Archive for the ‘Boxing’ Category

9 Apr 2013

  • Posted by Utah Martial Arts Feeds
  • Julie "She Hulk" Winter wins SteelFist Bantamweight Championship against RiRi Whiting

    This Article comes from Hidden Valley Muay Thai – Team Blog
    To see the full original article click here

    To comment on this post, please visit the original article click here

    15 Feb 2013

  • Posted by Steve Spencer
  • Taking a dive

    Just had to share this video for a Friday laugh.  Apparently this guy learned his technique the same place that Josh Koscheck learned how to react to possible illegal knee strikes, or arguable eye pokes.

    Happy Friday!

    14 Feb 2013

  • Posted by Steve Spencer
  • Going down swinging, in wrestling, MMA, or life

    A scene that has always stuck with me is from the movie “A river runs through it.”

    In this scene, we learn that the character played by Brad Pit has been beaten to death.  When his father is informed of this fact, they let him know that almost all of the bones in his son’s right hand were broken.  Brad’s father takes solace in the fact that he knows his son went down fighting.

    When you head into a match, be it a cage fight, wrestling, jiu jitsu, judo, or whatever, people will tell you that you have to know in your heart that you are going to win.  That’s all fine and good, but watch some UFC fights, or go watch some high school wrestling matches.  You can almost see the exact moment when a fighter’s spirit breaks.  When he is no longer fighting to win, he is fighting to survive.  He just doesn’t want to have people see him give up, but in his heart he already has.

    This is when you have to change your mindset.  Having people tell you at that moment to just remind yourself that you are going to win is about as helpful as trying to build a fort out of dog poo.

    But this is when it’s time to remember the oft spoken advice, to “leave it all on the mat” (or in the cage).  What this really means in “man terms” is:

    Win or lose, make sure that fucker knows he’s been in the fight of his life… A fight he never wants to have again.

    A remember one of my earl Judo competitions.  I was against a much stronger, and far more experience opponent.  It was best 2 out of 3.  First round he destroyed me.  Second round, I stopped wondering how to beat him.  I knew the crowd expected me to lose.  I knew he expected me to lose.  Hell, I expected me to lose.  So I decided that I was going to take it to him with all I was worth.  I was going to get my licks in.  I reversed on of his throws, and nearly got a choke.  In the end, he still beat me, but I think I surprised him and myself.

    You don’t always have to win.  Be sure you learn from your mistakes and grow from them.  And if you do lose, go down swinging.


    18 Sep 2012

  • Posted by Steve Spencer
  • MMA Fight Playlist for Pandora

    It can take forever, and be frustrating as hell trying to really dial in a Pandora station and get it right.

    A station I have been fine tuning for quite some time is my “Fight” station.  It’s the one I like to listen to on my way to training, to get amped up.

    Thought I’d share it here.  Hope you enjoy :)

    30 Aug 2012

  • Posted by Steve Spencer
  • 3 Things the Martial Arts has to come to grips with to survive

    1- MMA Is your re-brand

    While many martial arts view MMA as a bunch of savages, and completely different from their own refined martial art, the overlook the fact that their target audience is increasingly draw to it.  To many people who would have studied Karate in the past, MMA means simply:

    The ability to fight on the feet as well as on the ground, and not be embarrassed when my friends ask me about my hobby.

    Make sure your gym offers some elements of standup striking, as well as some grappling, and call yourself an MMA gym.

    Why? Because it’s what people are searching for.  Google Insights for Search show searches for MMA growing each year, and searches for Martial Arts, Karate, Kung Fu, and all of the others declining.  Like it or not, your branding needs to change or die.

    Stop hating MMA.  Start seeing the value it striking as well as grappling, and get on the bus, while keeping the elements of your art that make your gym so good at that aspect.

    2- You have to offer it all or die

    There are no islands.

    You will nto be able to survive in the long run as just a BJJ dojo, or just a Muay Thai or Kenpo facility.  If you don’t offer all of the elements your students will find somewhere that does.

    This includes Grappling and Striking at a minimum.  But you can’t even just think of BJJ when you think of grappling anymore… Wrestling will need to be a part of your training as well.

    3- The Gi is going the way of the T-Rex

    I know… It is going to break a lot of hearts, and traditionalists will fight this tooth and nail.  but even in BJJ competitions they not only offer Gi and no Gi divisions, but we are starting to see more interest and participation in the no Gi side than we are in the Gi.

    Bottom line: Your students can walk proud in a pair of fight shorts and a t-shirt.  But dropping by the 7-11 in their Gi after practice looks about as cool as if the marched in wearing a their Dungeons and Dragons costume.

    Does this mean there will be no place for the gi, or that there isn’t value in training with it?  No.  But if you don’t offer any no Gi classes now, you had better start.

    22 Aug 2012

  • Posted by Steve Spencer
  • Winning before you even touch gloves

    I was rolling a bit with a good friend in the Dojo recently, and for some reason I was on fire.  Everything just seemed to be working right.

    He chuckled, and asked if I had decided to really stick it to him that day.

    I responded that no, I wasn’t being more aggressive, or trying to push harder.  I just somehow knew, each time we approached each other, that it was going to go my way.  I was just having fun with it.  I was on a roll.

    It was in saying it, in actually thinking through what to say, that I really came to the revelation.

    I don’t always do that well.  I don’t always think I’m going to be successful in hitting my moves.  In fact, when I’m not sure if I’m going to perform well or not I tend not to.

    It makes me think of Kayla Harrison, who just took the first US gold medal in Judo ever.  She commented many times about how she knew she would win.  How she pictured herself receiving the gold medal, and just knew it was going to happen.

    So the thought for today: Win before the match.  Picture yourself there, and know you will be.  Karate, Wrestling, MMA, it’s all the same.  Know you are going to win.

    13 Aug 2012

  • Posted by Steve Spencer
  • Things have changed… This ain’t your Daddy’s MMA

    Over the weekend, my wife and I went and screamed ourselves silly at Steelfist Fightnight 10.

    It was especially exciting, because three girls from our gym (Hidden Valley MMA) beat the shit out of their competition that night. (That’s a picture of one of our girls, Jules Winter, in one of her recent fights.  I wouldn’t wanna be on the receiving end of that!)

    But as we were sitting there screaming for fighters, and oogling ring girls, something really hit me that I have been noticing more and more recently:

    This is no longer the Royce Gracie MMA.

    Years ago we were all stunned, and rapidly searching on Yahoo for what the hell Jiu Jitsu was, after we watched crappy VHS copies of this Royce Gracie guy pwning massive brawlers, and Chuck Norris wanna be’s.  We all knew, every time we heard an inebriated Mike Goldberg announce that this was a “proverbial striker versus brawler matchup”, that the brawler was going to end up getting the shit choked out of them.

    Slowly however, things have changed.  Most of the fights we watched at Steelfist, and most of the ones you tend to see in the UFC now are stopped by either KO, or TKO / referee stoppage due to strikes.  In short:

    If you want to win in MMA today, you better be able to thump.

    Between adding timelimits and rounds, standing up boring fights, as well as the world of strikers learning to avoid takedowns or jitzers who simply try to pull guard, the world has changed.

    Look at the standout champs of today: Anderson Silva, George St. Pierre.  But not just these.  Look at any weight class today.  Sure, these guys have strong grappling abilities.  But they are getting their wins by beating the shit out of people.

    This ain’t your Daddy’s MMA folks.  The submit-o-saurus is facing the harsh reality of the hairy striker mammal beast thingy.

    Am I suggesting you skip a jitz class?  That you don’t need to be able to grapple to survive?  Oh hell no.  But in addition to that, if you really wanna win, ya better be able to bang!

    19 Jul 2012

  • Posted by Utah Martial Arts Feeds
  • The Making of a Fighter: The story of Aubree “The Silent Assassin” Thompson by Kru John Valentine

    This Article comes from Hidden Valley Muay Thai – Team Blog
    To see the full original article click here


    Aubree “The Silent Assassin” Thompson is an amazing story of courage and overcoming odds.  Being raised along side three brothers by a single mother really toughens you up.  Now add in the mix having to also struggle as a single parent and growing up deaf.  These challenges make for a recipe that would hold the average person back from accomplishing great things; but not Aubree Thompson.  When Aubree was eight months old she became very ill with a disease called Spinal Meningitis.  This illness was not only a family hardship but eventually robbed Aubree of her hearing, adding to a host of new challenges and struggles to her life.  Because no one around her spoke sign language, at an early age Aubree had to learn to speak by feeling the sound of words through touch.  At that time her public school system was not the best and Aubree was constantly picked on and bullied for her disability.  This endured for many years until the 7th grade when she moved to Idaho and was enrolled into a school for the deaf and blind.  There Aubree began to make friends and found a passion for sports.  Through athletics she would learn to overcome odds and push herself to new heights as person and as a warrior.  Aubree early on became a star athlete competing in many different sports including varsity volleyball, track and field, soccer, and was even the most valuable player 3 years in a row for basketball.  

    At 17 Aubree was once again faced with a major life change when she found out she was pregnant and was forced to raise her child as a single parent.  Aubree mentions that she always thanked her mother for her courage, strength and for being there as the only family support she had. Even with being scared and pregnet she still attended school everyday and worked harder then ever to graduate and did in 2003 with honors with a 3.8 GPA.  She was accepted to college and is expected to graduate in August 2012. 

    Journey to MMA
    With everything she had accomplished in her life, she wanted to recommit to challenge of competition while also looking for an outlet to get in shape.  She joined her first MMA Gym in 2010 and after only about 6 months of training, competed in her first ever Muay Thai fight.  After 3 hard fought rounds she lost a razor thin decision to a much larger and experienced fighter.  This fight proved to Aubree and the naysayers that regardless her situation and challenges could not keep her from exceeding in any arena or sport.  Shortly after this fight Professor Michael Hermosillo and I met Aubree at Hidden Valley MMA where we began working with her on her MMA journey.  She trains daily with some of best male and female fighters in the state including Rachel “The Riot” Kemker and Julie “She Hulk” Winter (set to fight on the same card on August 11th).  At the gym Aubree is cut “no slack” and is pushed daily.  Having been on the other side of her brutal on-slot of attacks I can tell you she is difficult for anyone to deal with for 3 minutes.   Through MMA Aubree has found home and an outlet for the things she has battled with all her life and she says her biggest inspiration has been Matt “The Hammer” Hamill.  Matt is a talented UFC fighter that is also part of the deaf community. 

    In the end we all face life struggles.  In many ways the roads we travel and the experiences we share shape us for good or bad.  For some these challenges build roadblocks and stop people from ever accomplishing all that they can.  While being deaf has offered Aubree some unique challenges in life and yes in the sport of MMA, in no way however is she handicap.  Aubree’s life thus far has been one filled with countless examples of proving people wrong, time and time again.  In working with Aubree the entire Hidden Valley family has learned adaptability, flexibility and have also been reminded of the gifts we sometimes take for granted.  As one of her coaches I can tell you that whether she wins or loses her first upcoming MMA fight that as a team we will all stand proud.  Proud of the journey she has traveled and what she has overcome to get here.  To the entire Hidden Valley team she has given back more than we have ever been able to impart.  On August 11, 2012, Salt Lake City will get to see and experience first hand Aubree “The Silent Assassin” Thompson for themselves at the SteelFist fight night.  Trust me when I tell you, you will forever be changed.  See you there!

    To comment on this post, please visit the original article click here

    19 Jul 2012

  • Posted by Utah Martial Arts Feeds
  • How a Double Feature Changed My Life                           —Dean Lazarkis

    This Article comes from Hidden Valley Muay Thai – Team Blog
    To see the full original article click here


    Generally, I don’t do personal stories but after my recent trip to Thailand Kru John Valentine whom I have been close friends with for over 25 years, asked me to share my experiences and my personal martial arts journey.  Mine started not with a vision but from a great movie when I was 8 years old.  My cousin who was 17 at the time, took me to see my first martial arts movie and while I wont completely date myself, this was in the late 70‘s.  The movie was actually, a double feature, Force Five and Firsts of Fury.  The movie theater was in old downtown theater in Las Vegas and from that moment on I was hooked.  The speed!  The precision!  The (perceived) ability to dominate ones foe’s was exciting and at that moment I began my journey.  After sometime, I was finally able convinced my parents to let me join a local dojo down the street but only after i was handed a healthy dose of chores were assigned.  Ah…..but this was small price to pay to be able do the things I had seen on the big screen.  Going to my first class I must admit I was at first a bit intimidating, but after a short time I felt more confident and very much at home there.  The school taught several different disciplines, all under one roof.  Now that I think about it, this was probably one of the first “mixed martial arts” schools of its day.  My instructor held a black belt in several different disciplines.  The styles he taught was a Kempo, Karate, basic Ju Jitsu, Thai Kwon Do, Hapkido and Judo all mixed in.  I learned many great techniques in the years that I trained there, but by far the most important things I learned was discipline, self-respect and self-confidence.  I worried less about emulating the the things I had screen on the big screen and more about getting better and learning more about the martial arts.  Unfortunately, I also learned that all good things must come to an end, as one day after many years of training, my instructor decided to close down the school and move out of state. 

    Introduction to Muay Thai 
    It wasn’t until 2000 when I was introduced to Muay Thai.  Both Kru John Valentine and myself started at the same time and I can still remember surge of excitement we both felt about the training.  The school was based in a small building (600 square feet) located in a strip mall and had no ring, no fancy heavy bags, no pictures on the wall, just some inexpensive martial arts mats and the smell of hard work and sacrifice.  The sounds of traditional Thai music could be heard when you pulled up in the parking lot and lured you in like a lighthouse.  That school was owned by now Grandmaster Toddy who is revered as one of the best trainers in the world.  While not accomplished back then our school housed many greats.  Such as, the likes of future television stars and MMA/Muay Thai World Champions Kit Cope and Gina Carano, both of which which, went on to become huge stars in their own rite.  Training daily along side with fighters of this caliber made you push yourself to be better and also led to many painful lessons of fighting.  Both Kru John and I have many permeant reminders and lumps on our shins and bodies which have served as mementos of our time spent there.  That time was magical.  Everything was new and every day was an adventure.  During my time there I also built an appreciation for the true beauty in Muay Thai and it’s simplicity.  It is often called “the art of eight limbs” because it makes use of punches, kicks, elbows and knee strikes, thus using eight “points of contact.”  Make no mistake, even though most Muay Thai techniques may seem simple and direct, as compared to other forms of martial arts, they are very effective and will still take years to master.  

    My Thailand Experience
    Last year for my 40th birthday, I treated myself to a trip to Thailand where I had the opportunity to watch several live Muay Thai matches at Lumpinee Stadium in Bangkok.  If you have the opportunity I highly recommend it.  I became centered in all that I had learned and it was for me a religious type experience as I watched tradition, sport and brutality come together as one.  The music called to me like an old friend and I was taken back to my early days of training and fighting.  It was amazing to watch these guys go at it, and I was surprised at how young they were as it was not uncommon for fighters to start training at camps from age 6 or 7, so by the time they are in their teens, they are seasoned professionals with many fights under their belt!  It was an experience I will never forget and will forever cement the feelings I have about the importance of the sport, my training and martial arts.    

    So whatever discipline you choose to train in, no matter if you are 5 or 50, remember, learning is a life-long process.  I encourage you to continue your journey, you are never too old to learn.  Learning keeps our minds alert and able.  Acquiring new knowledge makes us feel useful and good about ourselves, and who knows maybe, we could even make some new friends along the way.
    Never become so much of an expert that you stop gaining expertise. View life as a continuous learning experience. (Denis Waitley) 

    I thought inclosing, I would list a funny top ten list (David Letterman style) of the 
    Top 10 Signs You May Be Doing Too Much Muay Thai.  Maybe you can help me complete this with examples of your own:

    Enjoy your Journey

    Top 10 Signs You May Be Doing Too Much Muay Thai
    10.  You find yourself saying “Sawadee” more than you say hello.
    9.   You accidentally slam your shins into the coffee table but feel no pain.
    8.   You put your girlfriend in a thai clinch when she tries giving you a hug.  
    7.   You find yourself shadow boxing on the dance floor when you go to the club. 
    6.   Your new favorite clothing designer is “Fairtex”.
    5.   You eat Thai food almost every day hoping it somehow improves your technique.  
    Dean “Dino” Lazarkis is contributing writer and a lifetime resident of Las Vegas  His martial arts training extends decades and includes focus in Muay Thai, Brazilian Ju Jitsu and MMA.  Professionally he is the owner of Delta Realty and Development and is extremely knowledgeable of the local fight scene.  He also currently manages several up and coming professional fighters.  

    To comment on this post, please visit the original article click here

    19 Jul 2012

  • Posted by Utah Martial Arts Feeds
  • Muay Thai Weight Training-Aaron Winter

    This Article comes from Hidden Valley Muay Thai – Team Blog
    To see the full original article click here


    Many people have concerns when it comes to weight training as it pertains to martial arts training. One of the main concerns is building big, bulking, inefficient muscle mass that would take away from the speed and endurance that is so vital to the success of a martial artist. Although there is some truth behind this thought process, there are also some misconceptions. If done correctly, weight training can be an added weapon in a fighter’s arsenal. 

      Professional football players are a perfect example. Most people would agree that in this group you could find some of the most finely tuned athletes in the world. They possess an astonishing amount speed, power and quickness. For the most part their physiques are generally very muscular. The answer lies in the training techniques. The nervous system will react accordingly to the type of stimulus that it is being subjected to. Although slow contractive movements might be the best way to gain muscle mass, this is not the most effective way to train for a Muay Thai, or MMA fight. What works the best is a combination of techniques. Punching, kicking and takedown power comes from the gluteus, quads, back and hamstrings. Nothing beats compound movements done with proper form and technique. Deadlifting, Squats, Bench presses and Shoulders presses should be the staple of a fighter’s regiment.  

    Deadlifts: If an athlete was limited to doing only one lift, the choice should always be the deadlift. This compound movement utilizes almost every major muscle group in your body. This is the most functional lift known for the human body and will relate to more functionality in a combat situation. The Deadlift has “real world” applications. Picking up weights off the ground(or in our case, people) is something that we have been doing for millennia. Another benefit from deadlifting is increased stability control and grip strength. Deadlifting is one of only two exercises that will give you cardio benefits. Proper form and warm ups are essential in sets of  3-4 and reps in the 8-12 range. 

    Squats: There’s no better exercise at maintaining and increasing leg strength than the squat.  This is another lift that we have been doing since the dawn of time. This lift much like deadlifts, is an entire body workout. Squatting gives you more of the explosive fast twitch response that we are looking for in an MMA environment. Not only does squatting increase muscle mass, vertical jumps, and overall speed times but it has several other benefits as well. Many professional athletes use the squat as an injury prevention exercise. Again this is an exercise that proper form and warm up is a must in sets of 3-4 and reps in the 8-12 range. At the finish of the eccentric(negative) movement, the top of your quad should be parallel with the ground. There are other exercises to do if your not going “parallel”. 

    Bench & Shoulder Presses: Bench pressing can increase bone density at the wrist. The wrist has a high probability to be fractured in combat. Bench presses and shoulder presses will lessen the likely hood of this happening. Being a compound movement, nothing will gain both strength and mass and develop an all around upper body strength like these presses. The strength, power, and speed gained from these presses are a secondary addition to the lifts mentioned above. Reps in the same ranges as mentioned above.

    These movements done with the proper slow negative(eccentric) contraction, combined with a fast, explosive(concentric) movement will develop the fast twitch power that is such a vital weapon in the ring. This type of lifting teaches the nervous system explosive speed changes. This is a brief description of the type of weight training that we recommend our athletes use supplemented with Ply metrics, proper diet, cardio and the regular speed building exercises that is provided at Hidden Valley MMA.

    Our belief is if two combatants are equally matched in skill set, abilities, and endurance. Strength training can be the deciding factor in a fight if the athlete has been trained correctly. This training is not only to put on muscle for show but muscle that has a definitive advantage in a fight scenario. This type of muscle can be a very useful weapon if developed properly. Diet, diversity and proper supplementation can produce the results that we are looking for. 

    About Aaron Winter (Front row, right, green shirt)
    Aaron Winter (husband of Julie “She Hulk” Winter) is a contributing writer for and has a lifetime of fitness and martial arts training.  He currently assists as a strength and conditioning consultant for the Hidden Valley Fight team.

    To comment on this post, please visit the original article click here