30: Brad Court and Tim Carpenter on the Big Bang Theory, Mental Toughness, Steroids, Injury and Health Insurance

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In episode 30, I talk with Brad Court and Tim Carpenter about injury, surgery, health insurance, steroids in combat sports, witch burning, a one-legged wrestler, science, Neil deGrasse Tyson, the Big Bang theory, evolution, Louis CK, God, Kron Gracie, Scotty Nelson, Open Mat Radio, the Save Jiu Jitsu movement, Paramount BJJ, coaching, fear, competition mindset, and more.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or RSS, and check out our facebook page.

Quotes

Tim Carpenter showing a bit of skepticism about the overly simplistic theory of the Big Bang:

“The problem with science is that it’s done by people. There’s no way around that. So it’s all got a little bias in there.”

Tim Carpenter on sport jiu jitsu:

“I like berimbolo. I like doing that stuff when I’m training. The problem is: those moves don’t work on an unskilled opponent. You try to do the berimbolo on a white belt, it probably won’t work. It only works on guys that will give you a high level reaction. You can practice berimbolo all you want, but what are you going to do when a guy just punches you in the face. Next thing you know you have a guy in your half guard, and he is biting your cheek.”

Brad on submission-only tournaments:

“A lot of people are afraid to get submitted. I don’t know how else to explain why all these submission-only tournaments are so small.  Because that’s the most prestigious thing to me. If you submit everyone in your weight division, that’s the ultimate.”

Brad on self-defense and street jiu jitsu:

“The problem is there are people starting jiu jitsu with their foundation being berimbolo. The foundation has to be in self defense.”

Brad on cornering Tim’s first fight:

“He said that one of the first things he thought when he was in there is: ‘Why am I doing this?’”

Tim on a part of him wanting to enforce the requirement of fighting for receiving a black belt:

“If I’m ever going to give a black belt out, the person has to go out and get into a fight.”

Tim on giving good book recommendations to Brad:

“All the great things in Brad’s life have come from me.”

Brad on a way to approach competition that removes some of the pressure of winning:

“I try to remind my students and myself is that getting better is more important than winning, especially when you’re at white belt, blue belt, purple belt, brown belt.”

Brad on being realistic, but doing everything with conviction:

“Do everything you do with conviction. If you’re going to shoot a double leg, shoot a double leg, blast through them. Don’t think ‘watch out for the guillotine. That’s different than being over-confident. To me ‘over-confident’ is a guy who didn’t train properly.”

Links

29: AnnMaria De Mars on Raising Ronda Rousey, Aggressive Judo, Math Education, and the Value of Hard Work

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In episode 29, I talk with AnnMaria De Mars about being the first American to win the Judo World Championship, raising four kids one of whom is Ronda Rousey the current UFC champion,  getting four degrees including a PhD in applied statistics, her book Winning on the Ground, her blog, her grandmother’s advice, the passing of her husband, the absurdity of sport, coaching an elite level athlete, balancing academics and sport, Ronda’s 2007 World Silver and Olympic Bronze and her matches against Edith Bosch, refusing to lose, being a woman in a combat sport, teaching kids math through computer games at 7 Generation Games, math (and hard work) as an important foundation for long-term success in life, and more.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or RSS, and check out our facebook page.

Edit: I wrote a blog post with some post-interview takeaways.

Quotes

AnnMaria on the advice her grandmother gave her:

“Do the best you can with everything you were given. She really believed that quote in the Bible: ‘To whom much is given, much is expected.’”

AnnMaria on being asked if she is afraid of death:

“No, I can think of a lot worse things than death. One of the reasons people are afraid of dying is they have regrets. They haven’t done the things they want to do. Because my husband passed away when I was young, that changed the way I thought about things. He was a great guy, worked hard his whole life. There were a lot of things he wanted to do that he never got around to doing because he always thought there would be time later. So now when I want to do something, I do it.  When I look back, I’ve had a lot of accomplishments and experiences in education, academics, I published scientific articles, I wrote a book with Jimmy Pedro Sr, I have wonderful children, so if I died right now I have no regrets. You want to live like you might die tomorrow, because you might die tomorrow.”

AnnMaria on the absurdity of dedicating years of your life to achieving a singular goal like winning a World Championship:

“You have to be smart enough to do it and dumb enough to believe it’s important.”

AnnMaria on what it takes to be successful in judo or in math or in anything:

“You get good at something by doing a lot of it.”

AnnMaria on trash talking:

“Like Dr. Seuss said, ‘Be who you are and say what you mean. Because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind!’”

AnnMaria on what will go on her tombstone:

“I’m smarter than I look.”

YouTube Version

Links

28: Kayla Harrison on Winning Olympic Gold and Overcoming Trauma

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In episode 28, I talk with Kayla Harrison, first American to win Olympic gold in judo, about her training methods, visualization, competition mindset, Olympic final experience, warm-routine, Eminem and country music, overcoming a past of sexual abuse, PTSD, finding forgiveness, finding strength in judo, being coached by Jimmy Pedro, her Team Force teammates, moving up two weight classes, strength and conditioning, going to college, writing her memoir and also a book on recovering from sexual abuse, new judo rules, serving as the IJF athlete representative, and much more.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or RSS, and check out our facebook page.

Quotes

Kayla on the evolution of women’s judo:

“In 26 years (since Ann Marie DeMars became the first American world champion), we’ve seen women’s judo come a long long way. I’m very fortunate that I had pioneers like Ann Marie and Rusty Kanokogi and women like that who paved the way to allow me to pursue my dreams.”

Kayla on what was going on through her mind as she was stepping on the mat at the Olympics:

“I don’t know if I’ll ever forget that day. I was just a psycho. (Lol). I am very big on visualization. Before the Olympics even occurred I visualized that day a thousand time in my mind. I would go over it and over it and over it. And I would tell myself: ‘Kayla Harrison, Olympic Champion. This is my day. This is my purpose.’ And all that day, Jimmy (Pedro) was chirping in my head: ‘Do you want this more? Have you worked harder? No one deserves this more than you. You’re Kayla Harrison, Olympic Champion.’ “

Kayla giving credit for her success to her coaches:

“In order to be a great coach, you can’t be an athlete’s friend. He’s not afraid to make me cry. They are not afraid to light that fire, and tell me when I’m wrong. They are not afraid to push me when I need to be pushed, and pull back when I need to pull back. They don’t really care if I like them. I do, but they don’t really care either way.”

Kayla on whether fear/doubt enters her mind in competition:

“When I was younger I used to be pretty scared. I was more afraid of losing than I was willing to win. And when you’re afraid to lose, you don’t compete,  you don’t show up, you just worry about losing. Through the years, through experience, and just literally competing in every single tournament on the face of the Earth, I started to get into a habit… One of the things I’ve heard before and that I completely agree with is: ‘Success breeds success.’ When I start to win and I get on that roll, I don’t question myself, I don’t doubt myself. If you look at that video of me on the day of the Olympics, every match, even the one I was losing, I was losing my quarterfinal to a girl I’ve never beaten before, at no point did I question myself. I don’t know, I was a psycho. I thought I was going to win, and damned if I wasn’t going to go out there and do it. I trained too hard, worked too long, sacrificed too much, been away from my family too long to lose.”

Kayla talking about losing a match at the 2011 World championships:

Failure is my fuel. If you beat me, I’m going to sleep that night thinking about ripping your arm off.

YouTube Audio-Only Version

Links

27: Chris Round on Climate Change Science and Policy, Balancing Sport and Study

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In episode 27, I talk with Chris Round about judo, balancing sport and study, the science and policy of climate change, his work at the School for Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) at Indiana University, growing up with asperger syndrome, training under Jimmy Pedro, conditioning, groundwork, harai goshi, Team Force, the science of global warming, scientific consensus and public opinion on climate change, Naomi Oreskes, evolution in schools debate, industry funded doubt, China, fossil fuel consumption, the motivation of the scientific community, empathetic messaging, being open to the possibility of being wrong, etc.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or RSS, and check out our facebook page.

Quotes

Chris talks about focusing on being prepared:

“If you do everything right leading up to a tournament. You handled your weight correctly. You trained hard. You did everything right. If you go out there and you lose, and you did everything right to get there, then how the hell can you be a loser?”

Chris on balancing judo and study:

“I’ve managed to finally strike a balance through a lot of practice at striking a balance, a lot trial and error.”

Chris’s advice on putting a lot of effort into building a habit of study and training:

“It’s really easy at the end of a long day to say: ‘Alright, I’m taking practice off.’ The first three weeks are key. It’s establishing habits more than anything. First three weeks of a semester or first three weeks of getting back on the horse in training, you have to chuck a lot of mental energy at making sure you go to everything.”

Chris on why climate change is often such a device topic of conversation:

“I think a lot of people fuse (political issues) with their identity and what makes them a good person. And when you attack an idea related to that issue they are not taking it as a rational discussion. They are taking it as: ‘You’re attacking me as a person. You’re attacking my identity.’”

Links

26: Fred Turoff on Saving Temple University Men’s Gymnastics

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In episode 26, I talk with Fred Turoff, head coach of men’s gymnastics at Temple University, one of 16 D1 college gymnastics programs. He is in the US Gymnastics Hall of Fame as a coach. He is now coaching his 38th season, leading the team to be conference champions 18 of those years. We talk about the recent announcement that Temple will be eliminating 7 sports in 2014, men’s gymnastics being one of them. We talk about the unfortunate way in which the decision was made (behind closed doors, with no communication with the coaches) and announced (right before finals week). We also talk about gymnastics in general, the six events of men’s gymnastics, training methods, mindset, and much more. Please sign the petition and find other ways to help at templegymnastics.com.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or RSS, and check out our facebook page.

Video Excerpt

Quotes

Fred talked at length about the various ways in which his program is a success regionally, financially, academically, and in giving to the community. Here’s a short random excerpt:

“Nobody engaged me as a coach and said ‘Look I have this financial problem, what can we do to help this?’ In terms of finances. When you look at the number of kids that are coming here for gymnastics and paying their own way. The total is more than the cost of my program. We pay for ourselves and we raise money. In terms of facility, although my facility here is not an ideal one when you compare it to the best schools, but we’ve been successful and we make do with what we have. According to the previous athletic director, we’ve been funded to compete well regionally. I think 18 of 37 conference championships is competing very well regionally.”

Links

25: Christine and Drew Vogel on Visiting Japan

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In episode 25, I talk with Drew and Christine Vogel, husband and wife, jiu jitsu black belt and blue belt respectively, about their recent 10 day journey to Japan. We talk about Tokyo, Osaka, David Sedaris, bowing, politeness, drinking with the bosses, work ethic, samurai, octupus donut holes, raw horse meat, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, BJJ, sport jiu jitsu,  how Drew and Christine met, marriage, advice for anyone visiting Japan, and much more.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or RSS, and check out our facebook page.

Quotes

Christine on the past, present, and future of Japanese culture:

“The thing about Japan that is fascinating is the constant parallel between tradition and the future. A zealous, hurried interest in the future: the trains are fast, the people are fast, the food is constantly evolving.”

Drew and Christine on the difference in social interaction between strangers in Japan:

“You’re waiting for that cacophony of beeping and cussing and rage that cities have. People still bump into each other, still smash into each other in subway cars, but they don’t really acknowledge it with their eyes. They just look right past it when it happens. Nothing is taken very personally.”

Christine on the effect of the Internet and the global economy on prevailing mindset in Japan:

“I think the currents are shifting. The Japanese, in the past, have taken an isolationist attitude. I think that’s changed a lot now.”

Christine on architecture in Japan:

“There is something intrinsically balanced and harmonious about the Japanese aesthetic. You can’t get away from it. It’s evident even in the most modern construction… I was never described the immense color, vibrancy of Tokyo. It is New York on top of itself, 20 times over. It’s Blade Runner in the middle of the day. “

Links

24: Kyle Dake, 4x NCAA Wrestling Champion

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In episode 24, I talk with Kyle Dake, 4x NCAA champion, Dan Hodge trophy winner, and 2013 SI College Athlete of the Year, about a tradition of wrestling in his family, early wrestling days, the influence of his mom and dad, setting goals, overcoming losses early in his career, facing Jordan Burroughs, David Taylor, Andrew Howe, competing with a broken hand against a 2x world champion, Denis Tsargush, training to exhaustion, keeping the training fun, being pushed by training partners like Jordan Leen, Call of Duty, Breaking Bad, and much more.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or RSS, and check out our facebook page.

Audio Clips on YouTube

Quotes

Kyle on the mental toughness advice his mom gave him:

“Your mind will break before your body will break.”

Kyle on his approach to the intense pace of competition:

“You have to learn how to function when you’re dog-tired… when you don’t think your body is capable of doing anything more, but you have to do more. You can either cower, give up takedowns, give up points, submit to the guy, or you can do everything in your power to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Kyle on the training to exhaustion:

“Feeling that exhaustive state is very important in the practice room, because once you get on the mat and you’ve felt that pain before, you’ve felt that exhaustion, it’s a lot easier to overcome it in competition.”

Jordan Leen, Kyle’s teammate and NCAA champ out of Cornell, said the following in an ESPN commentary as Kyle was wrestling in his 2010 NCAA finals match:

“Kyle Dake refuses to accept failure at any level. He takes it personally when he gets taken down in the room. It affects his soul almost. He is a well balanced wrestler, but they key is that he has to win. According to him, he has to win. He will do anything that it took to win.”

Links

23: Matt Marcinek on Grappling with Cerebral Palsy and Competing to Win

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In episode 23, I talk with Matt Marcinek about cerebral palsy, his will to win, Dan Gable, Cael Sanderson, going through multiple surgeries, physical therapy, mental challenges of day to day life, professional wrestling, Diamond Dallas Page (DDP), DDP yoga, cutting weight, the Dolce diet, judo, freestyle judo, IJF, gripping rules, competition, coaching, and more.

Subscribe on iTunes or RSS, and check out the facebook page.

Quotes

Matt on his approach to competition:

“When I compete, I want to win. There’s no doing it for the sake of doing it.”

Matt on striving to improve:

“It bugs me when people have a ‘good enough is good enough’ attitude. No. Sometimes you have to push yourself to be the absolute best.”

Links

22: Olympic and NCAA Wrestling with Charlie Neely and Chris Romanchick

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In episode 22, I talk with Charlie Neely and Chris Romanchick about freestyle, Greco-Roman, folk-style wrestling, Olympics, 2013 World Championships, Dan Gable, John Smith, Cael Sanderson, coaching high school wrestlers, the stacked 165 lbs division with Kyle Dake, David Taylor, Jordan Burroughs, Andrew Howe, “The Losses of Dan Gable” by Wright Thompson, Brent Metcalf, red shirt years, new wrestling rules, women in wrestling, changes to weight classes, cutting weight, rule sets in wrestling and jiu jitsu, and much more.

Subscribe on iTunes or RSS, and check out the facebook page.

Quotes

Charlie on his approach to coaching high school wrestlers:

“There’s no getting around the fact that I’m going to be pushing them, and they’re going to be working hard. I’ve learned over the years that wrestling is fun. I didn’t always know that. I didn’t realize it until later in life. I’m hoping to be able to communicate that to the kids and show them how wrestling can be fun. I think it’s all too easy to get caught up in the weight management part of the sport and the grind nature of the sport and the pressure that comes from competing or from parents.”

Chris on the value of wrestling or jiu jitsu in developing young minds:

“I think some of the best lessons you learn in life are lessons you learn on the mat, be it jiu jitsu or be it wrestling. It’s just honest, it’s real.”

Taking something  Charlie said completely out of context:

“Russia is #1.”

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21: Justin Rader on ADCC, No Gi Worlds, Cutting Weight, Combining Wrestling and Jiu Jitsu

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In episode 21, I talk with Justin Rader, two-time no-gi world champion, 2013 ADCC bronze medalist about the training camp leading up to ADCC, cutting weight, staying injury free, listening to your body, traveling to China, training wrestling against the guard pull, Augusto Mendes, Cobrinha, Joao Miyao, Kevin Hendricks, Johny Hendricks, Andy Howington, staying in the intermediate distance while passing tricky guards, positional training,  teaching and coaching young athletes, difference between wrestling and jiu jitsu culture, MMA, Game of Thrones, Dan Gable, John Smith, Paul from Open Mat Radio, and much more.

Subscribe on iTunes or RSS, and check out the facebook page.

Quotes

Justin on the weight cut for ADCC:

“I did the old school Vision Quest. I was out there the morning of weigh-ins in my plastic suit running up and down the streets of Beijing.”

Justin on the difference between the training environment in wrestling an in jiu jitsu:

“The wrestling environment can truly be summed up by ‘kill or be killed’.”

Links

Random Questions

YouTube Version of Full Audio Interview

(To be added soon. YouTube doesn’t seem to like 90+ minute videos sometimes.)