Thursday, July 29, 2010

Reading Dan John, and thinking about life.

Three years ago I wrote what I consider to be one of the best things I've written. I was inspired by something Dan John wrote, and recently he wrote something that brought me back to that same post, and a few other things.
It made me think of listening to the Cardinals games on the radio with my dad. Jack Buck's voice booming through the car. I thought about beating Army at West Point. Many times laughing with my wife. I thought about recent moments with the kid: the first time he smiled, the first time I heard him laugh. So many of those moments in the past 11 weeks.

I realized that's why we have children. The same reason we play sports or do all of the things we are passionate about: To be in those moments of perfection. To touch the divine. Those moments are the seeds of passion.

I realized it's a selfish thing to have a child. I've doomed this little guy to all the pain the world can inflict, and ultimately death so that I can have more of those shining moments. I owe him a debt that I can't repay. I go out of my way to spend as much time as I can. To have those moments; because I can't know when those moments will happen, and I don't want to miss one.
In turn, I have to give as much of myself as I can.. and more.. teach him every thing I know (that he wants to learn) so that he has those moments to look back on when he's 35. So that he has the skills and passion to have those moments without me.
What I can't figure out is how to teach him to enjoy those moments. To pause, and look around. To remember what your father/your teammates/your wife/your son look like in that moment. Really enjoy, and imprint it on your memory. To not lose sight of those wonderful perfect moments for all of the small annoyances life throws.

Last summer my cousin Jake got married. He is a good kid who's on his way to becoming a good man, and at the church I pulled him aside and said: "Take Jaime (his wife) and sneak off for 10 minutes between now and cutting the cake. Have some quiet time to yourselves and enjoy being together today. Tonight will go very fast, don't miss it."
I don't know if he took my advise, but I hope he did.

I have been very fortunate. I have a fantastic wife. A great kid and have been very lucky to be moving this weekend into a great house with the help of some good friends. These are big things and they are important.

Conversely, I had a belly ache the other night. I had a ton of work to get done to get the house ready to move in, and almost no time to do it. I rolled poorly on Monday night and got beat like a drum. There are many annoying things about my job. My hips are sore, my back aches. Last night I got a flat tire, I couldn't get my truck down off the jack (it broke and wouldn't go down).
These are small things they are not important.
I have to be careful that I don't get so focused on small things that I lose sight of, or worse, lose the big things.
I think that's true of all of us.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Take them bowling.

Sorry it's been so long between updates. The house and the kid are taking up every second of free time I have (and then some).
Last Tuesday was just another day at the office. I hit my 5/3/1 numbers.
deads: 5 at 330 3 at 370 3 at 415 3x10 at 275
press: 5 at 120 3 at 140 3 at 155
I did some chins in there too.

Wednesday, I took the day off work to work on the house and go to IKEA to pick up some furniture. I did go to class in there. I rolled with Sam for the first time since he got back in town. That's always a challenge.
We got to IKEA in the afternoon, and bought several items. I don't really know how, but I fit all of it, the wife and the grizzly bear in her Jeep for the ride home. I dropped them off at the condo and unloaded it all myself.

Thursday, I was pretty smashed. The stress and extra work were starting to catch up to me. So I skipped the extra sets of squats.
Front squats: 5 at 155 5 at 175 3 at 195
I did these in a new pair of Oly lifting shoes that I bought. I feel considerably more stable. My mobility is still lacking and that is still a major cause of instability, but better is better and these were better.
Bench: 5 at 175 3 at 195 3 at 215
Grip, shoulders, arch, heels down,pull the bar apart, flex out, tuck tuck tuck, press, flare.
Chins: 1 set max reps.

I decided that this was going to be the last friday fun group training session. We started these for Pan Ams 2008 and they have been going strong ever since. When these were on point, they were planned and progressive. We had a consistent group of people who were highly motivated to get in shape for a competition (BJJ, rowing race, bike race, or god knows what). Right now, there just isn't anything coming up so people are showing up sporadically. I want to take all of my gear and build my home gym, and I couldn't figure out how to split the gear so that one or the other wasn't lacking. To be frank, I just don't have the time and bandwidth to give away. So I'm pulling things in, and this was one of the biggest savings from a cost:benefit viewpoint.
I talked to Professor Reyes, and I'm going to set up twice a week, 6-8 week 'training camps' for the big competitions (pan-ams\mundials\U.S. open). That simplifies things for me. I only have to do 1-2 8 week sessions per year, and I only have to focus on 1 sport.
This way too, I have my gym at my house and can get in quick training sessions with ZERO prep time. If the kid takes a 20 minute nap, I can train for 19. No drive time, no prep time. In and out.
Pragmatically it makes a lot of sense, emotionally it sucks. I've had a lot of fun training with those folks over the past 2 years.
End of an era.. start of a new one.

Saturday, class then more packing and moving. Sanding and Spackling.
Sunday more of the same. The house has a great 'semi-finished' basement, but there are so many bumps and bubbles in the walls that I could go down there for a year and never get everything clean and true.
Right now it's good enough.. at least until I can rip it all out and do it right.
Sunday I had some left over Chinese food for lunch. Didn't seem like a big deal, until I woke up at 2 am ill. It felt like someone was jamming a red-hot iron through my guts. Needless to say, I did not sleep well.
Monday afternoon I was watching the kiddo while the wife got her training session in, and he was tired.. too tired to sleep. I was not. I was exhausted. I got home from work with a headache. He did a lot of crying which made my headache do a lot of getting worse.
I sucked it up, the wife got me some espresso on the way home (she's fantastic) and I went to class.
By the time I got done cleaning the mats my head was sore, but nothing I couldn't deal with. I rolled a couple of times, and should have quit there.. I didn't.
By the time I was headed home it felt like tiny skinheads were kicking their way through the back of my eyeballs with tiny steel-toed boots. I was an emotional train-wreck.
I came home and mercifully the wife suggested I go to bed early. I hung out with her for about 30 minutes after class, and showered and went to bed.
This morning I feel like a million bucks.
Today I'm going to go disk-golfing with some folks from work (not something I'd normally do, but what the heck)and nothing else.
Tomorrow some very light cleans and front squats.
Friday is packing.
Saturday is moving.
Sunday is unpacking.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How are you so agile!??!

In the middle of a roll last night my opponent/training partner exasperated, asked me: "How are you so agile?!"
I can't say I really knew how to answer that.. lucky? good parents? Extensive training? Your mother's a whore?
Ok, so not that last one.

Training update:
kb complex (timing station):
5/5 clean and press
5/5 snatch
5/5 halos

slosh pipe:
press, carry, press, carry
equal rest

explosive push x5
more than equal rest.
This was good. I need to work a bit more with my guys on getting stronger/more explosive but at the same time they come for conditioning.. it's hard to ride two horses with one saddle.

worked on the house, and moved stuff all day.. both days.

BJJ: Arm bar to Omoplata transition. Really tightened up my omoplata. Rolled with a couple of folks, less experienced guys. I tried to get them into deep water without just kicking the crap out of them. Worked with one guy on his half guard. Worked with the above quoted guy on his guard passing. I really do like teaching.

That's really it.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dad life.

Busy lately. So I'll just play you the hits.

BJJ. Had a blast. A lot of stand-up.. which I'm pretty good at (if I do say so). Got a bloody nose about 5 seconds into.. well before class started actually, went home exhausted but got out of there with no injuries.

5/3/1 deads:
3 at 315
3 at 355
3 at 395
3x 10 at 275

5/3/1 press:
3 at 115
3 at 135
5 at 145

2 chins at bw+25 between each set of presses. I was pretty pooped so these were hard.

More good stuff. Working from the bottom, getting tighter and smoother. I need to watch my focus, sometimes I zig too hard, and end up in stuck when it's time to zag.. if that makes sense.

5/3/1 front squats (clean from the floor)
3 at 145
3 at 165
3 at 185
3 x 10 at 115 need to warm up more. I was very stiff for the first few sets.

5/3/1 bench:
3 at 165
3 at 185
5 at 205

done and done.

Last night I went to the new house, which is a very old house. I scraped a bunch of poorly done tape off of the walls. Patched a few holes and then did my best to clean up the bad tape job with mud.. if I sand and re-apply to shape it a bit it'll look a lot better.. not good, but better.
I also cut a heating vent in the floor of one of the bedrooms. Drilled 4 pilot holes and connected the dots with a jig saw. Got a lot done.. got a lot more to do.

Dad Life: (hat tip to Dave Tate)


Monday, July 12, 2010

This is my house!

One of the stressors that I've neglected to mention to you good folks is that the wife and I are buying a house.. Well we bought it.. sort of.. which is why this is so stressful. The short version is the house (built in the 1940s, and needing a good amount of work) is ours, but so is our condo. We have 6 months to get out of the condo.
So the good amount of work (besides moving) I am just starting to get my head around. It's a lot of paint and spackle, a little bit of work covering some open framing in the utility room. A good friend of ours is a contractor. He'll be working on the house (I'll be his gen. labor monkey). We did a walk-through yesterday. The wife and I put together a wish-list, and he's working up an estimate. There is a fine balancing act going on here that is the stressful part. If we sell the condo quickly, and can get the work we want done without eating up all of our cash (aka our down payment) then we'll be in good shape. If not.. stress.
The cool thing is this house has a garage.. which will soon be a gym. the down side is the ceiling is too low for overhead barbell work.. the up side is it's a garage, so I can open the door.
Over the next couple weeks I will be working, working on the house, moving and the usual dad stuff on top of training.. should be interesting.

Training from the past few days:
BJJ class. Couple good rolls, work was a little messy, and I was in a hurry, so this class is a bit fuzzy.

5/3/1 front squats (cleaned from the floor):
5 at 135
5 at 155
5 at 175
3x10 at 115

5/3/1 Bench press:
5 at 155
5 at 175
7 at 195
Ran out of time, had to be in at meeting.

Extra training:
CSR drop sets:
1 plate and 4 quarters 5 reps, remove a quarter 5 reps... down to 10 at just the plate.
1 plate and 3 quarters.. repeat
1 plate and 2 quarters..
I like drop sets for rows because as you get fatigued the muscles in the mid back that need the work stop working and the ROM shortens up, buy dropping the weight I can get in a ton more volume with the actual scap retractors working.

Made up the Chins at bw that I skipped the day before.

Gun show work.

Friday fun:
kb swings 5/5 at 62, 20 sec airdyne, 20 sec off. x10

BJJ. This Saturday the 17th is a tournament, so I was working with one of the white belts on a fairly remedial snap down takedown, and the Professor asked me to show the class the same. So I did, then he showed the same with a foot sweep. So it was snapdown to the back foot, snapdown transition, snapdown to foot sweep. Then I rolled with a couple of guys. I had a more "successful" couple rolls. The first guy I rolled with told me "Even when I have position on you I don't feel like I have control." That lead em to an epiphany; I'm not competing any time soon. I don't have to 'win' every transition. I think that's the wrestler mentality that is hurting my game and my emotional well being. If I'm in control of the situation, then I'm in control and developmentally that's better than winning the positional battles all the time. Still going to be hard for me to break the winner/loser mentality.

Carried lots of boxes, and poked around the new house.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

4th of July and 116.

Greetings true believers! I had a busy weekend.
First off.. thoughts on the fights from this weekend:

As much as I dislike Eddie Bravo,George Sotiropoulos looks like a legit lightweight. Crisp striking and his gumby-like physique is perfect for the rubber guard. I do think he gives up the takedown a bit easily, and will have problems with top-control guys like Grey Maynard and Clay Guida but then again there are very few truely complete fighters.

I was almost sorry to see Stephan Bonner win. He's a very likeable guy who would be great announcing or as a public 'face' for the UFC, but he just doesn't have the right mentality to win fights. He'd rather 'wade and trade' than show off his very crisp boxing.. and eventually he's going to be a sad story.

I like Krzysztof Soszynski, but I'm beginning to wonder if he hasn't hit his ceiling. He's well rounded enough to beat anyone with glaring holes in their games, but not good enough at any one thing, he doesn't have a "strikeout pitch." Something he's so good at that that the other guy has to gameplan around it. He would be well served to visit AKA, Tri-star or another camp with a great striking coach since that seems to be where he's most comfortable. Put some polish on his skills to take him to the next level.

Chris Lytle looked great. He's always going to be a gatekeeper, but by fighting smart he may have moved himself up a notch in that area. Used one of my all time favorite submissions to finish Matt Brown.

What to say about Chris Leben. He seems to have grown up. He beat two tough guys in two weeks, and did it with a smile on his face. That said he needs to work with a boxing coach and a jiu-jitsu professor À la carte instead of just training "MMA" because he has the ideas of these arts without the fundamentals, and fundamentals win fights.

Yoshihiro Akiyama is in a terrible spot. A pariah in Japan (for being of Korean decent and very good at Judo.. among other things) Akiyama has had a couple pretty mediocre performances here stateside. He's too small and gets pushed around by American middleweights that cut more weight than he does, and his conditioning is suspect. He should have been able to escape that triangle, it was loose, and poorly applied. He simply ran out of gas. He needs to train at a better camp, and he needs to drop a weight class (or add some muscle mass) or he's going to be out on his ear.

Brock Lesnar is a legit fighter scaled up to 2:1. He needs to learn to circle out of trouble on the feet (damn near cost him the fight on Saturday) but his transition from side-control to mount to side-control to finish the arm triangle was great. The dose of humility he showed after the fight was even better. Makes it easier to like the guy. Maybe nearly dieing of an intestinal rupture taught him some humility, maybe Dana White just talked some sense into him.. or maybe he's just eating more vegetables these days and is more regular.. who knows.

I think Cain Velasquez could be a tougher fight. More polished on the feet, better wrestling, and better feet. Shane Carwin is strong and athletic, but he has plodding feet that really are the difference between a good wrestler and a great one. However, I don't know that Cain is big and strong enough to keep Brock from winning the fight by just "big-brothering" him around the cage. Looks like we'll see.

Sorry Shane, a puncher's chance just isn't good enough.

Training the past week:
Friday fun:
4 sets of 5 slosh pipe presses.
1 set of AMAP (I got 21)
1 set of 1/2 amap
TRX pendulums with a pause (20)
TRX plank holds for max time.

BJJ Couple good rolls, nothing epic. Just getting out of my head.

BJJ Taking the back, back escape, and chokie goodness. Good roll with the purple belt that drubbed me last week, got to roll with the professor (which is always great), and one more roll with one of the bigger white belts.
When I got back from time off for the kid I was rolling great. I was super focused, and I had really taken things to the next level. Now, I'm just tired and that focus is gone.. and it's pretty obvious. I need to get it back.

5/3/1 deads and military:
Deads (prescribed reps only):
5 at 275
5 at 330
5 at 370
10 at 275 x3

5 at 105
2 chins at bw +25
5 at 120
2 chins at bw +25
7 at 140 (prescribed +2 had one more in me, but I'm keeping this conservative)
5 chins at bw (amap)

Called it a day from there.
My upper back and hamstrings are pretty sore today.

Had a good 4th. Ate a ton of BBQ ribs and banana pudding.
Monday got stuck out on one of the islands, and took 3 hours to get back to the mainland. Otherwise a great weekend.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Just pretend I'm young and good lookin'

or something..
I used to be funnier, but this will have to do.

Training update:

speed pulls 5 sets 0f 2 at 315
Fat grip presses: 3 sets of 8 at 95
chins: some at +25

Normally I go to BJJ, but my neck is screwed up so I went to the gym instead.
I did a lot of technique work from hang to full squat.
Cleans: these went very well. I worked up to some easy singles at 185
snatches: these stunk. I can heave over head more weight than I can stabilize in an overhead squat. I damn near hurt my shoulder because the weight was going up too fast as I was coming down trying to catch it. Everything I missed I missed out in front.

all bodyweight (I did a lot of light, but a lot of squatting yesterday so I just decided to stay light)
Lunges the length of the basketball court
reverse back extentsions x10 (face toward the back extension, grab the foot plate with your hands. lift your legs. We don't have a glute-ham or a reverse hyper, but these were good enough)
nice and light. I may add some of those to my warm-ups.
4,4,3,3,2,2,1,1 all at bw.
pretty easy.
Texas push-up challenge:
I had to rest a bit before the last set.
This was surprisingly difficult.

Big fights this weekend. Some very funny lines in the lead up*:

There are a ton of really great Japanese fighters, he's just not one of them.
-Chris Leben

That's why they have a division II. So those guys who couldn't hack it in DI don't go home and hang themselves..
-Brock Lesnar when asked about Shane Carwin's DII national championship.

*from memory, so cut me some slack may not be verbatim.