Coaches Corner: Rules For Living: Part 1

I threw my first judo throw, kicked my first kicks, and punched my first punches 42 years ago. I found my passion and immediately started to make training a part of my life. I made ad hoc training areas in my garage and laundry room. I started on a path I am still on today. When I think about all the years training Gymnastics, Judo, Wrestling, Boxing, Karate, then Jun Fan Martial Arts, Filipino Kali, Muay Thai, and Shooto, followed by Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and MMA, it all started with a deep seeded passion.

One morning when I was in 8th grade I decided to set my first goal: to get up every morning and run before school. That set in motion the habit of writing down goals I wanted to accomplish and gave me a way to go attain them. I started reading books about great athletes, martial artists and philosophers. I found out what they did to accomplish their dreams and visions. One of the books I read detailed one of the Olympians ‘Rules for Living’ and to this day I still have them hanging at my house.

Rule #1

You Have To Have A Dream To Have A Dream Come True

To start you have to have a clear picture of where you are going. Everything starts with a dream. As the Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”, Even though we may not immediately perish, our goals will die without a dream. My dream was pretty simple, I wanted to be the best athlete I could be, and the martial arts, as well as all the other sports I did, were all lumped into that dream. I had dreams, but now I needed a plan….


Rule #2

Champions Set a Series of Intermediate Steps To Achieve Their Goals
I knew what I wanted. Now I had to establish goals: something I could realistically achieve. I had to break down my goals into tangible steps. I did a lot of sports, but I really started to understand how to break down my goals in middle school as a gymnast. I loved gymnastics and wanted to be a champion, but I had to first learn the basics of each piece of equipment. Once I started to get the basics, immediately the task was to string them together, and eventually create routines. Once my routines were set, I had to break them down and work individual series and set a goal to achieve a specific score on each event. I knew what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it. Once I figured that out, everything was much simpler. Now, I just had to execute.

Every journey begins with a single step

Rule #3

Champions Never Say No To An Opportunity

I learned to set steps in gymnastics, but it was in Wrestling that I had my first opportunity to meet an Olympic Gold Medalist.  In 1980 we had the opportunity to witness college hockey players come together, and through a ton of HARD work and a visionary coach. They beat the ‘unbeatable’ Soviet Union Hockey team enroute to winning the Gold Medal. 

Being totally psyched after seeing that I had the opportunity to go to a wrestling camp with Olympic Gold medalists Ben and John Peterson.  Incidentally, that is where I learned my first submission, which was a neck crushing pin move I dubbed the ‘Peterson Squeeze’.  Without knowing it another piece of my future was put in place waiting to be used.  Later that same year I got the opportunity to train with professional wrestler Ivan “The Polish Hammer’ Putski. What an experience that was! He showed a whole bunch of illegal moves that began to shape my way of thinking. When opportunity knocks, open that door!  I learned that when an opportunity presents itself, jump on it.
If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.

About The Academy #1 in Minneapolis St. Paul

Fighter Spotlight: Troy “Trouble” Jones Jr. 2015 IMFA Royal World Cup Champion

Team Academy fighter left for Bangkok Thailand to compete in the IMFA Royal World Cup as part of Team US on August 12th – & he returned a CHAMPION!  After winning the TBA Sanctioning 2015 Class-A title & still being undefeated, he was selected to represent the US in Thailand. To get to the gold medal match Troy defeated 3 fighters from Ivory Coast, Finland, France. In the finals match Troy defeated a very tough fighter from Turkey. Minnesota now has it’s very own Muay Thai kickboxing champion!

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Mike Richman Moves on to tournament final over “popo”


Heated, is a good way to describe the official Bellator weigh in between Academy Product Mike Richman and Alexandre “popo” Bezzera. After both men weighed in “popo” got in Richmans face and made contact, Which prompted Richman to give him a solid shove. Immediately after the stage was swarmed by people from both camps and bellator officials holding them back from each other. The next night there wouldnt be anybody holding them back.


The first round saw a relentless takedown attack by Bezzera for the first minute, Richman was able to stuff the first couple attempts and even countered with a front choke off of Bezzera’s single leg takedown attempt. A front choke in which Mike is known for hitting alot in the practice room. After getting Richman to the ground “popo” got Mikes back and would stay there for the rest of the round attacking with choke attempts and punches from behind. (10-9 Bezzera)

Round 2, was all hands. Richmans world class striking would be the story of round 2. Bezzera showed his grit and concrete jaw by staying on the feet and trying to go punch for punch with the superior boxer, of course he attempted to shoot for a takedown ocassionally, but Richman wasnt allowing it. Bezerra’s head was knocked back countless times by stiff jabs and quick straight left hands by the deadly southpaw ( 10-9 Richman)

Round 3 left off where round 2 ended, on the feet for the first minute and a half. Finally Bezzera secured the takedown he had been searching for. Ground and pound at first from top position, then getting richmans back again he attempted more rear naked chokes. Richman would get back to guard then spring up to his feet and throw everything but the kitchen sink at Bezzera for the final minute of the 145 lb. tourney quarter final.

In easily the fight of the night and possibly fight of the tournement so far. Mike “the Marine” Richman takes the 29-28 split decision victory to move on the the Finals of the $100,000 tournement. His Opponent will be Magomedrasul “Frodo” Khasbulaev (20-5) a super tough Russian with a hard hitting free style approach.