The importance of an alter ego

Pretty much every superhero I can think of has some form of alter ego. Whether it’s who they were before they became a superhero ala batman/Bruce Wayne or a disguise to hide their abilities like Clark Kent/Superman, most superheroes have an alter ego, someone they become when the mask comes off. Those that have superpowers/special abilities and don’t have an alter ego become something else entirely: the super-villain.
Imagine, you wake up, you have the ability to overcome or overpower any man on earth. By force or mental abilities, the world is at your disposal. But you have a bit of character in you, a spark, a jimminey cricket that says to use your powers for the greater good. You help others with your talents, you are a beacon of charity and hope in an otherwise dark and unforgiving world. Go Superyou!
After saving the world/a cat in a tree, from the brink of destruction, you go home to your mansion/apartment, put on your reading glasses, read a chapter in your favorite book while your dog is curled up at your feet. You might even have a family who thinks you just got home from the office. You and the world are at peace, until it isn’t. You’ll always be ready with your cape/cowl and spandex.

“Absolute power corrupts absolutely”

Having these abilities could tempt a man or woman to become the opposite. Why be good when you can control the world? Take what you want when you want. If someone is weaker than you, crush them. The world is yours! That guy has a lot of money, take some. She’s pretty, just overpower her. That line is too big to wait in, cut to the front, what are they going to do about it?
This is the attitude of guys like “the Joker” and “General Zod”. They let their power consume them. Any sense of compassion or humanity has left them and replaced by greed and power. If they want something, nothing can stop them. There is no need for an alter ego at this point, their lives don’t require peace.

We see this on the big screen, books, comics etc. But it’s in the real world too. I’ve known John Koppenhaver for a long time, we both fought in a Mexico based organization years ago. He’s always been a cool guy to be around, constant jokes and an all around nice guy. He’s a hell of a fighter too, no quit in him. His UFC fight with Jared Rollins was legendary, and his latest fight where he went to sleep rather than tap just showed there is no quit in him. He truly is a “War Machine” in the cage.
But their isn’t an off switch with him. He was born John Koppenhaver and became War-Machine. What he did the other night to Christy Mack isn’t the person he used to be. He used his “power” to overcome those without. Whether she was sleeping with another guy or not, you never hit a girl. Since birth that’s been absolute law written in stone for my family. It’s sad to see him caught up in all of this. A person as talented as he is should be fighting in front of a sell out audience on live tv. Instead he’s a fugitive on the run, facing inevitable jail time. All of his talent will be wasted in a cell. A once bright future lost in an act of villainy.
Hearing what Josh Grispi did to his wife just sickens me. Maybe this is my bias but that man has kids, he beat the mother of his children and sent his dog after her. I have no remorse for that guy. He’s the type of person that gives fighters our bad reputation.
As fighters we need to have an alter ego. When we go to the gym or the cage it’s all business, we become animals and tear each other apart. It’s part of our sport. The savage in us should not be exposed to regular people. We need an off switch. When we take our gloves off we have to leave the savage in us at the gym. So many times in public I want to bash peoples faces in for cutting me off, being rude etc. Sometimes I feel like I’m one wrong word away from blowing up on someone. I know for a fact that I could do some serious damage to avg untrained Joe. Lucky I keep it in check, There is an off switch. It’s absolutely necessary as fighters to have an alter ego, for our sanity and for others safety.

Note: I don’t know the full story of what happened, I just know that a woman is in the hospital severely beaten and a once great person will never be the same again. I Hope you find peace Warrior.

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Anderson Silva and the Achilles Syndrome

Before we talk about last night, lightning striking twice, bad luck etc. let’s talk about another hero of mine that I’ve always looked up to; Achilles, hero of the Greek Army and all around virtuoso of the battle field,struck down in his prime.

My old man would read me various books as a kid, one of them was called Gods and Heroes by Edith Hamilton. It’s a very good intro to Greek mythology, outlining the more well known myths and legends including the Trojan war. Achilles was my favorite character. He was peerless on the battlefield, always one step ahead of everyone. His speed, agility etc couldn’t be matched and made the rest of the soldiers seem slow in comparison. When he is reveling in battle, a chance arrow is shot, one in a million, and hits him in the leg. Boom there goes what should have been histories greatest warrior, now remembered as a weak tendon in the leg.
Now back to the present. Anderson Silva is the best fighter of our generation. He’s not only fought and beat the best in the division but has done so in seemingly easy fashion. He makes his opponents look silly, seeming bored even in his fights, dancing and goofing around in the most inappropriate of times, punches and kicks whizzing by. He went too far when he fought Weidman and his antics cost him the belt after being caught by a vicious left hand.

Last nights fight was supposed to be different. We were supposed to see a hungry and motivated legend that would redeem himself. Midway through the second round he threw the same chopping leg kick that he had thrown countless other times and was checked by a well timed Weidman shin. Silvas leg shattered and he crumpled into a heap. Everyone watching was shocked, not believing their own eyes.
The part that saddens me the most about this is not that he lost. It’s that he’s going to be remembered not for his amazing fight prowess or uncanny abilities but for his one unlucky kick he threw that ended his career. If you type the words Anderson Silva right now into a google search, “broken leg” will pop up immediately with it. Not greatest fighter of all time or longest reigning champion, just broken leg or some form of the sentence.

Instead of being remembered for being the greatest warrior on the battlefield, Achilles is remembered as the one that was killed by an arrow to the leg. He didn’t get to die on his shield as they say, he wasn’t beset on all sides by warriors, taking as many as possible with him to Tartarus. No, he was simply shot down by a lucky arrow. Fate is a cruel mistress, fans of our sport even more cruel. At Silvas age, who knows if it’s too late for him to rise from this, making a comeback. For Anderson Silvas peace of mind, his families, and his legacy, I wish him a speedy recovery.

Post script: no amount of calcium, tree kicking, or shin conditioning is going to help you prevent that happening. That same injury happens all the time in Muay Thai fights where kicks are far more numerous. It’s just never happened on that big of a stage. Hope for the best and chok dee when you throw kicks!

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Accomplishing the New Years resolution

I’ve been hearing a very pessimistic view from a lot of people about setting a New Years resolution. Like why would you set a goal for the end of the year instead of just starting today or stating the percentage rate of successful resolutions (8%). I get it, people like deadlines, it helps us get motivated. So people try things, fail, bend the goal, make a new one etc. it’s natural. The cool thing about humans is our ability to overcome, by trial and error. We fall, get up, fall again, but eventually we reach the top of the mountain. It’s what makes us so awesome! Anyway, enough about us, let’s talk about why we fail.
So you want to quit smoking, Great! I can’t stand cigarette smoke so the less of you the better. You smoke your last cigarette New Year’s Eve, boom easy. The next morning you wake up and you feel fine. The hours at work begin to take their toll. You start stressing out, the day is rough. Forget it, you go to the store, buy a new pack. You’ll start quitting after this pack.
Is it because your addiction is stronger than your will power? Do you love these death sticks more than you love your health? I doubt it. It happens, old habits die hard. Don’t beat yourself up about it, 92% of people failed along with you. You aren’t alone.
So here’s where I think (most) people that set resolutions go wrong; lack of preparation. You waited until the very last second, quitting cold turkey. A week before you should have been wheening yourself from it, one less cigarette a day or whatever system works for you. I’m not sure how it works, but a gradual decrease in anything is better than quitting altogether. The success rate between the two is night and day.

Preparation and planning is the key. If you set a dead line for yourself, great! Regardless of the day, you need to plan well in advance for whatever it is you plan on quitting/doing. Research what has worked for others, what didn’t, and what works best for your lifestyle. If you want to climb a mountain on the other side of the world, start saving well in advance, book flights ahead of time, make a schedule etc because before you know it a year is up and things can change at any given time. No warrior worth his salt goes into battle unprepared.
Another big one is weight loss. I feel for people with this goal because it’s such a hard one and most of the time it’s genetic, not a cake addiction. With media shoving models and athletes down our throats, we have a very twisted sense of what is ideal. I want to look like Arnold in his heyday, but I know that’s pretty unrealistic for my lifestyle. My best advice for people that want to change their look is to research nutrition first, make your own meals and then when that is on point, start hitting the gym. I don’t care if it’s Zumba or crossfit, something is better than sitting on the couch, wishing your weight away.
So in closing, tell the pessimists to suck it and get after it. Start your New Years resolution preparation today, it’s not too late. Whether it’s to stop smoking, traveling to a foreign country, give up binge drinking, I guarantee there is a method that will work for you IF it’s important to you. If it’s weight loss or muscle building, come see me at Guerilla BJJ or Bodies By Amorim. I’ll help you help yourself. My resolution? UFC or bust.
To the death!

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Bellator fight camp

Weight cutting/body transformation week 1
I’ve been fighting for a long time, not counting the years of wrestling and boxing I did before. I turned pro in 2005 at age 18. For as long as I could remember I’ve been punching and kicking imaginary opponents/world champions.To this day when I shadow box I still do the same thing. When I first started out fighting, I’d be scheduled for a fight a month in advance, then I’d start training hard, sparring would intensify and cardio would be kicked up a notch. Then I’d fight and my opponent and I would be terribly gassed by the end of the fight. I assumed that was part of fighting.
Then the UFC started doing the countdowns, the training camps of champions and challengers leading up to the big fights. I saw guys like Sean Sherk and GSP doing all these crazy exercises and really training at a different level than what I had seen. They were in terrific shape, going 100% the entire fight and still looking strong after the. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t even understand how or where to begin. I changed my ways a bit after that, doing more cardio in-between fights, cleaning up my diet a little. But it wasn’t enough.
A couple of years ago I was signed to a Bellator contract, basically the number two organization behind the UFC. In order to compete with these guys I had to take my training to another level. Not just physically but mentally. A lot of people don’t understand how much ring jitters and anxiety plays such a pivotal role in the fight business. I had to step up my game in every aspect.
I hired a great mental coach in Englishman Scott Stevenson, a sports psychology professor and all around mental Jedi. The guy knows his stuff, working with many top athletes from around the world. After many long sessions and conversations, I can attest that I have less anxiety in life and fighting, as well as not having had a Snickers bar in over a year.
Alongside Scott I worked with a couple of fitness gurus who implement Martin Rooneys Training For Warriors, a great all around program that took my fitness up to the next level. Being strong or good isn’t enough in mma, you have to have a complete package.
Since coming back to the states I’ve teamed up with a great BJJ professor, Dave Camarillo black belt and co founder of Guerilla jiu Jitsu, Matt Darcy. My technique is going through the roof and I’m actually applying proper technique, something I neglect by using more athleticism.
Last but not least my new strength and conditioning coaches, Travis and Kevin, owners of Bodies by Amorim. Since coming to them I feel like I’m going to break people. With all the tire flipping and sledgehammer swinging I’ve been doing, my body has never looked better. I’ve always had a chubbier build, strong but not ripped like others in my profession. The only time I’d see abs was the day of weigh ins. Not anymore. For the first time in my life I have a six pack. I’m proud of the progress I’ve made.
So for this camp I did a 12 week periodization training and I’m coming into my last 4 weeks. I won’t tell you about the technical sides of my training, that stuff is a secret. The first four weeks I did Olympic power lifting, basically low reps heavy weight, maximum strength. I got huge! I bulked up to about 190. The next phase I did functional weight lifting. The movement under load, so still heavy weights but more movement involved, like weighted lunges, more functional type lifts to get my power up.
These four weeks I’m going to strictly be doing conditioning, body weight exercises. Today I weighed in at 182, I’ve lost a little bit of muscle mass in the last 4 weeks from not lifting as heavy, a natural and beneficial side effect. I’m stronger than I’ve ever been going into these last four weeks. Every week I’ll be documenting my conditioning, my diet/portion control and body weight. I’m excited for oct 11th, the fighter on that day will be leaps and bounds above that cocky 18 year old kid that was in over my head when i started. Join me in my journey, fly with me. It’s time to Rise.

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If you have hispect you are Jedi

“Guys, make sure when you hip escape you go all the way down the mat. There is no halfway in life, you go all the way to the end just as you started.” Wow, not three minutes into Mestre Olavo Abreu’s BJJ class and I’m blown away by philosophy. It’s interesting, I’ve been taught moves in all ranges of martial arts from Muay Thai to sambo, I’ve kept some and lost more, but the professors philosophy’s always seem to resonate, etched into the mind. I might not use a single move from the gi in my MMA career, but Prof. Olavos philosophy’s on life will carry me through this journey. Abrigado Mestre. Oss.

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