April 18, 2016

    Most people don’t know this but back in the day before I made a living teaching Mixed Martial Arts I delivered pizzas on the weekends for some extra cash.

    I’ll never forget that place either. It’s still there by the way, Originals Pizza and cheesesteaks right off State Rd in Northeast Philadelphia.

    I worked there for 7 years and that job pretty much funded my martial arts lifestyle.

    It’s funny to me when I think back to the days I spent working at that place and all the good times I had. It wasn’t a bad job at all and for the most part I enjoyed the word.

    Looking for high pressure and lots of stress? Get a job at a pizza place.

    One of the side benefits of that job was the life lessons I learned. You had to think fast and hustle because this pizza shop only knew one speed and it wasn’t slow.

    If you didn’t do your job and move fast you were fired. The bosses were really hard on me cause I was a typical cocky young kid.

    So if you didn’t wanna get yelled at you needed to move and think fast. After a few months I started to develop this ability to stay focused in high pressure situations.

    I was just one of those guys who did best when it was craziest. Working at this pizza place definitely gave me this ability. That and super thick skin because these guys yelled a lot and were really harsh.

    Taking what I learned at the pizza shop to the mats

    So I took this ability to function under intense pressure and brought that with me to the mats whenever I competed.

    I don’t know why but the more people I had watching me, the more pressure there was the better I performed.

    Not all people can function under pressure. I’ve seen it many times over the years. You’ll have a guy or gal who’s a darn killing machine in the practice room.

    Take that same person and put them in a high pressure situation, when all eyes are watching, and they just fall apart.

    I know for me personally, I wasn’t that great in the training room. I got beat by guys I was better than all the time.

    I was just one of those guys that just sucked in the training room but put me in front of a crowd and I’ll hit a switch and go beast mode on people.

    So in a way I owe a lot to that pizza shop because without it, I’m not sure if I’d have been nearly as good under pressure.

    Can you learn how to excel under pressure?

    I’ve heard different things about how to handle pressure when you compete. Some people seem to think you’re born with the ability or not. It can’t be taught or learned.

    I don’t know if I agree with that. I believe it’s possible to teach a student how to stay composed under pressure. I mean, I learned how so why can’t the next guy?

    The way I teach this at Ivey League is by conducting “mock” matches with the students. I’ll have them face off in a 2 or 3 minute match in front of the whole class.

    And even though it’s just a friendly grappling match, the intensity is much higher because everyone is watching you.

    That’s make a big difference and creates that high pressure feeling. Trust me it’s night and day different when you compete in front of people, where you’re the center of attention.

    So the bullet point of this blog post is if you want to be better in high pressure situations than go out and put yourself in some.

    Go out and compete in a tournament, something like the Naga is perfect. You’ll have plenty of pressure because all eyes are gonna be on you.

    You’ll only get better at dealing with pressure if you go out and toss yourself into it. Hey worst comes to worst, get a job at your local pizza shop.

    You’ll get all the pressure you can handle plus some more.


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