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



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.

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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.”


3 thoughts on “23: Matt Marcinek on Grappling with Cerebral Palsy and Competing to Win”

  1. Inspiring guy & I enjoy your podcasts.


    Freestyle wrestling has a rule set, Greco roman has a rule set, BJJ has a rule set, MMA does, boxing does, etc. All of which are designed to promote a style of “pretend” fighting.

    I personally don’t like some of the newer judo rules but others I think are better than the old ones. No leg grabs – bad, more time to progress ne-waza – good, allowing progress to continue outside the matt boundary – good, endless golden score time – good. Gripping rules I am ambivalent about as whenever I stop to remove someone’s grip with two hands I end up being tossed on my arse – so I didn’t use two handed grip breaking anyway.

    It looks to me like someone is fiddling with the rules to make the fight flow more, in a more upright fashion with less referee interruptions. Maybe they get it right maybe they get it wrong but not being stuck in the past is what allowed judo and BJJ to develop in the first place.

    1. I agree. Change is very often good and almost always resisted. The concern is that change should come from the opinion of the coaches, competitors, and fans, and not from a closed-door bureaucracy. But any successful sport will have a bureaucracy with corruption, greed, petty conflicts, etc. So it’s a catch 22.

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