Goal Setting

Summer is finally here and it’s time to start setting your summer training goals! Goal setting is a critical component to training well and requires careful thought and organization. Below is a formula you can use to start setting your goals TODAY:

  1. Clearly define your goal.

    If it involves losing weight, give an amount you want to lose. If it involves promotion, give the belt color you want to get. “I want to lose 20 pounds.”OR “I want to get promoted to my next rank which is Green belt.”

  2. Set a definite date by when you will achieve your goal.

    a)“Today is (date) and in 3 months, on (mm/dd/yyyy) I will have…. (lost 20 lbs, been promoted to my next rank, etc.)

  3. Explain how you plan on achieve your goal.

    This is your ACTION PLAN. The more specific you are the better!
    a) I will get promoted to my next rank by attending each of my scheduled classes every week and by attending open mat twice a month to practice my shadow boxing.”

    b) “I will lose 20 pounds by attending each of my scheduled classes every week and by using the fitness center twice a week.” Be sure to include important dietary changes you will implement to accompany your workouts (not eating fast food, cutting back on soft drinks, eating more salad and veggies, less processed foods, etc).

  4. Write or type out your goals and place them where you will see them regularly.

    Good places are on your bathroom mirror, next to your bed, on the dashboard in your car, at your desk, on your computer monitor, etc. Seeing your goal daily and repetitively will help you stay focused on what you have promised yourself you would do, how you plan to do it, and by when you will do it by.

  5. Recite your goal out loud every morning when you wake up and every night before you go to sleep.

    Turn your goal into a healthy obsession. By always keeping your goal on your mind you are less likely to get distracted and more likely to follow through on your plan.

  6. Keep a journal of your progress.

    Every time you come to class – note improvements that you’ve made, or areas you want to improve. This is where you can keep track of mini goals: “Today in class I did 15 pushups, by next week this time I want to do 20 pushups. I will prepare for this by doing pushups at night before I go to bed starting with 10 pushups on the first night. Each night after that I will add one more pushup until I get to 20 pushups.”

This is just one of many ways to set a goal. If you have any questions about goal setting, talk to your coaches! We are here to help you become better and we want you to succeed.


Who doesn’t want a high level of energy, happiness, and joy. Who doesn’t want to be more alert, engaged, fully present and alive? We all do! Energy and vitality, health and well being are all at the top of my life goals. Having more energy alone will make you more optimistic and positive: you are going to be more patient, productive, and more happy person. More energy benefits everyone in your life, because it is such an important part of being the best that you can be. I am going to have a series of articles breaking down some of the best physiological practices used by the highest performing people in the world.

Taking care of yourself should be your highest priority. Being a lifelong athlete and martial artist fitness has been a huge part of my life. In the last few years I have dedicated myself to increasing the fitness of my brain, body and breathing. In each article I am going to focus on one best practice for your Brain, Body and Breathing.

The brain is your body’s priority and requires a lot of energy to run the body. oOne of the most important things we can do is sleep 7+ hours a night. There is tons of research on the importance of sleep. Here’s what I did to sleep 7+ hours, increase my energy, focus and productivity.

  • I started going to sleep 30 – 50 minutes earlier. Over time adding 3 hours more sleep.
  • My room is completely blacked out. Blackout curtains and all light sources covered or removed. I also have a nice padded eye mask. Any light seems to wake me, so I take no chances.
  • I do not look at any screen 50 minutes before I go to bed. No phones, computers or TV. Instead I will read or listen to fiction, write and/or listen to relaxing music.
  • I lowered the temperature of my house to 67 degrees.
  • I try not to eat 3 hours before I go to bed.
  • I go to bed and wake up at the same time as much as possible. I haven’t heard my alarm in my house in a long time.
  • I do not drink coffee or any caffeinated drink after 2 pm. Caffeine has a half life of 8 hours and I do not need any caffeine after my morning mushroom coffee.

Regarding our body, we need to make sure we drink a lot of water all throughout the day. You should drink clean water immediately after you wake up. You usually haven’t had any water for 7+ hours so it is necessary to drink when you wake up. Throughout the day it is important to drink at least every hour. If you sweat a lot you have to replace that water and continue to drink every hour. , I do not drink sodas only kombucha or vinegar drinks besides water. Most people do not drink enough water, so…drink a lot more water.

Breathing is often taken for granted. When we sleep we breathe deeply yet, when we are awake most people do not breathe as well. One of the easiest ways to get a jolt of energy that will pick you up is to bounce and breathe. Close your eyes, make a light bounce up and down in place, like you are doing basic footwork, and breathe. You should inhale completely and exhale audibly.

All of these ideas are connected. As we investigate more best high performing practices. You will find that you too will start to increase your energy, focus, health, happiness, productivity, & well being.

Bring up Your Energy

Without a doubt most people want to have more energy. They want to feel enthusiastic about things to come and excited about what they are doing. Drive, motivation, excitement, energy and total focus are all important to finding personal success. There are many videos, books, podcasts, seminars, and courses. Each giving you the information to be your best. Yet, it all starts with your physical health and vibrancy,  your mental attitude and emotional well-being. One of the most important ways to affect all the above is to focus on what is going to give you more ENERGY! Here are 6 simple ways to boost your energy by having great health and vitality. 

1. Get 7+ hours of sleep a night. I use to feel this was a joke. Now, as a habit I get 7 hours of sleep. Set a sleep schedule and stick to it. No screens 30-90 minutes before bed. Make sure there is no light anywhere in your room. Set your room temp at 65-69 degrees. Try not to eat 2-3 hours before bed. It took me about 4 months to sleep 7 hours a night

2. Drink 4-5 liters of water a day. The first thing you should do in the morning is drink a big glass of water. Stay hydrated throughout the day. Get a liter container and fill it up and drink it 4-5 times a day, or a 1 gallon jug full of water and drink it down.

3. 2-3 healthy meals a day. The one plate rule at each meal; only have one plate of food. For me I now eat 80% greens and 20% meat and carbs. Of course this is an individual thing. But, if you are serious about your diet, go see a nutritionist. Get a blood and saliva check and see what you allergic to, deficient in and recommendations for you.

4. 5-6 workouts a week. Having a consistent Martial Arts class schedule will take care of 3-4 of those workouts. You should do some kind of strength training, endurance work and mobility training on top of that.

5. Meditate 1-2 times a day. Meditation does not have to be any specific kind but, find something that works for you. There are apps such as Headspace that you can get to help calm down your brain and release tension.

6. While working take a break every 50 minutes. Step away from your desk and rejuvenate yourself.  Such as getting water, doing some light exercise, deep breathing, take a short walk. Anything that will allow you to refocus and regenerate, to invest some energy into the next 50 minutes of work. I have started focusing on these 6 ways to generate more energy. I have increased my health and well-being. I have increased my physical, mental and emotional vibrancy. Start making these 6 areas a habit. You will have more enthusiasm for upcoming tasks.  You will have more motivation and increase your health and energy.

Opera Non Verba, Deeds Not Words…..Just Do It!

Training To Be Healthy : Part 2

Fourth, workout 5-6 times a week.  Start your morning with a 20-30 minute walk, jog, shadow box, carenza, and basic mobility work.  It is important to have a morning routine; something to get your blood pumping, oxygenate your body and limber up your joints.  Along with your regular martial arts training you should do some strength and cardio training. You should have a consistent routine, but don’t bite off more than you can chew.  Start small and work your way up. This should be easy for everyone. You are already training, now start to be very directed and disciplined.

Fifth, meditate, pray or simply relax at least once a day. If you fall asleep, so be it. Doing something to reboot your brain and body during the day is important.  There are many ways to meditate. It does not have to be some esoteric weird thing, just focus on your breathing and kill two birds with one stone.

Sixth, get more sleep.  This one only took me 51 ½ years to figure out. It was tough at first, but now I sleep 7 hours…most nights.  To sleep well, I have to have everything completely dark and quiet, which everyone should. I could talk about sleep a bunch because I have done a lot of study.  Why? Because as soon as I started sleeping 7 hours a night I felt so much more energized and motivated.

I could expand on every one of these areas, and I am still learning more all of the time.  Now in my 50’s, after fighting more than a few battles, on all fronts, I know the importance of health and well-being more now than ever.  What is stopping you from being committed to your health, your loved ones, family, your personal development and success in whatever you choose.


Training To Be Healthy : Part 1

Everything starts with a good attitude, and that is a good start, but you need to be committed to optimizing your health.   Health is far more than simply just working out and getting in shape. To be in the best health there are a number of things that you can do. Most of these things will allow you to be more effective at what is most important to you.  Over the past year I have been learning more about high performance. Physiology is a major part of being your best. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The world belongs to the energetic.” Now let’s see how we can all be more energetic.

There are 6 areas that we can change to increase our energy for everything we do.   Most of these things we do, but often do not really focus nor fully engage them. First, our breathing and how we take in oxygen is crucial to health.  Most of us take this for granted. There are many simple techniques that you can do today that will immediately give you a charge.

“A healthy attitude is contagious, don’t wait to catch it from others. Be a carrier.”

First, the way we started life is breathing with our diaphragm, but then we stopped.  Therefore, it is simply about relearning how to breathe fully with both of your lungs.  Breathing in with your nose, expanding your belly as you fill up the bottom of your lungs on up, the exhaling fully with your mouth will better oxygenate your body.  Another very easy way to invigorate your body is to simply bounce up and down while you breathe deeply…how simple is that!

Second, drink more clean water.  We should be drinking 4-6 liters of water every day.  If you are training and sweating that amount goes up. We are made up mostly of water , so we need to re-hydrate with water.  Many people drink any number of different types of drinks and less of what they really need, plain water. This is about as easy as it gets.

Third, unless you are seriously training you should eat 2-4 meals per day.  One of the reasons America has a growing obesity problem is the amount and kind of food people consume.  The average person should eat more greens, veggies, fruits, but less meat and carbs. Eat less things out of boxes and cans and more things you can grow and grill.  Simply put, eat real food as much as you can. Next, keep the One Plate Rule. The amount of food you eat should fit on one plate and at one level. Eat better, cleaner and less.


To be Continued….

Don’t Fear The Process

In junior high and high school I was a gymnast.  In the beginning you learn how to simply swing back and forth, learning how to use your body to create more and more momentum.

Once you become comfortable with swinging you then learn how to do a kip. This requires some technique and timing.  On the outside, it looks very simple. However, there are many little movements that must be coordinated and timed to complete the move.  Eventually, the goal is to kip up and cast as high as you can so as to let your body drop and allow your body to swing completely around the bar.  Of course, the bar is 9 feet off the ground and what looks so effortless from the outside, is not so easy.  No matter how many times you swing back and forth, at some point you are going to have cast as high as you can and let gravity work. Allowing the process to happen is always the toughest part. Why is it so tough to just let it happen -fear!
What ultimately allows a gymnast to allow their body to swing through the air around the bar is faith.  Eventually, you have to believe you are going to get all the way around.

We all get to that place when doing something for the first time where fear hangs out and you have to choose to move through it.

Most will never become a gymnast or have to swing entirely around a bar. But at some point you will have something in front of you, something new and scary, that you have to face and get over.  We all get to that place when doing something for the first time where fear hangs out and you have to choose to move through it.  Your first class, your first time sparring or rolling live, your first competition, the list goes on.…  Will you allow fear keep you from taking the next step? Will fear stop you from starting something new or will you have faith in the process, let yourself go and just have fun doing something totally new?

I can tell you I have done both. I have hesitated and even prevented myself from experiencing something new. On the other hand, I have ‘casted straight to handstand and let it rip.’ I have taken chances to do new things, meet new people, experience the curiosity and joy of being a complete beginner again.  What is it that prevents you from taking that swing?  Whenever you are at the cusp of doing something new and hesitate to jump, you must not let fear win.  Courage is not about the lack of fear; courage is about being afraid and doing it anyway.

Learning to trust the process will allow you to experience many things that will never be there if you allow fear to control you.  Learn to simply let go.  It’s something I wish I would have done it always throughout my life. Just like when I went for that first giant swing in gymnastics.  

Start doing those things you are putting off, that you may be afraid of, but will benefit your life….you’ll be happy you did.

Coaches Corner: You Are Not Your Weight


Gluten free. Paleo. The Juicing diet.  Calories in, calories out. Atkins. There are diets for every type of person.  If you find one that you can live with, you’ve found a key to a door that most people bang their heads against until they shuffle off this mortal coil.  Learning what it takes for your body to shed poundage can be daunting. Oh, and before you get excited, I have no diet tips for you.  The only person who can figure out what works for you is you. So what the hell is this about? This is about the realization that your weight is entirely under your control and has nothing to do with your personhood. I know what you’re sarcastically thinking “Oh I never realized that before; thanks Coach Jerkface.”  Ok. Ok. I’ll frame it a different way. This is about how I realized that my weight is entirely under my control, and I’d like to share my thoughts. 

  Instead of saying “I’m fat” or “I’m skinny,” fighting caused me to use phrases like “I’m fat right now” or “I’m skinny right now.” I began speaking (and thinking) in terms of changeable circumstances under my control that had nothing to do with who I am; only what I am currently doing. A person’s body is reacting to its environment (one’s actions), not simply being fat or skinny on its own. Clearly everyone knows this, but once you start changing your thoughts and speech to view the number on the scale as unfixed, it allows you to take ownership of it. If you are unhappy with it, change it. If you don’t really care, own up to that too. Either way, it will be a weight off your mind. Am I going to end this with a pun? I think I am.  -Coach Jerkface out.


Student Spotlight: Jeremy Allinger

Jeremy began training in 2013 at the request of his doctor.  His goals were to get in shape and lose weight. To date he has lost over 70lbs by training in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu!  In addition, he has found that the martial arts training has helped develop self-confidence and problem solving skills.

Jeremy’s son Quinton was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2014.  If you see Jeremy’s bright orange gloves, you might want to know that orange is the color for leukemia awareness. He wears the gloves as a reminder to himself how he and his son are fighting together for health and energy.  We are proud of the positive effect training has given Jeremy and his family. Way to go Jeremy!Image

The Heart of The Athletic Experience: CONDITIONING


Conditioning is by far one of the most important attributes that a martial artist can possess. The most proficient martial artists spend a lot of time training. No athlete has ever become an expert without investing time and energy.

Unfortunately, in most martial arts schools the most important element of the martial arts is neglected – attribute development. Too much time is spent developing skill in techniques and not enough in actual development of the attributes that will make those techniques actually work.

MMA Minneapolis - Sean Sherk UFC


Practicing your technical skills is important, but so is the development and maintenance of your over all physical conditioning. Training is a skill of disciplining your mind, practicing proper technique and developing a conditioned body.

Stamina and endurance are the primary benefits of good conditioning. Stamina is a natural response to training; therefore, it is not necessary to spend time developing it before you begin training in the martial arts – it will be developed. In its own way, stamina- or the ability to work over a period of time – is a natural product of your training, so just let it happen.

To get into shape takes time, but not as much as some of you may fear. Lawrence Morehouse, a UCLA researcher, along with other colleagues found that in six weeks of inactivity, you can lose 80 percent of your conditioning – and in six more weeks of progressive training, you can also regain 80 percent of your peak condition. That is only a month and a half of smart, consistent and progressive training.

You don’t have to hurt in order to develop stamina.


We have a creed that we use in our training – Don’t Train Harder, Train Smarter. Always start your training slowly, learn how to develop stamina gradually. You’ll inevitably reach whatever level of fitness you want, depending on how smart and consistent you continue progressive training – not how fast you do it. Doing the martial arts and “getting into shape” is thoroughly invigorating and fun when it is done right. It will require some adjustments and even some discomfort as your body adapts to the increased demand, but if you are hurting a lot, you’re not training smart. Remember, proper training is for the purpose of building your body and avoiding activities that will deteriorate or injure it.

Coaches Corner: The Mental Edge

Developing yourself to your potential in the martial arts, or athletics is the sum total of many physical attributes, techniques, and training methods. The deciding factor in reaching your potential primarily revolves around one factor– “mental attitude.” This is often the missing piece in many people’s lives, even highly talented athletes and martial artists.

AMentalEdge_Blog_Pics an athlete for most of my life,I have seen extremely talented individuals fail when they were faced with less talented, but highly motivated and mentally tough adversaries and/or teammates. One of the major themes of training in any program at The Academy is self-defense and developing the mental edge and attitude that can be built through the physical demands of hard training and conditioning. The tough training sessions are not simply to develop strength, endurance, speed, power, flexibility, and overall conditioning, as much as it is to develop a strong mental attitude. Hard physical training over time begins to develop a person’s mental attitude and in time the mental control we have over ourselves.

You will find that the physical aspects of training are relatively temporary. Take time off and see what happens to your endurance, flexibility, and strength. These attributes will stay with you as long as they are maintained through training. Your fitness level rapidly declines when your training stops. Your endurance and strength will drop back to the level of when you started your first class in a matter of weeks when your training stops. However, what does stay with you is the mind set of winning, that “no quit” attitude. This is the reason behind our physically demanding classes and tough testing standards. I read and watch many things that center on success as a teacher, coach, and competitor (all are very different in function). One of the greatest no-nonsense football coaches of all time has to be Vince Lombardi.

Pic from http://www.vincelombardi.com/

Pic from http://www.vincelombardi.com/

During the 1960’s; the Green Bay Packers, under the guidance of Coach Vince Lombardi, were unrivaled in professional football. Lombardi was successful because he understood what the difference was between winners and losers. It wasn’t skill, physical talent, strength, or speed, but rather it was his players’ mental attitude. He built a desire and a will to win. The team’s training developed a positive” attitude that showed in every game. He said, “All the rings and all the money and all the color and all of the display, they linger only in a memory. But the spirit, the will to win, the will to excel. These are the things that endure and these are the qualities, of course, that are so much more important than any of the events that occur. I’d like to say that the quality of any mans life is a full measure of that mans personal commitment to excellence and to victory, regardless of what field he may be in.”

It’s all about a healthy attitude to be the best you can be. One of the main ways to develop the “mental edge” is by the constant reinforcement of succeeding at hard training sessions and tests. Training is not about easy workouts and pampering our students-it’s about physically demanding workouts that tests not only your physical capabilities, but, really your mental toughness and fortitude. The bottom line is that a coach or instructor can guide you by telling you what needs to be done and how often to do it. But you have to want to do it. Only the positive mental attitude to succeed will allow you to go to the Academy when you think you’re too tired to go to class, and help you avoid or bash through the many obstacles and distractions that will get in your way.

MentalEdge_Blog_Pic_2Being in shape and fit is about NOT GIVING UP, and this is key to your success in everything worth your time. The winner of any event, be it a self-defense situation, competition, your next rank test, or a personal goal, is not necessarily based on talent and not always the fittest or strongest, but the one with the strongest mind, the mental edge, who is committed to excellence.