Training Log 6/30


6:30pm – 8pm

Day off of work and the perfect day to start my new Power-Endurance conditioning block. Started off by going to Magnolia fields for a 6 minute distance run to test my anaerobic threshold. It used to be 175 bpm before my last conditioning block, but I’m sure it has improved. This time my anaerobic threshold was 182 bpm.

Went to Crunch fitness to get started with my threshold training.

4 sets on Jacobs Ladder. Heart rate between 177-187 bpm (+/- 5 of 182). 5 minutes per set. 3 minutes of rest. Not too difficult, but it will get harder as the block goes on.

Afterwards, I was going to do some shadowboxing and little work on the heavy bag, but there was a cardio kickboxing class going on in the boxing room so I joined for fun! Did about 30 minutes of that and went home.


“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

The Four Horses – Which One Are You?


A quote taken from George Leonard’s “Mastery” which I have just finished reading. This is an awesome story so I am posting it now as a perfect accompaniment to my book summary yesterday.


“In his book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, Zen master Shunryu Suzuki approaches the question of fast and slow learners in terms of horses. “In our scriptures, it is said that there are four kinds of horses: excellent ones, good ones, poor ones, and bad ones. The best horse will run slow and fast, right and left, at the driver’s will, before it sees the shadow of the whip; the second will run as well as the first one, just before the whip reaches its skin; the third one will run when it feels pain on its body; the fourth will run after the pain penetrates to the marrow of its bones. You can imagine how difficult it is for the fourth one to learn to run.

When we hear this story, almost all of us want to be the best horse. If it is impossible to be the best one, we want to be the second best.” But this is a mistake, Master Suzuki says. When you learn too easily, you’re tempted not to work hard, not to penetrate to the marrow of a practice.

“If you study calligraphy, you will find that those who are not so clver usually become the best calligraphers. Those who are very clever with their hands often encounter great difficulty after they have reached a certain stage. This is also true in art, and in life.” The best horse, according to Suzuki, may be the worst horse. And the worst horse can be the best, for if it perseveres, it will have learned whatever it is practicing all the way to the marrow of its bones.

Suzuki’s parable of the four horses has haunted me ever since I first heard it. For one thing, it poses a clear challenge for the person with exceptional talent: to achieve his or her full potential, this person will have to work just as diligently as those with less innate ability.


If I persevere and dedicate my efforts [at skills I’m not naturally good at], I’ll someday know this [skill] all the way to the marrow of my bones.”

The Path to Mastery


The path to mastery, a long winded, mysterious road in which many have seemed  to embark on, but very little factual information is shared about. Anecdotes and metaphors, quotes, inspiration, and motivational clips is all the guidance we can seem to find about becoming great at anything. This is all nice and well, but what do we actually do to become masters at something? Or at least good enough?

George Leonard delves into Mastery in his classic book and clears up the fog surrounding this topic. He shares why society leads us to the opposite of mastery, what kind of learning style is specifically stopping us from achieving mastery, and the actual keys to finding and staying on the path to mastery.

George Leonard learned about mastery as he struggled along the path to his Aikido black belt

George Leonard learned about mastery as he struggled along the path to his Aikido black belt

I believe there is some great things to be found in reading this book if we pay attention, but the only way to truly believe and internalize the lessons is to live them. The number one lesson to take from this book is to get out there and take consistent action for what you want as much as possible for as long as possible. Not only for the rewards your actions will reap, but for the joy that comes in taking that action. I will go into some of the learning trends and patterns that you may get stuck in on your path to mastery – or better yet, on your path to learning and becoming good at anything.


Are you a Dabbler, Hacker, or Obsessive?

George Leonard names three of the most common learning styles that will derail you from the path of becoming a master and halt your progress at a dead end. See if any of these descriptions ring a bell in your mind. I have been guilty of following all three of them multiple times in my life, and I still do in many areas of my life.


The path of the Dabbler


The Dabbler is an extremely common learning style that fits right into our American culture. We have created a culture that values the quick fixes, the short term solutions, and the extreme highs and peaks of life. A culture of endless climax, if you will. The Dabbler’s motto of choice will be finding his passion or finding himself. That is why he dabbles or tries so many new things.

The Dabbler is in love with the novelty of newness, the rush of excitement when you start rapidly improving at something new, and the endless adventure. There is nothing wrong with craving new experiences or leaving something behind that is not meant for you. The problem arises every time the Dabbler encounter his first, inevitable, plateau in something he has taken up. Enthusiasm wanes and rationalizations begin. The cycle repeats itself. The Dabbler ends up becoming a Jack, if even that, of all trades and a master of none. While it may seem as if the Dabbler’s life is always changing, in reality only their external circumstances are changing, the Dabbler remains the same.



The path of the Obsessive


I definitely recognize myself in this archetype more than all the others. Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a very extreme kind of person, throwing myself fully into things with little care for consequences. The Obsessive prides himself in this, refusing balance or moderation, preferring results over all else.

This pays off quickly, of course, and the Obsessive improves at a rate faster than most when he begins learning anything. The problem arises again when the inevitable plateau, necessary to development, occurs. Instead of giving up and seeking elsewhere when the novelty fades away like a Dabbler would, the Obsessive continues to seek ways to keep the fire burning and improve at a faster rate – trying to leap over the plateau. This works for a while, but is unsustainable, leading closer and closer to an epic decline that will cripple the Obsessive and anyone involved with him.



The path of the Hacker


The Hacker is different from the Obsessive and Dabbler. On the outside, the Hacker seems unworried with the novelty or continued improvement that these other characters possessed. The truth, however, is revealed when the Hacker continues to avoid opportunities for improvement and does just enough to get by. The best single word to describe the Hacker is comfortable.

The Hacker improves solidly at first and doesn’t give up or turn up the notch when he hits the plateau. He keeps at it. Soon enough, the Hacker has developed quite nicely at his skill or relationship. Then… he stays there. The Hacker is content to be decent at something, but fears or dislikes taking the risks and discomfort needed to improve. He ends up staying on an endless plateau while those around him continue to rise above.



The path of Mastery


We’ve seen the paths we take to avoid Mastery and what happens when we are derailed into these for significant periods of time. But what is the solution? Mastery is not dabbling, seeking endless thrills. Mastery is not obsessing, desiring a steep, rapid incline to the top. Mastery is not hacking, staying comfortable at a certain level indefinitely. Mastery is trusting the process.

Learning is not a straight upward curve and the Master realizes this. There are significant plateaus and regressions that you encounter along your way and the only way to get through them is to trust the process and learn to treasure the action over the result. It is ok to desire the fruits of your action: Money, fame, respect. But the plateau will destroy you if you do not learn to love the actual routine of learning. A Master knows consistent, dedicated action will eventually pay off, but the joy is in the action itself.


There are 5 key components to success on the path to mastery

  1. Seek out proper instruction.
  2. Practice. Practice. Practice.
  3. Surrender to the process.
  4. Be intentional in your effort to improve.
  5. Live at the edge of your comfort zone


Some days you're on top of the world

Some days you’re on top of the world…

and other days, the world is on top of you with a deep choke sunk in.

and other days, the world is on top of you with a deep choke sunk in.

Mastery is not the key to happiness (whatever that may be). Mastery won’t guarantee you an easy, pleasurable, or successful life. Mastery’s rewards will be found along the path itself. The enjoyment you derive from your effort, the flow and presence that comes with surrender, the insights you internalize from repeated failure and pain.

You don’t have to want to be a Master to learn something from this book. Everybody wants to learn something, improve themselves, or build better relationships. These lessons apply to any and all. Recognize if you are a Dabbler, Obsessive, or Hacker and strive to follow the path to Mastery. It will help, I promise.



“What a pity it is that war, with its terrible suffering and devastation, should often be more vivid than peace. In war, your comrades mean everything to you, life is unsure and thus precious, and you know that the sword is raised above you. Now it is peace. Your friends still mean everything, life is still precious, and look–why didn’t you notice it?–there’s the sword, still raised above you.”

Training Log 6/27 – 6/29


6/27, 6/28

Spent the weekend in Orlando with my family. Did a lot of swimming and horsing around in the pool, went to a fun party, and ate some good (not too high calorie) food. Very satisfied how I balanced sticking to an acceptable diet and enjoying the weekend as well.



Going to begin testing my weight every morning and posting it here, I have been dieting for the past week so I can make it down to 145 lbs for a future fight. I also am experimenting with fasting on Sundays, which are my usual rest day, which ends up being about a 36 hour fast with my first meal again after training on Monday morning.

Weight: 165.8 lbs


9am – 10am

Back at it in the morning with coach Vince, Amy, Sparkle, and Matt! Bang Muay Thai Tampa!

Got started by getting promoted to Orange Belt/shirt, pretty cool! Consistency, dedication, sacrifice, all that pays off. Warmed up with our hands and footwork drill. Moved into working on our switch series and hit the switch 2 a few times. Finished up boxing with a round of combinations, my footwork felt nice and so did my power and technique. I did realize I wasn’t breathing as well as I could be, though. Warmed up for kickboxing with a few lines of front kicks and round kicks and a knee drill. Did the sticks combo with Matt, which I like a lot and finished up with some sparring simulation, starting our combinations with a kick. Matt hits like a truck which motivated me to be extra tight with my defence and it worked, I didn’t let any punches through and used footwork very effectively. My offence was also flowing very well, landing hooks over the top, crosses through the middle and a lot of right body kicks. 25 crunches, push ups, and squats to finish the class.

What I did well: Footwork, combinations, relaxed focus, defence, front kicks

What needs improvement: Breathing on everything, knees


10:30am – 11am

Got to GT for some BJJ.

Get started with a escape from mount drill, I do pretty well at getting back to half guard and then full guard. My mount attacks on the other hand, were not doing as well. Afterwards rolled very intensely with Angel for about 10 minutes, got submitted a few times and nearly caught a couple armbars and a triangle, but not. Exhausted afterwards and called it a day!

What I did well: Mount escape

What needs improvement: Staying even tighter on armbars.



“A true martial artist, in my books anyways, is someone who is going to do the right thing and lead by example.”

Training Log 6/26


9am – 10am

Wasn’t able to sleep last night at all, I laid in bed for 4 hours and finally said screw it and watched some netflix. Felt horrible to hear my alarm ringing, but I’m not in the habit of forming bad habits, so I dragged myself like a slug into BMT this morning. Coach Vince, Amy, and Sparkle were there today.

Training was actually pretty fun, if a little more exhausting than usual. Warmed up with the same this week, Hands and footwork, hook shake, and swing back drill. Warmed up our legs with the catch and correct drill. Moved onto a round of knee combinations and knee, round kick combinations. Then we did the Dutch Drill, which is one of my favorite combinations. We actually performed it well enough on this tired day to warrant a video on facebook, check it out! Finished up the day with our Bas combo and some S&C.

Dutch Drill: Lead hook, rear leg kick, cross, switch kick, cross, lead hook, rear leg kick, lead hook, cross, switch kick

Bas: Jab, rear hook to body, rear uppercut, lead hook, lead hook to liver, roll into rear head kick

What I did well: SHOWING UP

What needs improvement: Keeping my guard up on combinations


10:30am – 11:30am

Showed up to GT. Rolled with Chaz for about 15 minutes, but I didn’t perform very well, I gassed out very quickly

What I did well: SHOWING UP, aggressive armbar attacks, pushing through exhaustion

What needs improvement: Guillotine, active guard and guard retention


11:30am – 12pm

YOGA with Angel, Vince, Amy, Sparkle, Chaz, and Eliseo. Huge yoga class today, and very intense. I swear Angel takes it harder on us when we have big classes, which we have had recently. But it was amazing stretching and very relaxing in the long run. My hips feel pretty flexible, but my shoulders are only decent, and my hamstrings/calves are always tight.



“He might dance down the street on his way to work, gaze into the eyes of a complete stranger and speak of love at first sight, or defend an apparently absurd idea. Warriors of light allow themselves days like these.

He is not afraid to weep over ancient sorrows or feel joy at new discoveries. When he feels that the moment has arrived, he drops everything and goes off on some long-dreamed-of adventure. When he realizes that he can do no more, he abandons the fight, but never blames himself for having committed a few unexpected acts of folly.

A warrior does not spend his days trying to play the role that others have chosen for him.”

Training Log 6/25


9am – 10am

Great class today at Bang Muay Thai with coach Vince and Amy.

Warmed up with our usual hands and footwork drill and hook shake drill as well as a line drill of the swing back transition. Hit everything a little harder and faster today though. Got our shinguards on and warmed up with our catch and correct drill where we throw body kicks at each other, catch them, and hold the position for a while to get a good stretch in. Started off kickboxing with a round of knee combinations including Reems and Follows. I like the long combinations involving double Reems or Follows, they’re a challenge in focus to complete. Did a round of kickboxing with knees followed by round kicks with Returns and Follows. Then we went into one of my favorite drills, Thai Style pad holding. This is based off training in Thailand where there is a language barrier so we just hold pads for each other without saying a word and our partner responds with the appropriate attack at 100% power. I never usually throw with that much power in training so my abs were soreeeee after this round. Finished up our class with a new flow drill involving jab/crosses and counters, very fun.

Reems – Knee, lead hook, cross

Knee Follow – Knee, cross, lead hook

Return – Round kick, return leg, lead hook, cross, opposite kick

Kick Follow – Round kick, step forward with kick, cross, lead hook, opposite kick


What I did well: Endurance, focus, power

What needs improvement: Keeping opposite hand up when punching, punching higher



“To be a learner, you’ve got to be willing to be a fool”

Training Log 6/24


9am – 10:30am

BMT with Amy, Tyson, Sparkles, and coach Vince.

Warmed up with our hands and footwork drill, hook shake drill, and a swing back transition line drill. Got ready for kickboxing with our catch and correct drill. Moved onto some rounds of front kick combinations and front kick parrys. Worked on some round kick combinations with Sparkles and finished up with a few rounds of simulated sparring with Tyson and Amy. Great drills, especially the sparring ones. My defence felt tight, I have to work on my offence a little more, using angles more and throwing different combinations.

After class I stayed around with Amy for about 20 more minutes working on our front kick parrys. I feel a lot better with them now.

What I did well: Front kick parrys, sparring defence

What needs improvement: Angles and combination variety.


11am – 11:30am

GT for some BJJ.

Got a few rolls in with Mike who is from Gracie St. Pete. I felt pretty good and fluid rolling with him. Afterwards I rolled with Brian for a few minutes who really put it on me, I just ended up working my defence for an entire round, but it was a good effort on remaining calm and controlled.

What I did well: Defence, relaxation

What needs improvement: Guard retention and recovery



“The master, an old martial arts saying goes, is the one who stays on the mat five minutes longer every day than anybody else.”

Training Log 6/18 – 6/23


6/18 – 6/22

Hurt my knee thursday in a heel hook, but it just seems to be a bad strain, rather than a tear. Lucky me.

Went home for the weekend and proceeded to have one of the most reckless and crazy weekends of my life. I love to do this every once in a while, but it leaves me like a trainwreck by the end of it. I didn’t train until today, Tuesday.



9am – 10am

BMT training with Amy and coach Vince!

Pretty pro class today, we warmed up with our hands and footwork drill and hit the hook shake from orthodox and southpaw. Did a line drill of the swing back transitions and went over our entire switch series, one of my favorites. My hooks are feeling nice, my crosses, not as much. Got ready for kickboxing with our catch and correct drill, my hips felt very loose and my kicks felt great. Then we went ahead and did a few rounds each of knee and kick combinations and front kick parrys. It might have been the weekend’s aftereffects or maybe I just didn’t eat so much yesterday, but my cardio died so fast. We finished class with our Bump and Bas combos back to back 5 times, I still felt power and speed in my hands and kicks even if the gas was gone!

What I did well: Showing up, power/speed, footwork

What needs improvement: Relaxation, endurance, front kick parrys.


“I’ve been through all this before,’ he says to his heart.”
‘Yes, you have been through all this before,’ replies his heart. ‘But you have never been beyond it.”

Training Log 6/18


9am – 10am

This is an ongoing trend, a lot of alcohol and little sleep leads to horrible morning wake ups. Luckily it hasn’t been affecting my training so much, moreso my weight and mood. I’m going to have to put an end to this streak soon.

BMT in the morning with coach Vince, Amy, and Jay. Warmed up with our two punch series, I like warming up with this because it is helping me include movement between my combinations which is something that I need to work on. Moved onto the hands and footwork drill and the hook shake drill. Did our cross hook combination and finished boxing with a line drill of cross hook 2. Got ready for kickboxing with some combination rounds. Killed it with Amy. Finished up the class with a bunch of combos, including TJ with a cross/high kick, Sauer, and Bump. 25 sit ups, push ups, and squats!

TJ with cross/head kick – Jab, fake single leg, rear uppercut, left hook, rear head kick/cross

Sauer – Lead hook, cross, lead hook to the liver, swing rear head kick

Bump – Jab, cross, jab, rear hook, shuffle to the alley (inside), rear uppercut, lead hook, lead hook to the liver, swing rear head kick.

What I did well: Focus, Enjoyment, Keeping hands up and chin down more and more

What needs improvement: Relaxation, Keeping arm out for kicks, and rotating on kicks more


10:30am – 11:30am

Pretty exhausted after kickboxing, but I might not be here for class tomorrow so I decided to show up to GT for one last intense bjj session for the week.

Got a 5 minute roll in with a new, bigger guy. I was able to work well from my back and I felt very focused. For the main event, I rolled with David for about 30 minutes of intense back and forth action. I was really focused and probably performed the best I ever have on the mats, my reactions and attacking felt stellar. Of course, in the long run, David got the better of me quite a few times because he is much better than me, but I was very happy with myself after the roll. I attempted a bunch of armbars which felt really tight, I’m sure I could have finished on the majority of people, but David was able to hitchhike out of all of them… There is an area that I am going to work on relentlessly and will pay off dividends.

What I did well: Focus, pushing the pace, attacking opportunities, guard passing, decent guard

What needs improvement: Guard work against standing opponent, stopping the hitchhiker, chokes



“And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.”

Carrots, Eggs, and Coffee


Are you Carrots, Eggs, or Coffee?

I read this story online recently and was impressed by the metaphor and meaning found in such a simple tale. Hope you enjoy.


A daughter complained to her father about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved a new one arose. Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In one he placed carrots, in the second he placed eggs, and the last he placed ground coffee beans. He let them sit and boil, without saying a word. The daughter sucked her teeth and impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing. In about twenty minutes he turned off the burners. He fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl.

He pulled the eggs out and placed them a bowl. Then he ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her he asked. “Darling, what do you see?” “Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied. He brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. She smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. She humbly asked. “What does it mean Father?”

He explained that each of them had faced the same adversity, boiling water, but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. But after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water. “Which are you,” he asked his daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?”


“Do I dare/Disturb the Universe?”