What Is Hard Work

Tkickboxing-minneapolis-minnesotahere can be different interpretations of what hard work is.  First, who’s asking? A professional or former college athlete? A high school athlete that hasn’t done much for 10 years? A person who has never done sports but has excelled in academics?  Is it me asking as a man in his 50’s that at one time pushed my limits on a daily basis? Bottom line, what hard work is for one person may seem crazy to another. Vince Lombardi said, “The dictionary is the only place success comes before work.  Hard work is the price we must all pay for success. I think we can accomplish anything if we are willing to pay the price.” You need to know what you want before you will be willing to work hard for it. Everyone has different goals in the martial arts; get in shape, relieve stress, build confidence, make friends and have fun, compete, become a champion….and everyone has a little of the above at varying levels.

Until you understand what hard work is and accept it as part of the process, you are likely not going to achieve your goals.  Being your best is about wanting it enough to do what is required and more. You have to be willing to pay the price of commitment, with consistency and discipline; you have to form new healthy habits if you are going to succeed in reaching your goals.  The key to reaching your own version of success means you have to accept what it will take. After that, you have to develop the habit of doing what you know you should and what is necessary. To be your best you must have the will to prepare to win the day.

“The dictionary is the only place success comes before work.  Hard work is the price we must all pay for success. I think we can accomplish anything if we are willing to pay the price.”


Most people think they have the will to be great at some level.  However, many do not acknowledge the price that must be paid. At the beginning levels the cost is minimal. You have to begin by creating some consistent training habits.  As you improve that price goes up. If you know why you are training, you will be willing to do the work. A martial artist knows that victories are won in the classroom and through training with consistency.  It is by making a choice to get up and get into The Academy to train on a consistent basis that little victories are won. Your body and mind become accustomed to your routine and you will eventually start to ask more of yourself.  By knowing why you want to train and then following through over time, you become ever closer to becoming that confident, disciplined and hardworking individual you have always dreamed you could be.

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

Patience Is The Companion Of Wisdom

“Patience is the companion of wisdom”
-Saint Augustine

We live in a “hurry up” world. Rush hour, coffee, work, and lack of sleep are part of what we think of when we think of our city, our state, or our country. It sometimes feels like we must “get things done.” All of us to some degree are affected by this speedy mentality. Change must come quickly in this lifestyle. The question for me is why? Why does society worry so much about the amount of time it takes someone to do something? If it takes us an extra 20 minutes to cook a balanced meal than to eat fast food, then should we eat fast food to save those 20 minutes, or should we spend 20 minutes on healthy food, and not add the extra calories to our already excessive consumption of food? Americans are, by far, the fattest group on the planet. We live in the most affluent country in the world, yet we sometimes are the least proactive, and most reactive people alive today. Martin Luther King Jr. said,”Rarely do we find people who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.” He’s challenging us to take our time and sort through our thoughts and listen to the many different possibilities that are out there.
Kickboxing MN

It’s important, for me to say, now that I’ve spent the past few sentences setting up this critique of our exaggerated feelings of urgency, that I’m as guilty as anyone when it comes to going too fast when I do things. I’ve spent a lot of time on the highway speeding past those suckers on my way to our Academy. I can see us feeling that even in training. We want this instant gratification. Sometimes the best thing to do might just be to slow down and think before you act. “Are my hands up?” “Do I have my balance?” Constantly asking questions leads us to find mistakes in our thinking, and thus our actions. I always say to my classes “Take your time, warm up…” I want you to think about and to be mindful about, just where your body is moving. I guess that’s just another way of saying, “be coordinated.” Simple lessons, are sometimes the most complex ones to understand, those of us who have competed know that the “devil is in the details.” It’s just one more reason to practice slowly, yet focused and methodical.

So be patient with yourself and others. Let go of urgency, because it really is only a temporary feeling that won’t permanently motivate. Set big goals, aim high you might just get close to the mark. Have fun being in the flow of working towards your next rank. Keep in mind it never really stops with the next rank test, because you can always get better. Be patient and forgiving to yourself in training, but also don’t let fatigue or stress turn you into a coward. Just take your time and enjoy all your training and experience.

“With time and patience the mulberry leaf becomes a silk gown” -Chinese Proverb

Instructor Spotlight: Nora Schull

10247396_10152375113586718_8424570583080340773_nCoach Nora started training at The Academy over 6 years ago. Through perseverance and hard work she has earned a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and a black rank in Muay Thai. Her commitment to training, coaching, and competing is unprecedented. Her esteemed title of ‘Momma Bear’ was earned through her commitment to the team which has afforded her teammates the ability to travel and pursue their passion. With over 2 decades of experience in modern dance, she oversees all of the arts programming for Minneapolis Public Schools. When she isn’t occupied by these demanding commitments, she is a proud mother of two children, Ella and Ian, and is an avid feline enthusiast. The Academy thankful to have someone of Nora’s caliber within its roster.

Student Spotlight: Jason Gulden

Martial Arts FitnessJason grew up in circle pines and, like many people experienced bullying and street fights. These early experiences help build a desire to learn self-defense. When he joined the Academy, he was searching for real life self-defense and fighting techniques. What he got was not only a working knowledge of self defense but also tremendous health and energy. When he first started training in the foundations program he weighed185 lbs. Now that he has been training in the Combat Athlete program he has lost over 35 lbs! Way to go Jason!

Team Academy Winter Fight/Competition Results

Another great season of competition brought with it both adversity and triumph. We’re so proud of all our Team Academy competitors that continue to push themselves and grow as martial artists in victory and in defeat! Here is a quick summary of this winter’s results:

Ben Smith RFA

Ben Smith taking the title!

MMA Results

RFA 24 (3/6/15)

  • Ben “Silver” Smith captured the RFA welterweight title with a TKO from punches
  • Dan Moret suffered a defeat by unanimous decision
  • Andre Tieva got caught on the receiving end of punches and lost his fight via TKO
  • CT Bailey took a loss in a unanimous decision

King of the Cage 17 (2/21/15)

  • Nick Compton defeated Brandon Jenkins via unanimous decision

A-Town Throwdown (2/13/15)


Sean Richman, victorious at WWFC

  • Jon Ebert submitted his opponent with a triangle choke in the 1st round, winning his amateur debut!
  • Anthony Rose lost his bout, tapping to a guillotine choke in the 2nd round

Dakota FC 20 – Winter Brawl (1/24/15)

  • Clarence Jordan lost his fight by unanimous decision
  • Jason Huntley suffered a close, split decision loss

World War Fighting Championship 17 (1/17/15)

  • Sean Richman finished his opponent in the 1st round by TKO
  • Nick Compton put up the second “W” of the night for Team Academy, securing a rear naked choke to win his fight in the 1st round

Chaos At Cantebury VI (12/20/14)


Nick Compton with the “W”

  • Nate Howe earned a victory from an arm bar submission in the 1st round
  • CT Bailey also edged out his opponent with a 1st round arm bar
  • Melvin Cruz secured the win by TKO/referee stoppage in the 4th round
  • Jason Huntley won out in a unanimous decision

KOTC Industrial Strength (11/22/14)

  • Clarence Jordan found himself on the winning side of a unanimous decision

A-Town Throwdown IV (11/15/14)

  • Hayden Buckner tapped out his opponent with a guillotine choke early in the 2nd round
  • Anthony Rose executed a beautiful knock out after just 14 seconds of the 2nd round


    A beautiful TKO by “The Marine”

Bellator 131 (11/15/14)

  • Mike Richman earned a swift TKO victory over Nam Phan, prompting a stoppage to the fight after just 46 seconds!

RFA 20 (11/7/14)

  • Ben Smith defeated his opponent via a unanimous decision after 3 rounds

BJJ Results

Submission Hunt (11/22/14)

Bergeron Subhunt

Team Academy grabbing gold at the SubHunt

  • The Academy competitors came out on top, winning several divisions and taking home the championship trophy for team points!

NAGA Chicago (11/1/14)

  • Another exciting and successful grappling tournament for Team Academy!

FIVE Grappling Tournament (10/18/14 – 10/19/14)

  • Brandon Bergeron took home gold in his gi division
  • Kelly Johnson was victorious, also taking the top spot in his division

    Troy Jones ESP

    Troy Jones celebrating the win with a proud team!

Muay Thai Results

ESP (2/21/15)

  • Troy “Trouble” Jones captured the ESP kickboxing title!

Coaches Corner: The Heart of the Athletic Experience (part two)

Kickboxing Minneapolis MN

Minneapolis Kickboxing

Almost everyone tries to Thai kick with all their power, when they first learn the kick. In trying so hard they flex the wrong muscles, miss time their focus, drop their hands, and twist and torque their bodies the wrong way, all while getting really tired – really fast. You will hear the instructor say “relax, just let the body do the work.” The hardest kickers realize that less effort can create more results. A smart athlete/martial artist trains with a relaxed and naturally progressive approach while working at a high intensity and quality pace. In this way, they can train hard on a consistent basis, achieving a kind of a “runner’s high” not just in rare exceptional training days, but every time they train. They avoid pressure and burnout that accompanies a stressful approach to training.

The Cost and Demand of Training

• Athletics/Martial Arts develops what it demands. Development is precisely commensurate with the demand. “With no demand, there is no development; with small demand, small development; with improper demand, improper development.

• Demand requires motivation. Without continual motivation to get you going, there can be no consistent training.

• Motivation requires meaning. The motivating factor corresponds to your goals; it must offer an improvement or benefit that you want.

• Demand takes the form of progressive overload. By repeatedly and consistently asking yourself a little more than you’re comfortable with, a little more than you are capable of, you improve.

• Progressive overload takes place in small increments within your comfort zone. You need to stretch your comfort zone but not ignore it. By staying near the top end of your comfort zone, but within your comfort zone, you will improve at a nice and progressive rate, and you will be able to continue training and improving for longer. The key here “Don’t just train harder, train smarter.”

• Development (through overload) requires a tolerance for failure. Development means that there will be “little failures” along the way to your ultimate goal.

• Tolerance for failure comes from understanding the natural process of development. If your expectations are too high you will become frustrated; realistic goal setting develops patience. By being realistic in your training demands you will see failures and obstacles as steppingstones not road blocks to your inevitable progress.

Training progressively develops you through gradual increases in your personal demand. If realistic and gradual demands are placed on the body it will develop. Within its natural capacity, the body will adapt to demands made upon it. It is important that you learn and develop a little every day. Realize progress is mechanical: If you practice something over and over with attention and commitment to improve (quality repetition), you will surely improve. Anyone who practices over time can become competent, even expert, in the martial arts.

“Life was never meant to be a struggle;
just a gentle progression from one point to another,
much like walking through a valley on a sunny day.”

Coach’s Corner: 13 Creative Ways To Get Cardio

IMG_7288Hey Team! With winter here it can be tough to fit in the cardio our bodies need because honestly, we don’t want to spend any more time outside than we have to and we don’t want to be cooped up in the gym all the time. Here are 13 ways to get your cardio in:

1. Master the stairs.

If you work in a building that has stairs, always opt for taking the stairs rather than the elevator. You’ll get your heart pumping and the calories burning!

2. Walk and talk.

Instead of meeting your girlfriend at a coffee shop, meet for a walk to talk and catch up. This is a great way to catch up and get some cardio in. Just make sure you’re walking at a decent pace!

3. Do a little dance.

Every time your phone rings do a little dance or do a couple squats after you get off the phone. A few minutes of movement is better than none!

4. Stay hydrated.

Make trips to get water. Staying hydrated is not only important for your health, its great for your skin and will get you out of your seat!

5. No more lazy layovers.

Got a long layover? Take a few laps around the terminal. Taking the rolling walkways doesn’t count.

6. Bike or walk to work.

For those of you who like to be extreme, consider biking or walking to work (depending on how far away you live from your work, of course).

7. Chores galore.

Cleaning may not be your favorite thing to do, but it burns calories. Vacuuming for an hour can burn roughly 75 calories! And who doesn’t want a clean house?

8. Park on the edge.

Instead of looking for that rockstar parking spot at the front of the lot, nearest the door – park at the end of the lot. This may not seem like a fun idea in the winter but your body will thank you for it!

9. Grocery laps.

Before you start grocery shopping, take a few laps around the store with your cart. Have a plan about what you’re going to buy first, make a list (if you don’t already have one) and then start shopping.

10. Take to the dance floor!

Winter is a hard time to want to get out and do things, but make an effort to take a dance class or two. Changing things up in your routine, will help kick boredom in the butt.

11. Shopping is cardio.

With the holidays in full swing you probably don’t have all your shopping done. A 2 hour shopping run can burn up to 350 calories.

12. Active date night.

Instead of opting for a movie on the couch, opt for a more active date night like a dance class, a yoga class, or something totally different! The sky is the limit!

13. Let the games begin!

Got a Wii or Kinect? Pop in a game that gets you moving. It’ll be fun for you and your family!

These are just suggestions, but you get the picture. Spend a little time brainstorming activities that you don’t typically do that might be good ways to move your body and burn some calories. The more active and consistent you stay through the winter months, the easier it will be to get that beach body ready for summer!

The key to staying in shape during the winter is simply to stay consistent and have a plan. Without a game plan to stick to, it’s really easy to fall off the wagon. So if you haven’t made your weekly plan for this week, do it now! You don’t need to plan month’s worth of plans, just plan it a week in advance. Get into the habit of writing your plans every Saturday or Sunday. Remember, if you need any suggestions or help – be sure to talk to your Coach! We’re always happy to help!

Nat Mcintyre Highlight Video

Meet: Clarence Jordan

Clarence Jordan with a nice head kick.

Clarence Jordan with a nice head kick.

Clarence has made the Move to Minnesota to train at The Academy, here’s a little bit about him.

1. Where are you from?

Waterloo Iowa (same town as wrestling legend Dan Gable)

2. What is your background in athletics/ MMA experience?

I wrestled in high school and college , then I started training for MMA my Junior year of college. (Clarence is now 2-1, in his Pro career)

3. What made you move and join The Academy?

I was invited by my manager Jeremy Bjornberg to come visit the gym and after one practice I knew this was where I needed to be. Tough training partners and great coaching.

4. What do you like most about the Team/gym/program?

I like being around like minded individuals. I want to be a champion and it helps me stay motivated to be around others who have the same mind set and work ethic that I do. Iron sharpens iron!


Coach’s Corner: The Value of a Good Training Partner


Hey Team! This month’s coach’s corner comes to you from Coach Lance King, who is a blakc belt in muay thai, an instructor here at The Academy, and a rockstar (literally)!

I’ve trained Muay Thai now for over 14 years. The one thing that is probably the single most important aspect of my growth while training was “who I was training with”. The person on the other side of the pads is hugely important to your success and growth; how they hold, how they move, how fluid they are, how relaxed, how rigid or strong they are, all these aspects can create a variation in feel and how the training session goes. Every aspect of what they do will effect your performance and what you’ll learn or what you’ll physically get out of the training session.

There is no doubt some days you’ll come in and you’ll have to go with someone that you’ll be training more than they will be training you. Step into this position positively when it happens, as you are now their mentor for that session. In the beginning when you start training a certain style, you’ll be learning more than teaching, the better you get, the more that will likely change. But regardless of that, when you are in the position of holder, you should consider yourself a trainer, and realize you are responsible for the other persons growth. Of course coaches will step in and point out the things both the hitter and holder need to focus on improving, but the holders eyes are always on their partner, and that makes you very important to your partner’s success.

As the holder, you will be monitoring your partner’s ability and conditioning level and pushing them to their absolute best level they can deliver that day. Some days you’re going to be bursting with energy and some days you may be drained, each is an opportunity to learn and grow if you push yourself and your partner to their max ability. I find that if I’m really drained on a particular day, that is a day I will focus more on “form” and “flow” as opposed to going really hard. It’s good to share what you want to focus on with your partner/holder and how you’re feeling that say do you can be in synch.

In general, holding Thai pads should be done in a focused and aggressive way with a strong stance. This still can be fun and enjoyable, but there is no doubt you will get a lot more out of your workout if your holder pushes you to your best. Quite simply, this action will lock out over thinking things and forces your body to react. A side benefit is you’ll think less about being tired. You’ll be amazed at how much more your body will automatically put into your pad training session.

IF you’re training to be a fighter, then it’s more serious business. But even fighter need to control their aggression as to not hurt their training partners. It’s one thing to be competitive and quite another to loose your temper because of ego and try to inflict damage to your partners while training. There is a fine line between not enough and too much aggression.

Most great fighters are naturally aggressive and they need to train in a more aggressive way because they’re conditioning themselves to go hard and to hit hard “all the time”. However, they also need to continue to train consistently. Injuries happen, but it’s not something that helps consistent training. An injury can take you out of training for weeks or even months, so it’s good to try and avoid them until you’re in the rind or in the street where it’s time to seriously throw down. It’s always important to wear as much protection as you can. Cups, mouth guard, hand/wrist wraps, 16-18 oz gloves, and if you’re going hard, headgear is always a good idea! Remember, you want to have the best training partner possible, so it’s important to be one in return!

-Coach Lance King