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.

Greg Nelson Cancer Survivor Kare 11 Extra

Moret and Smith ready for bigger stage


Next month on June 21st Ressurection Fighting Alliance (RFA) heads to Milwaukee, Wisconsin for its 8th campaign. The card is Stacked with 2 title fights of which the biggest promotion in the world (UFC) will have a close eye on.

Jeff “big frog” Curran (34-15-1) will Take on Sergio Pettis (5-0) for the Flyweight title. Curran is 1-0 since dropping to 125lbs and will look to use his brilliant ground game and veteran approach to take out the Younger brother of UFC superstar Anthony Pettis who is known for his striking abilities.

In the Co-main event- Jared “demon eyes” Downing (9-1) will defend his featherweight title against fast rising prospect Lance “the Party” Palmer (5-0) of Team alpha male. Downing a well rounded fighter will an aggresive style is looking to keep his recently won belt against Palmer who is a 4x state champion and 4x all american wrestler from Ohio State. All 4 of these fighters are close to making the Jump to the UFC. Especially the winners of these to affairs.

The Academy is sending 2 warriors to battle as well. Both to be Featured on the nights nationally televised main card on AXSTV.

Benjamin Smith who is riding a 3 fight win streak into this event, will be taking on Mike “biggie” Rhodes of Rufusport in Milwaukee. Both carry official professional records of 4-1 into this fight. With Rhodes being a striker by trade and Smith a dominant wrestler, the contrasting styles will make for an interesting fight.

Last but not least, Dan “hitman” Moret, riding high off a unanimous decision win against a very tough Stephan Watt (4-2)   April 27th, will put his 4-0 record on the line against Wisconsin’s Jose Pacheco (7-3).  After having to pull out of RFA’s January event the “hitman” picked up another locally win and picked up a plan to move to 145lbs where this fight will take place.

Tune in to AXS TV June 21st 9pm central to watch our guys in action.

(funny) Practice Preparation with Alex Van Krevelen

Team Academy sends four to fight for K.O.T.C



This saturday, February 16th, Four academy team members will go to battle in Morton,MN for King of the cage promotions in what sounds to be a sell out casino crowd.

Victorious in his Amateur debut january 26th, Jason Huntley will lock horns with Bounoun Tonsay at 135 pounds. Huntley was asked to be on this show just a day after his debut win. He gladly accepted for chance to stay busy and gain more experience. Not much is known about his opponent but it will be a crowd pleasing affair as lighter weight fights normally are.

Ben Smith, who also fought january 26th, will be in action against local journeyman Reilly griffin. this fight will be held at a catchweight of 195 pounds. Both fighters will weigh in the day of the fight, hours ahead of the fight. Smith who fights at 170 lbs took this fight on short notice to stay active and attempt to build up his resume.

In what many think will be a fight of the night contender, Carl Deaton will take on Wrestling stud Josh Wiseman. Deaton a good strong wrestler in his own right will drop back down to 135 pounds for this fight. Wiseman, a former state champion and cadet national champion, went 4-1 in his Amateur bouts fighting at both 145 and 135, and this being his pro debut. He is not taking an easy fight for a pro debut as Deaton (3-0) is a bigger wrestler with good striking.

In the nights Main Event Mikey Zimmer will face Journeyman Starr Roberts at 155 pounds. Zimmer is a Morten,MN local. Therefore the crowd will be anticipating this fight all night. Starr Roberts record leaves much to be desired, but he always comes to fight with his athleticism and fundamental striking. Roberts always fights tough competition. Zimmer is coming off the first loss of his career dropping him to 4-1 as a professional and will be looking to get back to his winning ways.


Team Academy Profile: Ben Smith

Ben smith Def. Rico washington by Unanimous dec. 1/26/13

Ben smith Def. Rico Washington by Unanimous dec. 1/26/13

Calm, cool, and collected but ever the competitior is Ben smith.

Moving from Las Vegas to Minnesota months ago with his Family, Smith has been a great addition to The Academy MMA team as both a practice partner for everybody big to small, but also an overall great pressence to have in the room everyday.

What is your martial arts background & how did you get started in MMA?

Ben:” I started training in MMA around 3 years ago in an effort to connect with my roots as a wrestler. I started wrestling when I was 5 years old, and after having been disconnected from the sport for almost 10 years, I felt there was a major piece of my foundation as a person that was missing, or at least lacking the appropriate nurture. MMA has filled those gaps for me.”

What motivates you day in day out?

Ben:” I’m motivated to wake up and face the grind every day by an uncompromising need to seek out personal actualization. The sense of merit and accomplishment, which my involvement in MMA supplies, allows for me to be a better, happier, and more adjusted man for my family.”

How did you end up at the academy?

Ben:” I spent the last couple years training at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas. Although I was happy to move back to Minneapolis in order to be closer to family, I was nervous about finding a gym that would suit my needs as well Xtreme.  Everyone I asked told me that The Academy was where it’s at. They were completely right, and I’m incredibly honored to be a part of the gym.”

What are your goals as a competitor?

Ben: “My only concrete goal in MMA since I started was to get myself to the UFC. I figure that when that happens, I will reassess and come up with some new ones.”

What do you enjoy most about the sport/ training at the academy?

Ben:” I love competing in MMA because its a tangible attack against immobility, doubt, and fear. Every person, in one fashion or another, has to face those things in life. Competing in one on one combat just happens to be the medium that best suits me.”

“What I love most about The Academy is the motto it operates under (Opera non Verba…Deeds not Words). I wish all factions of the world would operate under this very simple, and very noble principle.”