurt themselves. Spencer and his wife spent the next little while calming her down and making sure she was alright. The cut ended up not needing any stitches which was a good thing.

Next we were off to the weigh-ins for an MMA fight card taking place tomorrow night. A few of Spencer’s students are fighting on the card so we were hoping to see them jump on the scales. Didn’t happen. Well, they did get on the scales and weigh in successfully but we never saw it because we became super lost trying to find the place. Once we got there, the weigh-in was already over. Starving by that point we decided to search out some food. Twenty minutes later we are now back at home, each with a turkey salad and a diet coke. All is good.

I’m heading home this weekend –it’s too bad I’m going to miss all of the guys fights– to host a seminar, that I had booked before I was offered the coaching job at Spencer’s camp, with Rubens “Cobrinha” Charles at my martial arts school. My plane leaves tomorrow morning and I’m only home for a few days –coming back to Iowa on Monday– but it’s going to be great to see my wife and kids. I also can’t wait to sleep in my own bed.

I’ll keep this fight camp journal going even when I’m back home to keep you up to date on everything. Next entry will be from Canada…

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