Going from Chump to Champ requires this…

July 10th, 2012 In Theory | Comments Off

This is a great article by ADCC vet, David Avellan. It talks about many of the same principles I believe in! It talks about discipline, motivation, consistency, goals etc. IT’S a MUST READ!!!


Underground Blogger David Avellan, along with his brother Marcos, founded South Florida’s Freestyle Fighting Academy (FFA) in 2001, and has trained fighters for the UFC, WEC, Bodogfight, EliteXC, Strikeforce, among many other promotions.

Most people that begin martial arts do not have it.

They come to the martial arts with the idea of learning it, not realizing how important it really is.

Every person who quits doesn’t have it.

Those that stick with it begin to develop it.

Like a muscle, it grows stronger with use.

With it you have the power to accomplish anything you desire.

What is it?

It is the single, most important aspect of developing greatness.

To be able to reach the high levels of aptitude required for championship level performances, you must be able to stick to a structured training regimen for a long period of time.

The path to greatness is very treacherous – filled with dangers and wicked twists that will throw off all but the few souls that possess the will and the discipline to stay the course.

Being disciplined means that no matter what is happening in your life, you will complete the task you set out to do every day.

It doesn’t matter if you are tired, sick, grumpy, have a hot date, have work to do, or (add your favorite excuse here) – you do what needs to be done.

When you have your own team of trainers, you don’t require that much discipline. Your coaches ARE the discipline. They will call you, contact your family, or even come to your house to make sure you train.

To be a self-made champion, you need to have discipline. While this can be a challenge, the rewards of having a high level of discipline are well worth the price of attaining it.

The Challenge

When you first start a new program, it is easy to stick to it. You are excited and pumped up to get results and have fun.

As time passes, the initial high fades. That is when your discipline (or lack of it) will kick in.

Those of little discipline quit quickly. They find all sorts of excuses to not fulfill their duties.

Those with discipline buckle down and stay with the program.

They have to push themselves out of bed, hype themselves up, and get their butt moving.

The hardest part is deciding to follow through. Once they are in the gym, it is relatively easy.

How do you Develop Discipline?

Discipline is like a muscle – it develops with use.

You train for discipline just as you would setup a weight lifting program, by increasing the difficulty gradually over time.

A simple way to start is by giving yourself a daily task to perform that is easy.

For example, set out to do 20 pushups every morning when you wake up.

This is not very challenging (physically), but you will find that sticking to this can be mentally challenging.

One day you will get up and be in a rush to do something. As a result, you forget to do it. Then you just drop the whole regimen altogether, deciding that will start over again tomorrow…

…And we all know how long in the future that tomorrow will be.

The key to developing discipline is consistency. You HAVE to do what you set out to do. No ifs or buts.

To keep yourself accountable, write down your discipline challenge and place it on a wall that you will see every day. This will be your reminder to do your task.

Start off with a simple task, such as:
•    20 pushups
•    20 sit ups
•    1 mile run
•    20 repetitions of your favorite technique

Once you master this challenge and are able to stuck with it for at least 2 weeks, add another simple challenge or increase the difficulty of your challenge (instead of 20 pushups, do 30).

In this fashion you will continue you to develop your discipline, but there is one more thing required.


The reason it is easy to start something new is because you are motivated.

You watched a UFC and got pumped up to “train UFC” and become the next Anderson Silva.

In those first few weeks, you are riding the high of your initial motivational source.

However, motivation is like a cup of water with a leak.

Over time, your motivation drains out of your body and before you know it, you could care less about becoming a UFC champion.

Even someone with superb discipline would have a hard time rationalizing the effort required to stick with a tough program without the proper motivation.

So how do you stay motivated?

Simple, keep filling up that cup!

You need to have a wealth of motivational sources. Think of them like wells of water.

A good motivational source can supply you with endless amounts of motivation.

A bad motivational source gets tapped out with a few uses.

Motivation goes hand in hand with getting or visualizing results. When you picture yourself with the UFC belt around your waist, and the feeling you would have being known at the baddest man on the planet, that might motivate you to train hard.

Everyone is different, so you have to find out what motivates you. You then want to protect these sources and make sure you can call upon them whenever you need to.

Motivational sources can be:
•    Books
•    Movies
•    People
•    Objects
•    Memories
•    Goals
•    Results

Once you have a sufficient amount of sources to keep you motivated, you can truly begin the process.

Discipline Building Process

1.    Write down your discipline challenge (20 crunches)
2.    Write down your key motivation for completing the challenge (I want to get six-pack abs)
3.    Post them somewhere where you will see them every day.
4.    Complete your challenge every day, no matter what happens.
5.    When you are struggling, read your key motivation, visualize the results, and get pumped.
6.    Once you mastered the challenge, increase the difficulty or add a new challenge.

Believe and Achieve,

David Avellan


Link to article

Chris Herzog: Skill+Preperation+Right Mind Set = Success. PT.3

March 6th, 2009 In Theory | 2 Comments

Part 3: Right Mind Set

In the final installment of the Equation for Competitive Success, we are going look at a few exercises to help establish the right mind set for competition.

There are several methods and exercises to help develop the Right Mind Set. Finding what works best for you is the key. I’ve found a good blend of concepts from psychology of combat and sports psychology that works best for myself and my students. Three exercises that I like include: Goal setting, positive attitude, and visualization.

Goal Setting: plays a large roll in establishing the right mind set. Goal setting is divided into 3 tiers:

Long term goals: are those that are the hardest to obtain. For many competitors long term goals are the driving force behind their motivation for competitive training. These are largely considered the “dreams” of a competitor. Such aspirations as competing in ADCC, winning Mundials or PanAms, etc would be considered a long-term goal. If these seem extremely difficult to accomplish, they should be, its the reason to wake up every morning and get out of bed and train after you’ve been beaten up the night before. Aim high!

Mid level goals: are very difficult to accomplish, but with hard work and dedication can be achieved. These are the goals that should be the mid waypoint to achieving your long-term goal. You should have to work hard to succeed with mid level goals, but they should be obtainable. If not adjustments may be necessary. Some reasonable mid level goals would be medaling in local and regional level tournaments, qualifiers etc. The main focus should be to take steps towards your long term goal.

Short term goals: should be the meat and potatoes of your goals setting. These are the daily and weekly goals you set for yourself.
They work best for your daily conditioning, flexibility, technical training. Setting short term goals such as number of technical repetitions, beating certain times for conditioning routines, etc. are ideal short term goals. Succeeding in your short term goals builds a foundation for the right mind set.

Write down your goals and share them with your trainers and teammates, its holds you accountable.

Positive Attitude: may sound simplistic, but developing inner strength and appropriate confidence is essential for a successful competitor. Keeping a positive attitude should be centered around things you have control over. Using things like positive statements and keeping a positive attitude when mistakes are made is essential. When mistakes are made, use them as learning tools and an opportunity to make corrections. Keep the positive attitude “I can do that”, or “Next time I’m in that situation, I will succeed”. Developing a positive attitude is hard work, accept the challenge, and work at it daily.

Visualization: is my favorite development tool, its extremely powerful and assists in accomplishing goals and for developing the right mind set.

Visualization is drawing a mental picture or scenario that you play out in your mind. It may be difficult at first but like everything else, the more you practice the better and more vivid it becomes.

The two types of scenarios I stress the most are; the sensation of winning (success) and the execution of your Personal Attacking System against an opponent.

Always try to replicate the competition environment (use all your senses): noisy crowd, matches being called over a loud speaker, guys warming up on the side of the mat, the feel of the mat under your feet, and the sweaty musty smell of your opponent. All of these things brings a familiarity to your visualizations that raises your level of comfort when you compete.

I tend to do my best visualizations, after a hard nights training, as I’m lying in bed before I fall asleep. I run through my Personal Attacking System, imaging a struggle but being successful, then seeing myself getting my hand raised.

Another good opportunity is while your stretching before a practice. This sets the tone for practice and what you’ll be focusing on while you roll/spar.

If your like me, during a training camp I’m fine, up until a week to two weeks out I get random bouts of anxiety about the upcoming event. I could be driving, sitting at my office at work, out to dinner with the wife, etc. One of my coaches used to preach immediately visualizing success at those times. The reason was like Pavlov’s salivating dog theory. You start to equate success with your anxiety and nervousness. This type of random visualization alone has helped myself and my team tremendously. However I don’t support visualization while driving :)

Don’t stop with these exercises, these are just the tip of the iceberg. Developing the Right Mind Set is essential for competitor regardless of the sport. All to often we focus on skill training and conditioning and neglect developing our mind for competition as well. Every gym has that one or two guys that tears through everyone in the class, but when they get on the competition mat they get folded like a babies diaper. They only way to get beyond that is to train your mind as part of the greater whole.

By now you should at least have a basic understanding of the planning and process necessary to increases your chances for competitive success. Nothing is for sure, and as most of you know anything can happen during competition. Our attempt is to just increases the odds in our favor and utilizing the Equation for Competitive Success does just that. Good luck and if you have any questions about implementing the Equation for Competitive Successes into your personal program, don’t hesitate to ask.


Chris Herzog is a competitive stud and runs 10th Planet Rochester

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