Last night it was the fourth year of the ‘Lock In’ here in Guernsey.
I love the event and unfortunately missed it last night due to some scheduling fuck ups on my part.
Anyway, it’s a great event with about 700 people watching normally and it’s very well organised by the lads at the Full Bore motorcycle club.
I fought last year. It was a bucket list thing and I got a third round knockout.
Every time the event’s on, I get people telling me they want to fight and have I got any tips.
Well yeah I do, BUT let me just say I am NOT a fight coach.
I can help you get super strong, powerful and fit, but I don’t claim to have the skills to coach the technical side. Find someone who does.
If you live in Guernsey I recommend Josh Ozanne of Black Rock MMA.
So here’s my thoughts:
1) If you’re in it for the glory, accept that the glory comes in a lightning flash at the end.
IF you win.
The rest is hard work, graft, repetitive and often lonely.
Accept that you may well lose and all the pain, twisted angles, ripped feet and shoulder issues will bring you nothing but a bunch of lessons.
If you’re cool with that, get your gloves on.
2) Fighting hurts.
Make sure that a serious injury won’t have a major impact on your life.
Chances are you’re going to make no money and get a sore face, thigh and shins as a bonus.
I spent 3 months with a knackered foot after my fight from one badly placed kick to the hip bone.
It was as close to broken as it could be. In fact the doctor still thinks it might have been broken but the swelling was so bad they couldn’t see much on the scan.
3) Conditioning is king.
You may have grand plans of a spinning backfist knockout.
The truth is a lot of debut fights (and a lot of others for that matter) are lost because one guy gasses in the later rounds and can’t keep his hands up or at best, throw any useful shots.
If you can maintain a work rate into the end of the fight, your chance of winning goes up exponentially.
If the guy opposite you runs of of juice with a minute to go, it’s a bad place for him to be because the fight or flight response goes well into flight zone and he just wants out of there.
That’s your chance to get stuck in and finish him off.
Train like you don’t mind dying and your conditioning will carry you a long way.
Also remember that strength takes a lot longer to build than conditioning.
So if you are weak as piss, get lifting 6 months before.
As you get closer, ramp up the conditioning.
Have someone who knows training structure your program so that you can get things right in the constraints of your life – you’re not a pro athlete with multiple training sessions per day.You can read more on Motorcycle Pundit
It’s important you get it right!
4) Train right.
A lot of fight training, still makes no sense. It’s stuck in the 60’s.
If you are fighting for 3 x 2 minutes, 7 mile runs are going to do next to nothing for you except bring your testosterone down and increase the risk of injuries.
There is no point having the aerobic capacity of an endurance runner for a sport that requires power and anaerobic work capacity for short bursts of intensity.
Anaerobic training builds aerobic capacity, but aerobic work doesn’t do the same for anaerobic.
I never ran for more than 45 seconds at a time in ALL of my preparation.
I lifted heavy and did Olympic lifting and plyometric training to increase my power to bodyweight ratio.
THAT is a key number in most sports provided you can transfer that ‘gym’ power into your striking.
Striking comes from the hips, so it makes sense that if we increase hip power (along with staying loose and relaxed) our strikes improve.
Run 100s, 200s and 400s.
Combine hill sprints with technically simple resistance training in circuits.
Don’t train like a bodybuilder.
You might look good in the cage but if you can’t use that extra beef you’re just going to find yourself in a heavy weight category with no benefits.
ALL THAT SAID:
Get technically efficient first and don’t think hours and hours getting fitter and fitter is the solution just because it might be more fun and easier to do as you can do it on your own.
On that note, punching a bag also won’t take you that far.
Get used to sparring and being hit a few times (sensibly), maintaining composure and carrying on.
Don’t train with someone who says you have to spar full on to get used to it.
You know being punched or kicked in the face will hurt like hell.
There is no point then missing training because your mate, crushed your IT band with a kick – I don’t think you’ll never really get used to it.
You can either take it or you can’t.
5) Forget that spinning back fist shit.
Watch the video above again.
I was under strict instructions to just keep throwing my jab, cross and my right side kick. Apart from a few moments where the red mist came down or my inexperience got me, you don’t see much else.
I made a lot of mistakes and some stuff looked scrappy. It was my first after all and I would look to improve a lot if I do it again.
Do the basics and forget the fancy shit (like the spinning kick efforts you see in the video)
Rule 1 is don’t get knocked down.
Rule 2 is make sure you can still do Rule 1 in the third round but keep landing your own strikes in case it goes to a points decision.
6) Prepare very, very well.
I spent a lot of time visualising stuff, labelling my training playlist as Fight Win so I started accepting a win was the only way forward and my brain didn’t know much else.
When I was training, I got used to going to the dark places in my head that we all try to ignore because they suck ass and bring back things we never want to think about again.
But it’s too easy to tell yourself that you’ve done enough and can go home.
It’s too easy to go back to the relative comfort of life and find an excuse not to even take the fight in the end.
You need something to get you angry and give you the extra fight in training.
Train hard, fight easy.
I was in the middle of opening a new gym, relationship issues and an injury that required an injection the day before but my personal reasons for doing the fight were left to simmer at the front of my head for a few weeks.
It wasn’t nice but it got my gloves on when I didn’t have any time, it kept me on the incline treadmill sprints for 10 seconds longer and it all spilled out in the fight and at the end out of sheer relief.
It kept me on my diet so I was about 84kg at the start of the week before the fight.
I tested a dehydration protocol which showed I could drop 4kg in a week by manipulating my salt and water.
I was fighting at 80kg and stepped on the scales the night before at 80.0kg.
I got in the cage at 84kg.
The other guy weighed in at 77kg and I’m guessing I walked in about 6kg heavier than him on the night.
That’s preparation that makes a difference because I did it right such that I felt great and full of energy unlike some fighters who walk in the cage feeling like death because they messed up their cut.
If you learn to eat right it will transform your training.
You will have more energy, less inflammation and less useless weight in body fat.
Start this EARLY so that you are about 3-4kg above fight weight within a couple of weeks of the fight – no last minute panic. (This will change depending on your weight but roughly speaking that will serve you well unless you’re fighting at 100kg plus).
Hire someone who knows what they are doing.
It’s not just about who works hardest but who works smartest.
Don’t do too much overhead pressing as you crank up your sparring and pad work – your shoulders can only take so much.
Increase your hip flexibility and you will unlock power without touching a weight.
Build a strong back – it will help you punch harder.
Use deload periods and a back off period in which you reduce your strength training two weeks before the fight (you’ll need to change your nutrition along with this to get it all pieced together). This will give you a chance to repair niggles, rest your joints and get your inner dog pulling at the chain again.
Train and think exclusively for your fight for as long as you can – you might have to upset some friends and family for a bit to get this done. Help them understand the importance to you.
The list goes on and the more you get right, the more your chance of winning goes up.
7) Enjoy it!
If you walk through that cage door, you have balls bigger than 99% of guys out there.
If you have given prep 100% the rest is up to what happens on the night, you can’t do anymore.
Enjoy your moment – everyone there has a lot of respect for you even if cheering for the other guy because they know they’ll never do it and they’ll keep finding excuses not to do it even though they keep saying one day they might do it.
Bollocks. If they would they would be making plans already.
Soak it up.
This is your 15 minutes of fame.
8) Know why you’re in there.
It might be a childhood thing (it usually is).
It might be to feel like somebody for a night.
It might be to impress your girl.
I don’t give a shit what it is but KNOW yourself.
Feed it, poke it, stir that shit up repeatedly until you are DYING to get in the cage.
Don’t bullshit yourself either.
You’re scared and that’s fine but channel it.
When the inner beast rears up you have to learn how to keep the tether on and make sure it doesn’t go out of control.
It will either serve you or mess you up.
8) Act like a pro.
The mind believes what you tell it and will seek out actions to confirm what you are telling yourself.
Constantly tell yourself you are an unbeaten fighter.
You’re a winner.
You’re a prize fighter.
You’re an athlete.
It will program you to take the right actions when a night on the beer is on the cards, a pizza leaflet comes through the letter box and you want to stay up until 2am to watch that movie.
Below is the post fight interview where I think the best line was “Half the room seemed to love you, half the room seemed to hate you”.
That’s how it goes.
If you’re sitting on the fence all your life because you’re scared of offending people and trying to keep everybody happy, you’ll end up pissed off and never doing the things you want to do.
Fuck holding back.
Do your thing.
Start a new thing.
You don’t need to hurt people in the process but when you pour time, money and passion into things, people get scared.
You expose them.
They get nervous.
That’s how I roll and you’ll gain good friends and fans in the process.
Forget the naysayers. They’re just there to push you harder.
People will tell you you’re crazy and try to talk you out of it.
For MONTHS you will face reasons to text the organiser and pull out.
But that’s what weak little sheep do, not the wolf.
This is your life and if you want to tick off a fight from your bucket list, pick up the phone now, send an email or whatever and start planning.
The night will soon come around and you’ll find yourself in that lonely place under the lights.
You have 10 minutes to live out a dream and carry it forever or spend sleepless nights wishing you had tried a bit harder.
Get to work.
9) Accept that few people will ever understand
You will have fans there and they will desperately want you to win.
Sport is great because it’s the modern day version of sending your town’s army to battle – you get this weird emotional connection as if they are doing it for you.
But after the fight is done and everyone’s got drunk, they will soon forget.
You’ll be left with either one of your greatest moments or a lesson in life.
Either way, sit with it and use it for your next step.