Because this kind of goes hand-in-hand with some of the mental training that I recently covered, I thought I would write about my trip to Montreal to train with Georges St. Pierre.
At the time, he was preparing for his second fight with Josh Koshchek. I was fortunate enough to be given this opportunity thanks to the connections my buddy, Spencer Paige, made while on Team GSP on The Ultimate Fighter.
While the training itself didn’t exactly work out on Friday night because we got in about an hour late, we still got some good rolling in at the Gracie Barra school.
Additionally, we got in some productive rounds of sparring the next morning at the famous TriStar Gym.
While I did learn some good techniques, the highlight of my trip came after sparring on Saturday when we had a chance to sit down and talk with Georges. During our conversation, he drank his super fancy post-workout drink- chocolate milk!
I remember Georges using the analogy that MMA is a lot like the sport of golf. I was a bit confused when he first said this, but he continued to explain the similarities.
GSP stressed that before a fight you train and work on your skills, just like you would work on perfecting your swing in golf.
However, once the ball is in the air, there’s nothing you can do to affect where it goes. So, in terms of golf, all you can focus on is perfecting and mastering your swing technique in hopes that you’ll get your desired outcome.
For Georges, fight week is the time period when the “ball is in the air.” He says that there’s very little he can do during that last week. Instead, for him, everything happens the months and weeks leading up to the fight.
He hammered on the idea that everybody wants to win and everybody talks about how bad they want to win. But he also said, not everyone wants to prepare. To him, the win comes during his preparation. It comes in training.
He said that he’s as free as he’s ever been during fight week and especially the night of the fight because he knows deep down that he’s done everything he could to prepare for the fight.
Georges stressed that there are so many things out of his control in a fight- where his opponent moves, how his opponent reacts, calls made by a referee, etc.
Rather than focus on things out of his control, he chooses to focus on his preparation before the fight because it trains him to instinctively respond to as many situations as possible.
One of the things that really stood out during this part of our conversation with Georges was his use of the word “preparation.” I think it says a lot about his approach to training.
He trains with a purpose every day. That purpose is to prepare to control every aspect of the fight.
Before he left to get ready for a wedding, Georges summed up his mental approach…
He said, “I’m not the strongest guy in the world. I’m also not the best wrestler. I’m not the best submission specialist or the best striker either. But on the night of the fight because of the way I’ve prepared, up here (he pointed to his head), I am the best in the world.”
The look in his eyes when he said this was crazy. Not crazy like this guy is a psycho, but crazy in that he was 100% serious that he believed he is unstoppable on fight night.
Don’t get me wrong, training with Georges was a great experience, one that I will never forget. But those 20-30 minutes we spent after training were worth their weight in gold.