Clubkozak-Pancrase Montreal
News and updates

Aug
16

As a martial arts instructor I teach my students self defense which includes not just the fighting techniques but also the mental awareness aka“street smarts”, being prepared and attentive of a situation before actually needing to use those techniques. Self defense also encompasses self preservation.

Self preservation goes larger than just oneself but others you care for. It means being prepared for a wider, larger incident, not just a physical assault. It could be a natural disaster, a pandemic, lockdowns, curfews, power outage, civil unrest, war, food/supply shortage, economic downturns, fire. Some situations are worse than others, but a general preparation plan would be needed to survive.

As the word self preservation has “self” at the beginning, that means one should be competent enough to endure these situations by oneself, and not rely on others. That does not mean we just think of ourselves, having a network of others that you trust would be practical. My main point is don’t rely on the government. They might offer aid, but one can’t solely depend on them.

At a young age, I learned that every household should have supplies to last at least 3 days. That means food, water, hygiene products, first aid kit, alternative cooking & heating system, radio, batteries, cash, infant/baby needs, medication, emergency light sources.

Can you imagine having to buy a supply of food/water as a disaster is occurring? Not only are you fighting a crowd of stressed-out people who want the same items as you, but your financial budget more than likely did not allot for this.

Breaking down each item:

  • Food: Non-perishable foods such as canned foods, freezed dried, packaged, dried beans/fruits, nuts, rice.
  • Water: We can only last about 3 days without water. This shows how important to have access to a supply of water. Water is used for many things: hydration, cleaning our bodies/teeth, cooking, cleaning dishes, and cleaning wounds. Having extra bottles of water, water purification tablets and water filters would be recommended.
  • Hygiene products: Dental care products, female hygiene products, soap/hand sanitizer, shampoo, garbage bags, toilet paper(remember that!),and other cleaning products(eg.bleach,vinegar etc).
  • First Aid kit: I was very stunned to see that most people don’t have a proper first aid kits. One can make one’s own kit, or buy a ready made one. Making one’s own is usually lest costly.
  • Alternative cooking system: This would be important in a situation like a power outage. A portable propane/butane stove are good to have in these situations. Make sure to have extra gas cans.
  • Alternative heating system: A kerosene/propane/oil heating stove are a necessity should there be a power outage for an extended period of time during the cold winter months.
  • Radio: A hand held radio, especially with alternative power sources like handcrank or solar power, will be practical to receive information during an emergency situation.
  • Batteries: The majority of your emergency devices run on batteries, therefore having extra batteries at hand will come handy.
  • Cash: Having actual cash will be needed in a large power outage or if the banking system went down. It’s incredible to notice how many people entirely rely on their bank cards and have no cash on them at all.
  • Infant/child needs: An extra stock of diapers, formula,wipes etc will be handy to have.
  • Medication: Extra prescription medication will be necessary for anyone suffering from a chronic illness. If possible, have extra stock. Also, any over the counter medication would be good to have. Such as pain/fever medication, anti-diarrhea medicine, cold/flu medicine, anti-nausea medication, and antihistamine.
  • Emergency light sources: Confronting a disaster is daunting ordeal. Facing a disaster in the dark can be terrifying. Light sources such as candles, solar lighting, fuel powered light sources and flashlights are good to have around at all times.

There is no need to panic after reading this and buy everything in a panic. Rather, every grocery/shopping trip, buy extra items that might need more supply. Be prepared, not scared.

Aug
12

七転び八起き(nanakobi ya oki) “fall down seven times, get up eight” is a very famous Japanese proverb.This proverb has a great meaning in my life and probably for others too.


We all have a made great promises to oneself and sometimes to others. People make promises like to eat better, get in shape, stop smoking, cut down on alcohol,be a better person, etc. Unfortunately, the vast majority of these promises fail.

Like they say: “easier said than done” It is much, much easier to give up on ones goals, than to actually follow thru with them. If that wasn’t the case , we would hear more success stories.

I’m not who has been untouched by this issue. Being a instructor, unlike what some people might think, does not make me an invincible person. I am teacher, trainer, motivator and mentor. But there comes a cost to it. The big question is: if a teacher has to motivate others, who motivates the teacher? Fortunately, I have mentors that I can seek for advice and inspiration.

I have been guilty of times where I was not exercising/training at all. Some people couldn’t believe it, as they think I’m always in shape. There have even been in my training back in the days as a martial arts student. I did have a short layoff period. A break from it all. I am human after all.

These last 2 years, for myself and others. Ups and downs. Light and darkness. Some people’s breaking point reached their max. One of my friend’s child overdosed. Others in my circle broke up their relationships, some nastier than others. Luckily for myself, ours held strong.

These trying times, there has been much tension between many of us. Difference in opinions caused grief and resentment. Relationships split. Friendships ruined. Myself, a friendship has ended over discrepancies.

As for my own training, it was stop and go. Some days I’d be pumped up work out for a stretch . Then the constant lock downs, seeking side jobs for money, getting bad news from others around me. The motivation dropped. Would be days, sometimes weeks until I got back up.

Fortunately, I have made new acquaintances. Positive thinking people.

So I reached out my hand to these positive like minded friends,I got up and pulled myself of the quagmire of bleakness. Now, I see more confidence in my odyssey ahead. We all can.

May
11

Being a proponent of taking a clod shower in the mornings, people have asked me why? Good question! Why do I do it? It’s not like it’s something that I look forward to every morning , nor is it actually pleasant feeling! It’s the benefits I receive from it, that makes me continue to do it. Think of pure cod liver oil. It tastes like crap, but there are many health benefits from it.

There are many cultures that have been using cold water, either in the form of pouring cold water over themselves, jumping into cold water(lakes or rivers), standing under cold waterfalls, or the modern version of cold showers. Depending on the culture, it is viewed as either spiritual or therapeutic. Presently, we see the therapeutic values of it.

Japanese cold water meditation

So what are the therapeutic benefits of cold water dousing?

  • It wakes you up! Need caffeine to get you awake in the morning? Take a cold shower, and you’ll be ready for the day!! I call it a caffeine jolt on roids.
  • Improves circulation. I feel the benefits of this especially right after I finish my cold shower, while wiping myself down with a towel. I wipe myself in a more “aggressive” manner to really get the blood flowing. I see my skin turning more red, and feel myself actually getting warmer.
  • Improves immunity. Since our bodies are getting better circulation, this helps the body move blood around , therefore aiding one’s body against infections. This increase of circulation may also help in the recovery on injuries. The main word I use here is aid…not cure. Some people might claim that, but I have no background to back this claim up.
  • Helps metabolism. Being subjected to cold, the body has to work harder to maintain a stable temperature. This then speeds up ones burning of body fat. Of course, this is a short term effect, so a cold shower isn’t the absolute answer to losing weight.
  • Good for your skin. Cold water helps retain the natural oils in your skin(and hair) and doesn’t dry out the skin like a hot shower. Therefore, your skin remains for hydrated.

Before explaining on how to start on tips on taking cold showers or dousing, cold water dousing might not be for everyone. The majority of people who don’t want to take a cold shower just dread the thought of it..I can’t blame them. Like I mentioned, it’s not something I truly enjoy. People with weaker immune systems and those with serious heart conditions, should exercise caution when taking cold showers. This is because the sudden changes to body temperature and heart rate may overwhelm the body. If a person is not sure if a cold shower could benefit them, they should ask their doctor.

As with many other things, starting of slowly is the best advise. Before jumping into a cold shower in the morning, getting a massive shock and swear to never do it again, start off with small steps. Do each step for a couple of weeks before going on to the next.

  • The first step would be to fill one’s bathtub with cold water, just stand in the cold water for a 1-2 minutes.
  • The second step would be to wet a hand towel in cold water, and wipe one’s body with it.
  • The third step , or sometimes it’s the final step for some people, is to douse oneself with cold water, using a small bucket. This is the “traditional” method of water dousing, before the days of showers. The nice part of this method is that one can mentally prepare for the cold water. Using breathing helps too. Breath in, then out when you pour the cold water onto oneself. Do this several times. In a shower, one can’t use this “psyching” up between douses, because the water flow is constant.
  • The final step is to take the cold shower. Having gone thru all these steps, it shouldn’t be a big shock to one’s system. As in the 3rd step, mentally prep oneself before starting the cold shower. Myself, I prefer to be standing in the bathtub before turning on the water, rather than letting the shower run, then stepping into the shower. Some people say that they take a cold shower, then run hot water afterwards. Unfortunately, that is not a true cold shower. Stay in the cold water, then afterwards, vigorously wipe oneself with a towel. You will start feeling the body heat up.
  • A final bonus step is taking a cold water bath. Fill the bath with cold water with ice. Lay in the bath for several minutes. This is a nice one for myself, especially on hot summer days!

Starting in the wintertime might not be the best for some people, because the water temperature will be much colder. Also, as with exercising, try to keep it constant thru out the year, so one will not have to restart from the beginning.

May
22

bad

  1. Deep fried foods

  2. Sweats/ sugar

  3. Highly processed foods

  4. Fruit juices

  5. Soy milk

  6. Processed meats

  7. Sodas

  8. White flour

  9. High gas foods

  10. Processed oils

  1. Deep Fried Foods

We all love deep fried foods, so do I, but they can be a disaster to one’s health. If eaten often, they can cause obesity, increase heart diseases and diabetes. Many are fried in unhealthy oils, which will be explained in the unhealthy processed oils. They are high in calories. They can have high doses of trans fats. Each time an oil is re-used for frying, its trans fat content increases. However, it’s important to distinguish between these artificial trans fats and trans fats that occur naturally in foods like meat and dairy products. Fried foods may contain acrylamide, which is a toxic substance that can form in foods during high-temperature cooking.

  1. Sweets

Sugar found in sodas, chocolate bars, pastries, cakes etc. are addictive. Many people have a “sugar-tooth” and can’t keep away from it. Too much processed sugars can lead to many health issues, such as tooth decay, diabetes, cancer, weight increase, and even may cause depression. I think the worst culprit are sodas. Because they are in liquid form, one doesn’t feel that they are full, so people chug down sodas like there is no tomorrow.

    1. Highly processed foods

All packaged foods, same as frozen meals, are not ‘real foods’. These foods are high in sugars, to make them taste good, and addictive. They contain some many artificial ingredients, that one needs a chemistry degree to decipher it! Some of these products contain ingredients that produce a hyper-satisfying feeling form eating them. This can cause a food addiction issue. They are loaded with refined, “simple” carbohydrates. These lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels and cause negative health effects. Finally , many of these products are high in unhealthy fats, such as trans fats.

      1. Fruit juices

Working at an elementary school, I see many children’s lunches & snacks packed with fruit juices. Parents are thinking they are doing good by giving the kids a healthy drink. Actually,it isn’t as healthy as one would think. Fruit juices are packed with sugar. They have practically the same amount of calories and sugar content as a sugary soft drink. We think these juices contain antioxidants and vitamins, they lack any fibre at all. One’s better off eating the whole fruit itself, as it will contain fibre, and will make you feel full.

5) Soy milk

Now this one will guarantee to cause a debate. Soy in general is not being viewed as bad. I myself do eat certain soy products, such as tofu, and natto( Japanese fermented soybeans). Soy contains a hormone-like substance called phytoestrogens. As the name indicates, these plant hormones, in a large amounts, might lower libido in men, spur the growth of some types of breast tumours in women, and possibly increase the risk of certain autoimmune disorders like lupus. Soy milk being a liquid, people would ingest more, there is a higher possibility that one’s intake of these phytoestrogens would be high.

      1. Processed meats

Processed meats includes products such as bacon, deli meats, and sausages. It is not so much the problem of nitrates in them, as there are nitrates in certain vegetable, such as beets, that actually have good health benefits, but rather when the processed meats are cooked at a high heat. This high heat can produce nitrosamines which are potentially carcinogenic. As for deli meats, they may contain other products and be high in fats. Best bet is to read the labels, and cut down on consumption of processed meats.

  1. Sodas

A big one to look out for . Regular or diet sodas, in my mind, are all the same. Diet sodas can still cause health problems. Because it is a liquid, people can drink liters of soda, and not feel full. Although we think diet sodas are better, they are not. Insulin, secreted by the pancreas, is how the human body stores sugar. When the taste of artificial sweeteners in a soda, hits your brain, it automatically sends a signal to your pancreas to begin producing insulin. Insulin is what tells our cells to either use sugar as food or store it as fat–without it, our bodies can’t process the sugar that lands in our bloodstreams. When your pancreas produces insulin to deal with anticipated sugar, but then no sugar arrives, it confuses your body and disrupts its metabolic process. This may explain why several studies have shown a link between regularly drinking diet soda and metabolic syndrome, a collection of symptoms that includes larger waist circumference, higher blood pressure, and higher blood sugar.

8) White flour

White flour products are mostly empty of any nutritional value. That is why bread companies have to add nutrients to them to make them more appealing to the consumer. Not only do they have no nutritional value, but they are converted to sugar by your body just as fast as sweet products. Eating foods made with white or refined flour is a sure-fire way to add some inches to ones waist.

  1. High gas foods

There are certain foods that may cause excess bloating, gas, diarrhea or even stomach pains. Such foods consist of wheat, legumes, certain dairy products, certain vegetables (such as cabbage and broccoli), can give these problems. Not everyone may have issues with this foods, but some might. The best is to experiment with these food intolerance. Introduce some of these foods to ones diet, if one gets a negative reaction, then eliminate them, completely if possible.

10) Processed oils

There are several oils out there some better than others, and some promoted as good, but aren’t that great at all. Best for cooking is extra virgin oil, and butter (yes, butter). Two products that are not highly processed. Margarine is out of the question, it is a simple chemical experiment trying to replicate butter in a healthy way, which it is not.

Vegetable oils and even canola oil are highly processed oils. I’m not going into the details, but look into the processing method of these oils and you’ll think twice!

Aug
27

Having travelled to several countries, mainly Asia and Eastern Europe, I have seen, heard and even been thru some precarious incidences. Thus I have made an amalgamation of certain things one should prepare before and be aware of during ones travels.

  1. Before going to your destination, do some research on the area. Find out if there are any risks in that area, be it crime, diseases, sanitation, weather or potential environmental calamities. If there are potentially high probability of being exposed to these risks, then one should consider the worthiness of travelling there. This decision is based on one’s situation: travelling alone,gender, age,health, martial arts training, and one’s mental toughness.

    APTOPIX Severe Weather Arkansas

    Calamities can strike anywhere

     

  2. Situational awareness. This is a fancy term for being aware of your present environment. Mindfulness is another term that can be used. But, nowadays, I find the term mindfulness has been butchered up by the self-help community, that people forget what the term really meant to be. The main thing is to be “awake”, and not staring down at one’s cellphone, or walking around with earphones blasting music. Even if one is in a conversation, still be aware of our surroundings. I don’t mean being paranoid, but just be conscious of one’s milieu.

    index

    No need to be paranoid!

  3. Scan your room. When I first enter my room, either in a guest house or hotel, I always check it out. I’ll examine the whole place, the washroom…yes, even under the bed. This is just to make sure there are no surprises. Check the locks on the doors to make sure they work properly.

  4. Keep important items(passport, wallet etc) with you always. Unless the place you are staying has a reliable safe, keep the items on you. Having a fake wallet can be useful to have too, just hope you don’t get mugged twice the same day!!

  5. Have an actual paper map. Having GPS on your smartphone is very convenient, but if it breaks, gets stolen or have no access to WiFi or no more data, having that real map will come in handy.

  6. Avoid scams. I fell for one , once. Once was enough. Do your research on certain scams that happen in the location of your vacation. Even if not on a list, if you feel uncomfortable or unsure about something, trust your gut instincts, and walk away.

  7. Have a backup plan. Should something arises that inhibits your travel plans, have a second plan. This could be simply from something being closed, or worse, such as civil unrest. In the latter case, that would mean to have some sort of plan of getting out safe.

  8. Have important contact’s information always available. Should an incident happen, be it a crime, accident, major injury or a natural disaster, one should get in touch with the proper contact without any research needed. Inform a next of kin or friend about your exact location. This way they can rapidly assist you in case of difficulty by contacting the government or wire money. Making known to your embassy/consulate that you are travelling in that country is a good option too. Although I never did contact the government on my travel location, looking back on some of the precarious countries of been too, it might have been a good idea!

  9. Learn some of the basics of the local language, with keywords in case of an emergency. Having an attempt to learn of some of the language, you might get more respect form the locals, rather than “How come no one speaks English here?!?”, which I’ve people say and not get a very nice feedback from the locals!

  10. Don’t make yourself an easy target, looking like a tourist. No gaudy/expensive clothing, jewellery, or electronic devices. Don’t stand out.

    elvis-22

    Don’t dress like him….

  1. Check with your financial institute if it is a good idea to let them know where you are. Some have a travelling notification systems in place to reduce the rick of fraud.

  2. Make yourself aware of the local laws and customs. Never assume that you will be given special treatment because you’re a foreigner…quite the contrary many times.

Hope these tips may help you out. Most important your travels is have fun and enjoy it! Travelling to different countries is one of the best way to learn about this world and respect others. I learned more about myself and this fantastic planet more than all my years in school!

Aug
02

I’ve been teaching martial arts, specifically Combat Sambo, Submission Wrestling and Kickboxing for over 18 years. Looking at it now, it’s been a long time.

Someone asked me once: “Over the years of teaching, has there been a change in the people that train in your dojo?” Ever since MMA has become more mainstream and gained popularity, I have seen some increase in people who come in and have interest in competing. Some have absolutely no clue on the hardships of becoming a pro fighter. They think it’s as easy as playing a video game. There are those that have showed interest and have actually competed. Some of those even thinking of the big day. Those who do end up competing, either lose interest in it (but continue to train), will want to continue to compete, and those who wanted to taste going pro decide in the end it’s not for them. I still highly praise these students as they got their feet wet and have gone the mile. Unlike those who just talk all the time but don’t pursue.

images

I would say that the vast majority that come train with me are looking simply for self-defense and getting in better shape. They have little or no interest in competing. Due to this, I do push those who want to compete a bit harder and give extra advice, but I do not want to turn my dojo into a 100% competitive atmosphere, as it will turn away the vast majority of the present and potential students. This of course does not mean I do not train them hard!

I do encourage students to try a competition at least once, especially grappling (as it is the least dangerous of the competitions that I have competed in) to experience a ‘real’ fighting situation, without having to really fight, and there are refs to look over the competitors. Much safer than a real street fight!

355805-ne-sme-nezhni-kako-anglichanite-koi-nosat-lakosta-maichki-i-zhenski-obuvki

Real street fighting ain’t fun!

Stepping into the realm of MMA competition, this starts to become more serious, especially if one decides to go pro. Going pro is not a walk in the park. The fight money, until the big time, is not usually enough to sustain oneself, and the potential for injuries, both physical and mental are high. As I have started competing less myself and concentrating on my students more, I sometimes ask: “Why in the hell would someone wanna go pro in MMA? The potential damages…it doesn’t make sense!!” But then I think back to my experience fighting in the Combat Sambo Worlds (basically MMA with a jacket on), I remember the extreme high I got from competing, and wanted more. The rush. When I talk about that feeling of elation to people who don’t appreciate combat sports competitions, they look at me like I’m some axe murder! So I change subjects. Quickly.

sf-axe-murder-hollow

The psycho Axe Murder!

 

Teaching is not an easy thing to do, as many people think it is. There are up and downs in teaching. Not many people are able to become good instructors, especially for a long time.

Starting with the downside of teaching, one has to be able to deal with all sorts of people. The bad side of dealing with so many types of characteristics, dealing with negative people. If one does not know who to deal with these people, they can suck all our energy and end up mentally scarring you and could lead to the destruction of one’s school. Sometimes I have no choice but to make these people “leave” my dojo, as other good students may quit because of them.

Instructors are people that are suppose to give inspiration to their students to make them succeed. The big dilemma is, where does the instructor get their own inspirations? We constantly give, but without any positive outside intake, the instructor will be in a deficit and will lack the ability to give good inspirations to one’s students. I have gone thru this and to seek outside inspirations for myself. This will usually come in the form of reading certain books, listening to speakers and personally talking to people who give me an inspirational upbeat.

Even though I am an instructor, I have to keep a mind set of being a student too, looking for new and perhaps improved techniques and to me most important, teaching methods. Those instructors that assume to “know” all are actually fooling themselves. Better to be honest and say:”I don’t know” and research into it. That does not mean one is compelled to master this technique or training method, unless they feel it is advantageous.

6a00d8341c652b53ef01a73d76884a970d-800wi

The know it all teacher

 

The one real element that picks me up and see why I continue teaching and pass on my knowledge, is when I see success in my students. Not only when they start perfecting techniques, get into shape and perform well in sparring or competition, but also when they tell me that them being under my tutelage, their life has become more satisfying. More confidence in themselves, better interaction with others, and a more wholesome lifestyle. This uplifts me and gives me a purpose to continue teaching. I tell myself: “This is why I am here.”

Apr
11

 

peds

We have heard over the years of pro MMA fighters accused of using or being caught using PEDs.

As with all sports that start having higher and higher pay incomes, the usage of performance enhancing drugs (PED) become increasingly common. In MMA they have become more and more predominant, and some pro fighters have failed in the testing of these drugs.

Using these drugs are to give an edge over your opponent, but can come with several health risks. Some are willing to gamble with these risks to get to the top.

I will be looking at  most commonly seen PEDs. These are:

  • Anabolic steroids
  • Androstenedione
  • Human growth hormone
  • Erythropoeietin
  • Diuretics
  • Stimulants

 

Anabolic steroids

Image_from_anabolic_steroid_abuse_research_report

The main use for anabolic-androgen steroids, or roids is to increase ones muscle mass and strength. Testosterone is the main anabolic steroid hormone produced by one’s own body.

Testosterone has two main effects on one’s body:

  • The anabolic effect : promoting muscle building;
  • The androgenic effect: creating male traits, such as facial hair and a deeper voice.

A more alluring part of steroids for fighters is that they may aid them in recovering from a grueling workout more quickly by reducing the muscle damage that occurs during the training. This permits fighters to train harder and more frequently without overtraining, a real big benefit in the sport of MMA.

Anabolic steroids have recognized medical uses, but improving athletic performance is not considered one of them. Athletes frequently use anabolic steroids that are synthetic modifications of testosterone. They are illegally manufactured to be virtually undetectable by present drug testing. Considering that these drugs are made explicitly for athletes, with no medical use, this poses further health risks as they are not liable to any government safety standards, potentially being impure or mislabeled.

Several athletes take steroids at much higher doses than what is usually prescribed for medical reasons. Due to the fact that there is no real official research on the effects of high dosages of steroids, most of what is known about high dosage effects comes from observing actual users.

Physical side effects may arise with the use of anabolic steroids.

In men, these may arise:

  • Gynecomastia (enlarging breast) aka bitch tits(!)
  • Balding
  • Shrunken testicles
  • Infertility ( good thing for some!)
  • Prostate gland enlargement

In women, these may arise:

  • A deeper voice
  • An enlarged clitoris(!)
  • Increased body hair(!)
  • Balding
  • Infrequent or absent periods

Both men and women steroid users may develop:

  • Serious acne
  • Increased possibility of tendinitis and tendon ruptures
  • Liver disease
  • Increase in LDL cholesterol (“bad cholesterol)
  • Decrease in HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol)
  • Increased blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Heart and circulatory complications
  • Increase in aggressive behavior
  • Psychiatric disorders (e.g. depression)
  • Drug dependency
  • Infections or contractible diseases like HIV or hepatitis thru steroids being injected
  • Teenagers may experience inhibited growth and development

 

 

 

Human growth hormone (HGH)

85

Human growth hormone, also known as gonadotropin, is a hormone that has an anabolic effect. Athletes take it to enhance muscle mass and performance. Nonetheless, there is no irrefutable evidence that HGH improve one’s athletic performance.

The side effects of using HGH are potential:

  • Joint pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fluid retention
  • Vision problems
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Harmed glucose regulation
  • Cardiomegaly (enlarged heart)
  • Hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol)
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)

 

Erythropoietin

Erythropoietin _EPO_ Powder_ InjectionErythro_1

Erythropoietin is a type of hormone used to treat anemia in those suffering severe kidney disease. What this hormone does it helps increase the creation of red blood cells and hemoglobin. This then causes a reaction in improved flow of oxygen to the muscles. The synthetic version of erythropoietin is Epoetin, commonly used to boost the endurance of athletes.

Improper use of this drug can boost the risk of thrombotic (blood clotting) circumstances, such as stroke, heart attack and pulmonary embolism (artery blockage in the lungs).

 

Diuretics

diuretics-drugs-250x250

Diuretics are drugs that shift one’s body’s natural balance of fluids and electrolytes (salts) and can potentially lead to dehydration. For MMA fighters they are used to help in competing in a lower weight division, by decreasing one’s water weight. Diuretics may aid to pass drug tests by diluting (“masking”) one’s urine.

 

 

These drugs have quite detrimental side effects:

  • Dehydration
  • Muscle cramps
  • Dizziness
  • Low potassium levels
  • Rash
  • Gout
  • Drop in blood pressure
  • Coordination and balance deficiency
  • Death (!!)

 

Stimulants

teen-rehab-types-of-stimulants-hero-1170x780

Stimulant drugs are used by athletes to enhance endurance, reduce fatigue, suppress appetite, increase alertness and raise aggressiveness.

The most common stimulant drugs are caffeine, ephedrine, pseudoephedrine hydrochloride (found in cold medicines) and amphetamine.

The easily accessible energy drinks usually contain high amounts of caffeine and other stimulants (e.g. guarana, taurine). More dangerous and highly addictive drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine are stimulants and have been used by athletes.

Like all drugs, there are side effects:

  • Nervousness and irritability that may decrease concentration skills
  • Insomnia
  • Dehydration
  • Heatstroke
  • Tolerance, making athletes needing higher dosages to get the effect.
  • Addiction

More serious side effects are:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Heart rhythm abnormalities
  • Fast weight loss
  • Tremors
  • Mild hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Hallucinations
  • Stroke
  • Heart attacks

 

Most MMA events test for these drugs. Having lived in Japan , it was common knowledge that the Japanese MMA events, even now, do not test for these substances. Cost would be a reason, but the mentality is that it’s the fighters choice to take these drugs, knowing fully the health risks associated with them. This being said, these types of drugs are not as easy to purchase as in other parts of the world. Several Japanese fighters I know myself are not even big consumers of athletic supplements either.

 

Many people look at the short-term benefits of these drugs. This is especially in athletes who are looking for the win, and become the champion. The long-term health risks of these drugs should be thought out carefully. One may become champion, but in the end suffer bad health, causing suffering to oneself and those around you, and even death, the ultimate suffering.

Oct
25

index

 

There have been reported deaths of athletes dying from extreme weight cutting in MMA recently. Not just deaths, but also athletes in dire condition at the weight-ins.

This has happened in other combat sports, even at the amateur level. Wrestling(real wrestling folks), has been a major victim of this, with even reported deaths of young athletes that died from weight cutting regimes.

What  is weight cutting? It is using different methods for a competitor to drop to a lower weight class. The athlete would go down to a lower weight class, then hopefully gaining the weight back  in hours before their match to gain a size advantage. The theory is that the more weight a fighter dropped dehydration , the more they could regain after weighing in and hold a size advantage over his opponent. An athlete that has more muscle has an advantage over those that are not willing to cut the extra water weight. But, athletes and coaches never considered the process a health risk.

Sometimes the effort to qualify for the weight class could be often be more challenging than the actual competition itself! I’ve seen myself fighters spend more time worrying about their weight rather than the technical training.

The methods of weight cutting include hours of spent on exercise bikes, in saunas and plastic suits; taking laxatives, diuretic, even induced vomiting and repeated spitting to force any trace liquids from the body. Some weird techniques include that an athlete would stand on his head to redistribute the weight in his body and shave a few ounces/grams at the scale(!).

This cutting phase would cause muscle cramps, insomnia, irritability and feelings of illness.

These weight-ins are done the day before, so athletes tried to drop as much weight as possible to make weight. Athletes have been too exhausted or cramped to move on their own, they had to be carried or helped to the scales. Recent videos of this on some pro-MMA events have surfaced. But this has been going on, even at the amateur level for years.

One of my former Muay Thai teammates(in the early 90s) cut  too much weight to put himself into a lower weigh class. The weigh-in was the same day as the event, so he had little time to recover his strength. When he entered into the ring, he looked feeble.  I told the other teammates watching :”Man, he’s gonna lose.”  They all looked at me in disbelief on why I would say such a thing. I replied:”Geez, he barely made it thru the ropes!!”

The most extreme result of this weight cutting has been death. Recently there has been a pro MMA fighter that died from his weight cut. Myself, I knew that this was not the first time this has happened in a combat sport weight cutting. In 1997, there were 3 NCAA wrestlers that died within a 5 week period. These deaths caused a major wake up for the NCAA.

How did these deaths happen? The extreme loss of fluid from the bloodstream weakens the cardiovascular functions and reduces endurance. If the water is not restored, blood flow to the skin and muscles will start to shut down to preserve the remaining fluid. Without he ability to sweat, the body begins to overheat. With no oxygen , the muscle start to perish. This can trigger a potential life-threatening condition called Rhabdomyolysis, in which the staved muscle fibers break down and flood the bloodstream with proteins, clogging up the kidneys, causing kidney failure and stressing the electrical processes that support the heart , resulting in cardiorespiratory failure.

Weight cutting seems to be part of the sport, a kind of rite of passage for its participants. I myself have gone thru these weight cutting cycles, but never to the extremes that some others put themselves thru. I was fortunate to have had excellent and compassionate coaches(apart from the Muay Thai trainer) who never pushed or forced us to cut weight so drastically. Cutting some weight is fine, but where it puts one’s life in danger, I don’t think so.

Having had such terrible travesties that happened in the NCAA, they cleaned up their act by banning plastic sauna suits and saunas themselves in training areas. Increasing the amount of weight classes, and weigh-ins are made the day of the competitions rather than the day before. This eliminates the time necessary to recover from excessive weight cutting.

Criticizing the practice of weight cutting, something so intertwined with combat sports’ “proud” tradition, is like criticizing the sport itself.

Majority of amateur MMA or grappling competitions have the weigh-ins the day of. I think it is the smart way to go. Doing it the day before, tempt athletes to cut more weight. I believe a big key player responsible to over see the athletes weight cutting are  the coaches. A competent coach should track their fighters’ weight and body fat percentage (if possible) throughout the year, to make sure the athlete does not drop weight to quickly and stays closer to their fighting weight yearly.

By a fighter being close to their fighting weight, it will be an easier, and less grueling task to make the fight weight. The fighter can concentrate on technical and strategical training, rather than being possessed on how much they weight. Furthermore, one would be able to keep more muscle mass and stay stronger with this method. Doing drastic weight cutting, one starts to lose muscle too.

Extreme weight cutting makes it less attractive for young athletes to join those combat sports that still practice it. After the NCAA introduced the new rules on weight cutting, there was an increase of participants in wrestling. One has to remember that even if an athlete survives there are potential long-term effects on the body. These effects can range from damages to the metabolic system, brain, kidney and vision problems. Is it worth it to go to those extremes?

Jul
24

During my stay in Japan, I had the grand opportunity to teach a Combat Sambo seminar at my friend, Katsuomi Inagaki’s dojo: Pancrase Osaka.

DSC_0265

Ps Lab Osaka

The seminar covered knife defense. Due to the fact that it was not a very long (less than 2 hrs), I was not able to teach several techniques, rather a few, but cover them in depth.We were using small plastic water bottles as the knives, because there weren’t any training knives available.

19366157_341324613005467_7403167610775513667_n

As always, I cover the basic strategies for knife defense. Such as, due the most to make sure that one doesn’t have to go bare-handed vs. a knife wielding opponent. The concept of running away is great, but in certain situations, running is not a first or realistic option. Analyzing your environment quickly is vital. Before employing barehanded techniques, use anything around you as a blockade (eg.table), shield (eg.bag/briefcase), or as a weapon (eg.chair). Should an escape route become available, use it!

There is also a misconception that a knife wielding person just wants your money. There are violent knife attacks that can happen out of the blue. Also, even if you do give them your money, the assailant might still attack you!

In the situation where we are stuck defending barehanded, one’s stance should be very tight, arms close-in, like you’re stuck in the ring corner. Having your hands out too far can get one’s hands/fingers cut up.

I explained that there are 5 general defense zones: straight, high-right side,low-right side,high-left side and low left side. These zones deal with which area the knife is coming from, rather than the issue of it being a slashing or stabbing attack and what knife grip is used in the attack.

The main objective is when engaged in a knife defense situation, is to be constantly aware of where the knife is and to disarm the assailant when able to. Simply striking an opponent can help in making distraction, but doesn’t mean you’ll disarm the opponent. Depending on the situation, disarming the knife would be the best option, in my opinion.

19247657_341324616338800_4861178856196831925_n

We covered simple disarming techniques when the opponent was in a controlled position. All the defense, takedowns, disarming techniques  that I teach are very similar to basic grappling techniques, so one doesn’t forget them easily should one do grappling arts. For example, a knife disarming technique resembles a heel hook technique.

_MG_7251

After going over the techniques I made them try out in a “sparring” drill. Basically using 30% force to try and defend against a knife attack. Just like basic combat sparring, this will help people grasp the concept of the techniques in a more realistic manner, with pressure and stress, rather than plainly go over the moves without any resistance. Because it is simulating a knife attack, stress levels can rise, so a supervised training is highly recommend!

We ended up with a Q&A session. I explained that most knife attacks are to the body, as it is a larger target, just like gun attacks, that’s why there are body vest for protection.

I was very impressed with the number of participants from the Ps Lab Osaka gym. There were even three pro-fighters whom participated. They were very open-minded about the techniques, because many don’t do this type of training in a MMA gym.

_MG_7307

Great times!!

Hopefully I’ll be invited back to teach another seminar on another topic!

May
29

0620

 

I will be giving a Combat Sambo seminar June 20 at the P’sLab in Osaka, Japan.

Will be covering knife defense techniques.

For more info: http://pancrase-osaka.com/