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Discover Your Inner Warrior By Reading The Fighter Within by Chris Olech

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By Dave Madden @DMaddenMMA

Photo courtesy of Chris Olech

When imagining a fight, visions of hand wraps, bright fluorescent lights, a canvas, and similarly weighted opponents may encroach the forefront of your thoughts. Truth is, many walks of life engage in some form of battle on a regular basis, evidenced by daily encounters with conflict met with the placement of one foot in front of the other. After eight years of dedication, Chris Olech bound a collection of practices implemented by many of the greatest minds in combat sports to act as your daily cornerman in his tome: The Fighter Within: Everyone Has A Fight-Insights into the minds and souls of true champions (2016):

So, I ask you: what is your fight? What is your place in life? Truly ponder this question; use it and the humility of martial arts to create a better you, whether it be with your family, your friends, your work, or anything else. Let it take over your thoughts and use it to set those goals that you can systematically achieve over time. By the time you reach the final chapter of this book, you will see that these processes hold true for some of the best in the world. (p. 17)

What’s It About?

Much of the wisdom found within this book is from wiser and more experienced people than I, which can and should be applied to daily life and in one’s career. Some teachings may seem new, but they have been passed on for generations because they are warrior-tested and perfected. One thing is for certain: it takes the application of our gifts to be successful. (p. 182)

Writing Style

Olech paints a panoramic mural with his words to portray The Fighter Within all of us does not require a bell as an alert to set any plans into motion:

Every one of the events I went through in my life, good or bad, shaped and molded me. My good nature, respectful approach toward people, mental strength, and never-say-die attitude are all attributable to my upbringing and milestones in life. We all have a story; we all have a battle to fight and goals that we are striving for in the rat race of life. (p. 16)

Instead of passively ascertaining the cognition of those who have stood at, or continue to inch toward, the pinnacle of martial endeavors, Olech inked his firsthand experience after embedding himself in the same atmosphere as the many tactical minds who adorned main events around the globe on the grandest stages: rings or cages. An observation Olech noted during a Paradise Warrior Retreat, a set of seminars featuring top-flight talent from the ground to the tallest of stances,

What I noticed right away was that even the big guys were still students of the game; Demien [Maia] was enthralled with Rob Kaman’s training, Matt Serra was super attentive to Demian Maia’s techniques, Jeff Joslin was taking in all that Babalu [Sobral] was demonstrating, and so on. It was a great thing to see that they still felt they had a lot to learn, even at the elite level. (p. 63-64)

According to Olech, idly picking up what he laid down on the page will not yield the payoff you may be seeking. Effectiveness pixelates upon an application of instruction, and Olech manifested this universal truth when revisiting his entrance and success in one of jiu-jitsu’s largest tournaments: Grappler’s Quest:

I had yet again learned how to approach my goals systematically to get the best results. I sacrificed time with my family, took away the things I craved (food), outworked others in preparation, and kept a strong mind and focus on the prize as I resisted situations trying to pry that focus away. This was the winning formula–one that I could also apply to my everyday life experiences and to help others as well. (p. 114)

The Fighter Within successfully sculpted the frame of mind required to champion your daily grind, though Olech cited a favorite author of his to wrangle the idea for consumption,

Napolean Hill, one of the greatest writers on the genre of personal success, was quoted as saying, “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve. Thoughts are things! And powerful things at that. When mixed with certainty of purpose, and burning desire, thoughts can be translated into riches.” (p. 186)

Learning From the Best

From cover to cover, The Fighter Within is littered with names paramount in combat sports. The individuals featured via Olech’s pen peel back their layers of experience and knowledge, morphing their impossible feats of physical fortitude into day-in and day-out drive.

In the case of Matt Olson, co-owner of the gym attached to names like Sean Sherk and Brock Lesnar: API (Athletic Performance Inc.), it all begins with a solid foundation,

“The basics must be established before an athlete can progress to advanced levels. You would be amazed at how many pro athletes have so many basic physical issues. In my experience, MMA fighters have the worst agility and hand strength issues when weights don’t come with handles.” (p. 36)

Once the fundamental scaffolds are in place to aid stability, John Danaher, a genius who can roll with a myriad of discussions or other jiu-jitsu players with crafty complexity, would suggest that you to check-in with yourself and your sphere of influence,

He thought this [training at Renzo Gracie’s gym] was fascinating and considered himself extremely fortunate as a student, learning from excellent teachers and grapplers that would always make John ask himself: “Is there anything more I could be doing to make myself and the people around me happier?” (p. 81)

The text exemplified Danaher’s divergent thinking in an area repeated as prerequisite in achievement: mental toughness, though Danaher pushed aside such a notion,

“You can give me the toughest guy in the world, the toughest, roughest, meanest man, if he can’t swim when thrown in the ocean, he’ll break in three seconds. But you take a fourteen-year old kid who had six swimming lessons, thrown in the ocean, he would be fine. What people call mental toughness is much more the case that they have been dropped in these situations that most people will break in, but they’re so familiar with them through repetition, through immersion, through being put in those tough situations so many times that they feel comfortable enough. Because they’re comfortable, they can formulate a plan of escape. They can hatch a plan for victory, so they can endure tremendous hardship and prevail.” (p. 85)

When Olech sat down with Rashad Evans, former UFC light heavyweight champion, it propped open the reader’s eyes to how debilitating Evans’ fear was the night before his fight against, arguably, the scariest man on the planet at that time in the UFC: Chuck Liddell. The visualization technique imparted onto Evans from Randy Couture, a former heavyweight and light heavyweight champion in the UFC, cracked the door that many opt to leave shut and locked:

Rashad told Randy that he was scared and nervous going into this fight. Randy acknowledged that he knew exactly what Rashad was going through and that he needed to make friends with the worst possible outcome of the match. He told him to truly make friends with the feelings, and imagine the most embarrassing things happening to him. Only then would he be able to compete to the best of his abilities, being content in the fact that no matter what, the sun was still going to rise the next day and the people who loved him would still love him the next day,–life would go on. (p. 92-93)

Photo courtesy of Chris Olech

If Couture’s methodology doesn’t vibe with your style, it may behoove you to soak in the wisdom passed on to some of the greatest mixed martial artists to receive coaching from Firas Zihabi. Zihabi addresses moments of strife saying,

“…Flow with the go.” (p. 158)

Over the course of pushing forward and finding your footholds, Rich Franklin, former UFC middleweight champ, reminded everyone who inserts the many teachings found in The Fighter Within to not lose sight of the scenery along the way,

“People don’t realize that you get so…[pausing to find the right words] it’s so much a heavy search for results in life that you forget that the journey is the most important. I think with me, that’s what happened. Suddenly, I had the title and the world was moving so fast all of a sudden, and I did not realize that what was the most important was the journey to get there!” (p. 141)

Photo courtesy of Chris Olech

The concepts and athletes presented are merely a skeleton of what’s included throughout The Fighter Within. At the conclusion of the book, you’ll unmask, or become better acquainted with, your fighter within, too.

Rating

It took a couple of years before we would meet up again, mainly due to my stubborn attempt to conduct our interviews in person. I really wanted to be able to feed off his [Rashad Evans’] energy and read his thought processes, which would be diminished over the phone. (p. 91)

As a fan of martial arts, mixed or otherwise, and a proponent of massaging the growth mindset, I valued Olech’s patient tenacity to extend great lengths to complete his interviews with legends in the realm of combat sports. Participating in conversations outside the sterility of a device, Olech breathed life into a context that would have otherwise escaped; thereby, his efforts and quality in creating The Fighter Within is deserving of five out of five stars.

Conclusion

Thanks to Olech’s crafting of The Fighter Within, we don’t have to step in a cage or put our pulse on the line to lasso a similar degree of Rashad Evans’ happiness, summarized by the author as,

He said it felt like another life; the world he grew up in was full of struggle and harsh reality. He never imagined that this would be his life. He was genuinely appreciative when shaking the hands of fans while signing autographs. When he was younger, he played with action figures of his television idols, and now he was in that category. It was surreal that so many positive things resulted from simply doing something that made him happy. (p. 94)

To pick up your copy of The Fighter Within (link here).

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Interviews

Exclusive: Derek Brunson: “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up”

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Derek Brunson fought Anderson Silva back in February of this year, at UFC 208. Brunson would go on to lose the fight by controversial unanimous decision. However, the controversies didn’t stop at the questionable decision, Brunson also claims Silva was greasing during the fight. The Wilmington, North Carolina native, posted about it on Twitter a few days ago:

Speaking with MMA Latest, Brunson explained why he believes Silva was greasing during the fight. “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up. Every time I grabbed him he was just slipping out of everything, and his takedown defense was really good that night. I was definitely curious to know why he was very slippery, which I definitely think he had some kind of substance on his body. He knows I’m a wrestler obviously, he’s an old, savvy veteran, so he was definitely trying to play all the rules and be very strategic, and make it harder for a wrestler to grab him.”

Brunson is set to face Lyoto Machida come October 28, when asked about whether he was worried about Machida greasing, considering Gegard Mousasi accused him of doing so in their fight, Brunson admitted he wasn’t too worried.

Well I’m not too worried, but like I said, I put it out there because I know they’re friends and I know, obviously, that’s kind of what the guys do when they know they’re fighting a wrestler. They want to lube their body up really good to make it hard to grab hold, Anderson did a great job defending my takedowns. It’s because he was all greased up so he was able to stop a lot of them. When I grab guys in the clinch, it’s very tough for them to get away and I’m pretty good with my Greco takedown. He was pretty much pulling through my clinch when I had a tight grip on him and if you have some kind of substance on your body it’s easy to pull them.”

Neither Silva nor his management have commented on the greasing allegations. Anderson Silva makes his return against Kelvin Gastelum later this year, in China. While Brunson makes his return to the Octagon on October 28th, in Brazil, where he looks to add Lyoto Machida’s name to his impressive list of victories.

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Announcement

Ovince Saint Preux Steps in to Face Corey Anderson at UFC 217

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UFC 217 just got even more interesting. Earlier this week, Patrick Cummins pulled out of his light heavyweight matchup with Corey Anderson due to a Staph infection. Corey “Overtime” Anderson was not happy with his opponents decision, even calling out his opponent on Instagram asking how Cummins could, “call it quits so far from fight night”.

The UFC left Anderson on the card, and he found an opponent through the magic of Twitter. Ovince Saint Preux tweeted out directly to Anderson stating:

It didn’t take long for Anderson to respond agreeing to the fight, tagging Mick Maynard and Dana White in his response.

Only a few short hours later, the fight announcement came from the official UFC twitter account.

 

This top 10 Light Heavyweight matchup should add to an already amazing card coming in November at Madison Square Garden. Saint Preux is coming off of back to back wins both due to the very rare von flue choke, he finds himself ranked #7th in the latest edition of the 205-pound rankings. Corey “Overtime” Anderson is 4-2 in his last 6 fights, but is coming off a brutal first round knockout loss to Jimi Manuwa in March.

With such a exciting fight added to this card, what do you see happening November 4th?  Will Corey Anderson bounce back and look to jump into the top 5 of the rankings, or will Ovince Saint Preux go for a third straight von flue choke? Let us know.

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Announcement

*Watch* Bellator 185 Weigh in: Live Stream, Results

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Watch the live weigh-ins for Bellator 185 here.

Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.

Full Weigh-in Results: (Updated in real time)

Main Card:

Gegard Mousasi (185) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (186)
Neiman Gracie (170.5) vs. Zak Bucia (170)
Heather Hardy (126) vs. Kristina Williams (126)
Ryan Quinn (155.5) vs. Marcus Surin (155)
Ana Julaton (125.5) vs. Lisa Blaine (122)

Preliminary Card:

Jordan Young (200) vs. Alec Hooben (194)
Costello van Steenis (185) vs. Steve Skrzat (186)
Vinicius de Jesus (170) vs. Joaquin Buckley (171)
John Beneduce (154.5) vs. Dean Hancock (155)
Timothy Wheeler (144) vs. Pete Rogers (144)
Don Shainis (150) vs. Matthew Denning (149)
Frank Sforza (149) vs. Vovka Clay (150)
Kevin Carrier (156) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (153)
John Lopez (126) vs. Billy Giovanella (125)

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