Wednesday, October 05, 2005

No Such Thing As ‘Non-ABT’

I feel I need to address this issue as it has made many people confused and added to this I have been seen as one who has perpetuated this notion. I know that some coaches from my past affiliation have actually included ‘Non ABT’ as part of their advertising campaign and yes one could say that I introduced that concept to them a few years ago, but I feel for the most part it has been taken out of context.

I was once asked why I was inspired to bring about the CM® Defense Program? My initial response was that I had become tired of getting hit in the head. Secondly to this and once I put some thought into it, I replied that I was essentially trying to take out all the initial attribute qualities required in most full contact combat sports to make it work. This was then interpreted as coaching a Non-attributed based program. Which realistically there is no such thing.

The way I viewed it, when looking at most pro-am boxing gyms, it was only the tough that survived and those who could not meet the requirements would be left behind. The requirements where someone who was tough even before they began training, the type of person who was fearless, didn’t mind getting hit in the face and was physically built to withstand the rigorous of hard core boxing training. As we all know not many of us are lucky enough to be endowed with such qualities. I know I was not. But because I had such a passion for boxing and MMA I was fortunate enough (Or stubborn enough) to push through several broken noses, cracked and broken ribs, dislocated and disjointed fingers, weekly headaches and the list goes on.

Because I pushed through I was able to experience the exhilaration of sparring and the many benefits of actually playing the game, from developing a tough mindset, to acquiring attributes I never had and feeling confident in my ability to defend myself. Not everyone who walks into my Gym is that stubborn! Over the years of coaching MMA and boxing I noticed a prevailing theme, everyone was happy, motivated and engaged in the process of learning these arts, until the point of sparring. Once that happened, they left!

Why? For one people don’t like to get hit in the face (Imagine that) and the way standard forms of boxing and MMA where taught, it was a given that you would get hit in the face all the time. It was not that the boxing techniques taught did not work because they do, the problem lied in that it took allot of time to be able to pull it off. This meant that people needed to be dedicated, prepared to get hurt at some level and have to really get through the mental chatter in their heads (Probably the sane part saying, “Why do you pay someone to hit you in the head”). One only has to look at international boxing today, and you will witness for the most part, two people slugging away at each other over ten rounds, constantly taking shots to the head and then doing it all over again the following week. The obvious long-term affects of this are still been debated.

Nonetheless, my students where not pro boxers and they where coming into the Gym a couple hours a week, unlike the guy at the boxing gym that was training nightly and for hours on end. Yet at some level both these individuals want the same thing. So how was I going to do this, because up until this point, none of my students would stay when sparring began?

The development of the CM® began out of this frustration and for no other reason than to allow my students a base from which they could work immediately. That meant that I now could realistically have my athletes isolating sparring skills within a few weeks, something that seemed impossible up until that point. This would afford them the confidence to build and acquire the attributes necessary to spar at a high level. If you look at it objectively, when you take someone who has limited initial attribute levels, give him the tools that will help him develop them in a safe, almost injury free environment, amazing things will begin to happen. All of a sudden everyone wanted to spar.

Given enough time working CM® and as each individuals confidence grew, they would begin to slip punches, counterpunch and use many of the skills in boxing that are so beautiful to watch, but are also inherently attribute driven. My end point to this is that the high level boxers you see in the ring on ESPN are amazing athletes with great skill and everything they use works, the difference is that unlike most people they probably had good athleticism the minute they walked into the boxing Gym, had a good jaw and where tough, they where willing to take countless beatings on the road to learning to slip and learning to counter punch. No corporate executive is willing to do that for a multitude of reasons. Why do so many fighters world wide come from under privileged areas, homes etc…it is very much a socio-economic phenomenon. They had to be tough for the environment they grew up in – for today’s average middle class person, tough is not spilling your coffee on your trousers while driving to work.

So yes you need attributes or a certain level to compete or perform well in MMA, Boxing, Muay Thai and so forth (Even BJJ- contrary to popular belief and advertising). But if you only have a couple of hours to train and are unfortunate like I was not to have great attributes (Although I did grow up poor and in a rough neighborhood- which was probably the deciding factor in my persistence in the sport), you need a program that will allow you time to develop those qualities. I don’t like the term Non Attribute Based Training- because there is no such thing- what there is Combat Intelligent Stand-Up. The intelligent part is using CM® to give you the time to develop the skill set and necessary attributes to actually fight!


Rodney King©2005