Preparing For Competition

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Preparing For Competition

The biggest battle is before the fight!

How do you reach the correct state of mind for competition?

Battling pre fight nerves

Straight away some of you have an answer in your head, right? Well the answer isn’t the same for everyone - everyone is different and deals with stresses differently when preparing for a competition.

Some competitors may prefer their coaches to be all <shouting> ‘come on, you are the best, you rock, you are going to destroy them, you have to do this, you were born to do this, give it your all!’ and so on. Some may prefer calm, yet reassuring comments, more specific to technique and game plan. There are limitless approaches to this and ultimately it’s the battles going on in the fighter’s head, certainly for the first few competitions, which are the biggest. Some competitors don’t get past this stage and lose before they even step into the ring.

“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win” 
― Sun TzuThe Art of War

To ensure that you can win is by ensuring you are as fit as you can be, meaning quality training prep, particularly with regards to cardio. Fitness is often one of the biggest and most common causes of failure, so if you nail this, the rest will seem significantly more comfortable. The next is being realistic and honest with yourself;  Ask yourself, "am I capable?" If the answer is yes, progress things further. 

The next step is making that definition between the use of the 'should' and 'could' in the statements you make. How many times have you said to yourself 'I should win this' or 'I should have won that' or 'I should be able to lose weight'? Most people have found themselves saying this but actually 'could' is a much more positive and hopeful word to use. Using 'should' is putting unfair and unrealistic pressure on yourself. It really isn't helpful, and many neuropsychological and cognitive behavioural studies have shown this over the years.

So to say 'I could win this' shows that you are capable and more importantly that you are prepared to give 100%. Or if after a loss 'I could have won that' (providing you are being honest in your own assessment) shows that maybe you didn't give 100% and that next time you know how you can improve.

Maybe this comes as a surprise, but 100% IS AS MUCH AS YOU ARE ABLE TO GIVE!!!! Forget what you hear footballers say and the rubbish spoken on talent shows, you cannot do better than your best, FULL STOP!

Placing unfair pressure on yourself will potentially set you on the road to ruin, maybe not now but in the future. By all means give it your all, in fact, make sure you do, because win, lose or draw you will be satisfied that you put everything into it. Sometimes people are just better and eventual losses are pretty much inevitable and a reality of life, why would it be any different when competing?

Lack of fitness or strength or lack of technique or skill compared to your opponents are all areas that a competitor can choose to work at and improve on, and mental training and preparation will be the glue that holds it all together.

A great source for helping you to deal with mental preparation not only in competition but also in life generally, is a book called 'The Chimp Paradox', from a very well-respected and world renowned psychiatrist; Professor Steve Peters. Steve is a consultant to the British Cycling Team, Sky ProCycling, Liverpool Football club and UK athletics as well as working with other Olympic and non-Olympic sports. Both Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton say that Prof Steve Peters helped them to win gold. Ronnie O'Sullivan worked with Steve in the run up to his 4th and 5th World Snooker titles. It is well worth a read and considering the techniques he recommends.

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Let's get functional

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Let's get functional

Functional Movement is King!

We have all been at that stage in our chosen sport, particularly with regards to combat sports and martial arts, where we ask our teacher or trainer ‘how do I get stronger and fitter?’

The answer to this question isn’t as broad as you might think; it can refer to very a specific set of skills, depending on which sport they are training for. So, for instance; Muay Thai – ‘I want to kick, knee or elbow harder or faster or be stronger in the Thai clinch’. BJJ – ‘be more explosive with sweeps and takedowns or have stronger jiu-jitsu or judo grips’.

The answer is rarely going to be ‘go and lift some weights and go running’- I think we all know that, however, it’s probably not going to be a one-size-fits-all approach either.

We all have things we are good at and areas we are faster or stronger in. On the flip-side, we all have areas we are weaker or slower in. Using functional strength and cardio training specific to your sport or martial art is key. A simple example being rope climbing to improve upper body and grip for BJJ or plyometric box jumps for explosiveness in legs for kicks - that kind of thing.

Use your time wisely...

‘You may delay, but time will not, and lost time is never found again’

- Benjamin Franklin

 

One thing that is constant for all of us is that we only have a limited amount of time each day. Time for any of us as individuals is not infinite (unless you know something we don’t). We have to take the time we do have and plan it wisely, specifically with regards to strength, cardio and your chosen sport.

Without proper planning or preparation, you could end up making things harder for yourself in the short term and therefore in the long run, too. For instance, you could be too tired from strength training exercises to be able to perform well in your chosen sport.

You may have had a heavy weights session on your legs, turn up to a Muay Thai class the next night and wince every time you kick a bag or take a light shot to the leg. This will surely hinder your performance and slow you right down, so allowing for rest time is vital to any successful training schedule. A key thing to keep in mind is that rest doesn’t have to be resting your whole body, just specific muscle groups.

Putting together your own training schedule can be quite difficult without support, however if you don’t have support, do give it a try for yourself as some planning is better than none!

If you do want some advice don’t hesitate to speak to someone at the gym and we can talk you through the first steps and put together a plan for you.

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Weight Loss vs Cutting Weight

Weight Loss vs Cutting Weight

Surely they are the same, yes? Nope, they are not. 

In this post I wanted to approach this subject broadly first but secondly with more emphasis on carbohydrates, I hope you find it helpful......

You may be looking to cut weight for a competition to improve performance or just get below the maximum weight for your specific weight bracket. Sports like combat sports or horse racing (the jockey's weight cut, not the horse's) are the most common that spring to mind. This type of weight cutting often - depending on how much you need to lose and your physiology - requires a lot of commitment and can be extreme and punishing on the body.

'Cutting weight' can involve huge drops in weight in small amounts of time, with athletes getting to sometimes dangerous levels of dehydration and malnourishment. With the added pressure of more frequent and intense training, it stands to reason that the two do not necessarily compliment each other.

Weight loss versus Weight cut

Alternatively, you may want or feel like you need to lose some weight and have taken the decision to drop some pounds and more importantly keep them off! Well, this is weight loss rather than cutting weight.

But what is the fundamental difference? One is temporary (weight-cut) and one is, ideally, permanent (weight-loss). The other big differences are the time it takes to achieve each of them and the most vital, the methods that are used to achieve each. 

drop the carbs at your own risk!

Dear Fighter,
Carbohydrates are your friend, not your enemy.
Yours sincerely,
The truth!

Occasionally I happen to listen in to a conversation the students are having or someone may ask me a question relating to carbohydrates, and I quite often find myself either reminding  or informing people (both competitors and non) that carbs don't need to be cut out from their diet. In-fact, in a lot of cases they shouldn't. Depending on how you deal with them as an individual, you need not restrict them at all. Food = energy and carbohydrates are a vital source of this energy. So why would you cut them out when you are going to need even more energy than usual to achieve your training goals? You can, for sure, get a quality, fast and effective weight-cut without cutting out vital sources of energy such as carbs. Equally you can achieve and maintain weight loss without cutting out carbohydrates. It's never a good idea, for most people, to cut out any major macronutrient (carbs, protein or fats) from their diet, it can lead to some long-term health issues.

Weight loss will be covered in many other posts but in the next post regarding this particular subject, I want to look at some more extreme forms and methods of weight cutting for Muay Thai, BJJ, wrestling etc and then look at how better to approach it. Something that could be more enjoyable and more importantly, easier to manage.

Happy eating!

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UCMMA 11, more wins for Iceni!

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UCMMA 11, more wins for Iceni!

UCMMA 11, more wins for Iceni!

A great night of action at Open Norwich for the eleventh instalment of UCMMA contender series. 4 Iceni Warriors/Icon team competing. We had 3 K1 fights, including one title fight, plus a debut boxing bout.

First up we had Bradley Kemp; this was his 3rd fight and Brad was feeling positive and focussed before going to battle. Round 1 both fighters came out a little too eager with fists of fury, however this started to calm down mid way through round one and Brad took control of the fight with some nasty body kicks to his opponent. Round 2 Brad was little less aggressive and sat back a little too much, which meant he took a few too many shots, albeit not hugely damaging. This potentially lost the round. Round 3 however, Brad came out like a true warrior and gave his best, with it being his highest scoring round of the whole bout, giving Brad the unanimous decision win! Brad dug deep and didn't let up until he got the win.

Second of the Iceni fighters was Diarmuid; Irish pride and the punching power of Thor's hammer played a big part in this bout. Diarmuid walked in as casually as he walked out, which in total took about 4 mins, less than a minute of this being actual fight time. The horn went, the fight started, a kick from Diarmuid, a jab and a hook (quite a nasty one) from his opponent and then a small flurry of punches from Diarmuid, ending with a short right-hook, taking his opponent to the canvas, where he took up camp for a little while. Job done, fight finished, another Iceni win! Well done to Diarmuid and indeed all of Ireland.

Next up was Marcus, this time boxing. A (big) heavyweight bout, Marcus lost 10kg naturally in the run up to it (he didn't even need to). However, his opponent weighed 124kgs and was BIG for that. Fighting giants is not at all easy at the best of times, even more difficult with only a small amount of boxing training and it being his debut. Marcus sucked it up and came out calm, composed and ready to bang. Unfortunately his opponent caught him with some nasty shots early on and the fight was quite rightly stopped. Back to Kickboxing and MMA for Marcus for the time being but when you lose you learn, only way to get better is to get back to it!

Last up was Ash, this was a bit of a step up, with only a handful of K1 bouts behind him, Ash was fighting for the UCMMA Light-Heavyweight amateur title. A very game and more experienced opponent came out and Ash did not disappoint early on, he came back with some vicious leg. Round 1 was Ash, round 2 was close but his opponent gave a little more. Round 3 was lost and following this we had to throw in the towel due to Ash feeling he didn't have enough gas left in him. Ash was gracious in defeat and agreed that cardio will play a bigger part in fight prep next time around. We are positive he would have come back with the win had the cardio been there, once again the fighter learns and moves on. 

Onward and upwards Warriors, we will take them to school next time!

Well done to all of our opponents, their gyms and to every other fighter and gym who turned up on the night, we salute and respect you all!

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Chris Carley Muay Thai Masterclass Seminar - April

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Chris Carley Muay Thai Masterclass Seminar - April

Chris Carley Muay Thai Masterclass Seminar - April

On Sunday 26th April at midday there will be another fantastic masterclass, for all skill levels, with the very high level and highly experienced coach that is Chris Carley.

Chris has coached and still coaches several Muay Thai and K1 champions of both UK, European and World level, as well as coaching striking skills to MMA fighters in the biggest competitions on the planet, UFC for one.

Don't be put off if you are just starting out, it really will benefit all who want to benefit from it.

Just £20 each, which really is a fantastic deal and huge opportunity and they don't come along often.
So want to take your game up a notch, maybe more? Want to pick up some cool moves and take them with you to your grave? Want to have fun?

Let me know if you are interested and get the money to me as soon as you can and your name is locked in.

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Masterclass Seminar with Chris Carley - 31st January 2015

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Masterclass Seminar with Chris Carley - 31st January 2015

With over 30 years’ experience in Muay Thai Chris Carley has trained some of the top fighters around, with 14 world & over 40 British titles, including:

Alan Keddle
Kieran Keddle
Mike Showers
Richard Fenwick
Rob Storey
Bernice Aldiss
Rebecca Donnelly MBE 

So, whether you are pure Muay Thai, K1 or looking to improve your stand up for MMA, you need this in your life! Tips and tricks you will take with you forever.

Improve clinch, kicks, elbows, movement and more, for only £20, this is 2 hours of unmissable learning, not to mention fun.

Saturday 31st January 10am – 12pm

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