Friday, February 12, 2010

Trainers that Inspire

Trainers that Inspire
by Terrell Sanders

Whenever I ask people what they think about Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), they usual respond with, “what’s that, oh yeah you mean UFC (The Ultimate Fighting Championship)”and then I spend about 15 minutes explaining what it really is. Its amazing how so many people are ignorant to the world of MMA. MMA consists of many Martial Arts forms of self-defense from all over the world. Examples of some disciplines are Muay Thai kick-boxing, Brazilian jiu jitsu, boxing, judo, karate, and wrestling. The most important aspect of becoming a mixed martial artist is having an experienced coach to train with. The problem with that is there are so many trainers out there that claim they teach real mixed martial arts but in my opinion, all they do is collect your money. I have two trainers that have had a major influence in my life when it comes to MMA. Those two trainers are Professor Rob Handley and Camrann Pacheco. Rob Handley is the owner and head coach at Absolute MMA. Rob has dedicated most of his life to martial arts and teaching. Camrann Pacheco is the assistant trainer and a professional mixed martial artist. I look up to Cam like he an older brother.

Professor Rob Handley is a 2nd degree Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) black belt and has been training BJJ since 1993. He is also a Muay Thai trainer and has a black belt in Taekwondo and Judo. ( My favorite quote of Rob’s is “There are two ways you can learn this, there is the easy way or you can learn it the hard way.” Unfortunately I always have to learn the hard way, which usually hurts the most.

Rob is probably one of the most genuine people I know. He’s a not afraid to say what’s on his mind. If he thinks someone is wasting his time, he’ll tell them, but at the same time be patient and willing to teach if they’re willing to learn. Rob doesn’t sugar coat anything. If he sees something that needs be improved, he will address it; such as form, technique or how much effort the fighter is putting into training. I remember a training session with my teammates. We were practicing Muay Thai clinching drills, which is a high- pitched condition and technique training drill. Halfway through the training session one of my teammates stopped training and sat out. Keep in mind the rest of us were just as tired but we just dug deep and found the will to continue. Ironically, that person sitting out had a fight coming up. So after the training session Rob came up and told him, without hesitation, that he should think about not fighting because he was always quitting and making excuses. I thought he was joking until I realized he was being serious. It was pretty funny for a split second till I realized the tone he had in his voice. All of us paused for about a minute and absorbed it in.

MMA training is one the hardest things I’ve ever done. The condition training fills your lungs with hot air and it mentally and physically breaks you down. In my opinion it has the hardest training regiments in the world of sports. Day after day my team mates and I put in hard day of conditioning work and sparring. What some people don’t see at our gym is that Rob actually puts himself through the same type of training. He even does harder work when it comes to Muay Thai pad work and kettlebell training. Time and time again I’ve walked into the gym in the morning and witnessed him training high paced kickboxing rounds till he turned purple. I remember every time he was done he would tell me that’s how I should train. He would tell me if I wasn’t worn out after every round that I wasn’t putting in enough effort and that I needed to work harder.

I can honestly say I’m more mentally and physically tough because of Rob. I would recommend him to anyone who was looking to learn how to fight. Rob is an excellent coach who won’t let a fighter get into a match that they couldn’t handle. He knows what he’s doing and that is why he has taught so many successful fighters out of his gym, such as Camrann Pacheco; a top ranked featherweight fighter in Utah, Steven ”Razor” Sharp; WFC World Champion, and UFC veteran Josh Burkman.

Other than Rob, the other trainer I spend a majority of my time training with is Camrann Pacheco, or Cam, as he’s referred to at the gym.I met Cam when I walked in the doors of Absolute MMA for the first time. He was sitting behind a desk working on a computer. Cam stands 5ft 9” tall and walks around at 155 lbs. or more. He fights in the feather weight division of 145 lbs. which means he has to cut weight before every match. Cam is one of the toughest, most skilled people in MMA that I know personally. He is hard-working and He constantly puts 100% into everything. He constantly studies other professional fighters such as Anderson Silva the UFC Middleweight Champion, to improve on himself and it shows in his fights.

There have been countless times I’ve been frustrated with myself and wanted to quit. Cam has been a close friend to me and continued to push me to improve and not give up. He has been like a brother to me and doesn’t let me slack off on any training. He has motivated me to be a better fighter. Cam has neither an ego nor too much pride in giving me tips that he personally uses. My sparring has improved because of constant sessions with Cam.

In closing I have had years of experience with coaches in football. From that experience, I can honestly say that Rob and Cam are the best coaches I’ve ever worked with. Their skill, dedication & time have been spent on training me properly & improving my confidence as a fighter. If anyone were to ask me for a recommended trainer for Mixed Martial Arts, I would without any hesitation refer them to all my teammates at Absolute MMA, Rob Handley and Camrann Pacheco.

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