Join Date: May 2006
Location: New York City, New York
Pain Conditioning: It's Where the Nickname Comes From
No one's ever asked about the monoquer on the forum, but I was looking through the log and saw that it was something that I had never brought up or mentioned. It comes from the most unique part of my training routine.
I was watching a video when I was 12 on Bruce Lee strengthening his abdominal muscles using a medicine ball. Besides free weights and a pull-up bar, a medicine ball is the only real workout gear I have around my house, and it sees the most use.
As I got older and started to really work on my striking and dealing with power takedowns I realized something:
No school of fighting in modern MMA teaches you how to handle pain.
Everyone seems to agree that there's a difference between the pain caused by the microscopic tears in muscles during a workout (or lactic acid build-up and other side-effects) and the kind of pain of having a guy smashing your face in or cranking a submission.
I've seen ball-smash drills and other things, but I developed my own drill that I do with myself that has, among my friends and training partners, gotten me my nickname.
I start with doing Bruce Lee's abdominal drill. It gets me focussed on handling body shots and helps me get into the mindset I need to be in to start really hurting myself.
I then move on to a standing version of Lee's excersise, where I have a training partner throw clinch distance punches to my stomach. It has been proven that correct breathing relieves the pain, but that isn't the goal in training, so I focus on handling it regardless of where I am in my breathing, sometimes letting the wind get knocked out of me, just so I'm not phased by the sensation.
I then move on the jaw and head warm ups. I start these on my own and practice it when I'm at home. I bounce the medicine ball off of my forehead and catch it, then I toss it again and catch it. This can be a little bit dizzying for those getting started, but eventually the threshold gets higher for that feeling and you can focus while dealing with strikes more easily.
Then I train my jaw. Whether using hand strikes or the medicine ball, I strike the side of my jaw so that the striking surface lands flush. Don't clench the jaw, as you want to maximize effectiveness of the excersise. That part of the jaw is the most sensitive, where the cheeck bone and higher up areas have a litter more substance behind them.
Then move on to sparring. I use the headgear sometimes, sometimes I don't. While I usually practice movement patterns and weaving, when I'm doing pain-conditioning, I choose to stand in front of my opponents punches. I tell my training partners to counter punch and I just focus on my strikes to counteract the natural instinct to get out of the way. I find that when I get used to taking punches while I'm throwing strikes, I can walk through some opponents.
Then I move on to chest drilling. It's the same as the head or stomach drilling, I just bounce the medicine ball off of it. This gets me used to the pressure of a slam.
While I do ball-smash drills, I also train for the initial impact of the slam, not just the pressure afterwards. I have some training partners that are bigger than me and very good wrestlers. I just have them double-leg or throw me, depending on what they feel they want to work on, and I try and stay focussed on getting to guard. I get to closed guard, and then I move on to the next opponent. If he passes or mounts, I get up and deal with the next guy.
Personally, I do this on top of grappling and striking training to refine technique, because I believe that technique is important, but I believe that if your opponent can't hurt you, then you've already won.
Keep on training.
Sig by Toxic
Barnett - Toquinho -Werdum - "Nurmie"
Z. Gurgel - Morango - Rocha - Tiequan