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The Philosophy Behind Training

Want to learn real, professional fighting skills?

With Fight Sports Centre you can:

  • Learn the invisible skills, like timing, range control, angling and so on that are far more important than technical ability.
  • Understand how fighting works and win with your mind and not just your body.
  • Walk out of each session a MUCH better fighter than when you walked in.
  • Drill and practice in a way that develops timing, ability and confidence.
  • Tried and tested. It consistently gets results, irrespective of style, experience, athletic ability, body type etc.

A Word from Brendon Katz

MMA has always been an interesting thing for me. Even before it was called Mixed Martial Arts, when it was just called fighting. I’d play-fight around with my buddies, as I’m sure most boys did and still do growing up. None of us had any really skill or training, we’d just follow our instincts and our willpower and see who came out on top. One day one of the guys armbarred me. Unbeknownst to me, he had begun training in jiu jitsu. The way he took victory so smoothly, so gracefully has captivated me ever since.

Pretty soon after that the UFC 1 went down. Now, that looked really cool! How is it that a small, relatively frail looking guy could dominate and win? And that’s where the journey started.

I began training in MMA. After about 2 years of training a new guy showed up who was 6’5 and around 120kgs (around 265lbs). Now I’m 5’6 and 75kg (165lbs), but the experience advantage I had kept us competitive. He wasn’t able to dominate me, but I wasn’t able to dominate him either. A friend invited me to come and train with his coach, I took him up on it and that night I was getting tapped out by guys who were around my size and lighter than me. Let me tell you about hitting a heavy doubt session. I left my old place on good terms and began training at my friend’s coach’s gym. A year later I went back to the old place and fought the monster on the ground. I tapped him out, explained to him what he did wrong, and then tapped him out the same way again. Within one minute! Clearly, some styles and some coaches are better than others, and that it wasn’t intention or passion or effort level of the coaches that set guys apart. So what was it?  What do I need to know to get really good at fighting?

As time went on, occasionally we’d get an unusual talent come into the gym. I’ve battled with the freaks who seemed to pick things up and apply them better than anybody else. Some guys came in with physical gifts like speed, strength or reflexes. It always felt like no matter how well I tried to do a technique that I’d been taught, it would fail.  I remember there was one guy who seemed to always be a step ahead. Every move I made turned out to be the wrong one, as though he’d seen my mind and already knew what I was going to do before I did it. His movements were unusual. The general consensus is that it was raw talent, that that sort of stuff was untrainable. And my favourite excuse of all. It’s not “textbook.” I began to seriously doubt myself and my abilities. If I was learning the textbook and being dominated by guys who were doing stuff that wasn’t “textbook”, what good was what I was learning? Or maybe it was just because I didn’t have the special talent that some of those guys do. As my frustration and my self-doubt grew, my passion began to dwindle. I felt like I wasn’t learning and progressing any more, and I started to feel like I’d never be any good and wasting my time.

A pivotal moment in my life was when I was invited to come train at one of the finest pro boxing gyms in the world. A local newspaper visited his gym soon after I started there, and they asked him if he was getting involved in MMA. He denied it, saying he was prepared to work with only 3 fighters in the country. I was one of them. He is the kind of trainer who says he doesn’t produce journeymen, he produces champions. And he’s right.

But I didn’t feel like a champion there. I felt like cannon fodder. Every time I would drive to the gym, I’d have sweaty palms and butterflies in my stomach. I was physically afraid on every trip.

Fear and frustration motivated me to study intensely all the greatest boxers, to try to uncover the hidden code they had cracked. I wanted to know exactly what it is that separates them from other boxers. I studied for hours every day for around 2 years. I’d focus on the freaks, defensive geniuses like Pernell Whitaker, Prince Naseem Hamed and Muhammed Ali, and vicious and effective knockout artists like Mike Tyson and Rocky Marciano, and especially fighters that could combine both, men like Roy Jones Jr and James Toney.

At the same time, I had the opportunity to test my theories against world class boxers and world champions training at a local gym.

I began to notice patterns of movement and timing that the greats all employed, and I found those same patterns lifted my own game when I tested it against the champions I was sparring with. I refined those patterns into a method and, applying that method, I went from being filled with dread on every trip to the gym when I would spar new pros, to sparring with local champs and then with world champion boxers and feeling comfortable and even excited.

My striking rocketed, but my clinch and my ground game were stalled. I was learning techniques, but I was on the hunt for things much more important than techniques. To me, it seems like learning a new technique is a lot is like trying to walk across a dark room. You start walking and pretty soon hit a piece of furniture. Your coach switches on the light, shows you what you walked into and how to walk around it. Then he switches off the light and shuffles the furniture around again.  I was trying to apply the techniques I was learning, but they just wouldn’t work. So I went back to patterns of movement and timing, and this time the breakthrough came with much less hours dedicated to study. It only took me about 6 months. Once I made the discovery, I went from occasionally doing well and often getting hammered to consistently dominating similarly ranked training partners and competitors. That shift happened literally from one session to the very next one! And it was no fluke, the same concepts continue to allow me to dominate.

Taking this “less is more” philosophy and distilling clinching into it’s vital pieces was an even quicker process. Within weeks I’d uncovered fundamental movement patterns and timing considerations that very rapidly elevated my game.

I’ve been working as a coach for a total of over 10 years now. The very first time I began coaching using my new method was when I took over the striking sessions at a well-respected local MMA gym. Within a few weeks, two guys in the class had advanced themselves quite obviously past the others. I assumed that it was because they had been training the longest, but as it turned out they had only begun martial arts a session or two before I began coaching. Since then, I’ve been constantly refining both the concepts and the methods of training, and the results have been coming quicker and quicker.

One of those two original guys went on to compete, in boxing, against fighters coming out of a 3rd generation boxing coach’s gym, a gym that had produced world champions. Christos did well enough the first fight, and the second fight his game looked so good the audience were cheering for his defensive wizardry! I thought maybe it was just Christos, maybe he was just that talented. Now that I’m a little wiser, I know that my methods unlocked his talent. Nobody boxes like Christos except Christos. And therein lies the beauty of martial arts, the very thing that makes it an art. Art is self-expression.

Other guys I trained started coming through. Stephen “the buffalo”, Dwayne “the tractor”, “Fencing” Friedman. All with their own unique style, all applying the concepts and the methods in their own way to suit their own personality. It’s not a system. To use the analogy from earlier, I’m not holding your hand walking you through the room. I’m turning on the lights so you can get through it yourself.

I’m tired of intelligent, brave men and women being sold concepts, methods and techniques that just aren’t effective. I know how frustrating it is, I know how crap it is to hear that voice in your head whisper “you’re just not good enough” and how crap that feels. I also know how good it feels to “see the matrix”, to play the game by rules other people don’t even know exist, and to take victory smoothly and gracefully, with my own style. And I promise you it feels better than you could imagine.

For the martial artist, victory alone is not enough. Victory must be taken smoothly and gracefully to be a total victory. That is the art of fighting without fighting.

Let’s get started,

Brendon Katz

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