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‘I Want to Fight Professionally’
A Man Question from Oliver
© 2014 James LaFond
SEP/19/14
Yesterday Oliver called me up and had the following to say:
“James, are you still open to work with me on Fridays? I’ve got my business setup so that I can maintain my commitments on a four day work week. I will not be able to train Monday thru Thursday, but I’m open on the weekends. I realize I’m getting old to think about turning pro in boxing or MMA, but I want to, and want to do as much stick-fighting as possible.
“With my children I have to maintain this business so will probably miss the remainder of the window that is open to me. In the meantime I’d like to train, spar and fight amateur as much as possible in hopes that if something opens up I’d be that much closer to ready. Is there, realistically, anything I can do to be six weeks from ready with my schedule? I’d even be willing to serve as your infomercial model if you manage to get me in that kind of shape with these restrictions.”
Is It Doable?
I answered Oliver over the phone in a questioning manner that does not make for good non-fiction narrative. I know that a trainer at the MMA gym run by the fellow who basically owns MMA in Maryland has been courting Oliver, so I feel justified in my assessment of him as a specimen—the genetic freak I wish was looking back at me when I peered into the mirror. I am most worried about his desire to box professionally since I do not have the connections to get him a fair match and he would surely be fighting a younger, larger, and possibly full time, opponent.
His background is traditional jujitsu, judo, boxing, and agonistics [free form stick and blunt knife fighting with minimal gear].
Boxing Assessment: mid-level pro power and chin, mid-level amateur everywhere else.
MMA Assessment Better hands than most pros, an amateur level clinch game, but no kicks or submissions
Stick Fighting Assessment Tough easy to score on dogmeat, with poor weapon retention, moderate power and good disarms in the clinch.
Since Oliver is free to train on those very days on which he would be competing in any combat sport I think this is doable, with the proviso that he does not fight top opposition. The level of fitness he can attain is limited by his work commitment. I am not a physical trainer or conditioning coach but a technical trainer. On a three day a week schedule I am confident that we can increase Oliver’s skill markedly, and will back away from pushing the conditioning to the limit since I’m not qualified to make close calls and his work schedule will severely retard rehabilitation from overuse injuries.
Competition Plan
I can set Oliver up with stick fights to work on his stress adaptation [relaxing while you are being beaten] which is the foundation of a fighter’s psychological game and does cross over from sport to sport if the fighter is experienced in both formats. In other words, stick fighting will not aid your boxing psychology unless you also spar and compete in boxing.
I will ask Sifu Clark, whose son fields kickboxers, jiu-jitsu fighters and MMA fighters, to keep Oliver in mind for sparring and competition opportunities.
Oliver has a boxing connection with two area coaches and I will defer to their judgment where boxing is concerned. I will not work his corner in that sport, unless we are doing something unsanctioned, as the boxing people in Baltimore have run me out of their organization for my involvement with stick fighting, and the two men I just referred to are much better corner men than I am. I’m sure Oliver’s girlfriend will need an escort, so I’ll spend my time consoling her in the audience. [I’ve got your back Bro!]
Weekend Training Schedule
Friday: Boxing skill set, a 2-hour training session
Saturday: bag work and/or sparring at Practical MMA
Sunday: sparring with knife, stick, and boxing sparring [target practice] with the overmatched stick-fighters.
The weekend training sessions are morning and early afternoon. After hydration, rest and a meal Oliver should run in the evening: intervals and round-length runs. See Jason Van Veldhuysen’s Beginner Boxing for specific running advice.
Weekday Training Options
For these 4 days I suggest that each day he select 2 of the options listed below, depending on the weather and time available. The duration of each set should be 20 minutes.
1. FMA footwork drills
2. Shadowboxing
3. BURPEES
4. Traditional floor exercises [crunches, pushups, waist rolls, side bends, medicine ball]
5. Shadow stick
6. Stick conditioning drills
7. Jogging
8. Shadowboxing drills dedicated to high repetitions of the skill of the week assigned on Friday.
Oliver, this solo work during the week is the boring glue that is going to make the fun and agonizing stuff you do on the weekend gel into an applicable skill set that will be there when you need it.
As my old friend Tattoo Rick often opined, “Shit the bed at your peril!”
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