Welcome back to another peek into my research files! This Sunday, I'll talk about my plentiful research into the action scenes from Claiming The Prize.
Longtime readers made introduction to the world of MMA during my writing and editing of Claiming The Prize, if that is, they hadn't already. My sons participate in the sport of wrestling, and my oldest son has also trained in jujitsu, boxing, CrossFit, along with dabbling in judo and kick-boxing. George St. Pierre mentions Royce Gracie in his commentary and trains with Renzo Gracie, a brother of the MMA legend. My son was able to train with the jujitsu specialist, Royce Gracie, last summer! It was a dream come true for him.
Many people incorrectly assume that MMA fighters are unintelligent. This couldn't be farther from the truth. This sport requires not only a well conditioned body, it requires the ability to constantly adapt, to gain in knowledge and skill, to mesh together and utilize multiple facets of martial arts, boxing, wrestling, kick-boxing, and the plethora of others into an ever evolving game of strategy. All of the trainers my son has worked with are highly intelligent individuals, concerned not only with my son's physical training, but with his character, his motivation, his education, his soul. Knowing and understanding the body's physiology, proper eating habits, business sense, selecting the right team to take a fighter where he needs and wants to go - these are paramount to success.
Wrestling technique is a must in the world of mixed-martial-arts, the body awareness learned on the mat an invaluable asset when grappling, but it is only one piece of an intricate web of skills needed to compete in this brutal sport. The intense cardio fitness needed to compete for a minimum of three rounds, each lasting five minutes is mind boggling! Daily two - three hour practices are commonplace during wrestling season, and that is only to compete for three periods of two minutes! Sprints, hammer drills, grass-rolls, and PT (physical training aptly named 'pain-and-torture' by the wrestlers) are daily drills - loved and hated all at once - by those dedicated souls committed enough to stick out the grueling practices.
It all pays off in the ring, or cage! MMA is about more than fighting. It's about honing one's body into the best it can be. It's about channeling energy, achieving, and dedication to a lifetime of work for a fifteen minute window to prove yourself.
As stated in the back cover of my first novel, I gained valuable knowledge sitting in countless gymnasiums across Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Observing from the bleachers, I watched my son practice these skills until he could barely stand another minute. Each roll of wrist, shift of hip, or angle of head holds purpose and meaning. Every strike thrown, takedown attempted, sprawl employed, or arm-bar locked up leads him closer to those sublime moments of seeing his name on top of a winners bracket. Over the years, I've picked up wrestling jargon, jujitsu moves, and the like. At one jujitsu tournament, a man laughed after my son's match, shaking his head with a smile. I had been coaching from the edge of the mat, unaware of anything around me as I instructed, 'Heavy with those hips! Now, go! Squeeze it! Tight!'
'You must be a wrestling mom,' he laughed.
I smiled sheepishly. 'Yep. I guess I am.'
'Wrestlers usually do well in jujitsu,' he informed, as if the news would be new to me. 'They've got great hips.'
I only nodded. My son took first place that day not only in his own weight bracket, but in the combined brackets of 100-200 pounds, teen division. It was all thanks to those great hips. Ha! (And I'd like to believe maybe from that little bit of coaching I dared to offer...lol)