Skill+Preparation+Right Mind Set = Success. Part 1

Coach’s Corner w/ Coach Chris Herzog

When Alder first asked me to write a blog for 10th Planet Watch I was pumped, then immediately realized, “you can barely put thoughts to spoken words you dope, how the hell are you going to articulate them to written words.”  Apparently that wasn’t a concern for Alder, so as long you guys don’t care, I don’t care either.  So grammar and spelling be damned (thank the Anunnaki for spell check, however I think I’m the only person in the world that gives spell check a headache, because sometimes it doesn’t even know what the hell I’m trying to spell).

So, besides the deciding what initial topics were going to cover, the next step was comming up with a name for the blog. I was playing around with the idea of something witty, and then that came to a screeching halt.  So I decided upon a tribute to a close friend and mentor that’s on hard times, as a reminder to him of the lives he’s touched and effected. He used to run a open MMA forum with the same name.  So welcome to the new “Coach’s Corner”.


In this installment of Coach’s Corner we’ll begin to take a look and the equation I use to promote success for my competitors/fighters. Just to be clear we will be discussing competition in terms of attempting to win, there are merits to competing for skill development, but that’s something we can discuss at a later date. Today will start our discussion with tournament preparation and its importance to success.  “But skill is listed first”.   Hey this is my blog and I start it anyway damn way I please. Now sit down and the 3 of you pay attention!

Preparation consists of many aspects but we’ll be touching on  three pieces to the puzzle that I’ve found to be the most effective: sport specific conditioning, tournament strategies, and proper warming up the day of the event.

Sport Specific Conditioning: Over the years I’ve had many well conditioned athletes walk through my Academy doors; marathon runners; collegiate athletes wrestlers, soccer and football players, powerlifters, body builders, etc.
They all had one thing in common. They all gassed when they spared and when they competed, they where all in great shape, but they weren’t in the right shape.

To get into the right shape we have to understand the importance of sport specific conditioning. Most grappling matches consist of one round 5-8mins in length depending on the skill level of the competitor. Studies have show that most intense action during these matches happens in busts of approximate 20 seconds, with 25-30 seconds of “active rest” which allows heart rate recovery in between bursts.  It’s important to replicate these conditions during your tournament preparation. Using a round based system one can easily apply it to drill training (escapes, passes, etc.) and their conditioning program reinforcing the replication of a competitive environment.  Depending on the level of importance of the event will dictate how long you want to prepare for the tournament between 3-6 weeks, replacing your normal training routine, is a fair amount of time to prepare if you are all ready in decent shape.   

 Its no secret that Grappling relies heavily on core strength and flexibly, but what many people miss is the importance of dynamic strength (kettle bell swings, cleans, burpees, power bands, etc.) and functional flexibility(hip swings, full range lunges, etc.) vs. static strength (bench pressing, curls, etc.) and flexibility (seated stretching and holding for 15-20 secs). Some great training methods that promote functional fitness are becoming readily available include kettle bell training and other programs such as cross fit.  At our academy we have a program that addresses these needs (Fight Fitness) designed specifically for our fighters and competitors, which has made a considerable difference in our competitive outcomes. If these types of programs are not accessible in your area there are several free online resources available that will allow you to set up your own individualized program.


Pt. 2 of this article up tomorrow!


-Chris Herzog


Is a Brown Belt in 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu, under Eddie Bravo.  Chris runs 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu Rochester out of Empire Academy of Comabt Sports & Fitness in Rochester, Ny. Chris also teaches Judo, Sambo and MMA. He is available for seminars and be contacted through the Academy website at: or by e-mail:

14 Responses to “Skill+Preparation+Right Mind Set = Success. Part 1”

  1. Matthias says:

    I’m looking forward to pt. 2

    - Matthias
    one of the three guys ;)

  2. Chris Herzog says:

    Thanks Matthias,

    I also want to thank my editor Alder, who apparently didn’t even read past the first paragraph =)

  3. Lorenzo Lami says:

    I liked it! Could you please post some links to those “free online resources available”?
    Since there are many (as you said), could you advice one or the other?
    Looking forward to the second part.

  4. Alder says:

    I’m not sure what chris is talking about. I’m a editor (sound) by trade, nothing gets by me.

  5. the part about people gassing and being athletes is totally true. even when people cross over from stand up to the ground game. they think they are in grappling shape because they can stand and bang for a few rounds…great shape but totally different. thats when i get the bucket ready for their first day of training!!

  6. Chris Herzog says:


    Check out its an amazing resource, with tips, vids, daily workouts,etc.

  7. Ari Bolden says:

    Coach Chris and Alder:

    This is a GREAT idea. It really adds to 10th Planet Watch and makes this site unique. Will comeback for more.

    cheers and thanks

  8. Erik Wahlberg says:

    Thanks for taking time to write this, Coach. Much appreciated!

  9. Chris Urbanski says:

    Great intro and article Coach Chris. I would offer my services as proof reader and spell checker BUT it wouldnt be a REAL Article written by a REAL person :)

    I look forward to future articles!


  10. Chris Herzog says:

    Keeping it REAL since 1974!

  11. Ari Bolden says:

    That’s a good year coach ;-)

  12. Lorenzo Lami says:

    thanks for the link :-)